Average cruising speed

For issues which concern all or several type of DFs and which DO NOT fit into any category below!
Post Reply
Ed
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed 01 Jul 09, 16:25
Your Country: Cyprus, Limassol

Average cruising speed

Post by Ed »

Good day!

Recently I sold my cruising Bavaria and really want to move to DF 920, BUT
Considering the price still can't convince my wife to forget about hot showers, space and over nice things of cruiser in exchange of trimaran's speed.

The over choice is a fast cruiser/racer around 33 feet , something like X, Finngulf, Arcona etc.

We live on an island and the nearest mainland is 200+ miles of upwind sailing, thus return passage would be mostly downwind. On my cruiser it took me close two days which is not easy sailing double handed, so good average passage speeds could be a good reason to move to tri.

I know, top speeds are really impressive, but they could be the same on good modern mono - I just returned from delivery of Hallberg-Rassy 372, which my friend bought, and we made 14,5 kts top and around 8 kts average speed not pushing the boat really hard as it was only our first week with that new boat.

So the question is what are you average passage speeds on long trips, what figure you take as estimation on your trip planning, how fast and comfortable is extended motoring with outboard if you have still weather?

And another question - should I really go for Extreme or Cruising version considering our average sailing conditions - for weekend near the island passages mostly westerlies of 12-15-18 kts, sometime 3-5 kts and rarely something above 20. However we saw many times winds of up to 35-40 kts near the mainland there we going cruising for long holidays.

I never had real experience with tri and have not seen any in our area, so really have nobody else to ask. I also have strong intention to visit Dragonfly yard for test sails and close look on the boats, but want to get as much info as possible before doing it.
gminkovsky
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed 01 Nov 06, 19:58
Your Country: USA, Long Island Sound

Post by gminkovsky »

I have a cruising 920 with slightly larger main (36 m2). I always take 1 reef on the jib at around 15 knots of wind. At 18 I also have a reef in the main. I know of someone who purchased a hybrid 920 - Extreme hulls, but shorter cruising mast. He sails in the area that usually has 15-20 knots of wind every day. He wants to get even smaller main for these wind conditions. So, if given choice, for your conditions hybrid would be my first choice, cruising 2nd choice, extreme 3rd choice.

I would not want to be on 920 in 35-40 kn of wind. On these days we stay at home or firmly anchored if cruising. I don't think 920 will sail upwind in winds approaching 40.

At 32 you will need 3 reefs on the main. Although standard sails have 3 reef points, there are only reefing lines for 1 and 2. You would have to move your reef 1 blocks to reef 3 position which is not easy to do while under way.

You are asking an excellent question about average speeds. We all love to talk about our top speed, but averages are more important.

Here are my numbers after 6 years on 920:
Motoring in no wind and flat seas: 6.2 kn fully loaded (2 adults, 2 kids, dinghy, kayak, water, fuel, food, toys).
Motoring with light load: 6.5 kn
Motoring against 20 kn wind, 1-1.5m seas: 1.5-2.5 kn
Motor-sailing against 20 kn wind, 1-1.5m seas: VMG 4-5 kn

It is more difficult to give averages sailing, since only VMG makes sense. My logs show speeds at up to 90% of wind speed up to about 6-7 kn of wind with a screacher; 50-70% of wind speed upwind and 50-80% of wind speed off the wind in winds up to about 20 kn.

In our club cruises I tend to outpoint and outsail on every point of sail all cruising monohulls up to 12m (40 foot). However, the larger monos still sail in bad conditions while I stay home.

Ultimately, when I do my cruise planning I expect about 5-6 kn VMG. Sometimes we get a lot more, sometimes a lot less.
Double Horizon
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed 09 May 07, 0:18
Your Country: USA

Post by Double Horizon »

Good answers George. However, I recall with my 920 (Cruising) with a screacher we could reach up to about 50% faster than true wind in less than 5 knots true (we could sail at 6-7 in 4-5 true). Also - in stronger headwinds (above about 20-25 true) we could only sail to weather (not motor) because the larger waves would cause the prop to come out of the water too frequently. In general I think Ed should only consider a Dragonfly 1000, 35, or 1200 because they have the inboard engine and prop aeration will not be a problem. He should not get the tall-mast racing versions because any of the Dragonfly boats will be well powered-up in the 10-15 wind range, and he will need to reef sooner.

In general, 200 miles to-weather in open water does not sound like a fun sail in any boat. Ed would do best with the 1200, out of all the Dragonfly models. It will handle the wind and waves better.
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
gminkovsky
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed 01 Nov 06, 19:58
Your Country: USA, Long Island Sound

Post by gminkovsky »

Ed,
Listen to Larry. As I finished writing my post, my wife commented that 920 would not be the right choice and I should explicitly recommend bigger boat.

The issue with the outboard prop coming out of the water is very real. I was only able to sustain motoring upwind for short period of time by carefully riding each wave. Motor-sailing against wind and waves can be very effective since the boat has higher speed and is not bouncing up and down on each wave. (My experience is limited to somewhat protected waters of Long Island Sound where the waves are short, steep and close together.) We were able to make a 25 mile leg on a trip last year in this fashion. Basically, you try to stay as close to the wind as possible. The sails provide forward drive while the engine keeps the boat closer to the wind than you would get by sailing alone. Also, while motor-sailing the boat is about 30 degrees to the waves.

Larry,
Do you remember what technique you used to get 150% of wind speed with a screecher? I only get to around wind speed, rarely if ever above wind speed... I put the screecher blocks on the inside end of the akas, put as much tension on the forstay as possible, sheet in tight while going upwind until the screecher does not back-wind, and gradually bring the boat to a close reach and lower. If the boat begins to lose speed, I turn it upwind again. The main is trimmed as usual except the halyard is not tight. The traveler is mid-point.
Double Horizon
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed 09 May 07, 0:18
Your Country: USA

Post by Double Horizon »

George -
I was referring to a beam-reach in light air. I had my screacher sheeted to the inside lifting ring on the aft cross-beam as you do, but I also used the barber-hauler to open up the leach on the screacher. Whether screacher or genoa, I find it really helps performance to open up the leach so it doesn't back-wind the main.

As boat and wind speed rises I don't do as well, as it takes more driving force to exceed theoretical "hull speed"... nor with the genoa on the 920 -- I was never able to exceed true wind speed (as I recall).
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
Ed
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed 01 Jul 09, 16:25
Your Country: Cyprus, Limassol

Post by Ed »

Thank you all for good replies and advices.

Still looks like tris are a somewhat faster even on long passages in moderate conditions.

I was thinking about 920 because of price limitations - just don't want a boat older than say 3-4 years, preferably new, and still to be in Euro 150-160k area.

Of course DF35 would have been my top choice, but that incredible price!!! You can get brand new much bigger cruiser/racer from very good manufacturer for that money with more or less similar performance - not an easy choice))).

Long cruises are not my priority anyway. I was sailing in Turkey so many times that now prefer to fly to some new interesting places and charter boats there, but really want to have a beast for weekend sailing.

Looks like I really need to go and sail a tri myself for a couple of days to understand if it fits me.
Double Horizon
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed 09 May 07, 0:18
Your Country: USA

Post by Double Horizon »

Ed wrote:
Of course DF35 would have been my top choice, but that incredible price!!! You can get brand new much bigger cruiser/racer from very good manufacturer for that money with more or less similar performance - not an easy choice))).
Ed you will not come even close to that performance in any monohull cruiser-racer, except in light air (and you described your area as having plenty of wind). Perhaps an all-out racer with longer waterline (like an open 60) would be able to exceed the DF-35 but that would cost millions of Euros. Trust me -- in the 920 or the 35 you will literally be able to sail circles around your monohull alternatives in the same price range, in any winds above 10 knots (approx). Cruising catamarans don't compare either... most of them are slower and don't point as well, although you will get a lot more room.

The key to performance is to keep the boat light, as trimarans will lose the advantage if overloaded. (That may be George's real issue in attaining better speed, as he cruises his 920 with his family and it's a small boat to cruise a full family.)

In the end you might be happier without the speed or the comfort of near-level sailing, but more interior room. I enjoyed about 5 hours Saturday sailing in about 15-20 knots of apparent wind at 10-15 knots boat speed in flat water, and loving it. :D Here's a picture of my wake at about 13-14k. (Note the angle of the upper rail compared to the horizon shows we were only at about 5 degrees of heel.)
http://www.nstsystems.com/multihulls/Pa ... 4knots.jpg

When I was looking for a larger boat I very much wanted to consider a racer-cruiser monohull, for price reasons. I started to focus on the C&C 36, which is an epoxy-hull with C-F mast and racing sails and all the go-fast equipment. Then I test-sailed one: Monohull displacement boats are like weebles -- when you push on them harder they don't go faster, they just lean over. Once you hit hull-speed that's it. Push even harder they lean even more, but they don't go faster. It was so disappointing!

When you feel a puff of wind in a trimaran you go faster. More wind, still faster. Of course there is a limit but it is defined by safety and comfort. At some point in very strong winds you decide to slow the boat down, depending on sea state and how "gusty" the winds are. (Remember to reef for the gusts, not average winds). Unless the gusts are very strong or the sea-state is too rough, these boats are very comfortable conservatively sailed at 10-15 knots, and FUN! Nothing (in my experience) sails better than a tri.
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
tpaliwoda
Posts: 215
Joined: Fri 03 Nov 06, 3:05
Your Country: USA, Raritan YC, Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Post by tpaliwoda »

Ed,
I have to agree with Larry and George. To give you an example, I just sailed this weekend on my friends 32' Comfortina - nice mono hull, sails pretty well downwind, couldn't get out of it's own way going up wind!
We sailed the exact course two weeks ago with my boat, we sailed a course of about 20 miles, winds were similar 10-15 out of the west both days. It took us a little over 2.5 hours on my 1000, the monohull - close to 5 long hours!
As Larry says, in a puff, the tri gets up and goes. The monhull just lies over more. Sailing on a monhull upwind reminds me of the old Hobie days, flying a hull upwind and trapping out. I even kidded my friend he should put some trap lines on his monhull, just like the old days!.
Don't get me wrong on the speed, you will see more sub 10 knot readings than over 10 knot readings. But on a cruising monohull you will never see above 10 knots, unless it is on a trailer being pulled by a truck.
Ted
Ted Paliwoda
D'Fly 1000 ; HN #1
Nice Tri
Raritan YC, Perth Amboy, NJ, USA
Ed
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed 01 Jul 09, 16:25
Your Country: Cyprus, Limassol

Post by Ed »

Ted and Larry, Thank you

It's very reassuring.

I also found several interesting articles about DFs and decided one thing for myself - not to buy anything this time before I test Dragonfly. I was dreaming about tri from the beginning but limited amount of money and wife's desire of comfort forced me to buy Bavaria.

This time I'd prefer to wait a bit and get more funds to be able to aim for second-hand 35 or 1000 or 1200. Or if things to improve around to be able to go for a new 35.
Double Horizon
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed 09 May 07, 0:18
Your Country: USA

Post by Double Horizon »

Ed wrote:Ted and Larry, Thank you

It's very reassuring.

I also found several interesting articles about DFs and decided one thing for myself - not to buy anything this time before I test Dragonfly. I was dreaming about tri from the beginning but limited amount of money and wife's desire of comfort forced me to buy Bavaria.

This time I'd prefer to wait a bit and get more funds to be able to aim for second-hand 35 or 1000 or 1200. Or if things to improve around to be able to go for a new 35.
One more consideration is total cost of ownership, which in the end is largely determined by the resale price. I have owned three Dragonfly boats since 2001. The 920 was sold after 5 years for almost the same amount I paid, the 1000 was sold after 2 years for more than I put into it, and I paid the prior owner of my present 1200 as much as the boat originally cost him in 2001. Clearly these boats have held their value well -- hopefully that will continue in the face of this economy, even if not to the same degree.
Larry - Former Owner DF-1200
Post Reply