June 5, 2012

Speedy we are not

 LANDLUBBERS must find it hard to hide their smirks when they hear old salts referring to fast boats and slow boats. In truth, all sailboats are slow in comparison with other forms of transport. There are aged grandmas who can pedal their shopping trikes faster than most 40-footers can sail.

The very fastest sailboats have emerged in this century. In March, 2001, the record-breaking 110-foot catamaran Club Med took 62 days to circumnavigate the earth. She covered 26,500 miles at an average speed 18.2 knots. One day she sailed 650 nautical miles-—a 24-hour average of 27 knots.

But she was a highly specialized boat. Most small sailboats cross oceans at a rate of about 120 miles every 24 hours, a distance that takes only two hours in a family car (and less in a decent one).

Luckily, one of the great charms of sailing is that speed, time, and distance lose the importance we grant them on land. They mingle, dissolve, and gel into a form of joy unknown to landlubbers. Yes, sailing is slow, but that only means its delights last longer.

Today’s Thought
Ease and speed in doing a thing do not give the work lasting solidity or exactness of beauty.
— Plutarch, Lives: Pericles.

Tailpiece
“I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.”
“And what happened?”
“It finally dawned on me.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

1 comment:

mgtdOcean said...

Oh I had a good laugh, I'm an avid trike rider. Not your grandmothers, two wheels in front, tops 45mph down hill, and corners like a Jag, and I can cruise at 15mph for many hours! Even after just finishing an 805mile multi week ride, I can say most any sailboat will beat me in 24hrs and most certainly 48,96 etc. I can knock out 100/day but no way 3 in a row! I'll take my Tiki for any real voyage:)