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Old 14-05-2017, 22:38   #1
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Engineless anyone?

OK, I didn't start the social group but I thought it was a great idea and worthy of a little more attention (since there are only two of us in it now!)

Cruisers & Sailing Forums - Engineless

So far, for me, realistically I can't go full time engineless... but I like to dream of it!
I think it could be a great place to post all our tricks for sneaking in and out of crowded anchorages with a full keel engineless boat! Or even if we do have a (previously) perfectly good engine that decides to stop running at an inopportune moment....
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Old 18-05-2017, 06:09   #2
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Re: Engineless anyone?

I noticed this thread a few days ago, and...... still no replies. Does it mean that everybody has an engine?

I sailed my ferro cement boat for about 5 years without an engine. Boat was 34 ft, 10-11 tons, long keel. That was when I had to replace my dirty rusty fueltank that caused engine to stop, and then engine was removed, I thought, may as well put in new watertanks, and then a new galley and then….. you get the picture. I was not good in keeping a project within the initial scope.

I sailed mostly from my pen in the marina (or ‘slip’ as Americans call it I think). I think for sailing without an engine there are a few prerequisites.
- Have a boat that sails reasonably well
- Be extra careful, sail conservative
- Plan well in advance
- Have exist strategies
- Simplicity is a must
- Patience is a virtue
- Anchors are your best friend

Good sailing boat: I assume that many or most of us learned sailing in a dinghy. No motor. A big boat is just the same, only a small mistake may be have big consequences. And a boat that sails well, will certainly help.

Careful: It is only the last 20 to 50 metres before entering a pen/slip that is vital, no room for errors. 100 metres away one always turn around. Only enter areas when you cannot see other boats moving, because those boats will cause at best angst, at worst a scratch or dent.

Plan: The biggest problem was when the wind on my stern. A few times I nudged up to a pylon on the opposite (windward) side, attached a 12 or 16 mm line on the stern, round that pylon, and let myself assisted by the wind slowly in the pen. But this was a bit of effort, and could not always get a pylon directly upwind from my pen. So mostly with unfavourable winds, I anchored out for a few hours or used a known mooring. Winds were fairly predictable there.
I had a grapnel and ie 8-10 mm line ready, just in case my speed dropped before I entered the pen. I had to use that a few times as I tended to err on the side of too slow, which was better than too fast. BTW, if going too fast, some fast rudder movements port to starboard would wash off some speed as well.

Exit points: be aware where you can go if wind strength or wind direction is changing. If possible establish the point of "no return".

Simplicity: I made sure the cockpit and all the sidedecks were clear, to reduce trip hazards (I sailed mostly on my own).
I dropped and secured mainsail and boom well before entering harbour. I sailed in with a large genoa on a roller furler that I could roll in and roll out very easily and quickly. I rolled that in once I committed to the last 30-40 metres.
I generally secured the boat with one ready made (to size) springer

Patience: sailing without an engine is no problem, just the need to be in hurry to meet a schedule does not go well without an engine. It is when entering a channel, harbour or other tight spots that it may become more difficult. If things are not quite right, have the courage to change the plan, wait outside, anchor out, until conditions improve. This applies even more so when entering an unknown harbour. Anchor out, do a reconnaissance with the dinghy, talk to locals, then attempt to enter the harbour.

Anchors
My current desire for oversized anchors could well stem from those days. In the beginning I had a Danforth (and OK for the mostly sandy soil there), then CQR (?20 kg), but I had a few close shaves. A 20 kg Manson Supreme never let me down. I had a smaller Danforth anchor on the sternrail, ready to deploy, as a brake, but never had to use it. The anchor on the bow could be deployed easily and quickly as well.

Would I have a boat without an engine by choice? No. But engines/transmissions do fail and at times we have to sail the boat without one. I think it pays to practice. Have the engine running but in neutral when you make attempts in maneuvering. I will be a skill you need one day.
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Old 18-05-2017, 06:48   #3
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Not exactly the same as being engine-less but my long term experience is with boats that have unreliable motors which has led me to act generally as if my engine would fail at any moment because occasionally it did.

The always have an exit strategy is exactly the same.
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Old 05-06-2017, 20:34   #4
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Sheesh, the "Sailing Naked" social group has 431 members but "Engineless" has only 3? There must be a few more who at least THINK about it... and are willing to admit it.
Perhaps folks don't want to go quite that naked...
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Old 05-06-2017, 21:00   #5
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Not me lol, I just spent a small fortune upping the horse power
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Old 05-06-2017, 21:46   #6
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Ok I will bite im not engineless but the lowerunit in my outboard is almost dead so no fwd and little rev. I have always tried to sail without using the engine. Many times I couldnt afford the extra fuel .
As others have said its about knowing your boat and practice practice.


On a side note the race to alaska starts on thursday. No motors allowed.

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Old 06-06-2017, 00:09   #7
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Have you guys read Wind and Tide? I totally recommend that book.

Long ago I had a vaguely working engine, a sweet sailing 40' boat, and a strong sense of aesthetics. I found joy in traveling thousands of miles in the quiet magic that is pure sail.

God, that was beautiful. I fell in love with the sea, and with the whole of creation, then. Anyways, I think ... it is art. It was incredibly rewarding. I don't have the right words.

So I think you guys are cool. Keep doing it for as long as it's fun.

I'm in a much different place these days. This third boat can motor forever at 8 knots, and has a bathtub. Whatever. The experience is entirely different.

Anyways, you might like the book.
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:43   #8
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Ok, my first keeler had no engine, a 26 foot folkboat type, she sailed well enough and I had a big sculling oar/sweep for that last bit. I could manage a mile or so slowly by sculling if I really had to.

I was 21, and working at sea I had plenty of leave between ships to go sailing for a month or two around Cook Strait, Nelson, Wellington and the Malbrough Sounds. These are quite tidal areas so I had to plan well and choose days with reliable wind. I learnt a lot rather quickly...



After a few years later I fitted a 3.5 short shaft tohatsu that worked pretty well in a flat calm, and was not very useful in a good sailing breeze. This I found to be a pretty good compromise. I still got to sail in and out of marina's, anchorages and wharfs, but I could make a few miles if it was flat calm.

You can see the motor on the back in the photo. It was small enough to make a great dinghy motor. I sailed her across the Tasman singlehanded in the middle of winter. And then down to Hobart. With any swell the short shaft motor kicked it's prop out pretty easily so I really had to sail (or drift) in open water.

My next boat a Steel Roberts 34 had a big 30 hp diesel motor. I still sailed where possible. I needed the motor for my trip to Antarctica. And its a pretty handy thing to have overall, but I enjoy handling a boat under sail alone so often picked up and dropped my mooring or anchor under sail.

My current boat had an engine with a cracked head, so I sailed her 800 miles back from Adelaide to Hobart practically with no engine. I could run it for about 10 minutes to get out of the marina, then the oil was like a milky chocolate thickshake. That was an enjoyable sail, the old racing boat slipped along in the lightest airs.

I've now fitted a secondhand 30hp Nanni into her, so I am engineless no more.

But maybe my few years with no engine will qualify me for the group...
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:42   #9
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Re: Engineless anyone?

I was engineless for about 18 months and sailed in and out of a harbour with Mediterranean moorings.


My sailing mate was OK with the sailing in and out until I replaced the engine then would go into panic mode if I didn't start the engine when half a mile from the harbour.


Kept a grappling hook in the cockpit, only had to use it once when the breeze died. Ended up nose to nose cursing another boat owner when he tried to remove it from his pushprit, unhelpful sod.
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Old 06-06-2017, 05:04   #10
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Re: Engineless anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
As others have said its about knowing your boat and practice practice.
You can know your boat and practice all you want, but when there's no wind it doesn't help

I sailed engineless for 15 years.........not cruising, beach cats but did multiple 30-100 mile distance races

Also, dodging barges along the ICW at night does get interesting under sail engineless when there is zero wind (or a zephyr here and there)

I'll take the 5 hp outboard on my boat anytime over engineless
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Old 06-06-2017, 05:45   #11
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Re: Engineless anyone?

I love the idea of going engineless, but I’m simply not that good a sailor . With our full keel and heavy displacement, our boat is about as maneuverable as a train. It’s relatively easy to manage under sail away from the dock, but the fact is that most marinas are not designed to accommodate sailing boats. They are way too packed in, with not nearly enough maneuvering space.

No... I need my engine if I ever want to get fuel or water. Besides, many marinas, and indeed locks and canals, have clear rules against sailing. So, while I love the idea, and dream of making a yuloh, the reality is I need Grampa Tractor growling below.
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Old 06-06-2017, 05:56   #12
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Re: Engineless anyone?

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Originally Posted by IslandHopper View Post
Not me lol, I just spent a small fortune upping the horse power
This is really clever, maybe you can kill 100% of the great barrier reef by next year since so far only 70% is completely destroyed.


I watched some people just yesterday use the motor to come into the anchorage even though it was blowing 18 knots and there was plenty of wind to sail even faster than they were motoring.

It should be called "engine free" because you are more free, and also, the old sailing ships were much more difficult to sail without an engine and they managed, so today most people are obviously incompetent sailors. They never practice docking under sail so become dependent on the engine, like a drug addict depends on their "fix"

I have a yuloh and can do 1.5 knots without wind using the effort of walking. I can scull against up to 18 knots of wind and still move forward. This allows entering anywhere anyway, but also the marinas should be removed as their design is based on the same ill-fated mentality as the engine. They are not a reasonable "excuse" to have one.

There is absolutely no reason anyone should have an engine, and if you do, you are actually stealing from future generations which is a crime.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:08   #13
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Re: Engineless anyone?

You can do a surprising amount of things engineless, especially in areas with little tide and predictable wind patterns (helps plan ahead). I did more than 3/4 of the San Blas archipelago, west to east, without firing up the motor, and wiggling into dozens of coral-ringed anchorages. I could easily see doing that, or cruising Belize and Yucatan, sans engine (barely used it in those places either).
But when you get into places with huge tides and unpredictable, sudden winds (like Newfoundland or the Cote du Nord, the motor really becomes an asset, and one I'd hate to be without. Also, it opens up lots of options: Rio Dulce without motor? Meh. ICW? did about half under sail, but the little OB was crucial for the rest. Pacific Central America? that'd be a challenge for which I have neither patience nor skill.
I have huge respect for the people who cruise engineless, but I think their options are more limited, and I like options.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:17   #14
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Re: Engineless anyone?

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I have huge respect for the people who cruise engineless, but I think their options are more limited, and I like options.
A dying world is a huge limitation! We lost thousands of nice places to anchor just last year. This is _fewer_ options not more.

Also, you probably falsely believe you have more options because you don't know how to sail in the conditions you consider the motor an "asset" in, and therefore you have no experience and don't really know what you are saying. I have heard dozens of people say "you can't sail in/out of X harbor" or, you can't sail through straits of malacca, or...

Then I go sail there, or find an engine free sailor who has done it without any issues. Always it is the people with the motors who think they are needed, and they are always wrong.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:24   #15
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Re: Engineless anyone?

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Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
This is really clever, maybe you can kill 100% of the great barrier reef by next year since so far only 70% is completely destroyed.


I watched some people just yesterday use the motor to come into the anchorage even though it was blowing 18 knots and there was plenty of wind to sail even faster than they were motoring.

It should be called "engine free" because you are more free, and also, the old sailing ships were much more difficult to sail without an engine and they managed, so today most people are obviously incompetent sailors. They never practice docking under sail so become dependent on the engine, like a drug addict depends on their "fix"

I have a yuloh and can do 1.5 knots without wind using the effort of walking. I can scull against up to 18 knots of wind and still move forward. This allows entering anywhere anyway, but also the marinas should be removed as their design is based on the same ill-fated mentality as the engine. They are not a reasonable "excuse" to have one.

There is absolutely no reason anyone should have an engine, and if you do, you are actually stealing from future generations which is a crime.
I admire your simple and efficient voyage around the world engineless, well done.

I'd love to hear more about your yuloh, and how you set it up. Sounds like it works very well for you. My old sculling oar worked ok but it was a fair old effort however I really liked the way I could quickly deploy it to sweep the stern around. This got me out of a few pickles, I once nearly missed stays on a very rough gusty day far too close to Barrets Reef when beating out Chaffers Passage, Wellington. A few quick strokes of the sweep just got me through the tack and clear.

I added a rope much like a yuloh had and it made for a huge reduction in effort. But the system really needed redesigning.
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