Row a small keelboat? How fast?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Schnick, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Schnick
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Location: Vancouver BC

    Schnick Junior Member

    Next year there is an adventure race from Port Townsend, WA, to Ketchikan, AK. That is 750 miles of convoluted inside passage, with current, and includes a few stretches out in a fairly nasty part of the North Pacific. No motors are allowed. Two checkpoints force you to take the inside of Vancouver Island.

    I know there will be a bunch of kayaks etc. I am not a kayaker, I am a sailor.

    My concept is as follows:
    2 guys, small (20-24') sailboat, likely ballasted, with enough of a cuddy to have one guy sleep inside while the other keeps the boat moving. Go non stop, or as close as possible. My target would be 100 mile days, but lets be honest, quite easily it could be half that.

    Clearly to achieve this the boat has to be rowable. Also note we are doing this on a shoe string, so will not be building a core sound 20, or a Farrier F-22, over this winter. IT needs to be a boat that we can buy on Craigslist and modify. I have a few ideas for models.

    My main question, as it's a bit outside of my experience, is, how fast can a fit rower push a small sailboat along in flat water? Let say as a typeform, something along the lines of a Cal 20 or Shark? I plan to add a sliding seat and some serious oars to make it as efficient as possible. As soon as the wind comes up, we will sail.

    Boat will be 20-24 LOA, approx 20' LWL, and lets say 1200-1500 pounds, plus some gear.
  2. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Boat is too big, in my opinion. Get something that weighs 400 pounds and ends up under 1000 all up. You might have a hard time beating a big canoe. You want to balance the power between sail and rowing if you expect to spend more than a few minutes rowing each day. A 21' XL Tripper canoe modded for rowing with decks and a small outrigger and a Laser sail should have no problem at all doing 100 miles per day. The fast guys will be trying for 200 miles a day. I used my tent fly as a sail on my old voyaging canoe. Big umbellas work well and are very handy. Bring a couple as emergency propulsion. You might also have a serious look at kites for propulsion.

    These races usually have fairly strict rules and entry inspections. The Florida Challenge obliges one to spend $1000's in basic compliance gear and registration. Not exactly a shoe string budget event.

    O'Day 19/Rhodes 19 or Flying Scot wouldn't be a bad hull to start with. I would not consider any keelboat to be an option where any human powered propulsion is concerned.
  3. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    You might look into reports from the Florida 120.
    I have a friend who took a 16' keelboat, he wanted to put on oars but didn't get it done.
    Then his motor quit at the starting line.

    Good luck, there is another thread about the race, seems like a large number of knowledgeable locals are discussing the race.
  4. bregalad
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    Location: Georgia

    bregalad Senior Member

    A Cal 20 is 2000 lbs. empty. Ready to race with 2 crew she would be closer to 3000 lbs.

    I sailed/rowed/paddled an engineless Cape Dory Typhoon from Rhode Island down the ICW to FL and to the Bahamas..... a comparable boat in size and weight to what you are proposing.

    With an efficient set up you might manage 1-1/2 knots for a few hours in a dead calm, a burst of ~2 knots for a shorter period of time. Any headwind and you won't make any meaningful progress. Other than getting in or out of an anchorage you would be better served resting during the times you can't sail.

  5. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

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