Sailing a Bigger Boat | Sailing Blog - Technical Hints and Tips - Sailing Television

Sailing a Bigger Boat

We have had a few weeks of test sailing now. The spring here in south England has been lovely and we have been able to get out on a number of excursions. Although we are still getting the feel of the new boat - we have a number of observations on how she handles. It has been great to have this time with her without making any big passages!

The Bigger Boat
She is bigger inside and has more storage but doesn’t feel that much bigger to handle. I was wondering if the extra size would make it more difficult to maneuver especially in port and in close quarters. But in fact she feels quite similar to the Southerly 42. Although she is 7 feet longer she is just 6 inches wider and the same height. So she feels quite like the 42. Spinning her around in a marina requires me to take the extra length into account but we have had no problems. She handles very well in reverse, and add the excellent bow thruster and we have been fine. We have now wiggled our way into a number of tight slips. (We do have some nice big fenders and thats a good thing with any boat I think)
  • practice makes perfect (or at least better)
  • try out a new boat away from the dock
  • get the feel of her in cross winds, how fast she turns, stops starts, which way the prop kicks etc

Sheryl having way too much fun!! (Photo by Yvette Jordan, SY M’LADY)

Bigger Stronger Faster
Of course one of the big advantages of a longer boat is a longer waterline which (on similar boats) should equal higher speeds. We have found this to be the case. The 49 can make 8 knots under power and so far hit 9 under sail. I know she can do more!

Distant Shores II sailing in the Solent (Photo by Yvette Jordan, SY M’LADY)

Comfortable Motion

The longer waterline also means less pitching and a smoother motion. We have not yet been in big seas with her but at least in moderate seas she shows the waterline length plus extremely deep keel makes for a very steady ride. (she draws 10 feet!!) Motoring out the Chichester Harbour entrance with swell against the out-flowing tide she cruised right through. Next to us were a contessa 26 and another 30 footer. The two smaller waterline boats were pitching quite a lot - showing their keel and burying their bows. A 42 footer was coming along as well and they were more similar to us - cutting through with minimal pitching. Waterline pays big dividends in comfort!

Sailing Like a Dinghy!
The day that really put my mind at ease about the bigger boat... we took out two local friends who are top-class dinghy sailors. Elizabeth and Mimie have sailed in Chichester Harbour all their lives and know every inch of the place. (They have plenty of experience cruising around the world in keel boats as well). It was a breezy day and we had the self-tacker and one reef in the main. I let them take the boat as I filmed. You can see the grins as they steered Distant Shores II around the harbour!

You can also see how close we are to the other boats. Their verdict was she handles great!! And to top off a perfect day we took her up to the head of the creek at high tide and then at low tide she was beached right in front of the pub!! The Crown and Anchor for dinner!

We sailed most of the way up to here at high tide.
With the tide gone there is just a shallow creek left.

Heres the view from our table in the Crown and Anchor

Plan your passages around the world with us aboard Distant Shores
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