Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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When I talk about a boat being comparatively slor I think about how boats behave in a wide range of conditions. There are a lot of boats that will sail at close to their hullspeed reaching in 20 knots of breeze but unfortunately, what goes down must come up and sailing the venues (mostly up and down the US Atlantic coast) that I have spent my time means dealing with beating in light and heavy air as well as sailing on all points of sail in a wide range of windspeeds.
It is not just the top speeds that a boat can achieve but the consistency with with these speeds can be held. I can give the example of a sistership of my boat (which I don''t think of as being all that fast) that made a single-handed passage from South Africa to the Carribean about a year or so ago. The top speed that was hit was 16 knots and stayed above 10 knots for much of the time. Dispite these high speeds the boat averaged 175 miles per day for the first 10 days while in the South Atlantic and managed to average 150 miles a day including sailing through the doldrums. He reported using roughly 17 gallons of fuel and did almost no motoring except to charge batteries.
He left Capetown with a more traditional boat that completed the same passage but took weeks longer and used substantially more fuel.
When I think of most modern coastal cruisers and the more modern offshore boats as being moderately fast, I would expect a moderately fast 42 plus footer to have a PHRF rating somewhere down around 50 to 60 or so with a rating over 100 being pretty slow. So when I see the Formosa 45 with ratings between 111 and 153 that strikes me as slow. But more to the point, in the kind of variable conditions that are typical on the US Atlantic coast, boats like these would have very limited opportunity to sail. I remember talking to a fellow with a CT41 who came back from the Bahamas saying there was almost never a day that he could actually sail from place to place. While that is too small a sampling to be meaningful, and we weren''t there ourselves to see what he encountered, that still seems more likely with these high wetted surface, low sail area per pound boats.