Saturday, April 12, 2014


The recent quest for that ill-fated airliner over the last weeks should be something of a wake-up call for those who think speed is a goodly thing in a cruising boat,

To be more precise, a huge problem in the airliner search has been the plethora of debris viewable from satellite. There's so much of it they can't find the actual bits of airplane they're looking for amidst the clutter.

Maybe it's just me but junk floating around that you can see from space is junk I don't want to hit at speed if I can help it. I know for a fact that hitting an awash 55-gallon oil drum at 6 knots can ruin your whole week but hitting the same flotsam at say 15-knots just might leave you treading water faster than you can say...

"Honey, did you just hear something go bump?"

Personally I like going places at a leisurely pace and I find 5-7 knots a rather civilized speed for a cruising boat. Then, again, I'm not in any real hurry to be anywhere as I like the voyage as much or more than I like being at the place I'm heading towards.

I expect I should also come clean and say I actually loved the 55-MPH speed limit because I liked the idea of using a lot less fuel, enjoying the view while I did it, and having  a much smaller chance of becoming road kill/carnage on the highways of America.

For those of us of a VolksCruiserish bent, there is a real financial advantage to going at less than pedal-to-the-metal speeds because stuff lasts longer when it has less stress... Blocks don't break, sails tend not to blow out, and systems in general just keep on working. What's not to like?

Trust me, done right, cruising does not have to be speeding from one port where you had something repaired to the next place to get something fixed.

Plus, I do a lot better with less stress as well. I've never been a big fan of being in a hurry because it's stressful and too much stress makes me stupid. Do I really need to point out that stupid sailors make bad decisions?

Have you ever noticed how folks who vote republican always seem to be in a hurry?

The downside of longer passages is you need to carry a bit more water, provisions, and (if you're like me) a few more books to pass the time... None of which what I'd call a terrible disadvantage.