Is the genteel Harbor 20 a Sportboat ?
The Harbor 20 couldn't possibly be a Sportboat. Sportboats are fast. Harbor 20s are comfy.
Every sailor is taught: Comfy can not be fast. Fast can not be comfy.
However, is this just dock talk ? Is it possible to be comfortable and fast ?
We recently discovered that the Schock Harbor 20 in real world racing is as fast as the CCF J/70 !
The world of Sportboats and genteel Daysailers couldn't be more different.
|Sportboat Sailors are tough|
What is Sportboat Sailing ?
Sportboats are marketed as speedsters equipped with afterburners. Sportboat sailors wear the latest technical racer gear. Sportboat sailors are really tough guys.
Sportboat sailors get hardcore boat-bites from whacking their kidneys on winches.
|Boatbites are a badge of honor |
among Sportboat sailors
Sportboat sailors rarely have their spouses or children on board. These sailors wear grim expressions while sailing, because fast sailing well, just has to be brutal.
If it isn't brutal than it must be slow. Speed has got be earned.
What is Harbor 20 sailing ?
The Harbor 20 is marketed as simple and easy to sail genteel Daysailor.
Harbor 20 sailors sit on soft cockpit cushions with cup holders. They often bring their spouses, children, friends, and even pets aboard.
|Harbor 20 sailors can be a |
wild and crazy bunch
Sailors of Harbor 20s race with straw hats, sun dresses, Luau shirts, and sandals...hey it's five o'clock somewhere, right?
|A Stylish Racer|
Who doesn't want to feel like they are on vacation every time they sail?
Harbor 20 sailors laugh and smile their way around the racecourse because sailing, well, is just so doggone fun.
|Harbor 20 crew calling puffs |
So how then can the plucky Harbor 20 be a real race boat - comfort and speed are mutually exclusive - aren't they? C'mon, Harbor 20s have cupholders for pete's sake!
A comfy boat like the Harbor 20 couldn't possibly be as fast as a hard core raceboat - or could it ?
|Harbor 20 team |
debrief between races
|Harbor 20s downwind beauty |
Thanks to the RC at Santa Barbara Yacht Club, we have the answer.
Harbor 20s and J/70s sail the same speeds in real world racing !
The SBYC tracks the speed of their boats from start to finish. We therefore have a nice database of actual Velocity made Good (VMG) speeds in real world conditions.
|Harbor 20 moving upwind|
The plucky Schock Harbor 20s sail alongside a small CCF J/70 fleet in different one design starts at SBYC. The 2 fleets sailed in 6 Wednesday evening races this Spring and Summer.
The results are surprising.
|Dee, Morgan, and Shannon showing|
'em how it's done
The chart below shows the speed differences for each race. The Harbor 20s are listed in red. The J/70s are listed in blue.
In real world conditions, the 2 different boats sail equally as fast over the course of a season.
SBYC records indicate that when the breeze is lighter the Harbor 20s dominate the J70s. This happened in race 3. The fastest Harbor 20 average VMG was 1.29 knots around the course. The fastest J/70 average VMG was 0.98 knots.
Most interesting was race 4 in which the conditions favored neither boat.
A well handled Harbor 20 edged out 2 J/70s for the fastest overall VMG for the day. The next 6 Harbor 20s all beat the next 2 J/70s.
The spread in average VMG is also interesting in race 4. The fastest boat was Harbor 20-159 at 3.47 knots. The slowest boat of the 13 boats was J70-70 at 2.63 knots.
The Harbor 20s more than matched the J/70 ! In 3 of the 6 races, Harbor 20s were faster than the J/70s.
Why is that ? How can this be?
How can a brand new cutting edge speedster with afterburners sail no faster than a comfy daysailer celebrating its 15th anniversary ?
The specifications of each boat help explain the story.
|Harbor 20s zooming downwind|
Why do they sail the same speeds ?
Both the Schock Harbor 20 ( 1,800 lbs) and the CCF J/70 ( 1,750 lbs) displace about the same amount of water. The J/70 often sails with 4 on board, while the Harbor 20 sails with only 3. The J/70 is therefore a slightly heavier boat taking into account the crew weight.
The Schock Harbor 20 (232 square feet) edges out the CCF J/70 (226 square feet) by 6 square feet of sail area.
The boats differ in waterline length H20 at 17'0" and J/70 at 20'5". Therefore, the Hull speeds are 5.6 knots and 6.1 knots respectively. At displacement hulls speeds, the J/70 should be about 1/2 knots faster than a Harbor 20.
The Harbor 20 is a bit lighter and has a bit more sail area.
The specifications of each boat are similar enough, that despite significant outward appearance; both boats will sail similar speeds in typical racing conditions.
|Smiles all Around|
Sportboat with Cupholders ?
The Harbor 20 remains true to the original concept: a genteel daysailer.
It turns out that a comfortable sailboat like the Harbor 20 can be fast.
Sailors can have both speed and comfort.
Fast is certainly fun. But comfort keeps the entire family sailing.
More than half of Harbor 20s race with spouses or children. Nearly 30% of Harbor 20s are commanded by women.
This is the highest percentage of women skippers of any sailboat in North America.
Next time you are at one of those big traveling regattas and wonder where did all the women sailors go ?
You will find the answer at your nearest Harbor 20 fleet.
|Harbor 20 Gals have more Fun|
|They really do|