but on mainstream yachts of all sizes then bigger is, on average, better......
unless what he was on was a POS.
Hmmm. Maybe you are looking at different 'mainstream yachts' than I have been. but your final bit there summarized what *I* think of many 'mainstream' boats, even some big ones.
Isn't this, to a degree, the entire premise that led CapnK to start sailfar.net? The MYTH (as I contend it is) exists that "bigger = better."
My point is ... IT DEPENDS.
There are good big boats, and there are good small boats.
There are LOTS of good small boats that are FAR FAR better (in a seaworthy sense) than big not-so-good boats.
Therein lies the problem, though. "Bigger = better" is a meme that exists without complete "analysis" (for lack of a better word), and it is just accepted as dogma. There are cases, with modern boats, where it is false on its face. Period. None of us here (I think) would argue the point.
So...sailfar in part exists to "fight" the meme, or at least to provide a 'community' for those that recognize the dogma for what it is. I don't mean "fight" in the sense of 'change their mind," so much as to provide something akin to a counterargument.
Part of the problem with "bigger is better" is philosophical...underlying that statement is an implicit assumption that most (if not all) of us here are "settling" for something of lesser quality, lesser capability. This, I believe, is false. I don't think most sailfarers are "settling," so much as having made a distinct and intentional, deliberate decision to "go small."
The bottom line is that there are a LOT of reasons to "go small" when choosing a boat. Once you have decided to "go small," there may be fewer "seaworthy" choices from which to choose, but the point I want to hammer home (repeatedly, until Kurt kicks me out
) is the following:
There are small boats that are BETTER than some (many?) BIG boats on the market.
As to the being at sea and choosing bigger....I ask again...cylinder vs 18 ft daysailor/weekender? Which would you prefer? Flat barge 50 ft long, 50,000 pounds or 20 ft Flicka? I'd give other more specific boat model examples, but I don't want to sound like I am running down specific models...that's a decision each must make for themselves.
So yes, given a choice between a CERTAIN 25 footers and CERTAIN 50 footers, I would MUCH MUCH rather take the 25. That's the important part to completely debunk the notion that "bigger = better."
The "truth" is far, far more complicated than that. To name-drop Olin Stevens again...there is no single design metric that summarizes seaworthiness or comfort in a seaway. Not LOA, not displacement, none.