Sorry its taken me a while to reply - I've been sailing the past four days straight, doing sea trials with my new outboard
. It works great, and has tremendous torque.
That's the nice thing about living in Los Angeles. The weather
and natural lanscape here is great, but the city....and Hollywood?
Anyway, I've got nothing against J-boats, except that thier rigs, rudders, and keels seem a bit spindly for offshore
work - a couple of years ago one sank during the Baja
haha rally after striking a whale.
Seems the rudderpost tore out, leaving a huge hole in the stern, which sank the boat in about 40 minutes, fortunately giving its crew time to climb -up - into thier life raft.
The USCG recieved thier EPIRB
mayday, and reached them about 4 hours after the masthead dissapeared below the waves 250 miles south of San Diego
Seems the speed of the boat and efficiency of its keel
worked against it in this instance. Winds were around 30 knots, they were headed downwind, and were surrounded by a pod of whales. A sensible move would have been to reduce sail and heave-to, but then again, J-boats dont heave-to very well do they?
I'm pretty sure my Flicka would keep her rudder
if she struck a whale at any rate - then again, losing her rudder wont sink her since its keel hung on a set of bulletproof bronze grudions and pintles. She's also considerably slower than a J-boat, much more heavily built, with a full keel, and has less mass, meaning any impacts will involve considerably less energy.
How many Flickas have sunk offshore
- or inshore for that matter?
Flickas have been across all of the worlds oceans, repeatedly and around the Cape of Good Hope, and I'm not aware of a single
sinking. Sure, people have managed to get into trouble in them - but then again, people got into trouble aboard the Titanic too.
I dont know about other Flickas, but tacks through 90 degrees with her 110 jib up, and again, I have the gps
tracks to prove it - I can provide anyone who likes with a KML file of them if they like so they can view them in Google earth
Maybe they have an all purpose roller furling
headsail that's too light and sets poorly, especially when reefed. You know, a roller furling
headsail and associated hardware
, windage, and wieght aloft that hurts windward performance, especially when things get ugly?
With her 140 genoa
up mine doesnt point real high, but she has a hell of a lot of power as long as I dont pinch or over-sheet it. She will carry that monster in 18 knots while still making some progress to windward, though again, its pretty ugly 45 degrees of heel, rail completely submerged, my books
, girlfreind, and underwear flying around the cabin
....but you never know where the upper limit is until you try.
That sail needs to be allowed to breathe, so I sheet it out a bit and foot off, trading pointing high for VMG to windward.
My 7.5oz, wire luff 80% jib can be sheeted inside of the shouds for beating when the going gets tough, and she points a few degrees higher than the 110 like this, as long as there is enough breeze to drive her (20 knots plus, with the main either flattened with the traveler down, or single
reefed depending on the sea state, and how angry and bruised up my girlfriend is after I take down the 140.
Big seas are not a problem for small boats (long wavelength) small chop (short wavelegnth) is becuase of thier low resonant frequency.
Ever watch gulls or comorants sitting in the water when its rough? I do. I'm facinated at how they just roll over waves that are proportionally 100 feet high to them like it's nothing - while I'm getting absolutely hammered by the same 8 foot waves.
but once the get bigger than that.... things calm down, and the bigger boats start getting hammered - while I make tea and apologize to my girlfreind for the earlier mayhem.
Really huge breaking seas? Well, at least I can manuver quickly. Inshore, stay in port. Offshore, stand off, right?
Be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and stout ground tackle, properly set, with a looooong rode
, basic seamanship, and sailing skills are your best bet, not a huge, cantankerous engine
My ground tackle is capable of withstanding a working load of around 1.5 tons, and has a breaking strength of over twice that.
How big of an engine do you need to generate that amount of force?
Can you fit it on my Flicka and still keep the ability to sleep and store provisions for me and my woman?
I doubt it.
No matter how big of a boat you have, the ocean is much much bigger. The point at which things go bad is merely different, and thats not neccesaraly a good thing - especially if your big boat and big engine encourage you to take risks you wouldnt take in a smaller vessel or neglect to build and practice skills, like short tacking, that are basic and essential to competent seamanship.
Like I did all weekend against foul tides and shifting winds through the crowds in the MDR main channel - alone, both with and without the help of my autopilot
Those skills, if kept sharp, will hold you in good stead when that big engine of yours quits while youre trying to enter some narrow reef strewn lagoon
pass - a much more likely scenario than it saving you from a lee shore in a gale. I think engines make us lazy, overconfident, and complacent. They are useful for calms and for close quarter manuavering - but once you truly master prop-walk - and from what I can tell, virtually no-one in MDR even knows what prop-walk is, much less mastered it.
its useful for MOB
situations in moderate conditions for an inexperienced sailor I suppose.
Oh, and when you have to make it to some pointless meeting on Monday so you can pay someone else for fixing, fueling, and maintaining it.
That's about it.
Overconfidence kills, not small boats or small engines.
Santa Ana winds blow from different directions and forces depending on the local topograpgy and meterological condions. There is a mild one blowing from due east right now - at least it's moderate here in Marina Del Rey.
They usually follow cold fronts, and they usually blow from the North-East, but you never know - they can appear litterally overnight out of nowhere, and they can be very dangerous.
And Santa Monica Bay is a bay, so yea, I know what "embayment" is. I'm always embayed until I beat out 15 miles or so against the 18 knot
westerlies and steep chop that rake Northern Santa Monica Bay every summer afternoon.
Anchors, seamanship, storm sails and prudence - that's my point.
Auxilliary engines on sailboats should be seen as just that - auxilliary.
The most powerful sailboat engine is a joke compared to even a modest power boat
engine, so if you really believe engines are your best hope in extremis, why not trade
in your sailboat for a stink-pot?
You do know what a stink-pot is, right?