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Old 24-02-2005, 11:14   #1
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Motorsailor vs Sailboat

My partner and I are researching sailboats for live-aboard and cruising. He currently has a 48 ft. motor yacht that he wants to sell to buy a sailboat. The cost of diesel fuel these days makes power cruising too expensive, plus, who needs to smell the exhaust fumes! We would like to do some off-shore cruising eventually (Caribbean mostly). I have some sailing (racing)experience on smaller boats (<25 ft). We went to the Miami boatshow last week and really liked the Nauticats. They have a 44 ft. motorsailer that we really liked, but we also liked the 42 ft. sailboat. So, my question is, is a motorsailer suited to off-shore cruising and cruising the Caribbean? what are the pros and cons of a motorsailer vs. a sailboat? We will be looking for a used boat -- the new ones are a little out of our reach. Thanks for any information!

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Old 24-02-2005, 11:33   #2
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I think you answered your own question.
You have to answer to yourself, do you want an engine running all the time, the smell of that, the noise, and the biggy, the cost of fuel, the inconveniance of finding fuel and filling her up. Unless she is a true sailboat but with a big engine fitted, thus you can sail only if you wish, then she will never perform under sail and if you are a true sailor, then that will frustrate you.
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Old 24-02-2005, 11:39   #3
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It would be a slow sailboat with a big motor. Good for liveaboard but not for traveling......................................... ._/)
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Old 24-02-2005, 13:15   #4
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Most of the motor sailers that I see do a lot of motoring. Some have the mast cut down or removed so they can be used more like a trawler. I would think that the reason for this is because they don't sail all that well. If that is the case you may want to keep your present boat. But is you have your heart set on a new motor sailor check out the Lancer 45' it looks like a nice boat for the money, you can even get a flybridge model motorsailor.
I just looked on Yacht world at the Lancers. They are more money than I thought but they are a nice boat. I friend has a Lancer and he bought it for about $75000. a few years ago and it looks like a very nice boat for that money.
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Old 24-02-2005, 13:22   #5
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Biased sailor but

I am a catamaran sailor so I am biased and almost always recommend sailing over motorcruisers.

One of the things I have learned that there are alot of big, 40-50ft trawlers that only burn 2-5gph while making 7-9 knots. Defever, Hatteras, etc.

Depending on where you are going and for how long, the fuel usage at these rates may be more acceptable. Since we have been in the caribe we learned that most cruisers spend a lot of time motoring, this narrows that fuel expense gap.

Having said that we try to sail as much as possible but we still end up motoring a fair amount. We like sailing while cruising so we sail, we have many friends who motor and they still have fun and enjoy the lifestyle.

If you like sailboats look at them otherwise look a trawlers. Just remember that the cost of the fuel in a sailboat is all up front in the sails.....we could motor for a lot of years for the price of a set of sails on our boat!
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Old 24-02-2005, 16:23   #6
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OTOH there are some pretty cool very high end sail boats with enough motor and large enough tanks that do both very well. Of course they are way out of most of our reaches.

Nauticat makes a nice boat and their newer ones I hear are much better sailors than the older ones. Depending on your budget and willingness to explore the not so obvious choices you can find a good compromise a boat that sails well and motors with enough range.

The however would be that the right trawler as mentioned above will give more powerboat type living spaces and can still provide very good fuel economy and range.

Just as an example of how a large sailboat can motor; my Moody motors very efficiently at 7 knots burning about 1.25 gal/hr the drawback is I don't carry enough fuel to be considered a motorsailor [80 gal.]. As you look at bigger cruising boats 45+ I think you can find ones that do both but there is an investment required.

One suggestion is find a broker who really understands cruising [most don't] and he/she should be able to help you decide.

Good Luck --
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Old 25-02-2005, 07:39   #7
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I carry 230 gallons in two tanks at this time. I have a 200 gallon tank that was used to hold the jacuzzi water , would it be a good idea to start using that tank for more fuel? My engine pushes the boat at 7.5 knots using two gallons per hour.
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Old 25-02-2005, 09:40   #8
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Motor sailor

Most sail boats 36 feet and up will motor at about 6 knots or more at a very full efficient rate. You can also use the main sail in conjunction with the motor in a light to moderate breeze and you have a very comfotable efficient system. It is when you try and go faster with a larger engine and more trawler type hull that things get messed up in my opinion. I would stick with an efficient sail boat hull. It will serve you well in all conditions.
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Old 25-02-2005, 13:22   #9
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range

Gunnar

I think your answer is dependant on how much guaranteed motoring range you must have.

Doing some rough math -- at 7 knots burning 2 gal hour your range is about .. 800 nautical miles. at 7.5 it's about 860.

Do you feel you need more than that. Also if you're running the engine to charge etc. it will be at a lower RPM therefore burning less fuel let's say 1.25 - 1.5/hr which will let you run the engine for upwards of 175 hours. That's a fair amount of running time.

You can play with the numbers and figure out what you're level of comfort is. I would probably not carry more fuel if I was semi-coastal. If going trans atlantic it becomes do you want to be able to motor more than 1/2 the trip...

my 2 cents for free.
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Old 25-02-2005, 14:08   #10
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Jon, one thing that comes to mind is that fuel may not be as good in some places as it is here and cost more money. Being able to cary better cheaper fuel could be a big plus.
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Old 25-02-2005, 15:10   #11
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Not as good -- true -- you'll find it both cheaper and more expensive... i personally would not make that my decision criteria
most folks i know out cruising don't keep all tanks [if they have multiple big ones] full unless doing crossings. Might be a better question to ask on the SSCA board...after all i only have 1 tank and it's not big enough [ would much prefer two tanks with about 150 gal total. - but no easy way to engineer that in]
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Old 25-02-2005, 15:26   #12
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I would not keep my tanks topped off either. But with a 500 gallon capasity I would be able to wait for good fuel or less expensive fuel. I have the extra tank anyway I may as well use it for something. I could use it for water but I have 250 gallons now and a 725 gpd watermaker so I should be good.
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Old 26-02-2005, 07:29   #13
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Great advice here, I just want to add my perspective having owned both power and sail.

It is my personal bias but I simply cannot stand the noise of engines droning on and on. The greater the displacement or the more the desire for speed, the more noise. Yes, a trawler does not get up to the sound level of a planing powerboat, but still...noise is noise and it is relentless if you need to go long distance. I quite frankly hate it.

Motorsailors, as often pointed out, niether motor well nor sail well. Since they are displacement hulls, their speed is the same as any true sailboat of the same weight and dimensions. Most sailboats these days have engines matched to push them beyond their top hull speed. My 47hp Perkins 4-108 will push my 22,000 lbs 38 footer at 8 knots anytime I want it too, for as long as I want it to. Having a well balanced 3 blade prop will allow you to motor smoothly for as long as you need or wish. And these low hp engines are quite fuel efficient. I believe mine is about 1gal/hr at 6-7knots.

So, I would think you would want to look more towards true sailors. A true sailor (vs a motorsailor) will give you more drive up wind and off the wind so that you can reach max hull speed using the sails and be able to sail to most of the points on a compass. Thus you require less fuel and .....less noise to have to tolerate for less time. She will also give you much more comfort in a sea way (if designed peoperly) with a nicer motion you will come to be spoiled by.

Just one point of view, I hope this helps.

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Old 01-03-2005, 19:50   #14
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Definition of a motorsailer

The nautical architect who designed my first GOOD cruising sailing boat told me that the technical definition of a motorsailer is one whose hull design has a prismatic coefficient of 0.50 or less. Apparently this means that the hull will be easily driven (translation, very efficient use of force) at or below "hull speed". Hull speed being described as something like 1.34 times the square root of the waterline length.

So, the appearance of a hull or the size of an engine installed has theoretically NOTHING to do with whether or not a boat is a motorsailer. So, as I understand it, the difference between "motorsailers" and other sailboats not strictly meeting the definition, is that a low prismatic coefficient hull will work VERY WELL for saiiling OR motoring. What is difficult, apparently, is that for displacement hulls once the hull speed is reached for low prismatic coefficient designs it takes much more (nonlinearly) force to exceed the hull speed than, for example, other displacement designs which might have a smoother transition in force versus hull speed at and near the theoretical design speed.

Check it out with your nautical architect.
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Old 16-03-2005, 22:10   #15
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Iris,

We are living aboard our two year old Nauticat 42 (Click on the homepage icon below for pictures). By Nauticat's definition, their currently-produced models 331, 38, and 44, are "Traditional Motorsailors", as well as the now out of production 33 and 36.


Nauticat 331 ("Traditional Motorsailor")

Nauticat calls their other boats "Pilothouse Sailboats". These have sleeker hullforms and less windage topside. The Nauticat 40, 43, and 525 are Sparkman and Stevens designs and are now out of production. They occasionally appear on the used market in the USA. Their current-production models 321, 35, 37, 39, 42 and 515, (et.al.) are later, in-house designs, and rarely available used in the USA.


Nauticat 35(?), 42, 515 ("Pilothouse Sailboats")


Nauticat 39

Our 42 is heavily constructed, without coring in the hull or deck (stringers are used for stiffening) with a 140hp engine and rather tall rig (just short enough to barely clear the ICW's 65-ft. fixed bridges (so we prefer to go outside)). Though no J-Boat, she sails fairly well in spite of her weight, windage and mast-furling mainsail, and outpoints a certain popular big-selling full-keeled cruising boat we chartered in the BVI.

Try these links for more information:
www.nauticat.com
www.nauticatusa.com

Feel free to PM or email us.
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