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  #1  
Old 03-10-2008
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How does the Orion sail?

I've always loved the looks of the Orion, but I'm generally told that she's the wrong boat for someone who sails on the Chesapeake Bay. Is there anyone out there who can share their experiences about sailing the Orion in light air areas?

Many thanks.

Al
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Old 03-10-2008
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Sure

Light air....light air.....

Not going anywhere for awhile? Grab a Snickers.

Seriously though, the Orion is very heavy for her size. She sails slow in light air. The Orion's best in anything over 10kts. She points well enough, is comfy, drives through the chop (no pounding), is pretty as hell, tons of stowage, is easy to manage, 4' draft, BUT she is not a light air boat.

As far as being the "wrong boat" for the bay, I'd say that were a matter of opinion. As I see it, the wrong boat for the bay is a boat restricted by draft more than anything. Sure there are light air days, even "light air boats" aren't exactly clipping along in light air though. They may be getting 1 or 1.5kts on me, but they aren't clipping.
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Nice boat...but not for the Chesapeake.
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Old 03-11-2008
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Smile

Mine sails just fine!
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
ajl... the Orion is a beautiful and well constructed boat but is 3x the weight of other 27footers, is cutter rigged and has a full keel. It will not move well in light air relative to the overwhelming majority of bots in this size. Of course...I'd rather be in an Orion in 35 knots than most other 27 footers. That's the trade off. If you just have to have one..buy a big drifter and resign yourself to being happy with the looks of lust and envy from huntabenelina owners...as they sail by you!
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Old 03-11-2008
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JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough
ajl100,

It may partly depend on how you plan to sail the boat, too. If you intend primarily to daysail on the upper Potomac during summer months, then it's fair to say the Orion may not be the best choice. By the same token, a deep draft performer wouldn't be a good choice either since the channels are narrow and limited.

On the other hand, if you hope to explore the length and breadth of Chesapeake Bay, from March through November, it's then that the appeal of the Orion 27 begins to crystallize. You already know enough about the boat to understand why the hull and rig are not optimized for light air conditions. Only you can answer whether this boat's many other virtues will make up for this shortcoming. But if you consider wind-less and very light air days as a good opportunity to charge the batteries, then don't dwell inordinately on the Orion's performance in these conditions.

By the way, there are Mark I and Mark II versions of the Orion (even some Mark 1.5s) and both versions offer alternative interior lay-outs.
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I have a spinnaker with a "tacker" that wraps around the furled headsail. It's a nice light sail and even has a dousing sock. It helps in light air, but once again, the boat is heavy. Here are a few nmbers that plainly state she isn't "light air".

LOA 27.3
LWL 22.1
Beam 9.25
Displacement 10,000
Disp. to LWL 410
(yes thats 10K lbs on 22 feet of waterline)

Hull Speed 6.3
Sail Area 508 (differs slightly between cutters and sloops)
SA/Disp 17.51
Capsize Ratio 1.7

If one of your big criteria is light air performance, then look elsewhere, seriously. Pacific Seacraft are not built for it. However, if you want to go see far away places one day, PSC is a good (excellent) choice. They've taken people all over the globe and around it.

Personally, light air isn't a big deal for me. If it takes me an extra hour to get to some spot on the bay then so be it. I've been out on the bay when one of those summer t-storms kick up out of nowhere. I make my way for "deep water" and love it. I pump right through the chop. Sure the rides a little damp from the low freeboard, but I feel as safe as if i were on land. I wouldn't want to do that in a Hunter etc etc. The flip side to that is, how often are you going to get caught in stink on the bay??? Not often. Everything is a trade off.

My boat isn't a light air boat, shes heavy.

Check out Carl's Sail Calculator for a good comparison tool. See:

Carl's

In that data base the PSC Orion is listed under "Orion27"
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Old 03-12-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapperwhite View Post
Personally, light air isn't a big deal for me. If it takes me an extra hour to get to some spot on the bay then so be it. I've been out on the bay when one of those summer t-storms kick up out of nowhere. I make my way for "deep water" and love it. I pump right through the chop. Sure the rides a little damp from the low freeboard, but I feel as safe as if i were on land. I wouldn't want to do that in a Hunter etc etc. The flip side to that is, how often are you going to get caught in stink on the bay??? Not often. Everything is a trade off.
Those are interesting observations. By and large I'd agree that the Chesapeake usually offers at worst moderately challenging conditions. But every now and then, she surprises you with a fierce summer storm, or an early spring / late autumn gale that can really kick your butt. It's happened to me plenty of times in almost two decades of sailing the Bay.

My personal experiences aside, some years back I read an account in (I think it was) Ocean Voyager/Navigator about a guy that circumnavigated in a Valiant 42. He related that the worst weather and conditions he experienced on the entire around-the-world voyage -- the only time he feared for the ultimate safety of his boat and life -- were during a fierce summer thunder storm on Chesapeake Bay.

Food for thought.
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Al...sa/d is calculated on a 100% foretriangle basis so legitimate comparisons can be made. A cutter rig ain't gonna help in light air.
You obviously really like the Orion...have you looked at the Compac 27/2 which is a significantly (40%) lighter but still very traditional looking boat that would work on the bay.
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Another point on the sail area:

The Orion was made in both cutter and sloop configurations. These are the numbers directly from the original sail plan drawing.

Total Working Sail Sloop- 428

Total Working Sail Cutter- 512

Main-190
Jib- 238
Staysail-84
Yankee- 294
Genoa-343
Drifter- 343
Storm trysail-47
Storm Jib- 42

The reason that sounds like a lot of sail is because I gave you a bad number earlier.

The LOD is 27'
The LOA is 30'11"

They put a 4' bowsprit on her to carry more sail (helps move her fat ass )

Sorry about the confusing numbers earlier.
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