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  #11  
Old 08-28-2006
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Always enjoy your thoughts and threads, Jeff.

I used to say, "I don't care about how fast the boat is. I want a heavy boat. Somthing that will push through the seas, steady on her feet. You know, if it takes a little longer to get there, who cares."

Then came my first, serious, offshore storm.

The seas were quartering, tall, square, and occasionally breaking. The two other boats with us lost their autopilot and hand to hand steer behind us. The autopilot held for us the whole time, but we did eventually turn it off and hand steer to try and control the boat better.

The heavy boats do handle the seas better. They have to because you are going to be in them longer! Also, they tend to not respond as well as a performance boat in steering in the seas. They are however more flat footed and feel more stable. However, for those of you that think you are going to have a nice, comfortable ride while drinking a martini in 15-20 foot seas... dream on baby. I don't care if you are in a 200 foot, solid steel, circumnavigator - you are going to be riding those hills all the same.

My current boat is on Lake Texoma until we finish outfitting her and drop her in the gulf. For those of you that do not know, Lake Texoma is where they make the Valiants. In general, in light airs (especially), my 400 will outrun a Valiant. I have not tested it against them in heavy airs or seas. However, it is probably fair to say I would do well.

The point of all of this is: Be thoughtful of how fast your boat sails unless you just plan on sitting in the dock or cruising around the lake somewhere. Even for 'coastal cruising', if you want any chance of being able to duck into bay before a storm, you better keep in mind that the winds don't always jump up before the storm. And when they do, it may be too late to make it.

Speed = less time exposed, more options. It does not mean everyone should go out and buy a Swan, but a good, solid, fast boat is better than a chunk of lead setting in the water waiting for the next storm to take a swipe at it. PS - I am not taking a punch at Valiant, it is still a better boat than mine. Just making a comparison.

As far as motoring, which was another point of your thread, I do not know where you have a choice (in general). At least, not in most of the areas I have sailed. Try sailing through the ICW on the miserable mile one time: I hope you have you life jackets on and good insurance.

This will start an argument, but SAILBOATS NEED FUEL TOO. There are very few purists left. If you need to punch it on, do it. Don't be ashamed of it. Come out of the closet, baby. Smell the fumes and be proud of that stinky, clanky chunk of metal downstairs. It might just save your life one day... or at least keep you from killing your kids.
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  #12  
Old 08-28-2006
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While I might prefer to sail, my location in S. Puget Sound makes it likely that I will be motoring a lot of the time. I have to contend with the Tacoma Narrows (5-6K current) to access most of my cruising grounds and I have to be there within a narrow window. Couple that with light and fickle winds in the summertime and I spend large amounts of time under power. If I'm daysailing or going to a close destination where speed is not the issue the sails go up if there is any kind of breeze. If currents are going to be adverse and I need to hit a specific point at a specific time I'm more likely to rely on the diesel. If the wind happens to be blowing fairly steady (rare in the summer) the sails will go up regardless. Because of the reality of the winds here I actually opted for a heavier and less performance oriented boat for my new one. It has more comfort for the family and given that I would be motoring frequently anyway I went for more comfort and I'll sail when I can.
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
Speed = less time exposed, more options. It does not mean everyone should go out and buy a Swan, but a good, solid, fast boat is better than a chunk of lead setting in the water waiting for the next storm to take a swipe at it. PS - I am not taking a punch at Valiant, it is still a better boat than mine. Just making a comparison.
This is the general position taken by Latitude 38 editors as well. However, it's worth noting that most of the "heavy weather" sailing books that we read deal almost exclusively with how to handle heavy weather with long-keeled heavy boats. Heave-to, everyone!

In contrast, I have to admit that I liked the Heavy Weather Sailing video from Netflix:

http://www.netflix.com/MovieDisplay?...=922760960_1_0

It focuses entirely on how to handle heavy weather with a light-to-medium displacement, fin keeled boat offshore, especially in the areas of steering and surfing through rough conditions when possible. In the segment about heaving to, their boat could do it but then lay broadside to the swells. Not a good thing.

Sorry this isn't about motoring...

Jim H
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  #14  
Old 08-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim H
In the segment about heaving to, their boat could do it but then lay broadside to the swells. Not a good thing.
I'd have to agree with that . . .

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  #15  
Old 08-28-2006
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I think this thread is turning a little bit from where Jeff started it but:

Be cautious with Sea Anchors and Drogues. Not all boats will ride well with them. Especially if the sea is coming in a differnt than the wind, you can easily get beam-on.

I unfortunately have first-hand experience with that.

Heavy weather techniques are best ried close to home in controlled conditions. I think SD even said that, if I am not mistaken... and he is right.
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Old 08-28-2006
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CruisingDad, I think you're mistaking this thread for the Fair Weather Sailor thread... I am not a fan of Sea Anchors, but I am a fan of the Jordan Series Drogue. Not affiliated with them at all, but think they're probably making the best of all the heavy weather safety gear for slowing the boat down.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #17  
Old 08-28-2006
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Probably right about the thread... oops. That what happens when I multitask I guess.

Sorry all.
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Old 08-28-2006
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great topic Jeff
we got our boat a yr ago last Nov. live n.e. mass. last yr i/we used the boat about 4times a wk. about 6/7 hrs. anyway i am on a mooring on the Merrimac r. and i used the motor maybe 5 times favorable wind/current. went two weeks to Casco Bay we motored most of the way up as this was our first trip up, and am new to this part of sailing. picked up good breeze around Boone Island and motor sailed the rest of the way to make up time did not feel comfortable being out after dark (newbie). this yr. went up with my son and bro. motor sailed to Isle of shoals and picked up real good wind just north of there put up the gennaker shut off the motor and put her in the wind. the point i'm making is you have to do what you have to do. it took us 13 hrs. to get to Peaks Island. so we had to motor sail the last 8 miles or so to make it to the restuarant before closing.
on the whole i don't like using the motor i sail on and off the mooring, have since day one, except with contrary wind, which seems to be the norm. this yr. the only time the motor gets used alot is to keep the ref. cold when on the boat. she seems to perform well in all but the lightest airs. i don't turn the motor on anless the wind dies comp. i am not a die hard i just prefer the quiet and trying to get the boat to do what it was desinged to do. (gulfstar 37). the boat has fit me/us like a glove since day one, i felt i could sense the she would handle and react just by looking at her. but the bottom line is i motor only when i have to and actually make better time doing it with orig. sails (79). she is very easy to get in the groove. only my opnion.
regards mike
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  #19  
Old 08-28-2006
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In a perfect world, we would only use the engine to get on and off the mooring. We rarely use it when daysailing and have averaged a little more than a tank of diesel per season even though we sail virtually every weekend. When we had a smaller boat which we only used for daysailing, we did not have an engine on it.

I would agree that having a slower boat can contribute to the desire to motor which may be why we have sought out reasonably fast boats. My friends have mocked me during my boat searches because of my interest in speed but lack of interest in racing. In my view, part of the fun of sailing is moving at a good pace. I get antsy siitting in a tub and watching other sailboats fly by us.

There are, however, various factors that require us to use the engine.
My wife and I are both employed on a fulltime basis. We will find that getting home from a weekend trip for work or kid's school obligations will force us to motor at 6 knots instead of running at 3 and a half in light winds.

Another issue that comes up is competition for moorings in unfamiliar harbors and even in familiar ones. For example, I live in the Newport area and take weekend trips to Block Island, where moorings are first come, first serve. Under prevailing conditions the wind will be right on the nose for that trip. (Under those same conditions we usually will sail the entire return trip.) If we arrive in Block Island late on a weekend day we will have to throw an anchor in a circus of powerboats. Call me a nervous Nellie, but I am much more comfortable at a mooring than in a anchorage filled with powerboats rafted up by the dozen.

The least frequent reason why we use the motor is that guests who either don't like sailing or are unaccustomed to it will often express impatience. (My mother-in-law has been known to say, "we can go home now," which she apparently understands to mean "turn on the engine.") Sometimes they will share their observation that they do not think we are moving (when we are making slow and steady progress).

While we are glad to have the engine and happy to fall back on it, there is nothing that beats wind-powered motion on water.
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Old 08-28-2006
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I have never owned a boat that motors faster than it sails except in very light conditions. So I am at a loss as to how someone would think they would get there more quickly in the winds we had this weekend. On the other hand, I am not such a purist that I won't crank up in the motor in 5 knots of wind to get to the anchorage, the crabs and the beer!
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