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Old 12-08-2010, 09:18   #1
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Motor Sail ?

First of all, hi to everyone. I am new here and have no sailing experience. I am considering a motor sail which would (I hope) allow us to learn to sail while still having the power to cruise.

Is a Cat a good choice for a motor sail? I have seen 65 foot motor sails with twin 220 HP diesels and 1200 gallon fuel capacity. I'm thinking this would be a very forgiving craft.

Our needs now are pretty local. Summers spent at the Delaware shoreline .... 20- 60 miles out (sometimes more) .... a bit of fishing ... sleeping on the water. However, we are considering a move to Hawaii within 5-6 years ... and at that point we would have the time to cruise at greater length.

I have always dreamed of sailing to distant locations. However, my career, family etc. have taken precedence over the years and I now find myself at age 45 with no sailing experience. So I am doubting my ability to learn at this age ... and wonder if I'm left to strictly power cruising options .... or should I think about a craft that allows me to sail.

Input greatly appreciated.

Brian and Penni Kinn.
Bloomsburg PA
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:12   #2
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I don't see any reason why a cat couldn't be as good as a mono-hull for motor sailing... especially with twin motors

Although I am slightly less than 45...I have learned enough to sail on oceans and cruise with my family on board. I would say the process has taken 5 years of dedicated work (haha - as if sailing and studying sailing is work). Although I did sail with my family as a kid...I really don't think this makes a huge difference.

Why don't you start with a sailing course?

Go down to the docks and offer to crew on evening races?

Motorsailing a 65 footer still requires some serious skill when it comes to docking.

Motorsailors still run aground and can be hit by bad weather.

Obviously if your are considering a 65 foot cat money is little object, but even a new boat requires work and can break down... you will need to be able to assess and fix the innumerable equipment failures.

Do you plan on taking a partner or your family cruising? If so this adds another layer of considerations.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:22   #3
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have you considered chartering a sailboat for a short vacation?

I now find myself at age 45 with no sailing experience. So I am doubting my ability to learn at this age ...

I agree with you,, at 45 you can never learn new things even if you want to,,,,life might be over at 45,,,
the oldest single handed circumnavigator was OVER 70 and was on his 3rd time around

charter a cat for a week or so and go from there,

good luck,,, enjoy,, and remember the one thing in sailing that is very important is you can not sail into the wind,,, everything else from there is pretty easy
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:28   #4
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I take exception to that. I'm 46 and plan on learning to sail next year. I'm thinking about a motorsailer myself. The older ones i've heard are a compromise that didn't do either one well. But the newer ones are well engineered and flexible watercraft. At least thats what the sales brochure said.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:42   #5
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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
... At least thats what the sales brochure said.
Indeed - ranked right behind television advertizing as my most favoured source of accurate technical information, and unbiased expert opinion.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:51   #6
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capn_bill
You are correct on that the older ones do not sail that well,,,, newer ones sail better,,, might also want to look at pilothouse sailboats,,, another name for motorsailer but a newer version,,,,
several of the older models were mostly built for motoring but had a sail for increased fuel economy,,,,
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:40   #7
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Too old to learn at 45?????????????????????????????????????????????

Tell me you're joking....

If I had quit learning at 45 (I'm 62) I'd know about 50% of what I know now...
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Old 12-08-2010, 15:13   #8
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Charter a boat and get a feel for it. My wife and I did. Fell in love with it. I'm 50 this year and didn't learn to sail till very recently. Did ASA 101, 103, 104, 114 in the virgin islands to get up some confidence. Then bought a boat. Which will allow me to die broke, as is my parting wish.

PM me if you would like to discuss further. The name of my boat is Vivo. Latin for Live. As in..... you only live once so go for it to the max.
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Old 12-08-2010, 15:20   #9
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Definitely right that you are to old to learn more at age 45, but you can learn new things...

At 68 I'm having difficulty keeping up with the things I forget...

Oh, yeah, motorsailers...

Nordhavn - Power That Is Oceans Apart
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Old 12-08-2010, 15:55   #10
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Learning to sail in middle age shouldn't be a problem at all... The problem will be remembering where you parked the boat...

Motorsailer is one of those terms that is hard to define very exactly. You young things really have no idea. When I was growing up we would rush from the cave and felt lucky, nay blessed, to make it to the shore without being taken by a velociraptor and we pretty much thought of any dugout with a paddle as a motorsailer...

[sorry I'm avoiding dealing with a broken valve at the bottom of a full holding tank and I'm taking my humor where I can get it].

However, there is a point, most boats that have cruiser anywhere in their description these days come with enough power installed (typically smooth, quiet and efficient diesels) to make them pretty decent motorboats as long as you're willing to motor at speed to sqrt(lwl) ratios of not much more than one. Cats under power have the advantage of having very limited roll. Not long ago the amount of power that is typical in cruisers today would only have been available in motorsailers.

There have been a number of motorsailer types since the first of the class were introduced in the early 20th century. Indeed they cover so much ground that it is hard to know what anyone means when they use the term. Very roughly speaking they come in "fast" (semi-displacement under power) and slow (full displacement at all times). The slow versions often work quite well and they range from auxiliary sail to sail stabilized power boats. The fast version is a very hard design brief to do well particularly in a keel yacht. These are probably the motorsailers that you've heard of that don't do either well.

A catamaran might be a better platform for a fast motorsailer than a keel yacht because it does away with the ballast keel and because slender hulls are less constrained by wave drag than wider ones. However, the weight and drag of the rig will always make it motor worse than a pure motorboat of similar type and it will add to the cost as well. Very large motors and their fuel will detract from performance under sail and also add cost. So even for a cat a "fast" motor sailer is a big ask. IMO, if fast is your thing it might be better to look at pure power and save the cost, drag and complexity of the sailing rig.

If you're willing to travel slowly then there are many boats that power and sail well. Many of them will not be marketed as motorsailers but would work well in that service. At the distances you're talking about tankage should not be a major problem. At the slower design speeds there is almost an embarrassment of boats that I think will work for what you're asking for. As you demand faster speeds you will run into more compromises and costs. The cat you're looking at sounds quite powerful but there is little reason to believe it wouldn't be a lovely cruiser if you don't mind the expense.

For learning to sail I'm not a huge fan of big boats and particularly big cats. It can be hard to understand exactly what's going on and doing damage to people and property becomes a genuine worry. My preference is for learning in small boats -- doubtless because that's how I learned. Perhaps some lessons to get you started (maybe a crewed charter or two) and then keep a tender that you can sail for learning while you're at anchor or from your marina when you have an evening off.

Tom


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Old 14-08-2010, 08:21   #11
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My wife and I were in our 40s when we bought our first boat. It was a 46 foot monohull (50 LOA). We had never sailed and never owned any type of boat before besides an inner tube to float the river. My wife wasn't real fond of the water. When she was a little girl, her big sister told her she could drown in a teaspoon of water and she never forgot it. We took a sailing course to get insurance and we motored a lot. 3 years later we were cruising the Carribean. Go for it.
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Old 16-08-2010, 20:56   #12
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To Old At 46!!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsmwebb View Post
Learning to sail in middle age shouldn't be a problem at all... The problem will be remembering where you parked the boat...
That goes double if you've been to the yacht club and had a skin-full
I'm 68 and was planning on buying and moving aboard a James Brown 40' Searunner and...I've never sailed "anything" before!
Due to problems beyond my control...I'm now building a Jim Brown/John Marples Seaclipper 24Micro Cruiser...SC24MC...It's no blue water boat but I'll get out sailing and fishing
You're never to old to learn anything you truly want to learn
Now where did I leave that SC24MC It's okay! Just remembered, I havn't built it yet
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Old 16-08-2010, 21:09   #13
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...... At least thats what the sales brochure said.
I'm with Gord on this one. I still curse myself for a choice I made in my young consumerism career. And it was for a boat too.

Dammed that colored glossy photo brochure. Robbed years off of my life.

Started to learn to sail at 50. I'll let you know when I'm done.
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Old 16-08-2010, 23:22   #14
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Motor sailors are cool if in areas of light air.

The most comfortable (no roll) and most practice example I have seen recently has been



Information on Brady 52' Passagemaking Catamaran
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Old 17-08-2010, 00:59   #15
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Buy a dinghy ( Walker Bay 8' Dinghy with Sail Kit & Oars ) and a book ( Amazon.com: The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, 3rd Edition Revised (9780684854205): John Rousmaniere, Mark Smith: Books ). Go sailing in light winds. Within a week you'll be trying to get air jumping over power boat wakes.
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