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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Motoring to sailing ratio vs performance.......
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-31-2006 07:39 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by captnnero
Bill, if you haven't seen it yet, check out the latest issue of Good Old Boat. I think there's an article about a very early plastic boat (mid-1950's) that recently smoked some 37 foot plus Beneteau and other modern boats in a race in the Caribbean. I left it on my boat so I'll get more info when I'm there next. This boat was about a 40 footer with very long overhangs. Nice work, eh ?
I love when this happens..
08-31-2006 07:01 PM
captnnero
good old boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrevans
... What surprises me is that I can catch almost any cruising boat that has decided to set sail and there aren’t many. Even though my boat was considered a race boat in its day I am only 16 feet on the waterline. So I shouldn’t be able to catch boat 10 to 15 feet or longer than me. ...
Bill, if you haven't seen it yet, check out the latest issue of Good Old Boat. I think there's an article about a very early plastic boat (mid-1950's) that recently smoked some 37 foot plus Beneteau and other modern boats in a race in the Caribbean. I left it on my boat so I'll get more info when I'm there next. This boat was about a 40 footer with very long overhangs. Nice work, eh ?
08-31-2006 12:22 PM
Dewey Benson
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrevans
Well I just can’t resist jumping in on this topic. My boat, a 22 ft Bluenose sloop, is an older universal rule type boat that wouldn’t make Jeff’s list of performance boats in this day and age.
Bill
Lopez Island
Ah but her short waterline dissapears at 18 degrees of heel! You probably have an effective waterline of 20-21 feet. This was designed by G. William McVay, and her "plank on edge" design is the speedy stuff of legend. Worst thing you can do with this vessel is under power with a quartering to dead stern seaway. Lots of reversing helm stuff. Very physical.
Nice yacht!

Dewey
08-29-2006 04:30 PM
wrevans Well I just can’t resist jumping in on this topic. My boat, a 22 ft Bluenose sloop, is an older universal rule type boat that wouldn’t make Jeff’s list of performance boats in this day and age. But I sail it three or four days a week in the San Juan Islands without an engine. What surprises me is that I can catch almost any cruising boat that has decided to set sail and there aren’t many. Even though my boat was considered a race boat in its day I am only 16 feet on the waterline. So I shouldn’t be able to catch boat 10 to 15 feet or longer than me. By definition I sail on and off my mooring and I anchor under sail and although I am not on a specific time frame, if I get caught out in light wind I get to row home. And rowing has been a great teacher. With every stroke I think about ways to get better light air performance out of my boat. This is what I think the engine takes away from sailing. I really think that the auxiliary engine has become necessary for most modern cruising sailboats. So for me it is less about speed than it is about being able to sail when I want in the widest of wind conditions. So I guess I lean in a similar direction to Jeff on performance. Now if I could only get over my gosh darn love of old skinny boats with large overhangs.

Fun Topic Jeff.

Bill
Lopez Island
08-29-2006 01:51 PM
PalmettoSailor This whole site is a great resource for newbies like me and this tread is a really good topic for discussion.

My wife and I are in our first season as sailors and as boat owners ('88 O'day 322). We pretty much try to sail as much as we can but use the motor when we have too which is a fair bit. I suspect at this point my ratio is close to 50/50 distance wise at least, but from a time perspective, we spent a lot more time this summer broasting in the sun while trying to figure out how to make the boat go, sometimes making little headway in the afore mentioned light air days, than we did motoring. That said, when it got too hot we weren't too proud to resort to the "iron genny".

Most of this summer, we focused on getting comfortable getting the boat from the marina to the bay and back, learning how to make the thing go, building on the experience of our ASA101 class. During this time, I watched a lot of boats pass us under sail alone, and a lot more motoring, as we learned how this sailing thing worked. Interestingly, we have a much easier time making the boat go upwind than making it go downwind.

Anyway, we are learning a lot and having fun, but I have to say the most fun We've had so far was a couple of weeks back, when with good wind, we caught up to, and passed another similar sized Hunter under sail, then stayed ahead of him through several tacks. When we realized the guy was more or less following in our wake, my wife and I laughed wondering what the guy on the other boat would think if he knew the crew of the boat that overtook him were a couple of neophytes. It almost made up for the sting of all those boats that passed us this summer. We have an instructor lined up for later this month to get some training on our boat, so look out on the Bay!!!

We're really looking forward to learning to get the most performance possible out of our wing keeled, baggy sailed ole girl, getting a few maintenence chores taken care of over the winter and really starting to explore the Chesepeake next year and hopefully holding our own agaist other boats on the Bay!
08-29-2006 06:19 AM
captnnero
To sail, or not to sail ?

Jeff, this is a fascinating thread. You've really touched on a fundamental of the sailing experience. There are quite a few dynamics involved. Forgive me for spilling from the gut here instead of focusing on a particular quote or two of yours, particulary since you started with so much for us to quote anyway . So rather then address you specifically, I will spew a bit along the lines of: "To sail or not to sail, that is the question".

We're on our third boat, all of them coastal cruisers (Pearson27, Ericson32, 34). We chose them on factors which most certainly included our practical sailing waters on the Chesapeake. Even if we'd had much more money to spend we would have ended up in the same performance/comfort range. To sail or not to sail ? Well that depends on the reason why we are away from the dock today and how much sailing we've done lately.

Sometimes we just need to go sailing becasue we need a fix. We go out for a few hours and sail whatever direction feels good with the wind and then work our way back. That means if there isn't enough wind for the amount of chop, we'll be uncomfortable, drop sail, and head for shore or maybe a day hook. Incidentally that is now less likely at least in our area since the power boat wakes are in smaller numbers as the fuel prices increase. If we had a boat with less performance that was harder to get going, we'd be giving up sooner too or not even go out to begin with regardless of the steadier footing. We wouldn't just be motoring around out there. I knew someone with an Island Packet who used to joke about not bothering with sailing until it was blowing hard. Of course on the Chesapeake there's plenty of light air, hence our choice for a lighter air boat.

Other times we've got a destination, whether on the way to or from. In those cases we're always disappointed if we don't get at least a few hours of good sailing fix along the way each day. Heck, one July weekend a few years ago we motored all the way to destination and back, racking up 11.5 hours on motor. We actually found a smooth spot on a river with a touch of a breeze and sailed for a whopping 20 minutes. That was so disappointing. We did find a good new gunkhole so it was not all in vain, but if the wind forecast hadn't been so overstated we wouldn't have planned to go that far in the first place.

When there is a destination, the decision to sail or not to sail at a particular moment is full of uncertainty and a very judgemental one when the winds are up. With low winds it's a no brainer. Once we've gotten a few hours of sailing in each day, our threshold for dropping sail is lowered. Then as we near the other end, we're more prone to sailing the rest of the way in. If we threw in the parameter of having less performance, the sailing time would suffer. After ten years exploring the Chesapeake, the pressure to venture further to new unexplored places increases, so I expect that eventually our motoring time will increase too. I do know at one extreme that if it's blowin' like stink, we'll be sailing unless we've got a tight channel or too much channel traffic and the wind is on the nose.

Your story indicated that your friend could have sailed in the plentiful winds this past weekend and had about the same transit time result. If I had been your friend in the other boat, I would have gotten the sails out for such a voyage at least when they became strong. While we did not have children, we've had experience with children of all ages on our boat sometimes for several hours at a time (BTW- NEVER let a two year old near a winch handle, much less get hold of one ). I can see how for people sailing with children on a regular basis it would sometimes be a downward pressure on the sailing decision, depending on the current family dynamics. One of our slipmates is a devoted sailor who can be heard in the slip laying the ground rules for his teenagers and their friends about even the presence of cell phones or a walkman before they head out. Those kids have been busted for text messaging too much. He has made them leave electronics ashore. It sounds like a challenge and he's not about to give in. He says what's the point of going sailing if you're going to be looking at and poking at your cell phone keyboard for hours ?

Some adult guests are a challenge for whom I must tailor the experience also. If they don't like the boat heeled much, then I just won't consider taking them far or long when better winds are a possibility. If people aren't up for the whole experience then the planned voyage is going to be curtailed. Perhaps that could be considered controlling, but it is after all a SAILboat.
08-29-2006 01:42 AM
Faster I think realistically only those purists (with no schedule - like the Pardeys) sail ALL the time. We recently spent 56 days cruising the BC West Coast, Georgia Strait, Jervis Inlet and Desolation sound. Many of these areas are typically wind vacuums in the summer. In 41 days of travelling we racked up 120 hrs on the engine. A few of those hours involved idling looking for decent anchorages, moorings etc. Of the 1056 NM we covered between the end of June and late August we probably motored 600 due primarily to lack of wind. We averaged 25-30 miles/day with two 90 and one 110 NM days out to and back from the West Coast. We enjoyed many 4-6 hour spinnaker runs, but suffered just as many calm days motoring. Our sail/motor threshold was a VMG of less than 2 knots (depending on the distance remaining) The first mate is not into night sailing. Period. So the longer days necessarily included motoring. The 17 hours we put into the 110 mile day was half motoring in calm/fog and the last half blasting downwind in 20 - 25 knots.
We never motor downwind in over 10 knots of breeze, and will most often sail upwind if the breeze is over 6-8 knots unless long distances are involved.
The last two days of our trip, reluctant to head home, we beat into a SE wind that varied from 5 - 20 - 5 knots over the two days, against a knot and a half of tide. It took us 40 miles sailing to cover 28 miles distance one day, but it was sunny, windy and thoroughly enjoyable. Did I mention no one really wanted to get home?
08-28-2006 06:52 PM
Surfesq I have never owned a boat that motors faster than it sails except in very light conditions. So I am at a loss as to how someone would think they would get there more quickly in the winds we had this weekend. On the other hand, I am not such a purist that I won't crank up in the motor in 5 knots of wind to get to the anchorage, the crabs and the beer!
08-28-2006 06:27 PM
CBinRI In a perfect world, we would only use the engine to get on and off the mooring. We rarely use it when daysailing and have averaged a little more than a tank of diesel per season even though we sail virtually every weekend. When we had a smaller boat which we only used for daysailing, we did not have an engine on it.

I would agree that having a slower boat can contribute to the desire to motor which may be why we have sought out reasonably fast boats. My friends have mocked me during my boat searches because of my interest in speed but lack of interest in racing. In my view, part of the fun of sailing is moving at a good pace. I get antsy siitting in a tub and watching other sailboats fly by us.

There are, however, various factors that require us to use the engine.
My wife and I are both employed on a fulltime basis. We will find that getting home from a weekend trip for work or kid's school obligations will force us to motor at 6 knots instead of running at 3 and a half in light winds.

Another issue that comes up is competition for moorings in unfamiliar harbors and even in familiar ones. For example, I live in the Newport area and take weekend trips to Block Island, where moorings are first come, first serve. Under prevailing conditions the wind will be right on the nose for that trip. (Under those same conditions we usually will sail the entire return trip.) If we arrive in Block Island late on a weekend day we will have to throw an anchor in a circus of powerboats. Call me a nervous Nellie, but I am much more comfortable at a mooring than in a anchorage filled with powerboats rafted up by the dozen.

The least frequent reason why we use the motor is that guests who either don't like sailing or are unaccustomed to it will often express impatience. (My mother-in-law has been known to say, "we can go home now," which she apparently understands to mean "turn on the engine.") Sometimes they will share their observation that they do not think we are moving (when we are making slow and steady progress).

While we are glad to have the engine and happy to fall back on it, there is nothing that beats wind-powered motion on water.
08-28-2006 05:43 PM
mike dryver great topic Jeff
we got our boat a yr ago last Nov. live n.e. mass. last yr i/we used the boat about 4times a wk. about 6/7 hrs. anyway i am on a mooring on the Merrimac r. and i used the motor maybe 5 times favorable wind/current. went two weeks to Casco Bay we motored most of the way up as this was our first trip up, and am new to this part of sailing. picked up good breeze around Boone Island and motor sailed the rest of the way to make up time did not feel comfortable being out after dark (newbie). this yr. went up with my son and bro. motor sailed to Isle of shoals and picked up real good wind just north of there put up the gennaker shut off the motor and put her in the wind. the point i'm making is you have to do what you have to do. it took us 13 hrs. to get to Peaks Island. so we had to motor sail the last 8 miles or so to make it to the restuarant before closing.
on the whole i don't like using the motor i sail on and off the mooring, have since day one, except with contrary wind, which seems to be the norm. this yr. the only time the motor gets used alot is to keep the ref. cold when on the boat. she seems to perform well in all but the lightest airs. i don't turn the motor on anless the wind dies comp. i am not a die hard i just prefer the quiet and trying to get the boat to do what it was desinged to do. (gulfstar 37). the boat has fit me/us like a glove since day one, i felt i could sense the she would handle and react just by looking at her. but the bottom line is i motor only when i have to and actually make better time doing it with orig. sails (79). she is very easy to get in the groove. only my opnion.
regards mike
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