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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 04-09-2013
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Using sailboat without sails.

This might be a blantantly newbie question but does anyone ever use a smallish sailboat with just an outboard? In other words, taking it out and leaving the sails behind? I have a 17' which I am a ways away from gaining enough experience to take it out in the back bay area. However, I am interested in still using it for crabbing and clamming. Since I plan to eventually get a small outboard for it anyway, I figured I could get one now and make use of the boat until I am competent enough to sail her.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

Why so shy? Certainly you can do as you suggest, but take the sails with you and play around on the right day(s). Waiting isn't going to prepare you, only practice will .. unless you're getting that experience on OPBs (Other Peoples Boats)
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

Most sailboaters use their engine more than they care to admit. It is all about getting out on the water and having a good time. Just make sure you do not over power the boat and that the transom can handle what ever motor you put on. A motor might help you with learning to sail, give you a bit more confidence knowing you can get back. We were all new at one time so like they say the only dumb question is the one not asked.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

What kind of 17' sailboat is it?

If there's a hole in the center (for a daggerboard/the keel) then just keep in mind that the bottom might always be taking on a little water, especially if motoring at a good speed they can basically flood themselves. When I towed my old small sailboat in the water I stuffed the hole with towels to plug it up, it worked alright...If the boat has a fixed-keel then it's going to move a little more like a sailboat in the water, and be difficult to counter-maneuver in current with your outboard, but you can make it work.

Nothing wrong with your idea, though. get the most out of it while you own it, and remember it can be sailed.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

At one time I was using my Holder 14 (without the mast, sails, dagger board and rudder) with a 5HP outboard. Since the motor mount on this boat is off-center, it was prudent for me to sit on the opposite side of the mount to balance the boat better. The boat was stable and quite fast. I don't recall taking water through the dagger board box - mine is quite high, or I was not going fast enough.

Last edited by krisscross; 04-09-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

Some dinghy sized sailboats double as row boats or motor boats. Good for fishing, etc.

Ideal learning conditions are not too slow, not too fast (maybe 10 kt wind). But, despite the forcast, you never know when that will actually happen. So, bring sailing gear along even if you don't plan on sailing.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

Sure. I have a 15' sailing dinghy that I sail 90% of the time, but now and then I just want to get somewhere, and then I'll leave the mast and sails at home and just use the motor. Why not?
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

one does not gain experience by leaving the sails behind.


Get out there and give it a try. Pick your weather, and I 100% absofreakinlutely guarantee you will surprise yourself.
Use your outboard when an outboard is appropriate.
yeah, I sometimes simply fire up the iron genny when the wind is too light to move my pig of a boat, and we just want to head out of port to "bake and bob'.
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Old 04-09-2013
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

Humans have been sailing some 5000 years; it ain't rocket science! There is nothing wrong with what you want to do, but with summer and light winds just around the corner, it's not a bad time to begin sailing. As long as you have a reliable outboard, you can always lower the sails if you feel you are out of your depth. I suggest "Royce's Sailing Illustrated" as a fun introduction to sailing.
The biggest sin in owning a boat is never using it.
Have fun.
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Re: Using sailboat without sails.

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