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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Sailing without an Engine
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Thread: Sailing without an Engine Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-16-2011 12:26 AM
joelsanda A couple of trips back I was motoring in and fumbling with the tiller and the engine throttle. These boats (club owned) have the outboards mounted port and it's rather awkward to use the tiller and throttle at the same time.

Between the throttle, tiller, directing the my son and friend, maneuvering into the slip and watching another boat swinging about it dawned on me the engine was more trouble than it was worth. If it died, which these love to do at or above idle, I'd have some explaining to do.

As it was I came in a little too fast and the first line wrapped about a dock cleat was the port stern line. This caused the bow to swing out to the starboard very quickly. Luckily my friend caught that and nothing happened.

But had I come in with oars and/or a reefed main I could have spilled air and cranked the tiller to slow probably faster then throttling down, switching to reverse, and applying gas.

Thanks for the encouragement and stories - next time out willbe maneuvering in tight quarters for practice!
08-16-2011 12:05 AM
junkrig The Chinese operated amazingly large boats with a specially evolved sculling oar. Google "yuloh". It's not docking under sail, but it doesn't stink and roar, either, and is not likely to break down.
08-15-2011 10:31 PM
Classic30
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatHatDiver View Post
I'm a green sailor and one thing I have learned around the docks is SLOW IS PRO.
Any mug can roar around quickly - that's why there are so many stinkpots in the world - but sailing slowly, below steerage way, with precision, requires skill.
08-15-2011 10:21 PM
RatHatDiver I'm a green sailor and one thing I have learned around the docks is SLOW IS PRO.
08-15-2011 10:16 PM
Classic30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
When we came in with no motor, in 15 knot winds... I was flying a reefed main only (keeping sail area simple, and tacking pretty hands free). Spilling wind on my way in. We were doing 2.5 knots on a port reach, at the end of the dock... 80 feet away was our slip (and 90 degrees in, and into the wind). I instructed crew, what was happening.. no time for topping lifts, or the like, boom was going into the cockpit at speed, and I would be running from tiller to dock (crew isn't really crew at this point they are ballast, no one that nimble yet except me). Everyone knew this was a ONE-TAKE only bit, but were kept in the loop to know what to expect. The boom/mainsail dropped (controlled), we are on bare poles, coasting the 80 feet. Doing 1.5 knots for my 90 degree turn.

After my 90 degree turn, coasting now at 1 knot, we slid into our dock perfectly, with enough time for me to hop off and stop the boat. It was quick, and less than subtle, but we hit nothing. We collected main/boom, and cleaned up from there once docklines secured.

I would not want to do this every time, but knowing how, and what do expect is part of sailing.
Well done! It sounds to me like you've worked it out.

The key is being able to drop the sail quickly and safely and in picking the right moment to do it. It is a very satisfying thing when you nail it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
This is WAY more difficult as the boats get bigger. We've been forced to do it with our 6000lb 27 footer (dead engine), and you need precision and big arms to stop that beast in the slip. But the J/22 should at least prepare you for what is necessary to do .
Bigger? Not so much - but heavier, yes.

We (and others) regularly sail 3000kg Adams 10's in and out of the dock for the Twilight races - in all conditions (our boat is moored stern-to and requires a 90-degree turn off the main channel) and we carry no engine. Sometimes a tow from someone with an engine is a handy thing to help us get to the start on time, and most are happy to oblige.

After a point it becomes simply too difficult and dangerous to sail in and out of a dock. eg. the +50-foot old gaffers without engines are generally kept on swing moorings instead.
08-15-2011 09:58 PM
Classic30
Quote:
Originally Posted by CorvetteGuy View Post
Even a small 2 horse air cooled outboard will not add weight but will add peice of mind when needed.
Maybe. It depends on the boat, the skipper, the way the outboard is rigged and how easy (or difficult) it is to operate from the cockpit.

I've seen people get into a lot of trouble - and cause a lot of damage - trying to get an undersized outboard in gear at the last minute (that won't stop them them anyway) when they should have been concentrating on what was happening in and around the boat and fending off instead.

Boats in our fleet that usually sail without engines might carry an outboard - but it isn't on the stern or running when they come in. It's down below, ready to take them home on a flat calm day...

In my experience, you either come in under engine or sail - not both. Having a noisy outboard on the back ready to snag lines and distract crew is really not going to help you get in safely.
08-15-2011 02:10 PM
Mark1948 In my area (Milwaukee) most training is done on boats without a motor - Ensings and Yinglings so its is the learning norm ranther than the unsusual. It was certainly a benefit to me when my trasmission went out.
08-15-2011 01:45 PM
PaulfromNWOnt I should add that I met a fellow a few weeks ago who referred to his engine as a "Decoration" on the stern. Everywhere he goes he sails (narrow channels and all).

He's sailed up the west coast to Alaska twice without an engine, and swears by it.
08-15-2011 01:41 PM
PaulfromNWOnt I've been doing "dead stick" approaches into my slip all summer. Engine in the water, idling away in neutral, ready to assist at a moment's notice. This past weekend our club held a community sail, and I could count on one hand the number of approaches and departures 2 of the boats did under power on one hand.

It's an excellent skill to have. With any luck, I'll be doing that very thing all next summer.
08-15-2011 01:36 PM
deniseO30 Think what sailors of pre-industrial era did. PADDLE! I'm guilty of not having any kind of paddles on my 30ft but, seriously if you have a smaller sailboat it's really easy to move your boat with them. I'd venture to say, that a good LONG and STRONG pair of oars rigged to the primary winches (or other location,would actually work on most boats. (for docking and just getting the boat to glide into a slip) One problem is finding or making said oars. spruce or ash being the best woods for them.
Sculling is a possible way to just maneuver a boat too.
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