Run your engine for about a half hour once a week and that should be all the exercise that it needs.
When under sail you really don't want to hear that engine running or pay for the fuel being used. Or you would have bought a sink pot to travel the water ways on.
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Idle or kill motor when under sail?
No, do not idle it, run it at cruising RPM in gear.
As the sun is very aggressive on your sails. So you will best protect them if you leave the sails covered. Even better - leave the sails at home to save some weight.
Also remove the mast and running rigging (and the keel - it is rally useless).
And by the way, you need much stronger engine. Min. 200 HP.
Who needs the sails if you can zoom much faster with an engine.
OK, all joking aside: Sailing is to me about being one with nature, feeling the breeze on your face, listening to the sound of wind and waves, escaping the noisy city. It is about fine tuning the sails and get that extra 0,1 knot of speed or 2 deg. wind angle - the wind will tell you when it is just right, but you have to listen. It is about having a glass of wine with your significant other in a solitary anchorage.
It is a lot more.
The guy, who told you to motor was a power-boater, an outboard engine salesman or someone who envies you that you sail.
I like the first part of Tomaz's answer the best! That is the way to do things, who needs a stick and sails, when you can motor! yep..........
Anyway, you asked this question why?!?!?!?!?!?!
I do admit, in light airs, sails are not quite doing the trick, I need/want to get somewhere sooner than later, I will raise the main, motor also. The main in light winds, say 2-5 or there abouts, will make it so you do not bounce in other boats wakes as much as if you were just motoring, as the sail will induce some heel for a better ride, other wise, shut the stink/noisepot off!
...The only time you might do something like this is if you're entering a narrow channel or fairway and might need the engine in a hurry if the wind dies—then it makes sense...but to do it when sailing in open waters is ridiculous.
Exactly what I do. The engine makes for a great "plan B", if something happens.
If it's already started when I enter a harbor, then there's no "will it start" worries, and it's ready to put in gear at a moment's notice.
Other than that, the only time to run the engine is when you are motoring or docking.
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
The best minds discuss sailing, anchors, batteries, rode length, fridge-or-not, freezer-or-not, and guns-on-board. I don't know why. It's a mystery!
Sailing is boating without the offensive engine noise. Why anyone would unnecessarily sail with a motor running is counter-intuitive, wrong, silly, illogical, or jaw-dropping stupid. I'd suggest the latter.