Join Date: Jun 2011
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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.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
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