Setting up cruising boats for upwind performance

JBE

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Auckland, NZ
Yes, tall islands, large land masses, mountains and gaps and so on can add a good bit of fickle. Offshore there's fickle too but it marches to a different beat. By and large on popular sailing routes at popular times I think you're right about offshore passages.  Of course, sometimes there are fast passages with CZs and slow ones without:

A quick one across the ITCZ:

We had a passage from Bora Bora to Hilo one year where IIRC all the full days at sea were over 200 miles. I'd need to look at the logs to get exact numbers and the logs are in storage, but it was a quick one. The weather picture was very messy. The tail end of a front with some lows on it was passing across the local CZs and up to the ITCZ. We departed in a brisk SW wind in the rain carried it N to one or two squalls which was all the ITCZ we saw and then into the NE trades.

A slow one without a CZ:

Going from Suva to Opua "The Plan" (IIRC) based on the "The Forecast" was to depart on the back of a weak front and arrive just before a stronger front / low. Neither the plan nor the forecast lasted very long. The low developed quicker and much stronger than forecast and we were not going to be able to get in ahead of it. We weren't in a big rush so we decided to hold back while it cleared. However, a H was flowing into the area and our sailing options were to sail most of the way to Oz and back to get around it in wind or let it sail to us and trundle on South when the sailing wind got to us. We chose the latter and lay ahull for a couple of days in fine, flat calm, weather while the atmosphere moved itself into a more useful configuration. It was quite nice, but quite slow port to port. WYSIWYG.
That passage into here from Fiji is renowned for just being outside the reliable forecasting threshold. Our last trip from Denarau to Opua was in 19, peddle to the metal and 5 of the 6.5 days 'cruisers on the wind', mostly 50 or 60 apparent,  some 45.

We got in Thurs midnight and cleared Friday am. Spent the weekend tidying up etc.

By Monday one of those lows arrived,  turned into a monster and a similar sized boat doing the same trip as us but a few days later got swamped and sunk just 20 miles off the coast. The Essence.  Totally tragic, one great sailors  life lost and twenty effing miles....practically home.  

Anyway, a couple of other boats we knew and a bit behind those guys timing wise had seen the system coming and did what you did. Park up around Norfolk latitude and let the thing go through.

 

estarzinger

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Hawk might have the edge, mainly because you would have a lot less weight in the ends and better handle pitching in a bad seaway.

Perhaps, we did essentially put only a 38' interior in her.

Anomaly has plenty of stability, about 3200 ft-lbs/deg and 106,000 ft-lb max righting. Most importantly, around 48,000 ft-lbs @ 17 deg heel where we typically sail her upwind. Do you know what Hawk was?

I did, but can't place my hands on it.  North asked us to measure it, and they were very surprised.  But yea, your numbers are higher than I expected.  So, you might have smashed us in all conditions.

I was always happy with Hawk upwind - we had serious engine trouble when we were cruising falklands & S. Georgia, but we just sailed in and out/on and off anchor in damn cold strong winds and all was good and fun - I would not have been so comfortable just continuing exploring like that with most cruising boats I know - a few yes, but not many.

Upwind passage making (for days on end) is such a mixed bag - in 6kts of breeze in flat water it is actually wonderful if the boat is good (we had a tasman crossing like that, a couple other cruising boats ran out of fuel and we had never turned the engine on). Against 30kt reinforced trade-winds on the other hand it is really just down to how young and tough the crew is - it is going be a chore, but doable in a good boat. Against storm force winds with decent fetch it is pretty much going to be miserable no matter the boat and crew. 

 
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Panoramix

Super Anarchist
All the boxes are most certainly delimited by physics!!  Only the marketing literature isn't....

I have not suggested that you cannot create an outlier boat by making tradeoffs most people don't make. In a production boat it is very risky to make these kinds of tradeoffs which explains to a great extent why most production boats look similar. You need many customers, not just the one. 

And since the subject of the thread is cruising boat upwind performance, I'll flatly state that I have not seen a cruising boat that will exceed displacement speed upwind. Can you point one out?

One thing that has bears repeating in this thread is that for VMG, close windedness is all important, more so than speed. Increasing speed has a bad effect: it necessarily increases tacking angle. Dramatically true in lighter winds - a big increase in speed will turn your VMG negative. 
Wow this is like wrestling an eel...

The box we were discussing was just statistics of average passage durations and this one is not entirely limited by physics. Anybody who has sailed knows that there are lot of parameters that will influence passage times.

I am not sure why you talk of upwind speed now, lot of people don't like (for a good reason) upwind passages, I just find it mind boggling that you are effectively promoting the use of statistics of average passages which are certainly mostly on a reach or downwind to assess upwind boat speed.

Finally, that's completely off the topic we were discussing but to pre-empt any strawman you might want to build, with the exception of may be a few light multihulls, I don't think that cruising boats can go faster than their hull speed upwind!

 

DDW

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^^ Title of the thread is "Setting up cruising boats for upwind performance". Maybe you are confusing the other thread about multihulls. I have (mostly) stuck to upwind in this thread.

Passage times for upwind passages, or the upwind sections of the Caribbean 600 for example, are quite a good gage of real upwind performance. 

 

DDW

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Hawk might have the edge, mainly because you would have a lot less weight in the ends and better handle pitching in a bad seaway.

Perhaps, we did essentially put only a 38' interior in her.
Not so much the interior: One consequence of the cat rig is the mast (650 lbs) is 4' aft of the stem. When you work out the increase in moment of inertia it isn't quite as bad as it sounds, but it isn't good either. 

 

estarzinger

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 the cat rig is the mast (650 lbs) is 4' aft of the stem. 
ah, interesting.  Had not considered that.

Hawk did not pitch much (unlike silk), and was too heavy to lift right over wave tops, so she cut/smashed right thru them. As you said ... "it isn't quite as bad as it sounds" . . . sort of wave piercing lol.

I wondered a little at times if she might have been a slightly better boat a little narrower . . . but in fact hull #1 was narrower and the NA's then widened her and kept the design there, so . . probably best as she was.

 
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European Bloke

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I agree that cruising boats don't go up wind faster than hull speed.

I don't think that hull speed is the defining number in windward progress for most cruising boats. I think most cruisers have a problem with tacking angle and leeway. It's amazing how many cruising boats zig zag about going nowhere, doesn't matter how fast they're zig zagging. Add in a bit of tide and they're almost going backwards.

Some are just plain slow as well...

 

Panoramix

Super Anarchist
A long time ago (but in this galaxy) Estar/Beth wrote an article ("Coming Up Short", Cruising World Jan 2005) about nm/day and made a case that the differences are largely explained by SA/D and D/L, by curve fitting actual data. Daysailing is an important part of coastal cruising, and average speed there is in my opinion more important, stretching the distance between ports during daylight. On my 30' boat we usually planned 5 knots average, so 50 miles port-port for a 10 hour day. On my 45' we plan 6.5 knots, an extra 15 miles possible each day. That's more difference than the waterlines would suggest, but the 45' SA/D is quite a bit higher, and keeps moving fast in lighter wind. 


^^ Title of the thread is "Setting up cruising boats for upwind performance". Maybe you are confusing the other thread about multihulls. I have (mostly) stuck to upwind in this thread.

Passage times for upwind passages, or the upwind sections of the Caribbean 600 for example, are quite a good gage of real upwind performance. 
I was specifically replying to the post quoted above which is in this thread!

 

DDW

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I am not sure why you talk of upwind speed now, lot of people don't like (for a good reason) upwind passages, I just find it mind boggling that you are effectively promoting the use of statistics of average passages to assess upwind boat speed.


I was specifically replying to the post quoted above which is in this thread!
You made the assumption that passages and coastal are "certainly mostly on a reach or downwind", not me. I think the article's analysis applies to upwind as well, and I specifically called out the upwind portions of data sets such as the Caribbean 600. We would like them to be downwind, but I've not managed always to arrange it. Like here for example, against about 10-12 knots and against about 1 - 1.5 knots current. You appreciate a little upwind performance on a day like that. 

Screen Shot 2022-02-01 at 8.50.42 AM.jpg

 

Panoramix

Super Anarchist
You made the assumption that passages and coastal are "certainly mostly on a reach or downwind", not me. I think the article's analysis applies to upwind as well, and I specifically called out the upwind portions of data sets such as the Caribbean 600. We would like them to be downwind, but I've not managed always to arrange it. Like here for example, against about 10-12 knots and against about 1 - 1.5 knots current. You appreciate a little upwind performance on a day like that. 

View attachment 489072
It isn't an assumption, you were talking of NM/day which is definitely an offshore yardstick used on passages that last more than 24 hours. Offshore passage upwind represent a small percentage of all passages that are made as most people avoid them!

 

TwoLegged

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A long time ago (but in this galaxy) Estar/Beth wrote an article ("Coming Up Short", Cruising World Jan 2005) about nm/day and made a case that the differences are largely explained by SA/D and D/L, by curve fitting actual data. Daysailing is an important part of coastal cruising, and average speed there is in my opinion more important, stretching the distance between ports during daylight. On my 30' boat we usually planned 5 knots average, so 50 miles port-port for a 10 hour day. On my 45' we plan 6.5 knots, an extra 15 miles possible each day. That's more difference than the waterlines would suggest, but the 45' SA/D is quite a bit higher, and keeps moving fast in lighter wind. 
The effect of that extra speed is greater than the raw numbers suggest, because ports are available only at stepped distances.  That means that many day hops are curtailed at less than max range, because the next available port is too far.

However, increased speed reduces the granularity, allowing you to use more of your daily range.

Take the simplified example of a coast where the available ports are an even 30 miles apart.  50 miles max daily range means that in practice you can do only 30 miles per day ... whereas the 65nm range allows you to continue to the 60nm port.  Your 30% extra speed has in practice given you a 100% increase in maximum passage distance.

That example is of course cherrypicked, but the higher speed will always tend to reduce effects of granularity.

 

DDW

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It isn't an assumption, you were talking of NM/day which is definitely an offshore yardstick used on passages that last more than 24 hours. Offshore passage upwind represent a small percentage of all passages that are made as most people avoid them!
Yes, an assumption. The single time I have mentioned NM/day in this thread was in reference to a formula in an article which expressed speed that way - a formula the authors derived from looking at data from the Bermuda race, usually an upwind and sometimes a reaching race. Believe it or not, some people do sail upwind, even for days on end (though the time spent is irrelevant to this thread). Passages are not the only time I've sailed upwind. Where I now keep my boat nearly every point of interest is upwind. 

 

accnick

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Furlers

One furler bad, two furlers tragic.
Nonsense.

It's not the furlers, it's the sails on the furlers, as well as how they are set and trimmed. When a sail is fully rolled out, it doesn't much matter if the sail is set on a furler or a stay.

When it is reefed, it is largely a manner of how much it is reefed.

If you start out with a 135% LP (or bigger) headsail, and reef it to 85%, it is going to be crap. If you start out with a 117% headsail and reef it to 90%, you can still go upwind pretty well.

This also assumes you have the right deck leads to effectively trim reefed headsails, and you know how to use them.

My traditional-looking, heavy 40' cruising cutter--usually sailed as a sloop-- had almost exactly the same deck layout and hardware as our 44' racing boat, including fully-adjustable Harken big boat genoa lead cars, adjustable staysail track, and adjustable outboard leads. Both of our headsails--a 117% North purpose-built jib top, and a heavy North staysail that doubled as a storm jib--were on oversized furlers.

These were not the sails we started out with, but were the sails we had built by North Sails NZ after a couple of years of offshore cruising showed us the errors of our original thinking about cruising headsails.

We averaged over 150 miles per day on almost every ocean passage during a double-handed circumnavigation after switching to this headsail configuration, even in light air and upwind.

Ya gotta start out with the right stuff, and you need to know how to use it.

Furlers are the least of the problems with most cruising boats, and they make sailhandling with a shorthanded crew safer and more efficient, if properly done.
 
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Max Rockatansky

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This is against 15-20, current south to north. 1992 Catana, fully loaded full time liveaboard.

I routinely see 35 apparent and when light for racing she will get down to 30 apparent
 

Bryanjb

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It would be nice if passages weren't up wind but we have sailed multi day passages at 30 AWA. Two years ago we sailed upwind for 5 days with reefs and a staysail, apparent wind speeds were up to the mid 50's.

We go fine upwind with cruising gear and "junk on the trunk". We're seldom in marinas so need all the junk we carry. We also have a hard dodger and bimini because after decades of racing I've decided cold and wet is overrated. Plus the dermatologist is happy we're out of the sun!

Screen shot from somewhere between Bermuda and St Martin.

PXL_20201108_195451845.MP~2.jpg
 

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