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Old 03-03-2014, 05:27   #31
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

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Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
I have heard plenty of people say they barely use theirs only to see them fire it up when they leave!

Then I hear about people saying that they cannot enter narrow passes without an engine. This is essentially false. I have sailed in and out of penryn (cooks) and oyster island (vanuatu) which both have narrow passes. This required using the anchor to avoid hitting the reef because I couldn't really tell where it was deep enough. I also was going against the tide because I did not want to wait, but doing so would make it much easier.

For a sculling oar, mine is not very efficient, but I have measured 1.5knots on the gps with no currents or wind. I can also tow the boat using my kayak at nearly the same speed as a sculling oar, but using different muscles.

I hear people complain that it is easy with my boat to not have an engine, but with a larger boat it is not possible. This reminds me of the guy who complained that the ice-covered trail was slippery on green mountain in the winter, and it was easier for me because I was barefoot. I didn't see him taking his shoes off. Anyone can trade their bigger boat for a smaller one.
I'm not sure if this response was aimed in part at my earlier posting, but if it was, then a little less preaching and a little more actual information would be welcomed.

How do you scull your boat? Details please. Even though yours is a fraction of our displacement (~7,000# vs our $28,000) they are similar in design concept. So too with your anchor techniques for navigating up current through a tight pass, although why you would not wait for the tide to change is unclear ... patience is the greatest ally of the sailor, after all.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:10   #32
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

There seem to be a few variables related to not using an engine. Most would put boat size and crew size as the big ones, along with the area where you cruise.

There are places where entering with out a motor is simply prohibited. I am not sure what the max boat size I would feel comfortable singlehanding (and displacement as well as size is an issue).

As an example my Seawind is documented as 33 feet and so is a Reynolds 33, but they are very different boats in terms of how easy it would be to control with no engine, especially singlehanding.

So what do you guys think is the largest boat one could singlehand with no engine.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:00   #33
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

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So what do you guys think is the largest boat one could singlehand with no engine.
In open water or unrestricted areas I don't think having an engine or not would impact the size of the boat you can singlehand. It's when you get into the tight spaces where lack of an engine is an issue.

I singlehanded a 36' without an engine for about a year. Had an engine but I was too broke to buy diesel so I sailed everywhere.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:57   #34
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

The late Eric Hiscock, dean of cruising under sail, told us many years ago: “The biggest change I’ve seen over the past 40 years is that people have stopped thinking of their boats as sailing vessels with auxiliary motors and come to consider them motor boats with auxiliary sails. Therefore, few are learning to maneuver well under sail.” Lin Pardey


This statement perfectly describes sailing today. A sailboat's primary raison d'etre is to sail above all else. The characteristics of a good sailing boat should be preeminent. However, when the sailboat made the modern conversion from a sailing vessel to a home on the water, not only the shape, displacement, and sailing characteristics changed, but also the type of person attracted to the lifestyle/sport. How many involved with sailing today would continue to sail if boats didn't have auxiliary power? How many would be satisfied to sail an easily handled vessel 30 feet or less? How many would cruise without refrigeration, air conditioning, inverters, or generators? The one fact I found most amazing when we first began cruising is how many sailors either a.)do not know how to sail their boat, or b.) own a boat that cannot be safely and comfortably sailed in all conditions by two persons. The annual migration of cruisers from mainland Florida to the Bahamas/Caribbean into the prevailing winds is a testament to this fact: people rarely sail. They motor. And, when the iron duke has a fit, they sit in anchorages/marinas breathing hard and suffering separation anxiety until help arrives. I think it is fair to say that self sufficient sailors like the Hiscocks, Pardeys, Tristan Jones, and others are today the exception rather than the rule. They represent a mindset of sailing that few desire and few are truly capable. Should we be surprised? Good luck and good sailing(and yes, I did say sailing).
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:28   #35
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

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Keep up Andrew. We know Redford prefers a para anchor to the series drouge!


Thats why I said "us mere mortals" - Redford, OTOH, appears to have help from a higher power (ratio) when he has to ascend on high.

I've never been able to locate the special effects team, when I've needed them!
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:28   #36
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

Eric and Susan Hiscock also wrote of their experiences cruising the canals through Europe. I refuse to accept the premise that it is dishonorable to use engines, generators, refrigeration, etc. on board a sailboat. I must admit that my favorite sailing is casually, without time constraints or even a fixed destination, but I'm not compromising any ethic of owning a sailboat or being a cruiser by using my engine or keeping drinks cold in my refrigerator. I am not disrespecting those that are enginless, but I can't accept that they are in any way more skilled or ethical. I've sailed into my slip without power more than once and I've sailed to and from anchor. I was sailing when the Hiscocks were sailing. We use all the tools freely and enjoy.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:31   #37
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

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Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
...How many involved with sailing today would continue to sail if boats didn't have auxiliary power? How many would be satisfied to sail an easily handled vessel 30 feet or less? How many would cruise without refrigeration, air conditioning, inverters, or generators? The one fact I found most amazing when we first began cruising is how many sailors either a.)do not know how to sail their boat, or b.) own a boat that cannot be safely and comfortably sailed in all conditions by two persons.
While I am quite sympathetic to your perspective rognvald, I wish to restate that it isn't just sailors who have embraced engines. The fact is that I cannot sail into locks, even if I was able. There are many controlled channels that prohibit sailing. And most marinas are no longer designed with sailing yachts in mind.

Away from these things, sailing is no problem. Most anchorages can be managed with a little thought, and I am always amused to hear sailors talk about having minimum sailing speeds, no matter what the wind conditions. But manoeuvring within a packed marina is where engine use becomes difficult to avoid for any boat bigger than perhaps 30-feet.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:47   #38
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

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While I am quite sympathetic to your perspective rognvald, I wish to restate that it isn't just sailors who have embraced engines. The fact is that I cannot sail into locks, even if I was able. There are many controlled channels that prohibit sailing. And most marinas are no longer designed with sailing yachts in mind.

Away from these things, sailing is no problem. Most anchorages can be managed with a little thought, and I am always amused to hear sailors talk about having minimum sailing speeds, no matter what the wind conditions. But manoeuvring within a packed marina is where engine use becomes difficult to avoid for any boat bigger than perhaps 30-feet.

Mike,
I want to make it quite clear that I am not criticizing anyone but rather detailing how things have changed in sailing over the years. Boating, like all sports and lifestyles, is different things to different people and what type of boat you sail and how you sail is your business, not someone else's. I sail an auxiliary monohull and use my well-maintained engine as a convenience and for safety. But, I am able to sail my boat in all conditions and would not feel disabled if the engine quits, as we have experienced, and am able to sail to our next destination or finish a cruise. Yet, Lin does make a relevant observation , of which I agree, and it is as much about transitioning in a sport as it is about how we live and how our society has changed. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:47   #39
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

What a bunch of phoney old lazy boaters using sails!
The truly skilled and competent boater that needs a challenge uses oars.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:50   #40
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

It certainly gets progressively harder to singlehand without an engine as the boat gets bigger.

To take an example from the only sizes where I have personally tried it in dead earnest:

With a 20' , 3200lb sailboat with a tall rig, I can tow it into a gentle breeze at a viable speed using only two items of technology (well, three, if you count each flipper as one)

Incidentally this is MUCH more efficient and effective than towing with a dinghy. I find it works best swimming on my back with a loop around my waist. I realise that I'm inviting scorn and/or disbelief, and confidently expect that no-one will be moved to try it, which is a shame.

A 23' (similar concept and proportions) boat: that's already noticeably more effort. Although the extra mass (~3900 lb) is no problem in a calm (just taking a bit longer to reach a sustainable max speed), the extra windage is, when there's a breeze. Doing it across the breeze is not a problem, but that's what sails are for.

The situations I've done this have not included distance work, let me hasten to clarify.

But when pinned against a leeward dock by a light breeze, it's much quicker than rowing an anchor out

... or swimming it out, because a small boat will not necessarily have, (nor, if it has a retractable keel, need), a dinghy.

Swimming an anchor out requires getting fenders and hitching them to loops of chain, even before you start.

ON EDIT: for the purposes of clarification, both these boats (but particularly the 23') were/are "offshore capable".
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:51   #41
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

In catching up with this thread I saw a point that I think might be emphasized for all long distance sailors, but especially for engine-free sailors. I think it was Andrew talking about a very large boat, but putting a lashing thru the clew cringle after a reef is tied in is a very good idea on almost any size boat. Any time I reefed, if thinking it would be for more than an hour or so, I would put a lashing thru the clew so that if the jiffy reefing line wore thru, it didnt ruin my sole means of power for my boat(the first of my cruising boats). Since I normally tied in reef points, the clew line wearing thru would have torn the main very badly. It really didnt add much work to reefing since the boom, normally was down in the gallows for reefing. I continued this practice on my next 2 boats even though I had engines in them. It gives you one less thing to worry about on those long dark nights, when it is blowing like stink. Just another 2 cents worth. _____Grant.
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:05   #42
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

Grant

Good point ! (about a backup lashing to the clew cringle on reefing)

Come to think of it, there is another way of achieving that desirable end, which might appeal to some, especially those sailing on boats with no gallows.

(Perhaps their preferred deterrent - sorry, "motivation aid" - is the guillotine, say ... ;-)

On small boats (at least up to 32') I think it's a good idea to fit an 'S' hook to the outhaul, so that it can simply be swapped to the current reefing clew, achieving the same result (and permitting a good shape without having to put the reefing line on a winch). I think actually this was my very first "improvement" to my very first boat. (All downhill from there!)

For larger boats, a maxi-sized snapshackle on the outhaul does the trick but (unless you get lucky on eBay) the sticker shock is a disincentive.

Having said that, unlike diesel, such items of useful hardware last a lifetime, travelling from boat to boat.

I lucked out and got a half dozen of the largest Wichard trigger shackles during a major cyclical downturn in the superyacht business, for less than the price of one.
I find them invaluable for things like leaving a dock singlehanded under sail.

Dilapidated docks are the rule, rather than the exception, where I live, and it's unusual to be able to rely on a doubled dockline rendering freely when you cast off one end.

So I use one of my trigger snapshackles, whose bail is large enough for a full-sized dockline to render freely through.
By passing a short length of cord through the trigger aperture and hitching it to the dockline on either side of the shackle, it can then be tripped remotely by easing (not even casting off) one of the two parts.

Same dodge works for remote tripping to drop a mooring under sail, which can be handy when your escape route sector is tightly bound, so that you have to pay off in a specific direction.

A similar technique also works for tripping the tack of an A-sail (not that I personally enjoy flying 'non-white' sails on my own - but even shorthanded, this can be a good option).

Where it can be particularly handy on big boats is dropping the anchor from the cockpit. You flake out the desired amount of chain, take a wrap around the sampson post, and hook up the snapshackle to the link which would be approaching the bow roller when the anchor is dangling how you want it. Position that link at that location ahead of time, and go back to the cockpit and cleat the doubled line in such a way that you can cast off one of the two parts while the other remains tight.

Go back to the bow and ease the anchor over the roller until the doubled line comes tight.

(this particular result can also be achieved just as reliably and more inexpensively - but admittedly less conveniently - with a "toggle", BTW)

- - -

One more thing about the original application I mentioned:

I have found it does not pay to rely on people on shore to release your docklines, most particularly when leaving under sail. It can be catastrophic when they do not agree with, or notice, or wait for, your signal.

There is certainly not the same tolerance for mishap, when undertaking close quarters evolutions under sail.

And in my experience even sailors are often far from immune to this behavioural defect; perhaps partly because the concepts and execution of such manoeuvres are (to them, and today) unfamiliar and idiosyncratic.
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:21   #43
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
Grant


I have found it does not pay to rely on people on shore to release your docklines, most particularly when leaving under sail. It can be catastrophic when they do not agree with, or notice, or wait for, your signal.

And in my experience even sailors are often far from immune to this behavioural defect;
Tell me about it. The number of times I have all my lines set up just so for departure...usually wanting to single up to a spring so I can kick the stern off by giving her a tickle ahead. Invariably the herd instinct cuts in and as soon as the first line is let go the rest of them just let go the lot...

Worse than tying up with a handful of 'skippers' ashore to take your lines.... each one issuing orders to the rest of them....
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:55   #44
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

Cruising engine free is good fun folks. It is no big deal…..

Who knew that this was such a hot button topic. And talk about thread creep….yikes!!!! Must be frustrating for Lin. But at the same time maybe not. My guess is that they have heard all of this for about 40 years now.

I think the point of the OP was not to encourage folks to cruise engine free. But to have the skill and practice to do so when necessary. And it appears to me that most if not all on this thread do. I see no suggestion that one is more superior or inferior than the other. I definitely do not get the Amish connection…….

It has been interesting to read these threads. What I take away is that maybe cruising has changed over the years. Picture this scenario……..Nice beam reach into the bay. Ahh but you cut it just a little too close and she nudges her keel into the sand. As you sit there waiting for the rising tide another sailboat motors over to render assistance. First question……"Do you have an engine aboard?" No……. "Do you have refrigeration aboard?" No, you respond. With that the skipper throttles off and raises his middle finger as the crew lines the rail and drops trousers for the full salute………Nice.
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Old 03-03-2014, 15:01   #45
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Re: Engine-free Cruising

I hear you, señor el estimado Pinguino !

I forgot one thing about the remote-trip idea, to get around the risk of a dockline hanging up when you try to slip it: unless there are ringbolts or some such, it's necessary to rig a sacrificial sling to clip the snapshackle to.

There is a cunning dodge which automatically recovers an endless sling, which I will go into if anyone's interested, but more often I just use a short loop of time-expired halyard or somesuch, and leave it behind. I figure either it will stay there for others to use, or someone will remove it and find another use for it.

But however it's done, when you've set up a remote trip, it's not obvious to dock lurkers how to uncouple your line, and by the time they've figured out how they can 'help', you'll be gone.
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