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Old 11-06-2008, 18:29   #1
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150 Miles A Day - No Bruising Cruising

I am wondering how many miles per day people really sail offshore on a daily basis.

We all have our good days and bad days, but on average, how many miles do cruisers actually cover in a twenty-four hour period.

We are a catamaran, and we usually sail 150 miles a day without any fuss. The autopilot does all the steering while we stand watch. If a person averages a speed of 6.25 knots around the clock, he finishes up with a 150 mile day.

We found that we could get our 150 miles each day without pushing the boat or the crew really hard. It was true no bruising cruising - relaxed cruising - without any nail biting or white knuckles.

We found that when sailing Exit Only at speeds of up to eight knots, we could move along without any concern about the yacht and rigging. Once we got over eight knots, we starting paying attention to what was happening with the sails and rig, and we no longer were relaxed.

So for you ocean cruisers out there, what's your average daily run? How much work is it to achieve your daily run?

Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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Old 11-06-2008, 18:49   #2
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I suppose it depends on the boat and the conditions. You are constrained by LWL after all.

Having said that, Shiva has a LWL of 29.5 (she's 36 LOA) and we do LIS to Bermuda in between 4.5 and 5 days which is about 150. Our best offshore days were 175 IRRC and this is sailing without motor assist.

When the boat gets going she squats a bit and her waterline lengthens so her hull speed goes up a bit, but then it reaches the limit. If we do 150, I think it's a fine day, If it's 100 I think we are dragging our butt.

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Old 12-06-2008, 05:28   #3
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Offshore, I use 140 nm per day for planning, but we've done 150-160 nm in practice. I trim so the boat heels no more than 15 degrees, which is where we get our best performance. So it's pretty comfortable, and the rig's not stressed.
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:45   #4
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I get about 150nm a day under good wind. There was a period of 5 days crossing the Atlantic that I probably did not average 50nm a day. It is almost impossible to accurately plan so that you can get an early morning entry into your destination. Practice the old heave-to.

Recently, I was going from Venezuela to Bonaire and thought I would arrive about 0700. The winds picked up, and couldn't dampen the speed enough -- so we arrived about 5 hours before daylight. Heave to time.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:21   #5
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Klondike is a Beneteau First 456. We doublehand and sail conservatively, usually double reefing the main at sunset unless we are sure the night winds will be light. Downwind (wing & wing) in the trades we average about 7 knots, or 165 miles a day (like 19 days for the 3000 mile run from Galapagos to the Marquesas, which started with a few slow days). In stronger winds or reaching, we will average more like 180 miles/day. Our best run was from Tonga to Fiji--500 miles in 2 1/2 days, but that was rough and uncomfortable, and we probably had a bit of current behind us.

Going to weather is where the boat significantly outperforms most cruisers. Our best VMG is 4 knots in about 15 knots of windin unprotected water, boatspeed about 6.5-7 knots with an apparent wind angle of 30 degrees on autopilot, which translates to 90 degree tacks over the ground. That translates into about 100 miles/day of not having much fun, and with the contrary wind usually comes a contrary current. However, we sailed up the Red Sea, because we found that we could make almost as much progress under sail into 15-30 knots of wind as we could motoring into it.

As mentioned previously, the boat will go faster if you push it, but there is a tradeoff of comfort and risk. We keep the sail shortened down to where an accidental jibe or roundup or a squall is not likely to break anything.

To get an idea of the speed potential of our boat versus others, the Beneteau 456 races with a PHRF rating of about 66 secs/mile, or an IRC of 1.02
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