ASA and PSIA Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2000
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So some here think leaving port without a functional engine is a root cause of the loss of this boat? Its time to invoke the Lin & Larry Pardey credo - not many sailboats really need an engine and our reliance on them makes sailing less of an experience. My first boat was a 27 footer with a seized diesel when I bought it. Sailed it for two and a half years without an engine and learned more about sailing that boat, what I could and couldn't do, than I ever would have if the engine had worked from day one. I regularly sail my current 37 footer on and off the mooring without ever starting the engine. I just don't buy it that you MUST have a good engine on a sailboat to be safe!
Good advice. While I think an operable engine is a good backup safety device, valuable for certain circumstances, but necessary for none..,on a sailboat, the sails are the safety devices.
Even the best outboard is pretty useless in rough seas. The rougher the seas, the more you should look to your sails as the solution to your safety.
Most of the boats we sail such as the Cal27 have small mainsails which are poor or inadequate to power the boat to windward, maybe not powerful enough to make a tack (although a gybe should always be an alternative). The solution is to deploy the jib, partially furled if necessary, and no main at all if necessary. The jib will still drive the boat. If the OP was trying to manage his vessel in rough weather under just a main, he was trying to make it do something the boat (and similar design boats) do very poorly or not at all.
Certified...in several regards...
Last edited by sailingfool; 10-30-2011 at 08:37 AM.