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Old 28-08-2008, 08:32   #1
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ICW - Virginia to NC - 25' sailboat and ?HP

Hello, I'm new to the forum and new to sailing. I've done a little sailing and am gearing up to take beginner/advanced courses. My short term goal is to take a relatively short trip down the ICW sometime next year - Chesapeake bay through NC. The boats I'm thinking about are around 25' and have outboards around 9hp. Is it reasonable to expect 9hp to get me down 20 miles of canal? Or is this a job for a larger motor? I'm not going to buy anything most likely until next year - just thinking at this point.
Thanks!
Mark
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Old 28-08-2008, 08:46   #2
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You won't be the fastest boat on the water, but you can do it with a 9hp. A little more power would be nice. Be sure to travel with enough fuel. There are some long stretches with no marina.

George
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Old 28-08-2008, 10:14   #3
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The Mercury 9.9 four stroke is a very reliable and relatively inexpensive motor.
It uses very little fuel and would push a 25 foot boat right along.
Using a Merc 9.9 I warped our CSY44 over 30 ICW (NC to VA) miles after the transmission failed. We were making better than 4 knots always and often better than 5.
You should know also that you'll be able to sail much of the trip. Just because you are on the ICW it doesn't mean you have to motor the whole way.
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Old 28-08-2008, 11:01   #4
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You will be just fine. I'd be more concerned about the weather and the Albermarle sound than the motor! If you're really worried about the engine...get SeaTow or BoatUS towing insurance before you go.
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Old 28-08-2008, 11:15   #5
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You will find the biggest variable to be current. In the ICW you will often be dealing with 2 to 3 knots of current working with you or against depending on the tide tables. Speed through the water and speed over ground can vary significantly at 4 to 5 knots.
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Old 28-08-2008, 11:24   #6
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Agree with SeaTow or BoatUS . Its cheap insurance that you'll keep your trip moving and not turn into a financial disaster.
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Old 28-08-2008, 23:19   #7
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We consistently do 40-50 miles on weekends in our boat - 25 feet, 10hp, 2.5 tons

Also we relocated a J24 for a race using a 5hp outboard (motorsailing) against and with some significant currents. We saw 5 1/2 knots most of the time.

You'll be fine.

PS - Welcome to the forum!
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Old 29-08-2008, 09:31   #8
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Talking More then enough HP

Many Sailors overestimate the HP required to move a sailboat. I have personally done this trip multiple times in my rather heavy for it's size boat with a 6hp outboard with no problems. I can even make reasonable headway with my 3hp dingy motor. We have used the 6hp for years, and recently completed a trip from NC down the coast to FL and then the Abaco's, Eleuthera, Cat Island, back up the Exumas and through to Pensacola.

Actually, I also did a delivery of the same model boat with a 9.9hp, and found that the additional hp only added stern squat if it were throttled up over ~1/3 - 1/2 throttle. If you are interested you can read about the trip here.

It is a wonderful route, I would not miss the Dismal Swamp (you will have a choice).
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Old 29-08-2008, 10:59   #9
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"Many Sailors overestimate the HP required to move a sailboat."

You are absolutely correct. Getting a large sailboat moving with a small motor is usually not the problem. Stopping is a different story. You have to always be thinking ahead.
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Old 29-08-2008, 12:04   #10
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How Much HP Does it Take?

About one shaft horsepower per ton of displacement to move a displacement boat to near hull speed. Double that for usual HP ratings.

That's in flat calm water, no wind, no current.

What's the hull speed of a boat with a 20' waterline length? About 5.8 knots.

If that boat displaced, say, 3 tons, it would take about 6HP (or 3 shaft HP) to move it to about 5.8 knots in flat calm conditions.

Bill and Sali's CSY44 probably displaces about 33,000lbs, or 16.5 tons. Thus, it would take about 33HP (or 16.5 shaft HP) to move that boat to its hull speed of about 8 knots.

(Useless trivia from my past!)

Bill
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Old 29-08-2008, 13:13   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mow2000 View Post
Is it reasonable to expect 9hp to get me down 20 miles of canal...
As others have said, your 9hp should be fine… indeed in flat water, slightly over 8hp should be capable of max hull speed (assuming pure displacement hull and around 19’LWL and 3T or less). We use an 8hp on ours (essentially those specs – 19’LWL at 6000#), seldom run much over 50% throttle and it’ll do about 5kts+ at that setting, depending on the water… It really doesn’t need any more power although I suppose something around 10hp would make some folks more comfortable when bucking heavy chop (our motor sits in a well, haven’t ever heard the prop come clear); but it used to have a 7.5hp which was fine for many years, so I’d say you’re good…
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Old 09-09-2008, 16:59   #12
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I used an old johnson on my northern 25 and it successfully took me from the north shore of Lake Ontario...literally all the way to the Keys...and then onward to the east end of Cuba. It was fine!

Cheers
from Punta cana

PCMikw
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Old 09-09-2008, 18:51   #13
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What is the hurry? A sailboat can only travel at a certain speed based on the square root of its waterline lenght multiplied by 1.25. Once you reach the theoretical speed you dig a hole in the water. Slow down and enjoy the trip. Tie up before 4 o'clock. You will find many marinas close at 5 o'clock. Base you days on making 30 miles a day. Then figure out how long you will need for the trip. It is not the destination but enjoying each day on the water.
John
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Old 09-09-2008, 19:12   #14
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If you will be buying the outboard consider a 4 stroke as the noise level is much better, No mixing etc. You will have a great time and see truly beautiful places not reachable by the road.
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Old 09-09-2008, 19:45   #15
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I agree with most that that is plenty of horsepower to move the boat.

A warning though: If the motor is hanging off the stern, and you get some swells or big chop it may spend a lot of time in the air. I ran into that in the Cape Fear River. Some folks in a boat that size couldn't go anywhere and probably damaged their engine.
They should have set their sails. They had to be handheld by USCG, then Towboat US.
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