Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: London, UK
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Interesting questions-- in some ways, you might be pointing out certain "downsides" of cruising. For example, on a daysail we'll keep the sails up, or change the headsail, if there's light air. Basically, if we're not doing at least 2-3 knots, the Columbia River is going to carry us away. Nonetheless, we're out there to sail, and the motor stays off unless we're really adrift.
If we're doing an overnight, weekend or week-long cruise, we normally have to get somewhere, and sometimes getting there early will ensure a place at the dock, a mooring ball, or at least a swing circle for our anchor. This adds a stress element to the sailing, and sometimes we can sail all the way, and sometimes (in light air) we have to motor all the way.
Being able to sail to the dock or off the anchor or mooring ball is great, but not essential. Also, with kids, sometimes we have to curb our desire to sail with their desire to enjoy the destination-- we may want to sail until seven p.m., drop anchor and have sundowners, but realistically we should get there at 3-4 p.m. so they can hike, fish and do their stuff.
So, performance gets hammered either way (kids, time schedule, light air), but it's still important. I've heard of more than one case of "our boat was too hard to sail" when beginners start with heavy off-shore boats that aren't suited to needs at the start.