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post #1 of 17 Old 04-28-2008 Thread Starter
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Estimating sailboat length

Assuming the boat you are sailing by has no number on its hull or sail to indicate its length.
Is there a simple way (rule of thumb or a trick) to estimate/judge the length of a sailboat on the water?

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post #2 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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If you can see the people in the cockpit, use their height to estimate 6 ft, which establishes a scale from which you can estimate within 2-3 feet.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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Do you mean the one you are on or one that you mabe looking at on the water a a few hundred feet from you? If one you are on, lots of ways: rope length, walk the deck, etc.

One the water is more tricky. You could guess that most sailboats moderate sized sailboats 26 - 45 ft in length have about a 7.5 to 8.5 foot cockpit. From there , guesstimate how many cockpit lengths the boat is and you should be within 2 or 3 feet. This is very general.

Other tell-tales. Ketches and yawls are typically bigger than 34 feet. Same thing with Cutters. If you see one of those, start from the 34+ range.

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post #4 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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Originally Posted by JSL3 View Post
Assuming the boat you are sailing by has no number on its hull or sail to indicate its length.
Is there a simple way (rule of thumb or a trick) to estimate/judge the length of a sailboat on the water?
Off course...there is....

The lenght of the boat in question is equal to the distance from the bow to the stern...

Then what you do is you go by and ask really loud:

HOW LONG's YOU'R BOAT????

If you're inside that boat...and it's not yours, just ask the owner
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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If you can see the people in the cockpit, use their height to estimate 6 ft, which establishes a scale from which you can estimate within 2-3 feet.
That's essentially what I do for boat's under way. Can't always use a person's height as a sale of measure, unless crew is standing upright on deck. Head to waist for normal adults is about 2.5 ft, 3.5 ft for deck to waist. Or - about 7 adult heads equals 6 ft . . . 5 heads for narcissistic sailors .

After a few years of studying various boats and their known freeboards, you get a knack for it, with or without people nearby.

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sold the Nauticat
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I normally look at a boat and know what lenght it is...unless its a rare boat
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-28-2008 Thread Starter
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I normally look at a boat and know what lenght it is...unless its a rare boat
Clearly we have a solution. I could just have Giu ride around with me so I can ask him and I'll be golden.

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I like the suggestion by Chuckles. How about spreaders, are they ever a clue?

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Clearly we have a solution. I could just have Giu ride around with me so I can ask him and I'll be golden.
$185 per hour, plus expenses. Min 8 hours per day, max 12 hours.

Top class Rental Car, Hilton Hotel or Marriot, Business class tickets.

Payment 15 days net.


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post #10 of 17 Old 04-28-2008
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I just kind of look at it and if it looks say... 30 feet long I figure it is somewhere between 25 and 35 feet long. If it looks longer I add a couple of feet to my estimate, shorter I subtract a couple of feet. You may feel free to use my formula if you wish, it has served me well.
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