This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Fairey Mary 6 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #10007

    Fairey Mary

    Any body else interested in finding out.

    I guess it is an exercise in weight loss and reduced drag.  I have an idea for light weight keels and quick release clamps and faster lifting.  I think no engine other than a small outboard.

    It would be ideal for the round the island race.

    I have no intension to do this to Mary as I want the cruising capabilities.

    But the question remains…..  How fast?

  • #10008

    Trevor Thompson

    I think you are correct about the weight. Peter Cranes boat Eirena is very light and sails very swiftly. I have been experimenting with sailing to windward in light airs with one keel fully raised (it was stuck up for a couple of days) and she was certainly swifter to windward like that. I also know that I gain almost a knot motoring in a calm when I fully raise both keels.


    Not sure I would want to reduce the weight of the keels though – they have a low ballast ratio as it is. Of course it could be carbon fible keels with lead in the bottom! that would increase the righting moment without changing anything else.


    I suppose my final comment would be that they are already fairly fast OFFSHORE. As in when there is wind F4 and above they keep up with boats which are significantly bigger. Perer Crane and I sailed from Falmouth to Penzance in winds of F4 to F6 from the SW.  When on the moorings outside Penzance harbour we recieved comments from the crews of the 35 ft boats which also made that passage on the same tide along the lines of “those boats are fast, we couldnt catch you!” 


    To me it is important to have a boat which feels secure at sea, so while it might not be as fast as boats intended for racing, it inspires confidence in me. I have taken it out of shelter in some pretty strong winds! So I dont actually feel that the performance needs improving!

  • #10009

    Pete Crane

    Having raced in a mixed fleet local races a few years ago with Ereina: The technique for the first couple of years seamed to be – establish position at the back of the fleet and make sure nobody gets behind you. However, thinks did start to improve with the experience of racing most weekends through the summers and  we even won a few.

    I would not recommend an outboard (we did this for a year): you want to keep the weight out of the end of the boat. Also you will worry all through the race if there is any amount of wind on how you are going to manage coming into harbour and picking up your mooring: Ereina would not turn to port with the power so any sharp turns had to be to starboard. We had the new inboard fitted with a high pitch twin blade prop. which we alined with the steg and rudder while racing, although now I would go for a folding one like Trevor’s Calista (the faster you go the more the drag increases at a greater factor).

    To further keep the weight out of the ends the ceramic and brass heads has been replaced with a portapotty (with pump out). During races we would store the anchour and chain between the front end of the keels. Also the inflatable, unless left on the mooring.

    Keels – experiment – I would normally have the leeward one slightly kicked further back to lessen weather helm as the boat heels.

    Mast rake – when you are hanging a weight from the top of the mast to calculate this it will be different if the keels are fully up or down. Any amount of rake appeared to increase weather helm (3/4 rig).

    I wouldn’t change to full rig having sailed on both. The full rig is faster in light to moderate winds, but in higher winds we could claw away further to windward. We do have a light weight jib that we can fly from the masthead in light winds when just off the wind. I would like to try a masthead spinnaker at some point.

    Keel box rubbers – these must be in good condition, turbulence in the keel boxes really slows you down.

    I wouldn’t mess with the keels – you end up with a boat that is not an Atalanta. However, saying that I am going to try winching them with an 18v rechargeable drill, it would certainly be quicker at lowering.

    There are lots of small tweaks that all add up, but  in light winds they do not perform as fast as a lot of the plastic boats. In very light winds try joss sticks as a wind indicator (makes the boat smell nice and causes amusement as you drift past).

    Would love to do the Round the Island Race in a year or two.

  • #10010

    Fairey Mary

    Colin mentions a hull speed of 7 kts.  But I believe the hull shape means it is able to plane.  I believe the ability to plane must be restricted by weight.  So I got to thinking about lighter keels.  That would flatter the hull shape more so than an increased sail area.

    Is anybody mad enough to skipper a round the island race attempt?  It would be a fitting 60th anniversary?  I will crew but there is a stupid number of boats involved and I fear I don’t have the experience.  If we get a magazine involved some sponsorship and those interested put some cash or hours in.  We do the boat up race it then sell it the proceeds go to the club?

    Just an idea worth nothing if nobody is interested.

  • #10011

    Chris Green

    As I recall the Atalanta had an annual group entry in the Round the Island in days of yore. Uffa Fox does not specifically mention the Atalanta with regard to planing in his published books on the subject. The lifting keel Fairy Fox 24, a beam of 6ft 3″ diplacement 1500lb and a sigle 6ft drop keel (of 65lb!!) designed with downwind planing in mind  and to be sailed with a minimum crew of 4 (due to windage). Uffa  in his book “Sailing Boats” has her recorded at 16kts. An Atalanta (I think A77) is featured in the 1963 “Uffa Fox Book of Sailing” , but no specific reference to planing. I remember an article in one of the sailing mags some years ago with a Fairey Fisherman on test planing downwind (I think under spinnaker) at 10kt!- surely the Atalanta could do at least as well. I’m sure other members have experienced surfing in  displacement boats and the Atalanta has genuine ULDB credentials so one would suppose could be achieve planing given suitable rig set-up and conditions. 

  • #10012

    Trevor Thompson

    Yes they are supposed to plane. I spoke to Simon West (A5) who was describing how they had A5 planing, when we were last at Beale Park.

    More surprised to hear that a Fairey Fisherman planes, are you sure about that? The Fisherman is a lifeboat hull. Designed as something to do with the mould after fairey failed to get the contract to build ships lifeboats. 

  • #10013

    Chris Green

    Very qualified though. The Fisherman article was a test sail in either – YM, PBO or ST. It was clocking 10 kt under sail in a blow, (to the surprise of the journalist), so planing/surfing down waves, but exceeding hull speed in any event.  I seem to recall that the owner was also a racing yachtsman who used the FF for family sailing.   The underwater profile is rounder and flatter than a normal displacement motor sailor, so I suppose there is less grip on the water. 

  • #10014

    Chris Green

    I just managed to find an extract of the original PBO FF review from Dec 1998. The actual reference to 10 kt was anecdotal from the owner “while sliding down a wave in similar conditions under spinnaker”. So that is pretty qualified and obviously not bestowing general planing ability on the Fisherman. 

  • #10015

    Trevor Thompson

    Just a thought.

    I have been looking at a photo of an atalanta sailing hard on the wind with one keel box totally out of the water.

    I wonder if she would be faster with tha windward keel fully raised? My thinking is that the keel weighs more out of the water – so lifting it would increase the righting moment, and reduce the wetted surface area.

    Would that balance the loss of keel area stopping sideways motion?

  • #10016

    Fairey Mary

    Needless to say post the photo.

    My guess is that the keel being down increases then leverage of the weight.

    Has anybody calculated drag forces on a standard Atalanta?  I believe it can be done by a towing one using a newton meter, or hanging scales.  If we graph this against speed we would to see an initial upwards curve showing the wave forming drag that defines the hull speed then a kind of levelling off as the planing comes in.

    Be a good article…

  • #10017

    Fairey Mary

    Sorry there is a good discussion here including graphs.

  • #10018

    David Walworth

    Interesting discussion I wish I had chimed in on earlier.  My thoughts are definitely do not lighten the keels.  The keels are your righting moment, which is your horsepower.  The higher the righting moment the more sail carrying ability.  With that in mind if the boat is to the point of the windward keel box out of the water I would definitely have the windward keel down.  With the keel down the Vertical Centre of Gravity (VCG) of that keel is lowered by 2 feet or so, a significant increase.  I agree on the ability to at least semi plane.  We were off the south coast of Nova Scotia in 1996 and had a great breeze out of the north.  We were beam reaching with the asymmetrical spinnaker on the bowsprit and full main and hit 8 knots consistently.  The boat was not light, we had been living on her at that point for 2-1/2 months having sailed from Boston to Bermuda then to Halifax and all around the Canadian Maritimes.

    Keep the boat light.  Get weight out of the ends.  Fair in the forward and aft ends of the blocking on the bottom around the keel trunks.  As mentioned have good keel sealing strips.  Get rid of roller furling, rig a down haul looped over the top hank, lead it to the tack then back to a cleat at the cockpit.  Lighter and you can get rid of the sail much more quickly.  Without the roller furling the jib also does not need the weight of the sun cover.  Fair the keels and rudder.  IF you have an inboard, get a folding or feathering prop.  If an outboard take it off the transom and stow in the space under the cockpit seats.  Rig a backstay adjuster, a simple way is to have a block on each leg of the backstay linked together with a block in the middle.  Have a continuous line led from a cam cleat on one side of the aft hatch, to a block on the deck, up to the block on the adjuster, down to another block then forward to a cam cleat on the other side of the aft hatch.  Makes it very easy to open and close the leech of the main, especially if you have a fractional rig.  Clean the bottom.  We moved the anchor chain from the bow to just aft of the main bulkhead.  We are definitely going to be looking into synthetic rigging when we finally rebuild Le Bateau Ivre.  Less weight although a little more windage.  

  • #10019

    Fairey Mary

    Thanks. a couple of questions. Bowsprit? How have you attached this. Also synthetic rigging can you send a link to what you are thinking about, what kind of weight saving? Are we talking skipping lunch or a crew member 🙂 . Also are you still running wooden spars? What is the relative weight by comparison wood, aluminium and carbon fibre. I understand carbon fibre is not that robust and is still expensive.

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