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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 05-01-2010
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Engineless?

Hi, I have a (new to me) Columbia 31 with a Atomic 4 that is not running at the moment. I am new to sailing and want to get some time under sail, practice and learn the boat. What difficulties would I have taking her out with auxiliary power? or should I just wait until I get the motor up and running?

Thanks

Ed
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Old 05-01-2010
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Ed -
With all due respect, if you don't know what difficulties you might get into I would recommend you get the engine running first, unless you can get somebody quite experienced to come along. Sailing without an engine will, however, make you into an expert boat handler. You just have to avoid running into anything dangerous or expensive.
While I'm here, I am really paranoid about gas inboards. I would rather have an outboard if I couldn't afford a diesel.
Fair winds.
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Old 05-01-2010
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outboard

put a Tohatsu 9.8 XXL shaft 4 stroke on the transom. Sell the A4. Go sailing.
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Old 05-01-2010
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Ignore these A4 naysayers. Hie thee over to the Moyer Marine forums, where we talk A4s all day and night long. The A4 is a great little engine that's nearly impossible to kill, and is lots quieter and less stinky than a diesel.

By all means, if you can get hold of an outboard in the interim, put it on your transom and get sailing. But don't abandon the A4 without coming over to talk with us A4 enthusiasts first.
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Old 05-02-2010
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I don't think an outboard would work so hot on that particular transom. Sailing engineless is a whole other adventure, but it's not that dangerous. It's like riding a bike vs. driving in a car.

Except that there are currents, wind, and seas that might dash your bike on the rocks, so just keep that in mind.
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Old 05-02-2010
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While I definitely think you need to know how to sail before shoving off without a motor in a decent sized boat, there are some other considerations that might affect the level of competency needed, such as...

1. Where you are sailing, a lake? a calm bay with minimal tides? a river that can run 2 - 3 knots of current all day?

2. How busy is the area, what are the docks like? Just a few boats around and big long docks to pull into will make it easier, crowds and close quarters will be MUCH harder.

3. Do you have to be home for dinner, or can you end up anchored out for the night if winds and tides gang up on you?

I do know there are a number of people who sail in the Puget Sound engine-less, which is known for tough tides, but I am not yet one of them (although I want to be someday) Our boat is in the Columbia river now, and with the high currents nearly all the time, I do not think it would be feasible at all unless you do not mind anchoring for many hours, waiting for the small time when the currents drop to beat up the river.
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Old 05-02-2010
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jaschrumpf---- i checked out the mover marine link you posted. one poster said he had a coil that was supposed to be used with a " balanced " resistor but he didn't have one. a coil designed to be used with a ballast resister operates at a lower voltage than 12 volts so the resister is in the circuit to lower the voltage to the coil. an ignition switch with run & start will have a wire that bypasses the resister on the start circuit to raise the voltage to the coil when starting. the run circuit then goes through the resistor. if the resistor is not used too many amps going through the coil will cause it to heat up & fail. if the resistor is defective the engine will fire on the start circuit, but not run. the condenser ( capacitor ) in the distributor does two things. when the points open the condenser takes the voltage surge so the points do not arc. it then discharges back through the coil causing a rapid break down of the magnetic lines of force in the coil. this induces a very high voltage in the secondary windings in the coil & a spark at the plug.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
--- Sailing engineless is a whole other adventure, but it's not that dangerous. It's like riding a bike vs. driving in a car.
tager -
More like riding a bike with no brakes?
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Old 05-02-2010
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Thanks for the feedback. As a new A4 owner the first thing I did was join the Atomic 4 forum and introduce myself to Moyer Marine. I'm in the process of fixing some of the PO's short cuts and getting a little antsy. Being in Southwest Florida I guess it would be best to have some type of power. I do however have a couple nice anchors.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed031 View Post
Thanks for the feedback. As a new A4 owner the first thing I did was join the Atomic 4 forum and introduce myself to Moyer Marine. I'm in the process of fixing some of the PO's short cuts and getting a little antsy. Being in Southwest Florida I guess it would be best to have some type of power. I do however have a couple nice anchors.
What sort of PO "shortcuts" are you working on now -- electrical or mechanical? When I got my boat with her A4, I had never owned a boat before but I do know engines a bit. The first thing he told me about starting the engine was "Turn on these two switches first." When I asked what they did he told me he didn't know, but that the PO he bought it from had told him to do it, so he did. Turned out that they were two separate fuel pumps -- one right off the tank and the other was the engine's original fuel pump with the oil pressure sensor switch bypassed. First thing I did there was take the extra pump out of line, then hook up the oil sensor switch the way it should have been. Everything worked perfectly.

I spent the rest of that summer fixing all the previous PO's "shortcuts" -- mostly electrical -- and getting rid of the rat's nest of deadhead wires and appalling splices. It might not look Bristol-fashion either now, but at least all the wires are the right gauge and don't have bare-ended splices hanging off them.

What's keeping your engine from running now? Are you a member over at Moyer's yet? I looked for your username but didn't find it. Keep us A4 fans posted as to your progress.
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