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Old 08-10-2011, 05:09   #1
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Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Hi:

We just sailed the 2300 nm from Cocos Keeling to Mauritius in the company of a 39' steel sloop and a 49' fiberglass sloop, and offer the following experience re: speed and sail configurations. Bottom line – our Orana 440 averaged 5.4 knots over the distance; the 39' sloop averaged about 5.8 knots, and the 49' about 6.4 knots.

We had winds of 20-30 knots from 130-160 AWA most of the time, and sea swells in the 10-25 foot range on our stern quarter and our beam, sometimes simultaneously. On the few days we sailed "by the book," with a triple reefed main and tiny genoa, with the wind at 100-120, we made close to 7 knots, but most of the time, the large beam seas, coupled with the 120+ degree AWA limited our use of the main, and kept us to a genoa ... and thus the reduced speed. We used a snatch block on the midships cleat to "pole" the genoa tack out. Heading up was not really an option given the swells, and when we tried to sail fast, I was genuinely worried that the combination of beam swells and gusting winds created too high a probability of an irreversible knockdown.

Discretion being the better part of valor, we decided to go slow but sleep peacefully. When sailing hard, we would feel the boat heel and slide down the beam swells, and we were not comfortable with either the heel or the slide ...

We are cautious sailors, and would appreciate any feedback on whether we may have been too conservative -- from those with more brisk weather, open ocean, beam sea experience.

Details on our passage in our blog at Sailing Vessel ile de Grace

best/jon
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:39   #2
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

I haven't sailed the Indian Ocean yet, but I have been in conditions you've described, including the sickening lurch induced by sliding off a big 'un from an unexpected direction at 3 AM...one's tether is one's friend!

I'm not sure why you needed reinforcement from strangers here. You did one of the longer passages going with no report of damage or injury, in challenging, complex conditions. Arriving in one piece with an intact boat and crew is an implicit endorsement of your seamanlike decision-making and your prudence...little boats in big oceans that aren't actually in races should, in my view, make decisions about sail and handling that connote safety and deliver comfort. The average SOG is really irrelevant, and discretion is not only the better part...it's the ONLY part.

If you are worried about "falling behind" when in a loose convoy, as you imply, consider that the steel boat was likely stiffer and could carry more sail a longer time than you, and the 49 footer likely had inherent speed and handling advantages due to LWL and more beam/perhaps deeper keel.

So while it is a courtesy to "keep up", a disparate convoy of three boats sailing 2300 NM with 10 feet of difference in length is always going to have boats in differing "gears". I don't think 5 knots plus on passage is slow, but rather pretty decent going to reel off 120-140 NM days, and if you give up a half knot or even a knot for comfort and safety, you get to cycle through the older provisions! Win-win.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:57   #3
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

The southern Indian ocean is a washing machine. We have done it both e to w and w to e. Both were wet and windy rides.

As S/V Alchemy said, congratulations on the successful passage. Feel good about it and don't worry about the speed.

We tend to try to push as fast as the autopilot can handle and as fast as feels safe. Waves on the beam can create difficulty for both. How was your autopilot generally handling the steering - wandering alot or generally keeping a decently straight course?

Our boat(s) have usually liked more jib and less mainsail in those conditions. In the conditions you describe, we would have probably been sailing with two headsails - jib (to leeward) and the blast reacher or staysail depending on the wind strength (poled to weather), and the main nicely packed away.

That should be a popular course this year with the pirates blocking the red sea route.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:58   #4
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

The autopilot's ability to compensate (and your ability to keep it powered) is definitely a factor. On delivery to the USVIs, we chafed through Dyneema wind vane control line three times, and tore the Raymarine AP from its mounts. All was repairable underway, but it was that trip that convinced me that active steering is required during squalls, and a pain in the stern the rest of the time. Belt and suspenders self-steering and plenty o' spares is the way to go.

This is good information for me, by the way, as the Indian Ocean route south to Madagascar and South Africa is likely part of our sailing future. I can't see the Red Sea getting cleaned out any time soon.
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Old 08-10-2011, 14:55   #5
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Hi,

26' mono, long keel. No auto and no windvane.

We averaged 4,6 over the same patch. (Nearly full knot slower than on the earlier Christmas-Cocos leg).

Similar weather conditions to what you describe.

I am not sure 'too conservative' applies. You sailed the way you did and you got to the next harbour safely and not dog tired. This is what counts foremost (IMHO).

b.
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Old 08-10-2011, 15:07   #6
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Well done. Seems to me your only other option was to chose a more comfortable destination, but not many alternatives in that area. Things weren't bad enough to choose to go for a safe haven, and not too uncomfortable for you to divert for sanity's sake.
You did the seaman like thing that all cruisers should do.
How were your water and food stores at landfall? Any equipment issues?
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Old 08-10-2011, 17:01   #7
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Hi Jon,

To me, there is nothing wong with being conservative.. Secondly , this is a relative term, having sailed for years with Orana, if you trailed the monos that you mentioned, all I can say is that they were less conservative and probably more keen with their trims.
Sailing with genoa alone works pretty well on monohulls (particularly with cruising monohulls that have 130% genoa) but not on catamarans. It can even be dangereous on the conditions you defined.
If you are worried on beam seas, the best would be to use the main (with the adequate reef, sheeted tightly and ease the main traveller depending on the AWA) and genoa 1/3 o even 1/4 furled. To take a line under the boom to the amidship cleat to avoid an accidental gybe is imperative whenever the wind is aft the beam.
This combinatioın should give you equally safe, a bit faster and comfortable ride.
Orana doesn't sail well at AWA exceeeding 130 degrees if you don't have (or you don't want to use) a spinneaker, particularly if the wind is below 18-20 kts true.
For my circumnavigation I plan to carry two genoas to be rigged on the forestay (on Oranas is possible)on both sides. In 16-17 kts I did a trial and had 8+kts SOG w/out the main, on AWA varying from 180 to 150 degrees. And the autopilote was very happy
Last question, if you don't mind: do you have a folding props and how much payload (roughly) you are carrying ? (total current weight less light displacement which is 10 tons on Orana)

Congratulation on yr passage..

Yeloya
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:28   #8
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Thx all -- many helpful comments. I posted because my expectations re: cat vs. mono on passage speed would be that, foot-for-foot, cats are faster, and thus spend fewer days exposed to wind and sea conditions, making for generally safer passages, all other things being equal. I am adjusting my expectations.

To address questions, we sailed this leg with minimal extra weight. I carried an extra 120 liters of fuel, but little else. We've got a generator which adds weight, and we carry 150m of chain in the chain locker, as well as a spare CQR (the Rocna is secured).

To Yeloya's point, we felt a lot safer with just a 1/2 to 1/3 genoa flying than with a 3rd reef + 1/2-1/3 genoa ... with the main, the stern was swinging back and forth as we lifted over the beam seas, pushed forward by the following seas. In any event, most of the time the wind was too far aft for us to deploy both main and reefed genoa, and if the choice was pushing the boat with a reefed main or pulling it with a reefed genny, we went with the latter .... felt much safer to be pulled than to be pushed.

Our Furuno autopilot worked like a champ, and hasn't missed a beat in over 16,000 miles ... we never really had any squally conditions, just constant 22-28 kt winds, usually, as I said, from 130+ AWA. The only issue is that on the covering lexan screen pulled away from the body of the mount, letting water in. Seems to be a design issue, and we were lucky to have a repeater inside so we swapped the units, opened the outsidfe unit, cdried it out, used some clear silicone to seal it, and popped it back in. Seems like a design issue since we had the same issue arise in Panama on the other unit -- redundancy was really helpful since for the few minutes when it was disconnected, we had a tough time steering in the wind and crossing swells ... those few minutes made us really appreciate the fuzzy logic and to-date foolproof hydraulic arm of the Furuno system.

No other gear issues.

We provisioned in Bali; goods are non-existent in Cocos, and with a watermaker (Spectra CapeHorn), we kept our tanks about 2/3 filled.

We decided, unwisely but with no conseqence, to keep our inflatable on the davits, sans engine etc. of course, and while we rarely had a splash or slap on its bottom, we should have deflated, collapsed and stowed that sucker. I never really worried, but there's not much good that can come from an appendage like that on a rough passage. It's going onboard, deflated and stowed, for our South Africa passage.

I do not have a folding prop, and can't really speak to my weight, other than the comments above.

I have 4x135w solar panels and a KISS generator, and we were able to keep the boat passively powered for most of the trip ... I tend to run the engine when we make water to assure adequate voltage to the pumps.

With 2x30hp Volvos, we averaged about 1.5 liters/engine hour for the passage.

On lighter wind days -- we had several -- the genaker proved invaluable, and we made 6-7 knots in 15 kts AWA and following seas and a bit of a current.

Many thanks for comments and reax; it was an uncomfortable but not dangerous passage, with precious few breaking seas atop the sometimes significant swells.
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:45   #9
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

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Originally Posted by jglauds View Post
Thx all -- many helpful comments. I posted because my expectations re: cat vs. mono on passage speed would be that, foot-for-foot, cats are faster, and thus spend fewer days exposed to wind and sea conditions, making for generally safer passages, all other things being equal. I am adjusting my expectations.
We buddy-boated across part of the Caribbean and most of the South Pacific with a 43-ft Catana. Our boat is a 16-meter ketch; but LWL is only slightly over 41-ft. Like you, we assumed the catamaran would outpace us. Turned out to not be the case at least 90% of the time; and never on long passages. Downwind our ketch outsailed the cat significantly in speed and desired direction. Upwind the cat would leave us like we were sitting ducks and shoot ahead at 11+ kts boat speed when we usually settled in at only 8 kts upwind. Since most sailing in a west-about circumnavigation is downwind, the cat had no speed advantage; and, in fact, on longer passages usually arrived well after we did. Surprised us.

Glad you and all the other boats made it safely to Mauritius. Friends are in Malaysia now installing new chainplates in preparation to cross to SA. I forwarded the link to your blog to them so they can read about places they will soon be visiting.

Judy
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:51   #10
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Hi Jon,

It' s useless to discuss futher the sail combination you used. You were the ones in such seas and I am sure you tried every possible combination and found the best trim for yr needs. Once again, the most important is that you made the passage safely and without breaking anything on board. If you are still concerned about the speed, I would strongly suggest that you consider installing folding props. I've used mine without it for 3 years and since last year I installled a set of Radice; that made a huge difference in speed. (especially in light and aft winds up to + 08 to 1,5 kts ..)

I have bought a spinneaker with sock designed as a runner for trade winds. To be honnest, when I am cruising along with my wife, it's still not so easy to hoist it.. Moreover, because of the locations of the winches in Orana, I am using the small winch aft for the dingy and from there you cannot even sea the sail..

For carrying the dingy I have the same concerns but since I have a one with solid buttom, it's not easy to deflate/inflate/secure it..

Talking about the load, I belive Orana payload is around 3.500 kg and that's not much for this size of cat. I made a ough calculation fo my trip and I am close to it, hence, trying to keep all unnecessary weight out. I have:

-a water maker 49 lt/hour
-a wind generator (D-400)
-8 KW Panda Fisher genset
-A/C
-a spinneaker and spare genoa
-second autopilote installed. (it's a Raymarine in addition to my current Furuno)
-150-160 lt of extra fuel,
-a spare alternatore and starter fo the engines (I have 40 HP Volvo)
-oil, fuel for outboard, all kind of repair tools and kits, spare propeller, etc..
-first aid kit, second PC with a navigation software, TV set and video.

We are also foreseeing that in each leg we would have 2 guests + their provisionning, etc.
If you think I missed anything, pls add yr comments with yr experience.

It's amasing to see how easily small weights add up huge numbers And my team here, are suggesting something new to be added.. Just 10 m of moe anchor chain adds roughly 100 kg.


Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:15   #11
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

[QUOTE=svBeBe;792619]We buddy-boated across part of the Caribbean and most of the South Pacific with a 43-ft Catana. Our boat is a 16-meter ketch; but LWL is only slightly over 41-ft. Like you, we assumed the catamaran would outpace us. Turned out to not be the case at least 90% of the time; and never on long passages. Downwind our ketch outsailed the cat significantly in speed and desired direction. Upwind the cat would leave us like we were sitting ducks and shoot ahead at 11+ kts boat speed when we usually settled in at only 8 kts upwind. Since most sailing in a west-about circumnavigation is downwind, the cat had no speed advantage; and, in fact, on longer passages usually arrived well after we did. Surprised us.


It is in fact surprising.. Catana's are way better than Orana's in upwind because of their dagger boards and narrower hulls and geneally speaking they are faster than almost any cruising monos. Downwind, the cats are not very good (contrary to general belief) particularly after 120 AWA unless they have a spinneaker. I raced with my Orana fom Rhodes to Marmaris with a Jeanneau 49 performance version with the winds from 140-150 and over 5 hours he came 35-40 min. before me..(by using his genoa alone) I didn't have a folding props then.
Recently we made another race with a Jeanneau sunfast 32 ft (IRC 1 racing boat) with their racing team on board. The wind was AWA 60-70 and he started 3 nm ahead of me. After 25 nm we were just hull to hull.
It was blowing 23-25 kts gusting 27-28 and normally I should have taken a reef and I didn't. (we were on the limits..)
I averaged SOG 10+, hit 12.8 at some points. He said he did 9-10 kts and hit a max of 11.5.
I should add that I was pretty light, 3 persons on board, very little fuel and water, no provisisonning whatsoever and so he was.

My experience is that if the winds are 20 true or more, Orana sail pretty well to every direction and this with a standard rigging. Below 15 kts, you need to be creative

Yeloya
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:35   #12
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

thx for feedback and thx to Judy/BeBe for all the work on the corcumnavigator's yahoo group.

nothing really to add to yeloya's posts or planned gear ... in the end, comfort trumps speed for us, so we've been less worried/attentive to weight.

I might add that some friends who own an Orana swear by the Parasailor ... and I've heard lots of positive comments from monohullers as well ... a bit pricey at 8-10k US all in, blocks, lines, etc., but it's supposed to be good up to 25 knts AW, and from 90-180 AWA ... not bad for those considering extended downwind passages ...

Willkommen beim Hersteller von Parasailor und Parasail - Spinnaker, Gennaker, Blister, Vorwindsegel, Fahrtenspinnaker, Passatsegel, Fahrtensegel - ISTEC - The Downwind Company

Not an endorsement as I have never used, but a thought.
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:52   #13
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

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Originally Posted by jglauds View Post
........

I might add that some friends who own an Orana swear by the Parasailor ... and I've heard lots of positive comments from monohullers as well ... a bit pricey at 8-10k US all in, blocks, lines, etc., but it's supposed to be good up to 25 knts AW, and from 90-180 AWA ... not bad for those considering extended downwind passages ...
.
We do not own an Orana and I know nothing about the construction and rigging of that model boat. But just a word of caution about the Parasailor. At least one Amel flys this sail. But the Amel factory cautioned that the rigging on our boats are designed for the normal slanted pressure distribution on traditional sails. The Parasailor supposedly carries pressure on the standing rigging horizontally. The Amel factory would not say directly not to use a Parasailor on their boats, but did warn that the factory installed rigging is not designed to bear horizontal pressures of this type sail. I admittedly know nothing about this, but recently learned of the horizontal pressure warning. So a word to the wise would be to check the design of your rigging before investing in this expensive sail.

Judy
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:10   #14
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

Hi Judy,

What you are saying makes sense.. We have one customer that recently bought a parasailor for his Salina 48. He made a couple of trial (I couldn't join him..) and seemed extremely happy. Obviously this doesn't discounts what you are saying.
Like all of the FP cats, Orana doesn't have a backstay and this woudn't help...

Anyway, as far as I am concerned I'll go out with my spinneaker and see what happens. If I am not satisfied I may give another look to parasail, but in any case, if I buy it, it would only be for very light winds..

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Old 10-10-2011, 09:18   #15
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Re: Indian Ocean Passage-Making Speed Report

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Hi:
On the few days we sailed "by the book," with a triple reefed main and tiny genoa, with the wind at 100-120, we made close to 7 knots, but most of the time, the large beam seas, coupled with the 120+ degree AWA limited our use of the main, and kept us to a genoa ... and thus the reduced speed.
It's interesting because basically what you are saying is that while a cat is theoretically faster then a mono, it has to be sailed more conservatively then a mono, therefore is in practice a slower passage maker.
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