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    'pacing' for boat speed
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2011 Apr 13, 18:42 -0400

    Here's a question about the historical practice of reckoning a boat's speed on the water.   The use of log-lines is pretty much a given.

    In  historical accounts, of varying accuracy, I've read about one technique called 'pacing', where the mariner drops some garbage in at the hull and walks toward the stern, keeping abreast of the garbage.   I've also read an assertion by Samuel Eliot Morrison that Magellan's captain has a  quote that corresponds to finding boat speed by counting the time it takes a piece of flotsam to move along the hull.

    I've also heard that it's more of an intuitive feel.

    I'm a sea kayaker and not a sailor, so I estimate the speed from my paddling and the wind conditions - I'd probably vote for the more intuitive school if you were to ask me, but I'm curious whether anyone in the past practiced some technique using the timing of flotsam passing by.

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