I've been mucking around with Panope on and off for the past 40 years. Currently, the boat is sloop
rigged with a custom pilot house (see avatar pic) but for the first 20 years she was gaff schooner with standard cabin
trunk. I was just a kid for much of the schooner time and we did not have any speed measuring ability so my performance data is limited. As a schooner I remember tacking (pinched) through 100 degrees (on compass) in winds below 20 knots. Higher winds would rapidly destroy windward progress.
Panope's greatest windward challenge to date was my father's Bash from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego
in 1989. He and a good handful of other boats were waiting day after day in Cabo for the "permagale" to ease and allow rounding of the Cape. Every day a boat would give it a try, spending all day "motor beating" into the weather
. The bigger, higher performance boats would succeed but the boats near Panope"s length just could not make progress regardless of rig unless equipped with a larger engine
. Eventually, the wind
eased just enough and they made some northerly progress. They endded up stopping most nights in sheltered bays as my father and his wife never fully acclimated to life at sea and could not properly rest while underway in those conditions. They carried the most sail possible and ran the engine
at maximum cruise
power for the entire 900 mile slog.
By time they reached San Diego
, my father had had enough of it and put the boat on a truck for remainder of the beat back home to Washington
state. VMG for that leg was 50 knots +.
The inability to make comfortable forward progress into winds greater than 30 knots was the greattest motivator behind my massive modification/refit of the boat. I did not expect a windward performance increase from the rig change. I did get a HUGE increase in motoring performance by increasing H.P. from 15 to 40, increasing the propeller
diameter from 14 to 18 inches and remounting the engine with driveline closer to horizontal.
Currently, with the new sloop
rig, the boat sails
better than with the schooner rig in winds less than 10 or 12 knots. In higher winds, the old configuration was better primarily because she did not have the weight and aerodynamic drag of a large pilot house. In ideal conditions (15 knots) Panope will sail at just under 6 knots while tacking through 110 degrees. At a 100 degree tacking angle, speed drops to under 5 knots. Off the wind I have seen just under 8 knots (flat water) but that was an overpowered and unsustainable condition.
I'll mention that I have no plans to take Panope offshore
. I optimized the boat for gunkholing the waters of the inside passage
. If I had wanted to sail off into the sunset for sandy beaches and palm trees, I would have left the boat exactly how my father originally built it. The schooner rig was very easy to handle as the sails
were small with lots of possible combinations. Also, the boat self steered perfectly with a staysail sheet-to-tiller arrangement thus eliminating the need for windvane
. I would most certainly plan such a cruise
to be sailed on a beam reach or below.
These boats are very seaworthy
and safe. They take care of their crews.