SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was finally able to take a trip of more than 60 miles in my H-20...a good bit of which involved cruising 1-2 miles off the beaches in SW Florida. I motor sailed about a quarter to a third of the time. I like taking some of the load off my 5hp Tohatsu when I need to motor...as well as any gains in speed when the winds are light.

If you don't mind sacrificing some upwind performance it seems like there are some great benefits to motor/sailing for the coastal cruiser or long-distance cruiser.

In especially tough lee-shore situations...isn't it safer to bag the idea of fighting into the wind and simply fire the motor in neutral...and (if it starts) then furl the sails and head into the pilot-house out of the elements.. and proceed under power off the lee shore without spending excess mental and physical energy that cruising might demand later ? Go with the flow makes more sense to me.
One is able to add more cabin/stowage room to your boat while reducing only the sail area that otherwise might be getting out of hand in a blow...or would only help in light air or for speed thrills.
In a 20-foot sloop that is cruising 8-20 miles between the safety of inlets/passes of the Gulf , if I am in light air and not moving very fast then I am putting myself and craft in jeopardy of T-storms or mis-forecast weather. I am going to turn on the motor...and with sea-breezes filling the sails...get to my hull speed plus a little instead of waiting for the afternoon winds to get me to hull speed.

The only real downside to me is aesthetic... waves/ spray may force one to go inside the pilot-house when a pilot of an aft open cockpit boat would just be feeling his oats and enjoying the scenery....I like being outside as much as possible and I don't like seeing the world thru a window-frame so to speak.

So what are YOUR rants and raves about motor-sailing.I'd love to get a discussion going....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,070 Posts
Motor sailers are really a compromise between a Sailing vessel and a motor vessel. You end up with either a poor sailing motorboat or a fuel burning Sailboat. Neither is what you really wanted.
There are some good designs out there... but you will need to ferret them out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
There are more "motorsailers" in production now than at any time in the past. Back in the sixties and earlier, most sailboats had very small engines just for manuvering to and from the dock. Most sailboats produced now have propulsion engines that are rated to move these vessels at or near hull speed and usually with an enclosed bimini. They're pretty much all motorsailers,- they just don't look like it! 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

·
baDumbumbum
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
Sailboats are much more stable when their sails are full and drawing; dropping canvas to motor in rough conditions can make for nasty boat motion. And if you always do what's easiest, will you be able to get off that lee shore on sail alone when -- not IF, WHEN -- your motor croaks? Learn to claw. A motor is no substitute for seamanship.

As for motorsailing ... please. In very light air, motoring ensures the apparent wind is straight on your nose, no matter what your heading. Fall off and the 'wind' falls off with you. The sails are just added resistance, helping not at all. If you decide to motor, fine -- motor. There are times when that is the best, safest, and perhaps only choice. If you want to sail, sail. I have seldom seen a boat motorsailing intelligently, tho at Catalina Island I saw a lot of sailboats motorsailing in perfect 10kt winds, with no regard to sail trim or heading. Most obnoxious was a (reasonably expensive) sloop heading DDW from Two Harbors to Avalon -- in 10 kts, remember -- with the motor running, headsail furled, mainsail up -- and boom close hauled. The boat was plunging and lurching violently as it performed a series of mini-jibes, and we were honestly waiting for it to knock itself down. In ten knots, with mild seas. Odd you say you aren't sure why more people don't motorsail; four-fifths of the sailboats at Catalina were motoring, sails up or not.

I also have philosophical issues with the convenience argument. I'm neither a Luddite nor a purist; I do, however, wonder about people who own sailboats but motor them most of the time because it's easier or more convenient. Sailing is about doing things the hard way, isn't it? There's no rational argument for sailing these days -- we must choose this anachronism because it's tricky, and esoteric, and requires us to learn things about the sea, the boat, and ourselves. ANY idiot can drive a powerboat. It takes a SPECIAL KIND OF IDIOT to make a sailboat go.:)

And as Boasun says, sailboats make lousy powerboats -- underpowered, non-planing, bad-steering, prop-walking cows. If you prize the benefits of motoring a sailboat, you'd probably be even happier on a purpose-built motorcraft. It's like putting a gasoline motor on a bicycle: it's not as good as a motorcycle or scooter, yet you've just nixed the primary purposes of riding a bicycle: environmentalism, fitness, and a feeling of accomplishment. Oh yeah -- sailboat motors have pretty short lives, so using them casually will lead to rebuilds or replacement every five years or so, which may cost far more than the boat is worth. Sails cost money and wear out too, so motorsailing (which strains the motor AND flogs your sails to kleenex) is doubly expensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Well...Boasun..I guess what I was going on about was more the benefits of motor-sailing and not necessarily the merits of an actual motor-sailer. Apologies...I think my thread was kinda ambiguous in a way Boasun.
It just seems to me after doing a little reading and a little motorsailing that almost anyone can benefit from what motor-sailing has to offer. You don't have to have a motor-sailer to motor-sail afterall. Anyway, it seems that smaller boats that live under say 7 knots under sail during even the most ideal conditions are the ones that stand to benefit most because bigger boats can pile on the sail ,have the waterline speeds, and can withstand bigger seas generally. The speed that a smaller boat can get from motor-sailing at say, 9-12 mph can increase safety windows greatly for a light coastal cruiser. Also, when you can motorsail with a motor under 25 hp, the cost of the gas is much less and that makes motor-sailing more appealing. I guess it just lets us small guys cover ground and get places with more safety that bigger,much more expensive boats go without a second thought .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Good point Captain Force...if you define a motor/sailor as the ability to motor at hull speed... and many people do...then you're absolutely right...there ARE more motor/sailors being built now than ever before....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,070 Posts
Actually my opinion in what YOU want in a boat is not what matters.
When you see the boat that you feel will fill your dream is what matters.
So asking a lot of questions is a good start. Looking at a few hundred boats is good...
Chartering a motor sailer or two will help you decide on what you desire and can afford. So the decision are up to you...

I rented a couple of cars and drove them for a week before I decided on the model I wanted.
You may want to do the same with the boats also, or catch rides with various people on their boats and get a good feel for your Ideal vessel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
Count the number of MacGregor PowerSailer sail boats that are out there then ask again why there are so few motor-sailers and you will realize there are many.
Actually we need a lot more of the true motor-sailer breed of boats up here in the PNW, we are short of them. Those that are here hold their value and are in demand. A motor-sailer (the kind with a pilot house) would really help extend the short sailing season we get here. They may not be the prettiest sailboat but I would sure like one. Maybe when I am retired.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Motor/sailers thread cont.

Hope you find yourself in a nice one someday soon Capt Kermie.. I just read a story about a couple that took one from Bellingham,WA to Juneau...can't recall where that article was...hmm...oh ok... it's in the Mac 26 website pages. Not bad for a retired trailersailer couple from Albuquerque... I guess the 50 hp outboard REALLY came in handy for them dealing with currents and having little local knowledge to go on...
 

·
Handsome devil
Joined
·
3,479 Posts
ANY idiot can drive a powerboat. It takes a SPECIAL KIND OF IDIOT to make a sailboat go.:)
Nice.....Should be in your signiture line..:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I would be shocked to see disagreement or debate on the subject of motor powered sailboats. :)

I second the OP suggestion to spark open discussions on the merits of Motorsailing and would actually like to expand it further on Sailnet. We began our search 12 months ago for our dream sailboat to facillitate early retirement on the water. We considered all tradeoffs on makes, models, performance and pricing. I'm very comfortable with the final decision we made to satisfy OUR NEEDS. After months of reading, evaluations, walkthroughs, I'll distill it down to the pros and cons on our decision for a Motorsailor.

PROS
- live aboard space and comfort for 2 tall, 6'+ people and occasional 6'6" son
- systems to support comfort, fuel, water, A/C, food storage, berth size
- 90% of time on boat to be spent at anchorages - so get there when needed
- ability to harness wind and sail for cruising life. Racing life over thank you.
- ability in an emergency to get home - 2000 miles on working engine, tankage

[BCONS[/B]
- that pure, sleek sailboat look. Love any Sparkman and Stephens design
- those beautiful salon/pilothouse views = more windows = more risk
- more on-boat systems = more stuff to maintain and repair

To summarize it came down to overall comfort vs. overall sailing performance. I will say after my complete survey in New Zealand, I was very pleased with the sailing only performance of Jungle - 7kts in 16kt wind. And I always sail for minimum tacks, i.e. 4 from Annapolis to St. Michaels! (Just bragging to the Chesapeake boys and girls). Two final points on a well designed motorsailor;

1. they are designed to balance engine fuel economy to sail trim. This means I can motor sail 1000 miles, averaging 7 kts @ 2 liters/hour or 6 liters/hour - up to me to balance/trim. Jungle includes fuel consumption guage to monitor.
2. the engine/generator are designed to run quietly on isolated stringers and acoustically dampened engine room. My 210HP Cummins and Onan genset are significantly less noise (1/2) than previous 75HP Yanmar and Northern Lights genset. So cocktails don't shake so bad - reason for selling last boat. :) Priorities ladies and gentlemen!

I'm off to Hawaii on Saturday to pick up our new home, delivered from NZ by the PO, including 3+ days through 72 Kt following winds and 30' South Pacific seas and only a "wet sock" to show for it. Also ran into 50Kts on the nose and maintained 6-7 kts under power only. I'll let everyone know how she sails from Honolulu to San Diego.

When I return, I'd like to see what interest there may be for a detailed, experience swapping motorsailing forum. Until then.

Cheers, Jim
 

·
Handsome devil
Joined
·
3,479 Posts
Beautiful boat Jim.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
aarghh...had to rinse the salt off me brow after looking at those pics...always liked those boats...seems that stern is almost unmistakeable for anything else on the left coast of the pond...
 

·
Super Fuzzy Moderator
Joined
·
17,137 Posts
The Hans Christian is somewhat similar to the English Fisher. The Fishers had (have ?) a great reputation as sea boats and supposedly can get along at a reasonable clip once the sheets are eased. Not much chop hard on the wind though.



Problem with discussions on Motor Sailors/Pilot Houses these days is that modern lightweight diesel engines have changed the basic premises of the debate. The dear old Womboat has a twenty year old Bukh that struggles to push her to hull speed but if we re-engined her with a comparative weighted 2009 Yanmar we would gain nearly 10hp. Today's auxilliary sailing vessel is more than capable of equalling the performance under power of an old Motor Sailor while sailing rings around their equivalently aged straight sailing craft.

Very few of the older Motor Sailors go to windward like new'un but things like Laurent Gile's venerable old Salar are no slouches off the wind when compared against more traditional cruising designs of similar displacement. and not some lightweight screamer. I know of at least one Salar that did the Sydney to Hobart and performed quite creditably.



Me, I think the debate is more one of the pros and cons of Pilot Houses. I reckon Pilot Houses have an awful lot going for them particulaly if you like to cruise in colder wetter climates.

If you look at this boat I think you'll see a good looking design that don't fall into the traditional motor sailor genre. Pilot House, yes, but more than adequate performer under sail.

The waters have become somewhat muddied even moreso if we start to ponder at what point a Pilot House becomes a Deck Saloon.



Apologies if I've taken this somewhat off the topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
I suppose that last pic is supposed to represent a deck salon, no matter, as long as there is a steering wheel under there and I can navigate in my pyjamas I am sold on it being a pilot house. I just want to be able to be under way and out of the elements so that I can enjoy a longer season. I see the pilot house as the best compromise between a trawler and a sailboat. I like sailboats but I also like the comforts of a trawler, niether goes fast but the pilot house has sails as another propulsion system. I will be seriously considering one in my senior years, right now I am a young 55 YO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
A nice debate.

Here are my opinions.

The motor sailors are generally more comfortable than the typical sailing boat. You generally get more room around the engine and other mechanical areas. Many have an acutal engine room. They are going to be better live aboards, in general. You can have the benefits of a trawler, without the negatives of worrying about engine failure and being stranded.

Negatives:

They typically do not sail well and do not motor well. A trawler will be a better motoring vessel and the sailboat will be a much better sailing vessel. From my experience, they cannot point to save their lives. They are often worse than a catamaran. They also lack some of the positives attributed to a typical trawler, like bridge height and vulnerability to lightning. Windage!! I bet docking those things in a blow is a nail bitting experience!

I was on a Cheoy Lee 65 MS and I thought I was in a 5000 sf house. That thing had more room and comfort than any boat I have ever been on with a mast. Enginge room, living room (not a salon, mind ya!!), wow! It was awesome. It had also just completed a circumnavigation, so don't tell me these boats are not built well. Nordhavn has even recently come out with one. However, they are not without their tradeoffs. Every boat has them. As long as you are willing to deal with the tradeoffs, I guess it is fine.

- CD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Here's an interesting excerpt from a webpage I found called "Motorsailers and Motorsailing".The author's name is Bill Kimley:

ISN'T THIS JUST A SAILBOAT WITH ITS MOTOR ON?
You may think I'm talking about a sailboat with its motor on here. Not so! A sailboat using sails and motor is, in fact, motorsailing, but it is not a "motorsailer". Some sailboat builders put a pilothouse on their sailboats and call them motorsailers. Even the newest motor sailor knows they are just trying to fool you. A sailboat is designed to sail well on all points of sail and this means upwind. Racers can not use their motors and sailing purists love to surf up and down a multi sail inventory while sitting outside ( ! ! ) enjoying the ocean gods dumping 55 gallon drums of seawater over their heads. I've been there and did that and, at the time, even enjoyed it, sometimes. But a sailboat that's sailing well upwind carries, to varying degrees, three rather serious design compromises.
First Compromise: When a boat sails upwind part of the wind's energy is making the boat move forward, that's good; but most of the wind's energy is trying to tip the boat over, that's bad. To keep the boat from tipping way over we need ballast, like heavy heavy lead, lots of it. So this extra weight is our first compromise.

Second Compromise: Because this heavy ballast can not keep the boat from tipping over some, we need nice water planes, efficient hull bottom shapes, right up the side of the hull so that the boat can sail while heeled. This results in pinched sterns causing user unfriendly interior spaces and less form stability decreasing the effect of all that ballast.

Third Compromise: Now to make the ballast really work we need to get it low. This means deep draft usually in a fin shaped keel with an exposed rudder. Deep draft limits available cruising areas, our third compromise.

Bummer #1, you have to carry these three compromises all the time, when sailing up wind when they are needed, and when sailing on a forward reach, a beam reach, an aft reach, downwind and even at anchor, when they are not.

Bummer #2, cruising sailboats, despite carrying all these design compromises, almost never sail upwind! Cruises are carefully planned, weather systems are waited out, motors are run, all to avoid ever having to actually sail a long cruising leg upwind.

So what's different about a motorsailer? The motorsailer is a vessel that sort of sails without a motor pretty well, but not real close to the wind, and can motor along without sails OK, but may be a little stiff. A stiff hull is shaped to resist rolling. It carries sail well but it likes to float with its beam water line parallel to the water surface. A lumpy sea presents many inclined water surfaces and a stiff hull will snap around trying to parallel each one as it passes.

The designer of a motorsailer has to make the decision to exclude good upwind performance. Accepting that compromise allows a lot of neat things to happen, lighter weight, shallower draft, 5 feet is the max for most canal systems, and a more yacht trawler like hull shape with its large accommodations, especially in the aft cabin. But the neatest thing of all is the way the large motor and large sailing rig of a true motorsailer, designed with a nice slippery hull, work in harmony, the motor taking over in the lulls and the rig taking over in the puffs, to provide a surprisingly fast, fuel efficient and comfortable passage.

Note: By "Slippery" I mean a cp (prismatic coefficient) around .60 which favors the 7 to 9 knot. range.)


Bill Kimley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Sorry for the late reply, but I've sailed Jungle (motorsailed 20 days) back from Honolulu in Sept and have been on a refit mission ever since. We head south for the Panama Canal in March. I noticed Bill Kimley's article referenced in the last post. Bill's shipyard built Jungle back in 1996 and has been very helpful to me in the refit process. If any SoCal folks around the week of March 5-7, I plan to be at Passagemaker's Trawler Fest before I head south. I show off my 6 months of refit work - no harsh comments please or I'll jump overboard.

I'll provide a breakdown of the work later with pictures - more things to do than time!
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top