You'll even be able to find out how comfortable your boat is at sea, compared with other similar boats, because Carl has built in a motion comfort factor, like the one designer Ted Brewer invented for fun years ago. And, more importantly, you can compare capsize factors (boats with factors under 2.0 are considered safer and less likely to capsize at sea).
The theoretical speed of each boat is listed, of course, but as it's a formula based on waterline length it can't possibly tell the whole story of how fast a boat will go in differing conditions of wind and sea. Nevertheless, when you compare one boat with another, it gives you a good idea of which is likely to get back home before the pub closes, and which will be stuck out in the bay after dark with a crew complaining that they're dying of thirst.
If you'd like to visit Carl's Sail Calculator, go to http://www.image-ination.com/sailcalc.html
Scroll down to Part 1 and click on one boat in each column, then click on "make a chart" just underneath.
There's lots more information on that site and I leave you to figure it out. Play nicely. Have fun.
Science is wonderfully equipped to answer the question "How?" but it gets terribly confused when you ask the question "Why?"
— Erwin Chargaff, professor of Biological Chemistry, Columbia University.
Police in Detroit arrested two kids yesterday. One was drinking battery acid, and the other was swallowing fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)