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Old 26-10-2009, 06:30   #1
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How Far Can You Plan on Sailing in a Day?

We bought our first sailboat a Catalina 30 this past August and have been spending our time getting used to this sailing thing. So far so good. While learning the intricacies of the vessel and how she sails we have set a number of destinations that we have sailed to, most under 20 miles. The idea has been to make our destinations irregardless of wind direction. We have been pleasantly surprised so far and made all of our ports as planned. As I said so far so good.

Here's the twist. We live in Northern lower Michigan and the boat is currently moored in Holland Michigan. We will be moving the boat to her new slip in the spring to the area near the Straits of Mackinaw, about 260 miles away.

The boat has had a complete refit and there is little concern that she will be ready for the trip. We will have a crew of 4, myself included, 1 of our crew has been sailing for about 20 years the rest of us are newbies. I have many months to plan this trip and am really looking forward to making it.

So here's the question. While planning a trip like this how far would you all realistically think you can sail each day? I realize that weather is going to be the largest contributing factor and we will have to adjust our schedule as needed but if you were planning a trip like this how would you estimate how long it might take?

Any advise you all might have would be welcomed.
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Old 26-10-2009, 06:50   #2
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It will partly depend on when you plan to turn on the engine if the wind dies. When the boat speed drops below 5 knots, 4 knots or 3 knots??. However, for planning purposes, I would use 3 days for the trip ( I assume you are going non-stop??). With perfect wind, you could be done in as little as two days, but I wouldn't plan on it!
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Old 26-10-2009, 07:11   #3
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Most likely we will be spending the night at transient slips along the way. We wanted to enjoy a few stops along the way instead of making a marathon trip. However we will have only a week or so to complete the trip. Would 70 miles a day seem unreasonable?
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Old 26-10-2009, 07:20   #4
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We plan on 150 miles per day on our 39 footer mainly downwind.
We average about 136 miles per day... or thats the figure that just keeps on appearing!

Your average is 40% less than you dreamed,
20% less than you want and
10% less than you realisticlay hoped for.

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Old 26-10-2009, 07:32   #5
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Steelshooter,

As you intend to spend nights tied up it would depend on how far the interim ports are apart. It would also depend on the amount of daylight at the time of the year you're going to do this trip. I am assuming that you're not going to do it this fall as the sailing season is disappearing fast up here. I would say 50 to 60 miles a day is doable if you start at dawn and go to dusk and motor if you get under 5 knots.
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Old 26-10-2009, 07:43   #6
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anything under 4 days would be good time assuming good weather, stopping at nite and pushing rather hard.
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Old 26-10-2009, 07:46   #7
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Hey, Vasco. How much do you average per day on passage?

(Don't say 137! )
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Old 26-10-2009, 08:17   #8
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150 and that's in the faster boat -- the CS36M.
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Old 26-10-2009, 08:18   #9
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When I was sailing on the Great Lakes, I'd count on averaging 4 knots through the water in a boat slightly smaller than yours. Unless I was beating to windward, that most always worked with a bit of fudge room (time). At that average, I didn't have to crank up the engine every time my speed wasn't ideal and didn't need to push the engine either.

(Note I used Knots, not MPH, even though I was on the Great Lakes where people often use MPH)
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Old 26-10-2009, 08:57   #10
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We would be leaving in late April hopefully following this plan.

Holland to Pentwater the longest leg 80 miles, Pentwater to Frankfort 64 miles, Frankfort to Leland 41 miles, Leland to Beaver Island 54 miles, Beaver Island to Mackinaw City 41 miles.

I would like to be able to do this in 5 days, I have to do it in 8. Still doable?
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Old 26-10-2009, 09:00   #11
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It appears that, excepting July, the dominant summer wind direction on Lake Michigan is Southerly; which should help you achieve 4 - 5 knots VMG, Holland to Mackinak.
Assuming 8 - 11 hour days, you could reasonably calculate 32 to 55 nm jumps. Should you go faster, you could still stop at your planned location, just having arrived earlier.

See ➥ Windfinder - Wind & weather statistic Lake Michigan South Buoy

See also the Lake Michigan Surface Wind Forecast (30 Hour)
LMOFS: Lake Michigan Surface Wind Forecast Guidance
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Old 26-10-2009, 09:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelshooter View Post
So here's the question. While planning a trip like this how far would you all realistically think you can sail each day? I realize that weather is going to be the largest contributing factor and we will have to adjust our schedule as needed but if you were planning a trip like this how would you estimate how long it might take?

Any advise you all might have would be welcomed.

Perfect everything and going at hull speed for 24hrs/day you could do right at 175 /day [based on 24 hrs * 1.34* (sqrt of 30)]. Obviously this is going to be less because:

Your waterline is a touch less than 30
You likely don't plan to go 24/7
Winds rarely are perfect
Same goes for tides

I suppose it comes down to how long and how hard you want to go each day. Personally, I would plan about 20-30 mi/day if sailing and 50 if motoring.
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Old 26-10-2009, 09:23   #13
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Assuming you mean stopping each night, I would probably figure about 5 knots or 40 kmiles a day. If there are significant currents then adjust accordingly. This assumes you will motorsail when necessary to make your destination before nightfall.
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Old 26-10-2009, 09:48   #14
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At 4.5 knots, which is a realistic cruising speed for your boat, your longest leg will take 18 hours. Plan that as an overnight passage and you can leave at 1400h and arrive in port at 0800h the following morning. That's really not a bad passage unless/until someone gets seasick. The arrival day becomes something of a layday, but be advised that a great part of laydays when you're making passages is spent making repairs. Get to bed early after the layday, and leave at 0530 the following morning, which should put you into port at 1930 that evening. Will it still be light out at that point? If not, that may be the one passage where you want to kick your speed up to 5 knots, but that's probably going to be a miserable amount of motoring on a Catalina 30.

Here's a better way, if you give up on the insanity of making day hops: You can make it from Holland to Frankfort in about 130 nm, depending how far offshore you go. Let's call that a 30 hr passage just to be on the safe side. If you leave at 1000h and continue through the night, you'll arrive in Frankfort no later than 1600 the following day. After that, it's all short hops.

The key to making either of the above plans work is having the ability to wait for an excellent weather window. This is the part of passage making that most newbs don't get: you can't commit to a specific departure date and not expect the weather gods to punish your stupidity for neglecting them.
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Old 26-10-2009, 10:48   #15
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..will take 60 hours at 5 kts---we do 200 mi in 48 hours.... if you plan on 5 kts/hour, you cannot go wrong.....gooood luck.....
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