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Old 11-05-2002
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Hypothetical Program

I am running a hypothetical program for an admminstration class in my Outdoor Education major. We are running a program for adjudicated youth where we put them on a boat for a month. We are all fairly ignorant in the topic of sailing, but we are eager to learn. My main question is, how many miles, on average, can you cover sailing in a day? We will be doing off shore and island crusing. Thank you for any help you can offer.
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Old 11-05-2002
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Hypothetical Program

You could figure perhaps 6 miles per hour for rough planning purposes (depends on wind direction, speed, your boat, and other factors). How many miles per day depends upon whether you are sailing continuously offshore or just hopping to the next island for an overnight anchorage.

BTW, my wife works with a lot of severely behavior-challenged kids in an inner city school and I could make some remarks about the hypothetical plan. However, I will be nice.

Good luck with your class.

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Hypothetical Program

Six kts. is a reasonable estimate, assuming that the boat will be about 40 ft. or more in length, and assuming that the windspeed and other sailing conditions are favorable. For example, if you are either sailing to windward, or with the wind at your back, it might take longer to cover any given distance. When planning a cruise by sailboat it is best to develop a tentative itinerary, but don''t hesitate to modify it from day-to-day if the sailing conditions indicate that it is unreasonable to stick to your original plan. Although you are a newbie, I''m sure the skipper will be experienced, and will know whether (s)he can keep to the itinerary, based on the weather conditions encountered each day.
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Hypothetical Program

There really is no set rule of thumb for this because conditions and vessels vary quite a bit. Most cruising boats do less than 120 NM per day. It is pretty hard to average 6 knots over the length of an offshore passage without using the engine a lot of the time.
I can give an example of a sistership of my boat. For the first ten days after the boat left South Africa, it was blowing on the quarter 30 to 40 knots with gusts into the mid-50''s and lulls in the 20 knot range. Reaching in big seas under storm jib and trisail, the GPS showed averages well over 9 to 10 knots for hours at a time, and hitting speeds as high as 16 knot range at times.

At the end of the first 10 days the boat had averaged over 175 miles a day (roughly 7 knots), but between passing through the Duldrums and finding their way into port in the Carribean, the boat only averaged a little over a 150 miles a day over the whole trip. This was a fast boat moving at pretty high speeds. Typical 42 foot cruising yachts are 30 to 40 seconds a mile slower than the boat in question in normal conditions and few passages allow for boatspeeds in the 10 to 12 knot range that was seen by the boat in question.

When you start to consider island hopping the distances go down dramatically because you want to leave and enter shallower ports and unfamiliar restricted locations in daylight.

You might look at as little as 50 to 60 miles a day for a reasonably fast boat in those kind of conditions. I realize these numbers sound quite slow.

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