Sunday, April 5, 2009


We are in St Augustine Florida more than 200 miles north of where we put the boat in the water. Not bad for our first week on the ICW.

We are traveling in a rather unique boat that would be classified as a motor sailor except that most motor sail boats are big heavy displacement hull vessels that cannot exceed their hull speed no matter how big an engine they have.

(Max hull speed = 1.3 times the square root of the waterline or for us about 6.5 knots = 7 miles/hour).

Our boat a MacGregor 26x is water ballasted - that is instead of a heavy lead keel or weight at the bottom of the boat or hanging down, the boat takes in approximately 200 gallons of water into its double bottom hull which increases the boat's weight by about 1600 pounds, providing the stability so the boat doesn't turn over when the wind presses on the sails. The boat also has a flip up centerboard and flip up twin rudders. The water is easily added or removed and so since we are traveling on the very sheltered waters of the ICW we have lots of opportunity to motor rather than sail. We have begun to drop our water ballast raise our centerboard and rudders while under way and this allows with the aid of a very large (for this size sailboat) 50 horsepower engine to achieve speeds of 18 miles per hour.

Some people we pass on the waterway are astonished to see a sailboat speeding by and the ability to go fast if and when we want increases our daily range as well as adds to our safety to get someplace when the weather turns bad.

Today we did 25 miles with water ballast in and so it took us about 3 1/2 hours (we had a following current) giving us a much quieter, enjoy the scenery ride.

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