Waterline Waterline! | Sailing Blog - Technical Hints and Tips - Sailing Television

Waterline Waterline!

We have just completed the first leg of our journey this year - starting in Chichester and sailing down to Falmouth. It was a good example of connecting the dots.... making a quick passage with the aid of a long waterline!

We did three hops - a short 25 mile jump on Wednesday afternoon through the Solent to Lymington. Since it was the first sail of the season we wanted to take it easy and check things over. I had forgotten to rig the tack end of the reef points but otherwise we were fine. It was also the first time we set our new carbon downwind pole. That was a great success as we had a tail wind most of the way. We flew past the other yachts out there who were trying to jibe downwind.

The waterline length of a boat defines the wavelength she creates when moving through the water, and a for most sailboats that defines her maximum speed. We have been impressed by how easily this boat moves through the water as she has a sleek profile and seems to be easily driven. But still she will be held to a theoretical maximum by the length of her waterline. As all yacht designers know this, they will usually try to have the longest waterline for the hull they are drawing. (The only exception is for some racing boats where the racing rule penalizes long waterlines. In this case the people who made the rule agree longer is better - but the designers are trying tricks to get around the rule.)

Leaving the Solent at the Needles

Thursday we had a broad reach from Lymington on to Dartmouth. Again we passed other boats out there averaging 7 knots with apparent of only 10-11 aft of the beam. Here we had another example of the advantage of a long waterline as there was a a mix of seas and 2-meter swell almost on the bow. In any given circumstance, a longer waterline will usually result in a smoother ride. In this case we could hold our speed and course more easily as our sails stayed full and drawing in the rougher patches. Passing other smaller boats (32-40 feet LOA) we had a smoother ride and seemed to keep our speed when they might roll too much and have their sails collapse.

Connecting the dots
The passage to Dartmouth from Lymington was 92 miles. We got under way at 6 and got in before 7. This allowed us to get going after dawn and get in before dark. In our days sailing Two-Step we would never dream of a 90 mile run like that. Planning 5.5-6 knots connects your destinations much differently than at 7-7.5 knots.

Here are a few pix of Dartmouth - a very pretty port town.

The entrance to the harbour at Dartmouth

Mooring field in the river Dart
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