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Old 27-09-2011, 14:32   #16
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

Admprtr,

there are several different types of power boats. Planing, semi, and displacement.

I'd assumed that the poster was trying to compare a displacement power boat optimized for cruising, with a sail boat. I think that's as close as you can get on an apples to apples comparison. Something that would do the same 7 knots, with trans ocean range.

Motoring in a sailboat is almost always a loser. You've already had to buy all of the sails, rigging and masts, but then your burning the diesel as well.
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Old 27-09-2011, 14:39   #17
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
there are several different types of power boats. Planing, semi, and displacement...
You are correct. In my mind, I was thinking of planing hulls. I consider displacement hulls as honorary sailboats without masts...

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Motoring in a sailboat is almost always a loser. You've already had to buy all of the sails, rigging and masts, but then your burning the diesel as well.
Yes, there is nothing sadder than a sailboat that doesn't have enough wind to sail...on that, I 100% concur.
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Old 27-09-2011, 14:52   #18
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
Motoring in a sailboat is almost always a loser. You've already had to buy all of the sails, rigging and masts, but then your burning the diesel as well.
On that note, at least, one has a choice. W/power; bad motor, no go. Time to buy SeaTow.
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Old 27-09-2011, 15:10   #19
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

The Iron Genoa is only when you have to Absolutely necessarily need to use it.
At all other times.... The use of sails is the preferred method of motivation. Sails uses less fuel (none at all), very much quieter and you really do feel like you are truely mastering the eliments..
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Old 27-09-2011, 15:22   #20
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

I've done about seven hours of maintenance on my little Atomic 4 this year. Nothing was broken except an alternator belt; the rest was oil change, spark change, tune-up, recrimping a few wires and tightening a few nuts. All standard.

If I do 30 hours of motor run-time this year, however, I will be surprised.

By contrast, I spend about two hours a season inspecting and servicing the running and standing rigging (split pin/cotter ring replacement, tang examination, lubing the sheaves, checking for meathooks, etc.) The sails this year required a 15 minute sewing job on a batten pocket on the main, and the No. 3 and the No. 2 both threw a piston hank. And I whipped a few sheet ends and other random bosun-type stuff.

Total time...perhaps 2 more hours. So that's 4 hours for sails I use 90% of the time I'm off the dock, and 7 hours for an engine I use 10% of the time. Advantage: sails.

I probably spent more time beefing up my ground tackle than I did on sail repair.

Sails are reactive in the sense that if you see something wrong, you fix it before it gets worse. With engines, you do a bunch of maintenance and upkeep on a yearly or regular basis to avoid any problems at all. Who knows if I actually need to be so fastidious? I certainly change my oil before it's even dark brown, because I want to avoid having it sit for five months over the winter and I want fresh oil in the spring.
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Old 27-09-2011, 16:02   #21
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Total time...perhaps 2 more hours. So that's 4 hours for sails I use 90% of the time I'm off the dock, and 7 hours for an engine I use 10% of the time. Advantage: sails.
In my case this year I did major work on my sails and rigging. New head sail furler, new boom gooseneck, new blocks, new mainsail, new sail cover, repaired genoa, converted jib sail, spinnaker sock and replaced some running rigging. Total cost about $11,000.

Compared to my engine: $450 for the marina to maintain plus at most $300 for fuel. $750.

This is over a summer when I think as much as 67% of the time was spent motoring which means for the 450 miles I traveled the cost was $2.50 per mile for power vs $73.33 per mile for sail. Ouch!

Advantage: power

And that is not counting the time I spent either.

However, that said, I compare motoring with going to the dentist and an unpleasant necessity(despite my skewed ratio that suggests otherwise). The only thing I hate more than motoring is whining kids..."are we there yet?".

The money spent on the sails and rigging should last me ten years or more (i'd expect more) but that is still a chunk of change to make use of the "free" wind. And despite the fact that I lament parting with so much green, I think sailing is such an invigorating experience that when I am doing it I literally feel like I am in heaven.
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Old 27-09-2011, 16:59   #22
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

Seems to me, that for the most part, the cost effectiveness of travel by sail increases as the desired distance to travel over time increases, paying for the larger initial investment. Also the redundancy of two forms of power would be most desirable on a longer voyage.


If the distance or frequency of travel is short, then the cost effectiveness of sailing drops. Due to maintenance of an engine and deterioration of sails/rigging. Power boats have the cost advantage there since you have one system to maintain and you pay as you go for fuel. To sail, if you go out infrequently and for short distances, requires a passion for sailing.


I may be wrong, but I would think that sails deteriorate with age just like anything else, especially in an environment that can be damp, salty, hot, and sun drenched. One can't expect to go 20,000 miles on a sail over a period of 2 or 20 years. Surely even if properly cared for time plays a factor in the usable life of a sail?
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Old 27-09-2011, 17:17   #23
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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One can't expect to go 20,000 miles on a sail over a period of 2 or 20 years. Surely even if properly cared for time plays a factor in the usable life of a sail?
Yes, sails and rigging degrade over time and depending on the skipper the level at which the sail needs to be replaced is highly variable. Some skippers will replace the sail when it no longer has good "shape", others when it longer can be used without blowing to bits.

A sail maker described it to me once that sails have a performance life and service life. Racers and "performance cruisers" will want to only use a sail for it's performance life of 1-3 years or less but cruisers who are more concerned about cost will keep a sail for decades.

For example, my genoa may be as much as 29 years old (lightly used) and was installed by the original owner. It's shape is addequate so I am not going to replace it anytime soon. Another sailor would look at it with despair.
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Old 27-09-2011, 19:09   #24
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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Let's assume that the $5,000 sails take you 20,000 miles.

Compare a diesel burning 1 gph @ 6 kts and $4.00 per gallon price. That gets you over 3,000 gallons of fuel and $13,000 in fuel cost. Almost 3 times the sail number and you haven't done dollar one worth of maintenance and/or repair on that engine.

Sail when you can.
You can make all sorts of assumptions.
Take for example the one I am building

Mast winches sails etc for a 50ft performance cat is around $70,000
Every 5 to 7 years (based on life of sails and rigging on last cat) I could be up for an additional $20k in sails,wire, toggles and spectra.
And as the boat in question is to be based in predominantly windless areas, it would be motoring a lot anyway.

If the boat in question gets 1 nautical mile / litre at 8 to 10 knots (plenty of displacement vessels get that now, see sig)
If I didnt spend the cash on rig and sails and bought additional fuel instead I would have enough fuel to travel around the globe several times

Plus I would have as much ice for my drinks as required, cold beer when wanted, hell, I can even have ice cream

So, it really comes down to the type of boat and what you plan on doing with it.
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Old 27-09-2011, 20:21   #25
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

Steve Dashew has a bit on this, he argues its cheaper to actually use diesel over the expected , or course this is a super-optimised long distance cruising motor boat.

Dave
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Old 27-09-2011, 21:22   #26
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

I predict that some day, in the not so far future, that diesel/fuel will be as hard to get as gunpowder and primers.

Only the rich and a selected few will have access to it. All will have to rely on is electronics for about everything powered. Dependency on the government.

And when that happens sailing will be needed to charge the batteries for the ship board electronic to be maintained. Which includes wind turbines, water generators and prop powered DC electric motors.

As each decade has gone by in my life (60+ years), the cost and availability of combustable fuels has been compromised in one way or another. When I was a kid a gallon of gas was about the same as a loaf of wonder bread. Now gas is double that. Wood is about the only fuel left, but that has been on the chopping block as well with EPA and environmentalists restrictions.

I started sailing back in the 70's just for this reason. I guess I'm a bit too soon but I'm doing my part to conserve for the celebrities and prevalent.
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Old 27-09-2011, 21:26   #27
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
On that note, at least, one has a choice. W/power; bad motor, no go. Time to buy SeaTow.

But I was glad to have a solid diesel engine today. We motored out to the Gulf of Mexico. I had someone on my boat who is relatively inexperienced except with pram-type boats, and she was struggling to get the mainsail up. Then we looked around. BIG storm to our east, fortunately traveling east.

Big storm to our west, unfortunately traveling east.

We tied up the mainsail and headed home. Timing was perfect; we missed both storms but got quite a show.
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Old 27-09-2011, 21:43   #28
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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I predict that some day, in the not so far future, that diesel/fuel will be as hard to get as gunpowder and primers.
Have you got a date for that?
Will we still be alive to see that date?

And is gunpowder hard to get? I was under the impression that bullets used gunpowder and there seems to be no shortage of them getting fired off around the world.

Quote:
Wood is about the only fuel left, but that has been on the chopping block as well with EPA and environmentalists restrictions.
What about Coal, Gas, coconut oils and various other products similar

Theres even a boat for sale now that claims it is set up to run on coconut oil
Oram C39 MS - Price: AU $375,000 for sale at Australiawide Boat Sales, Manly, Newport and Sydney
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Old 27-09-2011, 21:54   #29
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

Dates are for nuts. And I hope not in my lifetime.

Have you tried to buy gun powder lately?

Have you ever stored coal, tapped for gas or tried to produce coconut oil? Not an EZ task! And costly as well. The average John doesn't have a clue, and John is the biggest consumer.
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Old 27-09-2011, 23:37   #30
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Re: Sails vs Diesel

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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
Dates are for nuts. And I hope not in my lifetime.
So you agree that we'll still have fuel to burn.

Quote:
Have you tried to buy gun powder lately?
No, we arent as gun happy in Oz as the US, but the fact remains that there is no shortage of bullets being fired as I type, so that would suggest no shortage of gunpowder

Quote:
Have you ever stored coal, tapped for gas or tried to produce coconut oil?
No I haven't, but the fact remains that they are a fuel source IN ADDITION to wood, which you claimed was about the only fuel left.
Add various fuels from ethanol, vegetable oils, seed oils, algae etc etc

Quote:
And costly as well. The average John doesn't have a clue, and John is the biggest consumer.
Perhaps average John in America should give up their addiction to driving big gas guzzling SUV's, trucks and muscle cars and have some more consideration to the rest of the worlds future needs.
Perhaps Average John in America should look to more fuel efficient means of transportation like other countries do


And yes, I have a steppie for around my immediate area
And use public transport when available most other times
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