AUX. POWER OPTIONS: Revisited...
Many of us, myself included, have been avid sailors for over 50 years. We KNOW how to get every ounce of performance out of our Searunners.
The often repeated notion that even for us... having the obvious extra utility and safety
of a properly installed, ultra reliable diesel
inboard, somehow is a "crutch", or lessens the experience, is elitest bullshit... Compared to them, "the purist", we can do EVERYTHING that they can, but in NO way can they do everything that we can, (Some things perhaps, with luck & planning, but not everything).
Being able to "crank n run", (within 5 seconds), has saved us from disaster on several occasions, like when circumstances required an IMEDIATE dead to windward coarse to avoid collision!
We have survived numerous hurricanes, in a hidy hole or at anchor
, (>12 X), sometimes by careful throttle controlled assist during the gusts.
We have motorsailed into passes through the reef, surfing in conditions of total kayos, only to have to make a HARD turn RIGHT in the middle of the narrow pass. (Ambergris Key Belize)
We have been forced to motor
dead to windward, through a long narrow pass (xcilak Mexico), into almost impassable 8' breaking wave conditions, with "0 Gs" on the bow, because our visas had expired, and we HAD to leave.
We have motorsailed for 36 hours, into 40 knots of wind
& 14' waves, to beat just 5 degrees tighter, to make landfall in the Dry Tortugas
, (after days of beating into a gale from Glovers Reef Belize), a technique which ONLY works with the propwash going past the rudder
In a pinch, we have turned the boat in place, as required, to clear in "only" at the customs dock
, (Trinidad), which was only possible with the propwash going past the rudder
. This "turning in place" has also been done 100 other times, when in tight marina basin dockage situations... (Suzanna's Lagoon
, Rio Dulce, Guatemala)
We have motored against VERY strong currents in VERY tight places, and up narrow channels, to get to inland utopias. (Through locks, up canals, under bridges, sometimes crabbing in a strong side current)...
We have also chosen the best possible weather
window, (8 days from Culebra
PR to the Beaufort
NC inlet), because we had the fuel
"and could" set out motoring into a dead calm the first 36 hours, before the spinnaker
I could list hundreds more cases where we've had a better, safer, "indeed possible" experience while cruising, and a hundred more cases when we went to places we otherwise simply could not, because we had a reliable inboard diesel. WE HAVE MORE OPTIONS! This is a fact...
Those with no engine
or a lesser utility OB motor installation
, on the other hand, did not get to any more places, or get saved from any more storms at sea. Nor did they pinch tighter, or turn in place in a marina basin. Nor did they knowingly set out into a 2 day calm, or "sail" dead to windward through LONG narrow channels in a reef, into breaking waves during a gale. They didn't have a better, safer, cruising experience, because they had no engine
, or a poor one.
Crossing big oceans is the easiest possible application for boats with no engine, or inadequate smaller engines. If, however, one plans on a multi decade, "diversified", full time liveaboard
, cruising experience... including hundreds of passes through reefs
, (even DEAD to windward), lots of island hopping, tight quarters maneuvers, and winding river inland boat trips, as well as take a lot of the misery out of cruising, then having a good inboard installation is an accouterment to the experience, not a crutch.
Like I said earlier, our little $3,500 Yanmar
has never failed us, in 18 years. We have never even had third world fuel
problems, due to our extensive filtering system. (Polishing it when needed, as well as using a Baja
funnel going into the tanks
, followed by a Racor
500 going back out)
Those with no engine, or a lesser engine installation "in its overall utility", (like OB motors on larger Searunners), ALSO go to many of these nice places, and can do "some" of these things, but not nearly AS many. They simply can not, not with ANY amount of sailing experience! Physics will not allow it! They usually have a safe trip too, often with their sailing skills as an ace up their sleeve. We have those skills too, and no less of it...
Both ways work, and it is a personal choice, but comparing "their way" up against a bad, unreliable diesel engine installation, would be like our comparing "our way" to a Searunner skipper
that doesn't know how to sail. It is a moot point.
With exact like vessels, both helmed by highly skilled lifelong sailors, the one with a proper inboard diesel engine, will have have far more "options" in what they can do, and where they can go. They are far far more utilitarian.
For the other "purist group" to stay out of trouble, (which they certainly can do also), they have to pick and choose among the countries, places, and inlets they can go to. They also have to choose appropriate current
angles, time of day, etc. THEY are more limited in what they can do, not us. THEY have fewer options...
If, God forbid, our engine craps out someday, (which, as I said, hasn't happened yet), we will just revert to the same sailing skills of the other group, because we have them too.
Our boat, btw, really sails!, and other than putzing up rivers, "when we're at sea and actually cruising", we sail 99.9% of the time, even if it is at 3 knots, with the asymmetrical spinnaker
, on a reach, we sail.
Other than the expense and effort of installing and maintaining it, our auxiliary propulsion
has all the advantages listed and more, with no downsides. We also are less likely to drag down on the guy behind us, because we set our hook better, (we set ours @ full reverse RPM), because we can. At least on my old SC 28, full reverse throttle just lifted the sled out of the water
, and even with the motor's bracket locked, the prop danced on the surface.
Our system is very low maintenance
, btw... (I simply change the oil
& tighten belts once a year), but it did take a LOT of care getting it that way originally. Still, when asked: "Which concept
has the most OPTIONS across the board, under the broadest set of circumstances", as I said... it truly is a no-brainer.