Chartering Life in the Slow Lane

Author:
Publish date:
Slow can also be good: yeah, that’s a couple of rolls you see taken up on the headsail furler!

Slow can also be good: yeah, that’s a couple of rolls you see taken up on the headsail furler!

The multihull world is a funny one in that it pays lip service to speed under sail to the point where any other kind of sailing is almost considered a sin. It’s like the sailing style that dare not speak its name. If you’re not doing your utmost to throw up a pair of dramatic rooster tails astern (or flying through the air a foot or two above the water on a pair of lifting foils) you ain't-a real sailor.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I, for one, have absolutely no problem slowing things down a little aboard a well-found cruising cat. Granted, there have also been plenty of times when I’ve striven as mightily as anyone out there after the aforementioned rooster-tail effect. However, I also love just lazing along with the autopilot on, watching the watery world go by, often with a wholly unnecessary reef in the main in case things should suddenly pick up again.

Apologists justify the existence of those multihulls not optimized for speed by pointing out the scads of lounging space they possess. They also draw attention to the fact that even the slowest multihull out there doesn’t heel. Fair enough. But I’m not looking for justifications. When I’m out on charter or sailing coastal I’m out to have a good time, and I make no apologies sailing on a reach at 6 knots—or less!

02-anchored

I found myself thinking these kinds of thoughts a few months back while on charter in Belize aboard a Sunsail 404 catamaran by the name of Hamako. Making our way from Hatchet Cay to Wippari Cay over flat-calm waters, we did all of about 3 knots, gybing back and forth among the shallows. Fine by me. My wife and daughter read or napped in the cockpit, while I alternated between relaxing up in the helm station, getting cold drinks in the saloon and taking the occasional leisurely stroll up to the bow.

It was the same thing the next day en route to the charter base in Placencia. With around 10 knots coming from directly astern, I didn’t even bother with the main, just moseyed along down the Inner Channel like I was the king of the world, thinking how cool we must look from onshore. I imagined this must have been what it was like for the ancient Polynesians with their wooden hulls and woven, claw-like sails in search of specs of land: day after day of leisurely sailing across a truly “pacific” ocean. I knew full well that within the next couple of hours, the sea breeze would kick in, the same as it had done every other day thus far. I also figured that when it did, I’d maybe throw out some more sail and let Hamako show her stuff, the way I knew she could. But then again, what was the hurry? Placencia wasn’t going anywhere…

So, here’s to life in the slow lane! Here’s to having plenty of room to stretch out in and watch the world go by. Fast is fun. But there’s also nothing wrong with throttling back a little. So long as you’re aboard a well-found boat (and not a stink pot!) what’s the rush? Taking your time or building a boat that allows others to do the same, even at the sacrifice of some boatspeed, is as legitimate a kind of sailing or boatbuilding as any—period. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. 

Ed Note: For more on chartering out of Belize, visit sunsail.com

MHS Winter 2018

Related

01-LEAD-GMR_ISLA_0415-1

Electric Multihulls

Witnessing the proliferation of Tesla automobiles you would have no doubt that the revolution in electromobility is well underway. Turn your gaze to the cruising world, though, and you might well wonder what went wrong. Where are all the electric boats? And as for electric ...read more

Lee-Cloths-Lee-Boards-and-single-bunks-on-ISBJORN_by-Andy-Schell_Trans-Atlantic-2019

The Perfect Offshore Boat: Part 2

November, 2009: Mia and I were sailing our 1966 Allied Seabreeze yawl, Arcturus, on our first-ever offshore passage together, a short hop from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. Our second night out, the brisk northwesterly wind shut down, but the sea state ...read more

210727_JR_SE_Tokyo20_186871368

Tune in for Olympic Sailing

Today marks the start of 470 and NARCA 17 racing on Enoshima Bay, and racing in the other seven fleets is already underway. A few of the American sailors are already off to an impressive start, with Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble currently in second place in the 49er FX, Luke ...read more

Happy-Cat

Boat Review: Happy Cat Hurricane

I’m not sure what I expected from my daysail on the Happy Cat Hurricane. One thing I do know is that the day didn’t go as planned. The SAIL staff was invited by Alex Caslow from Redbeard Sailing to Gunpowder State Park on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore. We were to test several ...read more

210722_PM_Tokyo20_4910_5979-2048x

Olympic Sailing Guide

The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Games is finally here. From July 24 to August 4, sailors from across the world will be gathering on six courses on Enoshima Bay to race for gold. Ten classes will take part in the event: RS:X (men), RS:X (women), Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, ...read more

01-LEAD-TobagoCaysHorseshoeColors

Chartering: Voltage is King

For some time now, both in the pages of this magazine and with individual charterers, I’ve talked about how important it is to pay close attention during a charter checkout. The idea is to listen “between the lines,” as it were, to be sure you aren’t missing any hidden red flags ...read more

AC75-No.-1

ETNZ May Abandon New Zealand

Remember when the Kiwis were the young, underfunded upstarts of the America’s Cup world, with right on their side as they took on the Big Bad Americans? Remember the withering criticism leveled at Larry Ellison when, in the wake of “The Comeback” on San Francisco Bay, arguably ...read more

01-LEAD-EX26_1119_dehler_30od_race_2nd_077_web_4zu3_300dpi2048x

Boat Review: Dehler 30 One Design

I’ve long believed that while they may not be as much fun, the best sail trials are the ones that take place in drifters since it’s then that a boat’s performance—or lack thereof—really becomes evident. Pretty much any boat is fun to sail in 15 knots of wind. That said, there’s ...read more