Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 230 Times in 181 Posts
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John raises a very valid point. PHRF ratings generally are based on a fully crewed, well prepared boat racing in the average conditions for the region in which that rating is valid. In most cases these ratings are a pretty fair indicator of relative speed in moderate conditions. In a general sense, when cruising with small crews, and in other than average conditions, the relative passage speeds will vary pretty widely from what might be anticipated with the relative passage speeds of dedicated cruising boats way slower than might be predicted by their PHRF ratings.
In other words, dedicated long distance style cruising boats generally would not have as fast a passage time as their PHRF ratings would predict relative to the passage time of a race boat or a high performance cruising boat sailed with a small crew.
There are a lot of reasons for this. Few cruising boats have the sail inventory and sail handling gear to take full advantage of the winds that they are sailing in. Few have the kind of preparation that a performance boat would have in terms of bottom finish and weight distribution.
The speed advantage of a higher performance boat, especially at the light and heavy ends of the wind and seastate range, allows it to cherry pick its routing to optimize its conditions. In other words, a higher performance boat can offen make good speeds in winds that a heavier more traditional boat can't sail in. This allows them to sail out of a light air wind system and get moving sooner. The heavier cruiser either needs to motor of sit. If motoring is anticipated, this means that the cruiser must carry more fuel, and therefore slows its speeds in the middle wind ranges. Those kinds of 'tactical' advantages are not anticipated in PHRF Ratings.
That said, in coastal cruising situations, where running the engine is not a big deal, the relative passage times for a traditional cruiser may beat their rating, but at the price of more engine hours.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay