How slow will you go?

P1010611 (1280x960) Probably the better way to phrase the question is “when sailing, how slow is still fun for you?” but that doesn’t rhyme.

I think it is an important question for cruisers to ask themselves because it had direct applications to cruising plans. We didn’t realize that at first…lesson learned.

Our answer (so far – on day sails) is that we are happy to let our speed drop as low as it is possible to maintain steerage (non-boaters: you have to have water passing over your rudder to use it to steer so you can’t steer when drifting). Actually, if there are no rocks around we don’t mind loosing steerage either, particularly if the weather is nice.

 P1010612 (1280x960)We realized this early on during our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island and changed our planning process from choosing a destination to choosing an assortment of destinations at varying distances from where we were so we could focus on the day of sailing not the destination. This had the side effect of relieving a lot of destination induced stress if we weren’t “making progress”.

If there was no wind and we were ready to move anchorages, we chose somewhere very close and tried to sail there anyway. If we couldn’t, we knew it would only be a short bit of motoring.

P1010609 (1280x960)If there was some wind, we poked our nose out there and chose several places to stop along our sailing path. During the sail, depending on how fast or slow our progress was we would make a choice about where we would stop.

We are not sailing purists. This is more of an exploration of our own personal fun-to-suck ratio regarding going slow vs. getting somewhere. We also feel differently depending on the day and some places that are difficult to sail to are worth long motoring days (Princess Louisa Falls is a good example).

By the way, the trip we used as an example yesterday (Vancouver to Silva Bay) is slightly more than 20 miles and this time it took us 9.5 hours. Notice the glassy water in the photos!

The wind was less than 5 knots from all kinds of directions and we sailed very, very slowly and didn’t turn on the engine (except at the exit and the entrance). It was blue skies and sunny so we weren’t in a hurry.

1 comment:

  1. With light wind and slow travel, one can hear more birds singing, porpoises huffing, sea lions slapping, well, you get the idea.

    Try going by Smith, Middlenatch or Protection Islands at dusk at about 2.0 knots. For us it beats a stereo any day.

    And trolling is far more productive at those speeds too.



Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner