Rough Seas Power or Sail? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 62 Old 03-23-2016 Thread Starter
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Rough Seas Power or Sail?

Obviously a newbie here but ask whats best in very large seas? Power or Sail? In a powerboat you have control of the throttle while navigating large waves. How is that controlled Saining? Sheerly by the angle into the wave? Just wonder if its nasty (15 ft blowing 40) do you motor or sail?
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post #2 of 62 Old 03-23-2016
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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

Got to sail so the boat sticks to the water and my cookies stay down!...Dale
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post #3 of 62 Old 03-23-2016
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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

A Sailboat under sail is much more comfortable than when under power. Having the sails loaded up prevents the boat from rolling, so you only have to deal with pitching as you go over waves. Just watching a power boat in rough seas makes me want to woof my cookies!

Of course this assumes that you have the skills to handle the weather. If your boat is not set up correctly for strong winds, or you don't know what you are doing, you might be safer motoring!

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post #4 of 62 Old 03-23-2016
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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

SchockT nailed it.. as long as you have the boat under control, the motion under sail will be easier/better and in all likelihood you couldn't go any faster under power anyway - often even if you're beating.

However just how 'comfortable' anyone will really be depends on their threshold and the actual conditions - and your own definition of 'rough seas'.

There's a Utube video out there somewhere that follows a racing boat with a fairly experienced crew on a windy reach in a local race a few years back.. Early on, 20-25 knots, surfing - smiles and ky-yiing all around.. later 30-35 knots, still active, still 'digging it' apparently but not quite so 'happy' and a tad tense.. later still, 45-55knots, race abandoned and struggling to gain shelter, dead quiet, hanging on for dear life - the grins are gone...
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I guess with the right sails you can slow down enough to not be launching off waves. 50 years ago Trollers here in Alaska had sails to slow the roll of the vessel. I have Stabilizers that run about 12 ft below water to help
with the roll while fishing. Thanks for the replies.
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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

When discussing boats of the same size in my experience sail is always more comfortable. The only exception I can think of would be something like the Dashew FPB. I don't know it's more comfortable but it might be.

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post #7 of 62 Old 03-23-2016
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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

For us and on most sailboats I've been on, powering into 15' seas in 40 knots of wind wouldn't get us there in a timely fashion, period. We might make 3 knots with a good current behind us.
Properly reefed, we'd easily be making upwards of 8 knots under sail and depending on the distance between the waves, we'd probably even be fairly comfortable in those conditions. Of course, the farther off the wind you are, the easier it will get. 40 knots of wind in 15' seas on the beam would be a sleigh ride for most of us under sail and a hellacious ride under power!
Sailing into Admiralty Bay from West Cay on a typical 20 to 25 knot tradewinds day, we'll sail about 11 miles to go the five we would directly powering. But we sail more than twice as fast, so it makes much more sense to sail it than power it.
I've operated a few motorsailers where powering was the more efficient way, but all were at least capable of sailing it, were it necessary.

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post #8 of 62 Old 03-23-2016
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We fail much faster then we motor.
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post #9 of 62 Old 03-23-2016
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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

Originally Posted by Shockwave View Post
We fail much faster then we motor.
I'm going to assume that is a misplaced F for an S.

Cause yeah, more comfort under sail than motor. And yeah, sailing in heavier weather, is gonna be faster than motoring. Or you can motor sail and go faster yet (or just stay at hull speed better).

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Re: Rough Seas Power or Sail?

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