Originally Posted by rebel heart
I know I'm rambling like crazy but in the end the "problem" with using an engine often is that you don't develop, practice, and hone the same maneuvers under sail. That could matter and it could not. It depends on what you want to get out of sailing, your personal preferences, and the amount of money you have to spend.
Totally agree. I think some people push themselves to keep learning
, and some don't. I agree that it's a lifestyle choice, but... I feel sailing is one of those things where you get a whole lot more out of it if you try harder.
Boat #1 had a flakey engine that was in a state of impending doom for a little over a year. This turned out to be really positive, because it made us push ourselves to learn how to sail for when the engine finally die (at any moment, we thought), and so we'd leave it ticking over in idle as we did nearly everything. Sail through tight channels and reef passes, on and off the anchor
, whatever. We really felt like it may quit in the middle of the pass, so it'd be better to be sailing anyways.
Eventually we got good enough to not bother turning it on, since my range of when I considered it "necessary" had shrunk quite a bit, so I thought I should save it for when I actually needed it. This made me much more centered and happy about the engine's gradual decline, instead of obsessing over it or trying to get it fixed in the rural Pacific.
I feel that by practicing to be engineless, that's when I really began to know my boat. After that I could judge how powered up she was, and how much momentum she had really well. And this feel for the boat translated really well to heavy weather, which I didn't expect at all, but it turned out to make us a lot more comfortable in the stronger stuff.
Ok, last ramble. I also feel like the "keeping your speed up at sea" and motoring if you are below x knots is sometimes a safety
issue and a very good idea-- like when we were harbor hopping around South Africa
or something, but ... I just don't feel that most of the worlds waters are that dangerous and unstable. At least where I have been, there have only been a few passages where I felt the need to get into port ASAP. Most other places I felt like truly dangerous weather was not even possible, so whether you motor or not is a lifestyle choice.
That said, I am going to frigging motor through the ITCZ. I tried to sail through it last time, and it was a waste of time.