I'm 63. I grew up around sailboats, but was a power boater for much of my adult life. When economic necessity (aka divorce) forced me to sell my no longer affordable 35' powerboat and switch to sail, I did so so without complaint. I've been a sail boater for the last 10 years and my 1981 Hunter
30 has taken me everywhere I wanted to go in the Keys and the Bahamas
There are pros and cons to power vs. sail. I've seen both sides of the coin, so let me throw out a few thoughts.
1. It is easier to become a power boater than a sailor. Sailing, not only involves all the normal ship-handling responsibilities, but it adds sail-handling responsibilities as well. These responsibilities require physical strength and agility. This is reason many older sailors switch over to power vessels.
2. When you are under sail in a good breeze, there is no better feeling of freedom. The only noise
you hear is the water
rushing past the hull
. However, being honest, most sailors have their engines running more than half the time they're away from the dock
. My sailboat, with it's 2GM
running, is actually is louder at 5 knts. than my 35' Mainship was at 15.
3. If money
is an issue, sail is the way to go. Not only are they much cheaper to buy, they are cheaper to operate due to their smaller engines and ability to operate on wind-power alone. Normal day-to-day maintenance
is a PITA on any vessel, but the cost of an engine
rebuild/replacement is much feared among the powerboat set. One can replace a full set of sails
for far less.
4. Speed! My Mainship could cross from Biscayne Bay to Bimini
in about 4 hours. The same trip in my Hunter
took almost 11 hours and required an overnight passage
. However, speed comes at a steep price
. My tiny diesel
at 5 knts., while my 454's chugalugged gasoline like crazy. For example, in 2000 when I brought my Mainship back to FL to sell, it cost me almost $1500 in fuel costs, and I took it easy on the speed.
5. Maneuverability in a monohull
sailboat sucks! Docking
is a serious challenge when conditions are not perfect. Until I learned to master that thing called "prop walk", I used to think of docking
as another form of crash control. Now with the twin engines on my Mainship, I could spin that boat on a dime. The maneuverability of twin engines is a big plus for multihulls. For monohulls, having a bow thruster is a great way to assist your docking.
Finally, If I had had my druthers, I'd trade
in my Hunter for a 2-stateroom trawler with either twin engines or a single
diesel with a bow thruster. Fuel economy would be good. Space would be large, and I wouldn't have to bust my butt raising and lowering sail.
Just my $.02.