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chrisncate 10-25-2010 11:20 PM

We are 99% sure we are going engine-less

DubeJ 10-25-2010 11:33 PM


What you have said is the only way to sail, at least for me. I wrote a post on here about motor sailing, as I was unsure the point. A few people had good points, but I guess it comes down to what do YOU want. You were very specific. I sail Catalina 22s, Capri 16.5s without motor power at all. I have done just fine, and I agree, it does take a lot more skill to only sail. When I single hand a Pearson 36 though, I do motor, as it can be challenging pulling out of the dock, and I think I don't have a choice but to motor out of the Marina. Anyway, I say kudos to you and yours. I am pretty sure that Leaf Erikson and Zheng He did not motor out to America before Cris Columbo did. Good luck to you, and yes you are a purist, you and me also.

sailingdog 10-25-2010 11:38 PM

well, it certainly would force you to improve your sailing skills. :D When you don't have an iron genny to fall back on, you really don't have a choice but to improve your sailing skills.

However, it will limit you in some places that you can go, since not all harbors, canals, etc., are going to be safely navigable without an engine. In some cases, even if they are safely navigable, it won't be allowed. The Cape Cod Canal and the Panama Canal both come to mind. IIRC, neither allows a sailboat to proceed under sail.

One other issue is that the facilities that used to exist for purely sail-powered craft are getting scarcer and scarcer. Modern marinas tend to have narrower fairways, where getting in and out of a slip is almost impossible without an auxiliary engine, so you will also be limited in where you can stay.

That said, I say go for it. But, I would recommend that you setup a bracket so that you can use the dinghy's outboard to maneuver the mothership under certain conditions, like parking the boat in a slip in a tight marina when necessary under calm conditions. :D

RedtheBear 10-25-2010 11:59 PM

No, you haven't lost your minds YET. Yes it take more skill, you can learn this. But it also take much more care; tides, currents, winds can come together at the worst times to put you in grave danger that all your skill just plain won't get you out of. You better have lots ground gear, big and strong, and lots of rode to hold you in place while you get your brains beat out riding out the mess your in. Yes the old timers sailed without engines, and the coast are full of wreaks in testamone to the powers of mother nature. How fast can you tack or back wind while threading through a narrow opening in a coral reef at creep speed. Sailors are a traditional bunch but they're not above change and when engines came along they recognized the possibllities of a safer passage both for them and their ships.
Hey I'm not saying use the engine when you can do without it. Nothing beats the feeling of coming in or working you way out under sail alone, such a warm fuzzy glow and you can beam with pride as you walk the dock, But will it replace the feeling of watching your boat being smashed to peices on the rocks when you just couldn't beat the tide and wind of that shore. Will it be enough to keep you calm when you're down to bare poles in a squal and being shoved sideways to the white caps?
Just because you have an engine doesn't mean you have to use it, when was the last time you use a life raft or even your life vest? But would you sail without them?

sailingdog 10-26-2010 12:13 AM


Originally Posted by chrisncate (Post 659136)
We should be able to use the o/b for all you listed above though, right (the Panama canal, tough marinas, etc)?

It would be tough to use for the Panama Canal, as it probably isn't going to be powerful enough to drive the boat at the speeds they canal authority require. Also, in situations where the seas are heavier or there are wakes from other boats to contend with, the prop will probably ventilate a lot more than you'd want.


On the modern marina/tight fairway note, I have to tell you our current marina is notorious for this. They have crammed more slips into that place than you could believe as it is a condo/slip owner marina... it's tight in that place and we are used to that at this point..
Yup... they do that to maximize the money they can make.

sailingdog 10-26-2010 01:06 AM


Originally Posted by chrisncate (Post 659145)
Do you think it's possible to transit the canal with an o/b on an Alberg 30? we were thinking 15hp, and as of now we only have a 20hp Yanmar. Are there currents/wakes/waves in the canal that we could not overcome with an o/b?

The canal and the Pacific are in our future, this matters a great deal to us. Can it be done?


Originally Posted by chrisncate (Post 659149)
Good points, do you speak from experience? We were thinking of a 15 hp o/b to replace our 20 hp Yanmar. Would the difference be that much in a canal/marina/reef dodging situation?

I can see the reef situation being worse due to cavitation (hobby horsing) in waves, but everything else?

A lot of this depends on how the outboard is mounted and whether it is a long-shaft model or not. If you're using the outboard from your dinghy, it likely won't be a long shaft model, and unless you have a very unusual bracket design, it will likely be very prone to ventilating in any kind of sea or with any kind of wake action.

One other issue is that you often can't get as much power from an outboard when compared to an inboard engine of the same HP. This is due to the fact that most outboards have the wrong gear ratio and too small a prop to really provide the thrust that a displacement hull sailboat requires. Some outboards, like the Mercury Bigfoot series, are designed to work better with sailboats than others, but they're not very common—and they probably wouldn't work very well with a dinghy.

The stock prop on most outboards is really poorly suited to pushing a sailboat.

RedtheBear 10-26-2010 01:17 AM

Yes. The experence of a coastal sailer, but not deep blue water. I have been pushed aground off Tarpon Springs, Fla. in a 35' Vangard. I have tried threading the 1000 islands of south Florida in puffy days when everything seemed to go wrong, and beat my way in Tampa bay against tide and wind for hours. Trade it, hell no! But I also recognize that it could have got dicey and I could have lost my boat, crew, and put other people in danger for my stubborn stupidy.
One of the gains in growing older is to realize that you are only a frail human and you are not superman and there many people who care and belive it's their duty to come to your rescue when you do something that endangers you and yours. I now try not to be one of those who needs their aid.
I am not a fan of outboards on boats as large as your Alberg. Why hang the engine out in the weather off the stern? If you tip it up, you have to put it down to use it. If you leave it down you're dragging a prop through the water(isn't this why you wanted to get rid of the inboard) Ever try to tip down an outboard in a choppy sea? If you unship it to store it below, (space, smell) you have to hang it back to use it. This can be fun at sea(please don't drop it, engines hate total emerson) assuming you tided it off.
On the other hand you inboard is big, heavy(think balast) but inside. You can work on it even at night, rain. It will get you a whale of a lot further on an equal amount of fuel.(think becalmed 20 miles out) and a two blade prop lined up with the keel really isn't a noticable drag unless you are racing. You can line this up with a crayon mark on the shaft when the blades are in the correct position, if you're that worried about it. It can charge your batteries, heat your cabin, and can, in an emergency, pumb your bilge.
Yes, they REQUIRE mantainence, space parts, oil changes, filters; but guess what so do outboards. Your Yamar with care and attention will out live your boat, will the outboard?
This is my opinion. Opinions are as the drops of water in the sea, all sailors have them.

"it's the trip, not the destination"

noelex77 10-26-2010 03:34 AM

Following an engine failure a couple of years ago. I lived without a working for a little over a month, including a long passage to get somewhere to have the engine replaced.
It sounds very romantic to rely on sail alone. Its not.
The reality is its hard work and frequently dangerous in situations that would be easy with an engine.
The engine is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment. Think long and hard before you give it up.
I would at least try managing with a non working engine for an extended period of time before you take the steps to seal up the prop shaft etc.
You are also making the boat very hard to sell in future.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

St Anna 10-26-2010 05:02 AM

Good evening ladies, gentlemen and SD,

Our first yacht had the old MD7A - I had to rely on the sails. I grew up with/on my Fathers gaff ketch with an old Gardner 5LW (hand crank start). We sailed this mostly until he grew older and then got the engine serviced with an electric start.!

We are sailors - so sail, dont turn on the engine to reef or if the wind gets too strong! - ask Giu about this.

I do try to practice what I preach; We do have 100 horses under the cockpit, but being of Scottish extraction, I am a scrooge. I refueled in the Whitsundays and put $70 of fuel. Now in Brisbane, I will need about the same again. [Its about 800nm and 6 months apart]

We sail, its what we do - thats why we blog on SN. So I do appreciate people learning the old arts, using less technology etc - Be as self sustainable as I can. ** I qualify this comment, knowing I have the ability to earn enough $ to get things fixed if need be}

Anne Gash sailed around the world in a folkboat without an engine - Why cant we use our sails more?

tommays 10-26-2010 05:20 AM

When i as young (26) and had a waterfront apartment and a race dingy i sailed everyday in out of the narrow Patchogue river and never had a problem

Pretty sure i new how to sail at that point

When we had the V18 and then the J24 in the same place i am pretty sure i had become a better sailor BUT sailing in and out with the powerboat traffic was a bit different on larger boat and not so sure it was really all that fair to the other boats :)

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