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Old 12-06-2016, 00:14   #76
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I don't have numbers to back me up, but I'd be ALMOST willing to bet that the "engine", is the number one source of stress and problems(and repair costs) with sailboats.
I can't speak for others, but not on any of my boats. Perkins/Westerbeke on the old boat, Yanmar on this one - not totally problem free, but almost. Plenty of maintenance, but almost never any "stress".

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Old 12-06-2016, 00:32   #77
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

A sailboat should have a reliable motor. That means properly maintained and frequently operated. Otherwise, rig a couple of oars if you are physically capable and your boat is small enough.

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Old 12-06-2016, 01:01   #78
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Well, you have to start by asking yourself what you need power for. And work back from there.

Mankind sailed for some time without power (for a few centuries between the time when galleys were prevalent, and when auxiliary power came in) so obviously it can be done. The Pardeys cruise the world without power, and do so happily and without any serious mishaps.

But cruising without power, or with less than the usual amount of power, is different. What you cannot expect is to just toss out a 30 hp diesel, put in a 5hp electric motor, and sail the same way.

What is really important is that you cannot expect to sail the same way, just a bit slower. That's because even if you can move the boat at 4 or even 5 knots with 5 horsepower in calm conditions, 5 horsepower won't move it at all, not even 1 knot, against the wind of a certain force and/or head sea of a certain magnitude. Is that ok with the way you plan to cruise? It might be -- works for some people.

If you can't move the boat under power in a certain range of conditions, will you always be able to wait for a calm? Or a favorable wind?

Will you always be able to avoid lee shores?

Pre-steam auxiliary mariners (post- galleys) waited up to months for a favorable wind, and a lot of them perished on lee shores.

The Pardeys work with that successfully. Can you?

I couldn't.
Very wise sensible response.
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:12   #79
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
So funny. I'm all for sailing and try to motor as little as practical. I've had boats with no engine. But trying to argue that it is better is funny and trying to argue for tiny engines is funny. I might do either, in very specific cases, but as a general rule it is just silly.

  • No schedule--I will never move anywhere in a hurry. You will find yourself in front of an approaching storm, not just a squall, often without wind; you could be old school and get pounded, or you could move it. Someone could become very ill (it's happened on my boat) and there is no wind.
  • Injury. You cannot end the sails due to injury. Been there. Pulled my back terribly while underway. Took me 10 minutes to get off the deck. If I had not been able to just drop sail it would have been very serious. Heck, it was serious even with the engine.
  • Real sailors only use the engine in and out of the harbor. Perhaps, but these people can also have disproportionate problems with engines due to not using the fuel up in a reasonable period and not running the engine under load enough. They aren't actually saving anything.
  • Getting becalmed in a ship channel is no joke. It is irresponsible. Just last week I was sailing in a nice 15-knot breeze that suddenly went to absolute zero. I watched as a freighter approached from 5 miles away, constrained by the channel, and was forced to start the engine to create a suitable safety margin for both of us. Though I did not cut in front of him, without an engine it would have been a "situation." A smaller engine would have been fine.
  • Range. Well, the C&D canal is no-sailing for about 14 miles, but at least 25 miles are really too tight for sailing in the presence of large shipping. Goofing around with a small engine would likewise be unsound.
  • Tides. This has been covered. I can think of a lot of cuts with swirling tides that would require very specific conditions to cross safely under sail.
No, you don't need an engines, or a big one, but admit to yourself you are being Luddite rather than defend it, and recognize the risks you are taking for yourself and those around you. Dingies are different, though even then it depends on where you launch (I've tacked dinghies through channels that in retrospect I should not have. But I was young.)
And another well thoughout response
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:20   #80
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

I have some admiration for those who are both skilled enough and patient enough to 'sail' only. But I also think ere is an element of stupidity about it and lack of consideration to other users of the sea in your vicinity. For the reasons as indicated in the above two posts.

Yes, people's have done it for thousands of years, BUT, they did not need to deal with large fast traffic coming your way. There families also had to contend with the fact that the sailors life was one that was not a long life, 30's to 40's as the sailor contended with storms we today would see in advance and we can head for shelter.

If you desire to sail only, that's fine, but you should have a motor on board that's big enough to get you out of trouble and into safety, if not for your sake, then to save those going out to rescue you. This answers your question about trying to match electric with diesel. If you go electric, then it still needs to be big enough, with conserved power enough to do what needs to do, in order to keep you safe.
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Old 12-06-2016, 02:48   #81
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I don't have numbers to back me up, but I'd be ALMOST willing to bet that the "engine", is the number one source of stress and problems(and repair costs) with sailboats.
Only if you ignore the stress of relying only on the wind when you get in a tight spot

Then again, a well maintained engine is pretty darn reliable. If you are talking someone who can't or won't maintain an engine, how likely are they to keep the sails and rigging up.
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Old 12-06-2016, 03:38   #82
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Only if you ignore the stress of relying only on the wind when you get in a tight spot

Then again, a well maintained engine is pretty darn reliable. If you are talking someone who can't or won't maintain an engine, how likely are they to keep the sails and rigging up.
I spent a lot of time sailing boats without engines. I certainly experienced a lot of stress, worrying about getting blown onto something or swept by a current, or not being able to get out of the way of traffic or not being able to get home when the sea breeze died at twilight. In my opinion, a good diesel engine is an immense stress reducer.

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Old 12-06-2016, 06:25   #83
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

Going naked, sans engine, may be fine if you day sail and can pick your weather. Although, judging from the inaccuracy of weather forecasts even from paid providers, I think you can't even rely on the latter.

HOWEVER, if you live aboard and cruise in 3rd world countries, you most definitely need auxiliary power. I like the fact that I have TWO engines in my cat, because invariably one will spit the dummy at the most inopportune moments. BTW I do try to keep up the maintenance.

I once met a circumnavigator in Darwin who had managed to have wrecked 2 boats in his crossing of the Pacific from California due to the fact that he had no engine. IMHO, if you were to offer those old time sailors a sail boat with auxiliary power, they would have been very grateful.

Without even stressing my cerebrum too much, I can think of 3 occasions in the last 7 years of living aboard when my home would have ended up as flotsam if I had not had my engines to call on when the excrement struck the rotary cooling device.

HOWEVER, EACH TO HIS OWN. It is alright if you sail solo but if you sail with loved ones, I would check that they are willing to take the risk of not having an adequate auxiliary means of propulsion.
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Old 12-06-2016, 06:33   #84
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Going naked, sans engine, may be fine if you day sail and can pick your weather.
Actually, you need an engine more to day sail because you are continually coming and going from the dock sometimes through very narrow channels with lots of traffic.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:22   #85
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Re: If No Engine ... Why All The Fuss About "Proper", BIG Electric Motor?

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Originally Posted by SURV69 View Post
I don't have numbers to back me up, but I'd be ALMOST willing to bet that the "engine", is the number one source of stress and problems(and repair costs) with sailboats.
I have spent a LOT more stress and money on my sails than my engine.
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