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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Do You Sail or Motor?
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Thread: Do You Sail or Motor? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-16-2007 10:01 PM
MysticSkipper I prefer to sail, but I am certainly not going to tack in a narrow channel that others expect to use at the same time. I put myself in the > 75%.
06-19-2007 11:38 PM
danjarch I spent a lot of time in the keys using the "d sail", tourism waits for no wind
06-16-2007 10:29 AM
morganmike I put myself in the 75% category, though actual analysis might prove it to be slightly less - but the numbers aren't all that important, as the replies here seem to indicate, it's the mentality ... I sail as much as the conditions will permit. I do moor in a busy, south-flowing tidal river with medium current and the wind is typically SW, making it very difficult to sail out of my (south facing) slip. And let me tell you that the ferry captains are very intolerant of sailing 'purists' who tack across the main shipping channel. Don't be surprised if they plan their CPA's to put a ferry on either side of you, stealing your wind and bouncing you around in their wakes like a teddybear in a washing machine. So the engine is important for safety, and to make getting to a point where sailing is possible in the first place. But as soon as I can, the sails are up, and even if the wind is light, we poke along without the engine.

But there's something fundamental being missed in the responses to this poll, and it's the same thing that makes the Coasties train all the cadets in engineless sailboats ... and that is that sailing forces you to be more aware of the wind, current, tide, other boaters and anything that might make it difficult for you to get where you're going under sail. It makes you consider all of the conditions in your cruising area, in a way that powerboaters and those with the tendancy to motor a lot don't have to. Why worry about the tide change if your just going to power in anyway? It makes a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way ... you can motor, so you will go out in less than optimal conditions, so you will get to the point where you need to motor.
06-15-2007 05:23 PM
tagster I'll some times fire up when the wind is too light. I'm not as maneuverable as some other boats, particularly in light wind, so I end up motoring when I'm in tight spots unless the wind is fair.

That being said, I don't really motor that much - because I'm significantly slower under power than I am with fair winds. My motor moves me at some 3.5kts at 1500 rpm, which is about as fast as I ever like to run the motor. I can run it higher, but I don't get much (I can run at 5kts if I want to consume twice the fuel, and make me fear the health of my 'old isuzu).
06-15-2007 12:27 AM
tdw Actually I tend to agree with PB about the elitist thing. Example, in our case while we are quite some few NMs up the harbour from the heads it's all quite wide enough to sail off the mooring , down the harbour and out to sea. For that matter you could easily spend the entire day inside the harbour but I find the commercial traffic, stink boats and racers to be a tad irritating.

On the other hand it is not at all unusual in Sydney during the summer for there to be absolutely no breeze at all until midday, so it's often convenient to motor down the harbour in the morning before heading outto sea as the breeze builds.

We also usually sail two handed and if we had a larger vessel than Raven's 34' I think we could well decide to motor until we cleared the heads.

Horses for courses.
06-14-2007 11:53 AM
Valiente
Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer
Not to cast aspersions, but I think it's easy to get a bit elitist about how little the motor is used. It would be great to never need it, but it's not an ideal world out there. The reality is, if you have to get somewhere, you get there however you can.
I don't think it's elitist, but it is a choice. I love my motor and spend a great deal of time understanding its mysterious ways. I prefer to sail, and would rather do so in all circumstances wherein I'm not already on the boat and need to get someplace in a hurry...because six knots is only a "hurry" when compared to three knots under sail. So when on my boat, I try to arrange things so that I "have to get somewhere" as little as possible. I'm not a purist about it, however: I would prefer to burn the expensive diesel rather than have it turn to sludge in my filters, but I try to purchase with excess time decent sailing experiences rather than get into ferrying boats under power...which was ironically what Portugal turned out to be, but what can you do?
06-14-2007 11:47 AM
Valiente
Quote:
Originally Posted by christyleigh
50-75% was my guess averaging out the weekend day sails that are around 90 with the couple of 'cruises' a year which are more acurately described as destination motor sails ....... unless the wind was perfect .... ya right
If guys like us waited for perfect wind, we might have done better spending the money on a slab-sided RV. I went out "shadowing" the race fleet last night with full main, jib and no staysail (couldn't be bothered) in winds of 5 to 12 to maybe 14 knots, avg. about 8-9. From the east, so the local island was providing a lot of wind shadow. But I went out about 1/2 NM under power, unrolled the jib and made about three knots on a reach. So I went to a beam and (just because I felt like experimenting) hoisted my main without going head to wind. That worked better than I'd hoped. Eventually we found a patch of breeze and made about 4.5 to 5 knots, which for a part-laden steel cutter is respectable in 10-12 knots of twitchy air. Basically, it's the opposite of Giulietta, on which I sailed in very similar conditions last week. Nonetheless, she'll move in any sort of wind and can point and tack smartly, if not particularly with alacrity.

We sailed quite close in to our basin before I switched the motor on, and while I'd have to check the hour meter, I think I ran about 25 minutes out of nearly three hours away from the dock. That's typical for an evening sail, because even with crappy, "barely sailing" air is better and more peaceful than motoring at the 6.5 knots I can do at 2,400 RPM. If I wanted that sort of experience, I'd own a Macgregor 26X.

Point is, sailboats should sail. They are terrible means by which you can work to a schedule, but for cooling off in the evening air, they are unsurpassed.
06-14-2007 12:13 AM
PBzeer I got to thinking about this the other morning when I had no engine, no wind, and the swell was slowly taking me shoreward. If you have a motor, and the wind isn't co-operating, and you need to get somewhere, by all means, use the Iron Jenny. Not to cast aspersions, but I think it's easy to get a bit elitist about how little the motor is used. It would be great to never need it, but it's not an ideal world out there. The reality is, if you have to get somewhere, you get there however you can.

Currently at 34 12 18 N 77 48 04 W
06-13-2007 11:19 PM
RAGTIMEDON It's not just the wind, guys, it's the current and the barge traffic and the locks. I don't really want to sail on the Mississippi River, but it's close to home. So I sail when I can, sit in the marina and drink beer when I can't sail, and frequently have to run the diesel to get back upstream when the wind dies. Waiting for lock clearance requires an anchor when the man says it will be an hour; or the diesel when the man says it will be 10 minutes. An idling diesel keeps me in place when there is a 2 knot current above the dam!
06-13-2007 04:04 PM
christyleigh 50-75% was my guess averaging out the weekend day sails that are around 90 with the couple of 'cruises' a year which are more acurately described as destination motor sails ....... unless the wind was perfect .... ya right
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