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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


View Poll Results: How Much Do You Sail?
Always—and I scull into harbors because I don't even have an auxilliary engine on the boat 5 5.10%
Always—but I have a motor on the boat, but don't know how to use it 1 1.02%
>75% of the time 58 59.18%
50–75% of the time 18 18.37%
25–50% of the time 10 10.20%
0–25% of the time 2 2.04%
Never, I own a powerboat 1 1.02%
Never, I own a MacGregor 1 1.02%
Never, my name is CruisingDad—I just use it to support my barbeque grills and solar panels 1 1.02%
Sails, what are sails? What do you mean this is a sailing website? 1 1.02%
Voters: 98. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06-09-2007
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Do You Sail or Motor?

A recent post brought to my attention a question: How much time do you actually spend under sail versus having to fire up the Iron Genny.

The post indicated that they recently returned from a two-year cruise, during which they spent almost three-fourths of the time under power.

I find this very difficult to believe. After all, the Pardeys cruised for thousands of miles in a boat with no engine. Tania Aebi circumnavigated in a boat with an engine that was non-functional most of the time. Webb Chiles managed to almost circumnavigate in a 18' Drascombe Lugger, which did not have an auxilliary engine IIRC. Many others have gone thousands of miles, in boats that clearly did not have the fuel capacity to motor for the majority of the distances involved.

Now I can see several reasons for motoring 75% of the time—none of which are really very good in one way or another.

1) The boat just can't in light winds
2) The boat can't move to windward well
3) The crew doesn't know how to sail the boat properly
4) The crew is lazy and won't bother to sail
5) The crew planned their passages poorly
6) The crew is on a schedule and needs to motor to maintain it

On a longer passage—how much time do you spend sailing, and how much of the time do you motor? What other reasons are there for motoring? Mind you, this is for cruises—not deliveries, where there is a relatively rigid schedule.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-09-2007
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I think you are being a little unfair in this. If you sail along shore you will use the engine much more then during downwind offshore passages. Also your poll doesn’t have a category that fits my sailing. Some boats are engineless and I sail 100% of the time and others have an engine and I sail some percentage of the time depending on the selected route.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 06-09-2007
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True, there are some situations, like the ICW, where motoring is really the only feasible option.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-09-2007
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We motorsail +-50% of the time, but on average, we sail 25% - 50% of the time . . . since we have a motorsailer - Traditional Pilothouse Nauticats are efficiently designed to do just that.

We can motor at 9 kts, and sail at 6.5 to 7 kts - just under hull speed. Motorsailing however, is preferred when winds are light and on a time schedule, since we use less fuel to reach our destination than by motor alone. It is of course, also quicker than cruising using just sails.

Those times under sail are the most rewarding though. I motor out of the marina, raise full sail, kill the engine and then spend the entire journey under sail only.

In Narragansett Bay, winds become very brisk in the afternoon. If it wasn't for my wife's anxiety over sailing when winds are stronger - we would be in the over 75% category.
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I remeber the first time i saw somebody artfully tacking through my mooring field, i was in awe. It has been my inspiration ever since. I can sail too and from my mooring on my Pearson 26 so most days i don't use the motor. I have a feeling it will be a different story with the SC31! That is, if it ever floats again! Do you think it's a bad sign when someone has siliconed around the INSIDE of the seacock and backing plate . Honestly though, i would rather sail at 1 knot than motor at 6. If there is somewhere i have to be it can WAIT! For me sailing is living and the rest is just preparation/work so I will stay out as long as possible. I was out on lake Champlain thursday...2-4 knts....no one was out except a few boats motoring around. I drive 3hrs to get there so i go out anyway. I had my sails up for about 3-4hrs, did some work on the boat then watched the beautiful sunsets there. Then I (all alone) was rewarded with 10 knots, no clouds and a huge sky full of stars. One of the most peaceful sails yet. I stayed out until midnight....slept till 6am and woke to 15-20 g30 and sailed under full main till the afternoon. Life is GOOD!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross31
I remeber the first time i saw somebody artfully tacking through my mooring field, i was in awe. It has been my inspiration ever since. I can sail too and from my mooring on my Pearson 26 so most days i don't use the motor.
An admirable inspiration.

Quote:
I have a feeling it will be a different story with the SC31! That is, if it ever floats again! Do you think it's a bad sign when someone has siliconed around the INSIDE of the seacock and backing plate .
It isn't necessarily a bad sign...just a sign of someone who didn't have a clue on how to do a proper installation or re-bedding of a seacock.

Quote:
Honestly though, i would rather sail at 1 knot than motor at 6. If there is somewhere i have to be it can WAIT! For me sailing is living and the rest is just preparation/work so I will stay out as long as possible. I was out on lake Champlain thursday...2-4 knts....no one was out except a few boats motoring around. I drive 3hrs to get there so i go out anyway. I had my sails up for about 3-4hrs, did some work on the boat then watched the beautiful sunsets there. Then I (all alone) was rewarded with 10 knots, no clouds and a huge sky full of stars. One of the most peaceful sails yet. I stayed out until midnight....slept till 6am and woke to 15-20 g30 and sailed under full main till the afternoon. Life is GOOD!
Well said... I was out last Tuesday, and we sailed about 85% of the time we were out. The 15% of the time we motored was because it is required to pass the swing bridge—I don't believe they will even allow you through if you have your sails up. Motoring I can do about 6 knots cruising speed, we were sailing at 4.5-8 knots most of the day.

BTW, motoring long distances on my boat just isn't feasible. I only have the capacity to store about 11 gallons of fuel—and that is for both the dinghy outboard and the boat's outboard.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-09-2007 at 10:22 AM.
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I suspect some answers will be illusory, since it has been my observance that most sailors with cruising sailboats (not racers), DO motorsail most of the time and are not truely forthright whenever this topic is raised.

The obvious giveaway is their wet exhaust.
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Wish that we could sail 100% of the time, but when we're heading up & down the east coast, waiting on weather just takes too long. We motor on the ICW until weather permits us to jump outside...our preferred method.


Roger
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For me it was always an environmental thing. I can't stand seeing oil in the water. I had designed an electric system for my sc1 using a 48v system but i don't have the $ to do it. It then came to me that my logic was all screwed up considering the 3hr drive which uses about 7 gallons of gas just to get to the boat . My P26 has a outboard so i can't cheat like TB It's almost always up. My SC is going to be docked on a tidal river near the southern entrance of the Cape Cod Canal. The wind blows SW mostly in the summer and i have to head 2-3 miles directly into it to get to Buzzards Bay, so I have a feeling i will be doing more motoring in the future.
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Old 06-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueBlue
I suspect some answers will be illusory, since it has been my observance that most sailors with cruising sailboats (not racers), DO motorsail most of the time and are not truely forthright whenever this topic is raised.

The obvious giveaway is their wet exhaust.
You seriously see boats motor sailing that often???? My engine is used to get in and out of the dock/harbor only. The excetion to that is deliveries to and from our home port each year that requires motoring for a few miles.
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