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XTR 05-08-2007 10:33 PM

What I did on vacation
Pictures here

Delivered a Baltic 47 from USVI to Chesapeake Bay. I understand that this boat (SV Momentum) won it's class in the Newport to Bermuda last year. It's a semi-custom build cruiser/racer. I doubt you'll see another one around. The boat sails beautifully. Coming up the bay close hauled in a gale and I was doing 8kts and had less than half a spoke of weather helm. (we did have 2 reefs in the main and only about 8 or 10 feet of jib rolled out).

We were just using cruising sails (she's got a full inventory of racing sails) Once you get over about 10kts of wind she'd do 50% of wind speed close reach. I think she makes hull speed at about 16 kts. My watch crossing the stream I made 40nm by GPS on a 4 hour watch the apparent wind at about 60 to 80 so I wasn't surfing.

By Neptunes grace we crossed the Stream on Friday, Saturday on they were looking at 40kt+ winds out of the NE (read nasty flat faced/breaking swells) and a 20ft+ swell and I don't think its down yet. I might still be hove too on the other side waiting to cross and would have been not too happy.

edit: ok, kts/nm it was late last night and I was tired. :)

camaraderie 05-08-2007 11:29 PM

Welcome back XTR...glad you had a good dodged a bullet there!!

sailingdog 05-08-2007 11:46 PM


Just FYI—Hull speed for a 49' boat is 9.38 knots... so her hull speed is probably about 9 knots.

BTW, how do you get a monohull sailboat to do 40 knots without major damage? I think you meant to say that you made 40 nm, which is a distance...knots are a speed—nautical miles per hour.

50% of wind speed isn't all that impressive. Lots of multihulls can better that pretty easily.

You did dodge a bullet, and sound like you had a good trip, if a bit exciting at times.

XTR 05-09-2007 07:52 AM

The rest of the story on the trip. (I was tired last night)

We left St. Thomas in 25kt winds with both sails reefed making great time. Then 2 days out the wind went away and we were hard pressed to make any way with sails, so we motored. The boat only carries 60gal of fuel, we had 35 in jugs in the laz, which we poured in after about 2 days of motoring. I think we had to motor about half of the time coming back at lowered RPMs for fuel conservation. Friday we crossed the Stream, saw the Hattaras light at 2200 Friday night, got to Little Creek to get fuel by about 1700 on Saturday. Pulled out and started sailing up the bay.

Just about sundown the wind died and we started motoring. When I came on watch at 0200 we'd been making good progress, by 0300 we were at the mouth of the Potomac, then things went to hell. Winds came up fast, dead on the bow at 25+ and rising. At 0600 all 3 of us were up, we were seeing gusts to 40kts and I think we'd made about 3nm in the last 3 hours, so we turned off the wind, dropped back a couple of miles and anchored in the lee of the north shore of the mouth of the Potomac, and spent the night. Everyone was exhausted, I got up around noon and both the other guys were asleep. Weather reports for the bay were still calling for high winds not subsiding till Monday PM, and the winds were still coming from almost due north in the bay, we were hoping for more NE so we could sail up rather than across. Looking at the time we decided to stay on the anchor till dawn Monday.

Monday morning at first light we started sailing, turned out to be a fun sail in high winds for the first several hours, as predicted the winds did drop off after noon, we docked the boat at about 1700. Eleven days dock to dock.

Sailormann 05-09-2007 08:06 AM


knots are a speed—nautical miles per hour
Hmmm - actually "knot" is a colloquial contraction of the term nautical mile, phonetically spelt, so the gentleman is actually correct in his employment of the term... (just trying to help :) )

sailingdog 05-09-2007 08:16 AM


I don't believe that Knots are ever used when referring to distances... While Knot may be derived from Nautical Mile, it is defined as nautical mile per hour... a unit for speed, not distance. All the definitions, I have seen of the word Knot or Knots, relate to speed not distance. Take a look here.

TrueBlue 05-09-2007 08:24 AM


Originally Posted by Sailormann
Hmmm - actually "knot" is a colloquial contraction of the term nautical mile, phonetically spelt, so the gentleman is actually correct in his employment of the term... (just trying to help :) )

Perhaps some people believe the term "knot" came from a "colloquial contraction". But I've always thought it derived from the "chip log" sailors tossed overboard for measuring boat speed.

The wooden chip was attached to the end of a long rope, with knots spaced every 47'-3". A crewman would turn over a 30 second hourglass and count the number of knots which were played out - then recorded this data into the log (hence "chip log"). The number of knots counted in 30 seconds was the boat's speed in knots.

How did 47'-3" come to be used as a knot spacing? Well, I forgot that part and had to look it up -


The length was based on converting [1 nautical mile per hour] to [feet per second(fps)], and then multiplying [fps] by 30 seconds (which was a practical time to spend counting knots with a sandglass). The result was the calibrated length in feet at which to tie the knots for a 30-second run of the chip log.

sailortjk1 05-09-2007 08:35 AM

Looks like you had a great delivery.
Nice photo's.
I read your account and new exactly what you meant by it.
(Late last night: Before the edit) No big deal.

christyleigh 05-09-2007 08:39 AM

XTR - So... nautical term trivia aside... I'm wondering how well informed you were, and by what means, about the nastiness off the Carolinas that put some sailors in harms way.

XTR 05-09-2007 09:11 AM

We really didn't see the low coming till Friday, and we got it from another boat on VHF.

We were listening to weather on the SSB. If we heard him correctly Herb (southbound 2 @ 12359) was actually saying on Wednesday and Thrusday that the conditions would be better north of 35 to cross. Most of the discussion was about a trough north of the Bahamas. There was some discussion of possible deteriorating conditions in the north but they were talking about 3 different fronts coming off shore. I do recall Thursday that he told a boat coming up from SC to stay inside of the stream because it would be getting rough I didn't hear any predictions for the gale that hit on Saturday, though we knew that even if the NE 25 to 35 we saw crossing lasted for much longer the swell would build and it would get nasty. We missed his Friday broadcast because we were busy in the stream. We'd been within about 25nm of another boat the whole trip and had been talking with them every day on the VHF. After we crossed the stream we heard the news from them that the next day things were going to hell in a big way, so we did have about 24 hours. What we heard for Saturday was 40kts and 28ft seas. We had high winds, but the seas weren't so bad.

One think I've read that bears out in the pictures, sea state does not come across in pictures.

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