Owners of Cherubini 44s and 48s share these comments about the sailing performance and other features of their boats.
Managing storms during single-handed circumnavigation of Mi Querida, Cherubini 44 (starting in Australia)
After leaving Australia, the longest period of storm was 3 days of 50 knots in the Tasman sea. I don't have wind instruments but from the sea state I'd put it as average of 50 knots with 6-7 metre seas. Around a third wave would have a metre and a half of breaking wave on the top. It was my first experience of heavy weather. At first I had the storm jib plus a trisail set on the main mast but couldn't heave to until I put up the reefed mizzen. The sea was spectacular at night the breakes glowed green with phosphorescence. For 10 seconds after being hit Mi Querida would glow green. A mushroom vent on the cabin leaked badly so was later replaced by proper dorade cowl vents. The storm wasn't forecast but Mi Querida came through fine even though it was on the nose heading towards Sydney. I had around 40 knots coming through Bass St overnight a few weeks later. Here's a picture taken in a calm period in my first storm as it was too wet for a SLR camera to not get wet.
I had a gale coming up the West coast of Australia overnight but it was on the quarter so much more comfortable.
I had the next 24 hour gale in the Indian Ocean below Sri Lanka. Again it was on the quarter, and I made good progress. It was close to 200 nm for the day. I already had made 914 nm in 4 days 12 hrs and was very pleased to be looking at 1,000 nm in 5 days -- but then I was becalmed!
In the North sea I was sailing in 10 knots in light rain with full sail up heading for Germany. I suddenly got hit with an estimated 60 kts blow. I pulled down all sail. Since the water was only 20 metres deep, I put out 75 metres of 1/2"chain and 60 lb CQR anchor. It couldn't hold head to the sea; instead we were making 3 knots broadside. I took up the anchor and made 8 knots under staysail alone. Soon the storm eased to gale force and continued for several hours. It was fresh (up to 30 knots) and hard on the wind from Norway to the Shetland Isles so the decks got a good wash.
I also experienced a brief gale overnight crossing the Atlantic. I just reefed down as the wind was in a favourable direction, and made good progress.
That's the limit of the bad weather. I had fresh trade winds from the Galapagos to the Marquesas averaging 175 nm a day for the 3,000 nm trip. Mi Querida handles heavy weather well. I can recall pushing her into American Samoa to cross reefs in daylight. With a full main and yankee poled out on the spinnaker pole, she was doing over 11 kts for a while the bow wave was up to deck level at the shrouds. On all ocasions the Autohelm 7000 had no problems keeping course. That's all the bad weather Ive had in approximately 80,000 nm.
Temura: We have had the boat to 12+ knots in a following sea, with genoa, main and mizzen up in about 20 knots of wind. The boat was probably surfing. With a moderate wind abeam and the addition of the jib, she would generally do 8 or 9 knots 8 knots was pretty usual and it did not take much wind to get to this speed. The boat was always a pleasure to sail. No matter where we were, in Biscayne where we sailed the most, intra coastal or Nantucket Sound, everyone admired the boat and wanted to come onboard to see her.
White Hawk: Dave's recollection of 13 knots is true, as that's what we experienced going down the Chesapeake bay from Baltimore in Oct. 2005. However, I do not think there was any magic involved, as the wind was 28 knots steady and gusting to 35! It was the first time I had seen anything over 30 knots, and I was very impressed by both the wind and the boat. The wind was on the beam and the GPS and the speedometer were about the same, 12-13 knots. We started out with the mizzen, staysail, and yankee, but eventually lowered the yankee. I think a boat can exceed hull speed with the help of a lot of force, and we had that. Of course not many boats can carry the sail to harness the force, and our 26 year old White Hawk proved up to the task, as did the sails and rigging. There was no damage to the boat after trip; even the 5200 filling the gap in the deck for the chain plates was intact.
Update: We made a similar trip in fall 2008. I took White Hawk down the Bay last weekend (Nov. 15), and it was blowing a gale, (although not as strong as the one Dave and I experienced in 2005). The sea was quite rough for the Chesapeake. White Hawk ate it all up and was asking for more. Keeping with my conservative nature, the main is down completely.
Our SOG ranged from 7.5 to 10 knots, despite the rough condition, which enabled us to sail 70 miles in daylight. One of the crew, Steve Blakely, made a short video you might enjoy. Notice how easy White Hawk moves and how dry it is.
You do good work Dave! Best Regards, Chris,
Tuckernuck: We are the owners of Tuckernuck, a 1980 Cherubini 44. I can't say that we've experienced a lot of "above hull speed sailing," though she certainly is fast for her length. We live in Southern California, where the winds don't often support that kind of all-out sailing. What I can tell you is that in light air, our Cherubini 44 is flat-out great. In 6-7 knots apparent, she'll find 3 knots of boat speed, and in 8-10 she'll do 5 knots. It's just remarkable. The other thing this boat will do is claw upwind in 18-20 knots apparent, keeping a steady 5-6 knots over the ground and do so with a lovely, sea-kindly motion. That may be worth more than 12 knots on a reach. Here's the bottom line. We're just delighted with this boat. She may well be the most beautiful boat we've every laid eyes on, and she sails as well as she looks. We've read the books, spent our hours with Ferenc Mate, and one incredible day had the good luck to find someone who wanted to sell her, to us! If we're just a little luckier, one day we'll be able to sail south with her to Mexico and beyond. This is one fabulous boat. I'm tempted to think that the angels set to watching over seamen were watching over the Cherubinis when they drew her lines and built her molds.
At 11 knots, these ketches were sailing a 30 percent above hull speed. At 12 knots, they were a bit over 40 percent hull speed, and 13 knots is more than 50 percent of hull speed!
Silhouette: The Cherubini 44 is one of the most solid boats built. It can take more punishment than any crew you can put onboard her can take. I have sailed 10,000 miles on my Cherubini 44 during the past 5 years. Including 4 trips to Bermuda and down the east coast to Florida. I have sailed through a Nor Easter off the coast of Massachusetts in storm force winds with no problem. Do not let the good looks of this boat fool you, it is a very seaworthy boat with good speed. As for the rub rail, I have one on my boat and I am sure Cherubini can add it to the new boats they are building. This boat has been through a lot in the past 18 years and still looks and sails great.
Getting around Cape Hatteras in a south westerly gale wind was more difficult than I thought it would be, but the boat performed well.
Update about the Merion - Bermuda Race in 2009:
We won our class and did OK overall. The boat did well. A lot of other boats dropped out. We were on the back end of the Nor Easter and were surfing as fast as 14 knots. That was the fastest the boat has gone through the water. A new record! We also had one wave break into the cockpit that left about 18 inches of water but it drained before we got the buckets out.
First Light: After First Light's refit was completed, I helped deliver her to Charleston SC. Coming down Chesapeake Bay, we were reaching along at 9-10+ knots with the narrow yankee jib and mizzen; we were going about half the speed of the wind. When the anemometer said 18, the speedometer said 9; when the anemometer said over 20, we were over 10! At that speed, we didn't bother with the mainsail!
Further south in the ICW, we got to a wide area where we could sail for a couple of miles. It was fairly breezy, so we just unrolled that yankee jib alone. We reached along at 8 to 8 1/2 knots, with just the jib! We rounded a point and came up close hauled into the wind. We didn't loose speed. More surprising, the boat was balanced -- no lee helm. I can only guess that the hull form somehow counteracted the leeward pressure of the jib.
An additional surprise was that under power, our fuel consumption was low -- roughly around 1.3 gallons per hour at speeds around 8 knots. (We don't have precise numbers because some fuel was burned by the gen set and the engine hour meter had some errors.) This low fuel consumption is another aspect of a hull that is very easily driven through the water.
First Light stopped in Oriental NC on her way to Charleston SC.
Harmony: My Cherubini 48 will easily do 9 knots in 15 knots of breeze. The very best run I had was in the China Sea Race in 1996. I was at the helm for four hours never once below 11.5 knots and up to 13.5 knots in 30 to 40 knots of breeze with 2 reefs in the main and a 100% Yankee. We had 15 to 20 foot seas at 60 degrees apparent wind angle. We won the race in the cruising division and beat a lot of racing boats. It's over 800 miles from Hong Kong to Subic Bay on Luzon Island, Philippines. The boat does best with a moderate heel. If the rail is in the water, she sounds and feels fast but is really going slower. Not sure how the waterline increases with the heel but I'm sure it does.
Reports on the 2007 Great Chesapeake Schooner Race from three Cherubini 48s:
This was a perfect race for schooners -- strong winds on the beam. Three Cherubini schooners competed in this race. They completed the 127 mile race in 13:24 to 14:05 hr:min. This means that the average speed for these boats was at least between 9 and 9 1/2 knots, above hull speed! (The average speed had to be a little higher, as the boats could not sail a perfectly straight course, so they went somewhat more than 127 miles through the water.) Of course sometimes the boats were below the average and sometimes they were well above the average speed. Here's how the boats sailed:
Antonina (placed 2nd): In general, the winds were 20-25 on the beam, with gusts to 30. The wind lightened in the afternoon and we put up the asymmetrical spinnaker. The sail lifted so high, we unrolled the Genoa a few feet, like a spinnaker staysail, and that gave us an extra boost. As the wind increased at sunset, we lowered the spinnaker and sailed under full main, big jib and main staysail. Our speed over ground averaged around 10 knots, and in the puffs we saw speeds about 11.2-11.4 knots. It was a little difficult to maintain the course during the puffs with the full mainsail, but it gave us more speed. We did not try to use the fisherman staysail; with the winds we had, we had to concentrate on keeping the boat "in the groove," and it would have heeled us over more without adding much to forward drive. Our speeds were measured over ground by GPS; our speeds through water were half a knot more or less, depending on which way the current was flowing.
Muñequita (placed 3rd): Our boat is heavier than the others, so we carried more sail, including a small fisherman and a spinnaker when the winds were moderate. When the wind freshened, we reefed the main a little and used the full jib and main staysail. We were doing a steady 10+ knots. At least once, the speedomenter hit 11.
Adventurer (placed 5th): We were averaging 11+ knots for extended time periods, with winds on the beam at about 20-25 knots. As we approached the mouth of the Potomac River, the wind increased to about 30, and we sailed with double reefed main, reefed Genoa, and main staysail. For a while, we were moving in the mid 12 knot range, the highest was 12.8 knots.
In short, the average speed for the fastest schooner was at least 7 percent above theoretical hull speed. When these schooners reached 11 knots, they were moving almost 25 percent above hull speed! At 12 knots, they were going 35 percent above hull speed!
Adventurer (won her class in this race on corrected time, 2010)
Crew's report about the 2010 Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner race, published in Cruising World, Feb. 2011.