The idea of comfort at sea relates to the motion of the boat, how it responds to waves. A heavy boat like Gemini, with a narrow, V-shaped cross-section hull, doesn’t so much go over the waves as through them. Contrast that with modern, light, flat-bottomed boats that slap and bang through the gentlest of seas.
Ease of handling refers first to the sails, and then to the general behaviour of the boat. Gemini is a sloop, with a very simple rig, just a mainsail and a headsail. It’s a very efficient arrangement, and was quite modern in its day. Today it’s absolutely typical of most sailboats of similar size. She can easily be sailed single-handed, in some ways even more easily than modern boats of the same size.
In terms of behaviour, with her long keel, she wants to keep going in a straight line. She is very directionally stable and well balanced. This means it’s easy to set her up to steer herself while I can move around the deck, managing the sails or other tasks. Modern boats, you guessed it, fail at this task as well. Modern boats are designed to be easy to manage inside the marina. Gemini, to be honest, is a bit of a pig inside the marina because she’s not keen to turn, and she’s difficult to control in reverse.
But Gemini wasn’t built for the marina. She was built for the open seas!
Read on to find out how the design brief was fulfilled: