Join Date: Jan 2012
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When I sailed from Panama to the Galapagos there was no reason to use my engine. However, it is really nice to have when coming into a port. You can take the sails down, you can manuever easily around other boats, and you're not putting anyone in danger if the wind dies down when you don't expect it.
I used oil lamps, had no fridge or computer and collected rain water. So, I didn't have to have an engine and really didn't have the need for one on long sails.
Having said all that - one time that engine saved my boat, coming in through a pass. So, is one necessary - for me it was.
On long passages, turning on your engine when the wind dies is sort of dumb. Why are you in a hurry if it really is 20 days to the next port? And, isn't the point to enjoy the water? If the wind is so low that you can't sail, take them down and go swimming, read a book, fish a little, life is good. All the engine does is use fuel, stink up the air and make noise.