Is going slowly the new fast?

Is it just me or is going slowly the new fast? We’ve got two stories in this issue from boat owners who have eschewed the normal 30-knot planing boats we all know and love in favour of something more sedate.
Our first convert is Piers du Pré, who went through a series of speed machines, including a fearsome Cougar Predator 35, before opting for a gentler life on board a Fleming 55 (p96). Then there’s Scottish dentist Eilert Eilertson, who after years of messing about on small dayboats is about to head off to Turkey on a 44ft motor catamaran (p122). We’ll be following his progress in the coming months.
I’d love to say that both of these dyed-in-the-wool boat enthusiasts have taken to the slow lane with a heavy heart and that secretly they are missing the rush of adrenaline that only a 30-knot wind blast can provide. But the truth is that having experienced the joys of displacement cruising neither of them would have it any other way. Both their boats are in fact capable of around 20 knots but unless there is a genuine need to hurry, neither owner bothers to use it.
As Piers puts it: “It’s such a beautiful feeling, moving with the water instead of fighting it. It’s no longer an endurance race to get to where we’re going; now we enjoy the passage itself.”
I had a similar epiphany myself a couple of years back on board a Grand Banks 36 Classic. The sun was shining, the company was good and the wine was chilled. We sat on the flybridge chatting away as Dorset’s Jurassic coastline unwound before us like a slow-motion showreel. There was no engine noise to speak of (or over), no spine-jarring thumps to endure, just the gentle burble of a distant exhaust and the trickle of water peeling off the bows. It was pure heaven.
Not that it stopped me buying a thumping great 200hp Suzuki outboard engine for my 22ft sportsfisher a few months later. I took it up to 40 knots the other day just to see what it was capable of. It made me feel better for all of a week. Then my servicing invoice arrived. Normally it’s the figure at the bottom right that makes me queasy but this time it was the one on the left. My engine will rev to 6,000rpm without breaking sweat, yet according to the print out of its electronic brain in the whole of last season I had spent just six minutes above 4,000rpm and hadn’t taken it to 5,000rpm for even a single minute. Anyone fancy a part-exchange for a Linssen?

We’re saving our big Southampton Show preview for next month but you can take advantage of our ticket offer now. Ring 0870 060 0246, quote “MBY” and you can buy up to five advance adult tickets for any day except the preview day for £10 each, saving £5 on the normal price. Terms and conditions apply.