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Old 03-30-2015, 02:27 PM   #1
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34 mainship trawler with flybridge--Top Heavy??

This Friday, I returned from Key West to Marco Island. A cold front was coming in and needed to get back quickly.

I ran into 3-5 ft waves. I was driving at the fly bridge by myself. With my wife in the salon.

Two of the waves seem to tilted the boat so much I was afraid the boat was going to turn over. My wife experienced the same thing.

Has anyone else experienced this problem?

Does anyone know of a 34 turning over in 3-5 ft wave ( or greater)

Regards and concern

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Old 03-30-2015, 03:07 PM   #2
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Do you have previous experience in a flybridge boat? I only ask because I know the pendulum effect can be even more unsettling for those who are more used to express or other "lower" boats...


South River, Chesapeake Bay
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:51 PM   #3
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I have never heard of either a MK I, II, or III or the new model 34 ever capsizing. As mentioned, on the bridge motion is exaggerated. And as a rule, the CG of all the Mainships is reasonable.

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Old 03-30-2015, 04:46 PM   #4
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Since you used the phrase "top heavy" and that one was used to describe the 34T (the 2005+ model) on another thread, I suspect you are talking about that one. As the previous two posters noted, the 34T is a flybridge boat and being up high inherently exaggerates the motion. It has nothing to do with being "top heavy".

Actually I will bet that the 34T has more initial stability than the older, narrower beam 34. All boats will capsize if you get beyond their positive righting moment. The 34T's initial righting moment is higher than most because of it's wide beam for it's size.

I did experience the conditions and sensation that you report. When we owned our 34T in California we would routinely do the 30 NM trip over to Catalina. When the seas got up to 5+ feet the boat was uncomfortable up on the flybridge. You were constantly being tilted back and forth. Down below was easier, not because the angular tilt was less- it was the same of course, but the absolute horizontal displacement was less.

Also speed can help and hurt. When powering into head seas, speed usually helps the ride. The extra speed produces more righting force when the boat starts to heel. But with beam or aft seas the breaking sea can push the stern sideways and if going fast can cause the type of heeling you experienced. Try both fast and slow and see what works.

And Key West to Marco Island is not what any flybridge, semi-displacement trawler was meant to handle. I wouldn't do that trip with my 34T unless the weather was forecast for <12 kt winds and <3' seas.

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Old 03-30-2015, 05:08 PM   #5
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No flybridge for me but echoing David's sound advice when the conditions get snotty I speed up andpower into them as best I can. Following or beam seas are no fun but speed helps in those situations for me sometimes. Low speed snotty conditions makes my boat bounce like a cork and can easily see how a flybridge would be less comfortable than my low helm position.

I take comfort knowing that the boat can take a whole lot rougher conditions than I can.
Craig - AKA Some Clueless Idiot

The person who is saying something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
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Old 03-30-2015, 06:57 PM   #6
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Were you heading into the waves or were they coming you side on?
I recently did a 20 mile northerly coastal transit with a beam on easterly swell, including higher swell sets of up to 5 waves to 1.5M, with an unusually short space between, causing me to head up into them at a slight angle. Taking them beam on could have been nasty, I was very busy on the helm. Afterwards my crew asked if we could get into trouble in those conditions. I said yes. It was no fun, we were both fairly shattered afterwards.
It may help to steer from below in those conditions.
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Old 03-30-2015, 07:33 PM   #7
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I don't like the exaggerated motion of a flying bridge. That's one of several reasons (extra expense/duplication, increased windage, climbing ladders/stairs, away from sensing the engine(s) performance, appearance issues) I don't have one. ... Motion is worse from waves coming from astern and from the beam. You might become comfortable/familiar with its motions/quirks as you gain confidence of the boat
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:48 PM   #8
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I drive from the flybridge about 99% of the time and the only time's I've driven from below is if it's colder than hell. I have heat in the salon but not above. The rocking doesn't bother me, but then this boat doesn't rock much.

Jann, What's the beam on that 34' boat? The wider the beam the less roll you'll encounter and also the roll rate will be slower on a wider boat.

Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
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