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Old 11-06-2008, 18:37   #1
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40 Miles A Day - Daysailing

When I was cruising in Turkey, I met a skipper who was on a 45 foot catamaran who told me that they typically sailed no more than forty miles a day when daysailing.

Since that time I started keeping track of the maximum distances that I could move Exit Only during daylight hours. I found that we could generally get forty miles in between sunrise and sunset and still arrive at the anchorage with a couple of hours to spare. We felt that we needed those extra hours at the end of the day to find a secure anchorage.

Except in unusual circumstances, forty miles was our comfotable max.

What do most cruisers consider to be their maximum number miles to cover during daylight hours?
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Old 11-06-2008, 19:09   #2
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Dave,

I suspect we average about 40 mile days when cruising even though we could average a lot more. Like you, we like to find anchorages long before dark because it gives us more options. If our intended anchorage is too crouded or we're not happy with something, we still have time to go somewhere else. It is also a lifestyle choice. We are doing this for fun so we like to have some time to enjoy the new surroundings before sundown and to take care of chores like cooking and boat maintenance in daylight.

On occasions where we had to make lots of miles we had some bad experiences. In one case, our first and second choice of anchorages lacked swinging room and we ended up pushing on for a 90 mile day. We anchored at sunset, still had to cook and do a couple boat chores and we were dead tired. Just after falling asleep we had a thunderstorm pass over which gave us a rapid wind shift. Our anchor dragged and we were aground before we were even awake. The "adventure" quickly turned into an "ordeal" and being weary after a too-long day made things worse. Challenges are much easier handled by a rested crew.
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Old 11-06-2008, 19:14   #3
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Dave, in your other thread http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ing-16148.html you posit an average speed of 6.25 knots to get to your 150 mile/day average. Unless you're talking about higher latitude, wintertime sailing, I don't understand how you would be limited to only about 6.4 hours of actual sailing in daylight, even with a comfortable couple of hours cushion for anchoring, etc., when you're limiting it to daysails.

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Old 11-06-2008, 19:43   #4
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Quote:
What do most cruisers consider to be their maximum number miles to cover during daylight hours?
Reality sucks. We find a day more than 40 nm is a long day, but it might be longer if things were in our favor. We have a daylight range of 60 nm but you don't always choose the maximum. If you have to pull up anchor and put one down in a single day then the range is not as long. I think 40 as rule of thumb is not a bad number depending on the latitude and daylight. If on a passage with 24 hours the range is substantially farther.

If you are cruising you are not in a hurry. Not in a hurry sounds like 40 nm to me for a single day of travel and setup. Sometimes conditions and circumstances force you to longer days.

Being in a hurry is almost always a prescription for problems or trouble. Deadlines are clearly far worse and onerous. The concept of being late could be deadly.
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Old 11-06-2008, 19:50   #5
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Originally Posted by TaoJones View Post
Dave, in your other thread http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ing-16148.html you posit an average speed of 6.25 knots to get to your 150 mile/day average. Unless you're talking about higher latitude, wintertime sailing, I don't understand how you would be limited to only about 6.4 hours of actual sailing in daylight, even with a comfortable couple of hours cushion for anchoring, etc., when you're limiting it to daysails.

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Situation 1. In the tropics when you are anchored in a coral paradise, visibility of the reefs often limit the number of hours that you can safely sail. If you start out in the morning sailing toward the sun, and in the evening you finish sailing into the sun, you have extemely limited visiblity, and it's easy to hit a reef or coral head. This limits the number of available sailing hours.

Situation 2. When we sailed up the Red Sea, the headwinds tended to increase significantly in strength in the afternoon, and so we got an early start and made an early finish in order to not battle the headwinds when they were strongest in the afternoon.

Situation 3. In the eastern Mediterranean, the meltemi was strongest in the afternoon, and we arose early so that we could arrive at our destination before the Meltemi knocked our socks off.

Situation 4. In many tropical destinations, the cumulus clouds have vertical development all day long, and in the afternoon there are serious thunderstorms nearly every day, and I want to have my anchor securely set before the thunderstorms blow through.

Situation 5. In crowded cruising areas where anchoring space is limited, the people who arrive late often end up anchoring in borderline locations. Sailing only forty miles increases the odds that we will have a good anchorage.

You are right. You could sail more than 40 miles on a daysail, but in our experience we found that 40 miles was easily doable, and it left us options at the end of the day if we needed them.
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Old 11-06-2008, 20:06   #6
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You are right. You could sail more than 40 miles on a daysail, but in our experience we found that 40 miles was easily doable, and it left us options at the end of the day if we needed them.
Excellent points, Dave, and now that I've re-read your thread-opening post, I see that I overlooked the very important words, "comfortable max," and focused on the last line, "What do most cruisers consider to be their maximum number miles to cover during daylight hours?"

Thanks for the additional food for thought.

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Old 11-06-2008, 20:09   #7
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35 is about my maximum on Pylasteki, while still being comfortable and feel like doing anything after reaching port. Single handing and hand steering, is about 8 hour stretch at the helm to do it on a good day from channel to channel. I get a little spooked arriving after dark, as I don't have a depth sounder!

To much more than 35nm and contrary winds/currents take a day trip and turn it into an 8am-3am adventure, and not quite as much fun to do it all over again the next day. Night sailing sure can be beautiful, except when the stars remind you that if you were walking you'd already be there...

She's 20 1/2 feet on the waterline.

Did someone say... Autopilot?
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Old 11-06-2008, 20:20   #8
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Do these agreeable 40 mile days include "getting out" and "getting back in".
Is the East coast US divided into 40 mile segments? I mean sorta like, you know.
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Old 11-06-2008, 21:14   #9
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Dave, in your other thread http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ing-16148.html you posit an average speed of 6.25 knots to get to your 150 mile/day average. Unless you're talking about higher latitude, wintertime sailing, I don't understand how you would be limited to only about 6.4 hours of actual sailing in daylight, even with a comfortable couple of hours cushion for anchoring, etc., when you're limiting it to daysails.

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Old 11-06-2008, 21:27   #10
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Welcome to the Forum, Sis. Glad you're here.

Topanga, huh? Someone once said that when Topanga Canyon catches fire, LA is high for a week. True? I looked at your profile, and I just have to ask - what is a GIS Analyst? (All you French speakers, bite your tongues.)

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Old 11-06-2008, 23:15   #11
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Therapy,

I'm a beginner looking for some tips, but heres how I do a daysail.

I count the way out, and measure the way in. If its a straight shot north or south I like using the latitude for the days run, as it stays the same ICW, or not. (The ICW is hard to screw up, but I managed it a few years ago... Ponce De Leon Inlet, Fl "Hey, I didn't know the ICW had a light house... Pass the coast guard station, with a yard full of waving coasties... see crashing breakers and decide to turn around. On the way back by a big wave back... 80 feet is a big boat to turn around at low tide right there... Grin.)

Your morning run is generally already a known distance from last night... leave earlier the longer the distance. The evening end has come back to bite me as a quick glance at the chart doesn't show that plan c involves looping past kalamazoo and short tacking around a snake shaped sand bar...

Plan C it is, 10 miles further than where you thought you were going. Arriving after dark with a dead spot light battery... and, uh, running out of gas. My record is running aground, running out of gas, and having the sun set all at the same time. I had an extra gas can, and it was a rising tide... but moments never to be forgotten!

A comfortable day sail has a lot to do with the potential destinations as well, I can't really have just one possible choice... if I can avoid it. The longer the day, the worse the decisions towards the end... particularly single handing. It's certainly not unthinkable to keep on going if the weather is perfect and make some time... or if it is terrible to head to the nearest safe port. Emphasis on safe, nearest isn't always comfortable... The decision has to be made with enough time that you aren't committed and in the nasty channel before you decide the next place might be nicer. I've skipped out on more than a few and back tracked to coves into the lee of shore. But, if you don't have a few plans the sun will be setting and the deck is wet... flashlights burned out, trying to figure out where to go from there. The time to figure all that out is before leaving in the morning... If you decide in the morning that there is only one destination, all hell breaks loose. Leave the plans open with the option of keeping on trucking to the next spot. Ask the folks at the last stop where to go from here... and double check the distance on the map!! (As well as where to avoid!)

Running aground in the morning can be a bummer as well. A tired mind running out of steam can do miracles of plowing towards a dock... with the sun setting, and desire for sleep. Yet getting away the same brain doesn't remember how it got there. Tricky channels can be quite entertaining when watched from dockside... "Clearly they got IN here at some point..."
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Old 11-06-2008, 23:32   #12
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Welcome to the Forum, Sis. Glad you're here.

Topanga, huh? Someone once said that when Topanga Canyon catches fire, LA is high for a week. True? I looked at your profile, and I just have to ask - what is a GIS Analyst? (All you French speakers, bite your tongues.)

TaoJones
Thanks for the welcome. Let's just hope Topanga doesn't burn and as for the GIS Analyst title- geographic information systems - I make maps.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:47   #13
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Leaving the actual distance out, we like getting away early'ish and to the next destination late afternoon so as we can pic the best spot and relax with a wine. So we work out what time we want to be "there" and work backwards to see the time we need to leave.
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:19   #14
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I follow the same idea as Wheels. I don't mind leaving in the dark to make a destination (anchorage I plan to get too) at about 5 pm light is usually till 9:00pm in the summer months.I have travelled a lot of coastal areas in the dark. Practice from my commercial fishing days. Besides it's light at 4:30 am, so lots of time to make 40 or 50 NM.
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:16   #15
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When I was cruising the Chesapeake, our long-term average SOG was 5.5 kts. Cruising distances typically ranged from 30 to 50 nm in a day, so 40 nm isn't a bad estimate.

In the Caribbean, we've averaged 6.0 kts. 40 nm is an easy day, unless, as you said, coral is involved. Then we're looking at sailing when the sun is right, 10 am to 2 pm, ideally.

My boat's a monohull with a 32' waterline. 7.6 kt max hullspeed.
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