First of all -
Thanks to everyone who's replied - even the trolls.
Second - Anecdotally, it looks like an engine saved one or two boats - boats that had their sails
furled when 'it' hit the fan.
Third - It sounds like many people have used a combination of power AND sail to escape or weather bad blows, and that an engine is as likely to fail or foul as it is to help, so you better keep those sails rigged and ready to go at anchor
Fourth - inadequate ground tackle and/or poor anchoring
technique, or poor holding ground leads to situations where you are down to the engine as a last resort.
Fith - A powerful engine is unlikely to save you alone in big seas against a lee shore in a gale.
Sixth: Engines quit when you least expect it and most need them.
Seventh: I screwed up grammatically in my gale story. I was at sea, the anemometer (USC Information sciences) was located inland.
Eighth: Some people hate Flicka's. Many Flicka sailors are idiots, I'll grant you that (The latest (Nov 1st, 2011) was a blind, solo circumnavigation
wanna-be who was rescued off Ensenada after leaving San Diego
- with two powerful, back to back early season Pacific storms in the forecast
Numb-nutts broke his boom - Know how to do that? SAIL A FLICKA WITH ITS MAIN UP IN ANYTHING OVER 20 KNOTS.
Yea - that will do it.
a preventer mid boom greatly assists in this, while striking the main and securing the boom will absolutely prevent it.
He also had his (outboard) engine ripped off. Know how to prevent that? SECURE IT PROPERLY, OR REMOVE IT ALLTOGETHER.
I suspect the boat attracts wannabe nubskulls because of its blue-water scantlings and affordability.
It interesting to me that we never hear from these people after their mistakes
- which we and they could learn from.
I've found that the boat is quirky, and demanding to sail well - think "big dry dinghy
built like a Sherman tank that will not capsize
as long as you are not a complete moron"
Not "miniature Queen Mary"....
....and you'll be on the right track.
She's forgiving of really big errors ( Accidental gybes, riding turns, over-canvasing, jib
sheet wrapped around your nuts when you blow it to tack, grounding.... running over whales... )
....but not of small ones (improper sail trim, forgetting to close a hatch
, too much weather helm
, not enough sail up in a small steep chop, etc)
It's a small boat, and it will ALWAYS be a small boat - with shoal draft
, a barn door rudder
, and a full keel
- A boat that must be sailed with all due caution, and respect for her inherent limits. According to the math, a breaking 8' wave will roll her if she's beam-to (she loves lying beam to, and will not properly heave-to under most conditions)
So - I figure "getting rolled" is part of the deal if I head offshore
in my little tank, and I've prepared accordingly. My knives are properly stowed, the batteries secured, locker lids barrel bolted, I'm lashed to a padeye low and and forward in the cockpit
, and I've shipping
a Jordan series drogue
, because she lies unhappily bow to, but quite happily stern to when things get truly ugly, I no longer feel like steering
, and the tiller pilot is possessed by the devil.
I've a plan for jury rigging
if need be with duct tape and my unneeded internal compression
post and a spare tiller, and I'll be avoiding the Bering Straight and Cape Horn, thank you very much....though one guy made it around the Cape of Good Hope in his Flicka before he set the poor thing on fire with gasoline trying to refuel a running petrol genny at sea, lol...
...and he had the class to apologize for his stupidy, and for letting down a fine boat -unlike the other circum-wanna bees...
Ninth - I have no plans to circumnavigate "Nomad". It seems truly, utterly pointless to set out with the goal of ending up exactly where you started if you ask me - ...but I might just have to do it at some point to put a stop to all the idiots and glory seekers who keep soiling the reputation of such a fine boat.
If so, It will be via a trade-wind, equatorial route
- in season, and with crew, and I'll take my sweet-ass time doing it too, probably 20 or 30 years.
Tenth - Electric propulsion
has saved just as many boats as diesel propulsion
from lee shores.
and finally, to all the haters:
I'm no troll
- I'm simply in the habit of thinking critically as a product of my education and career - so I question "conventional wisdom" before accepting it. I'm a writer, educator, artist, engineer
, and (retired) Architect, and I've concluded from this thread that the main utility of an engine is in close quarter anchoring
(thanks) not "clawing off a lee shore!!!!"- something I already suspected from last summer's sea trails spent anchoring in the crowded, close quarter, lee, deep water
, big swell, open ocean roadsteads around steep-to Catalina Island
- especially her southwest aspect.
and for the record
- I sold everything I own, resigned my professorships, and I moved aboard my ship two years ago.
I've been preparing for my escape from Los Angeles since 2009, and wind weather and tide permitting, I'll be setting sail for La Paz
in January 2012.
My father's mother was born in in 1904.
She raced a Bristol Corinthian 19 out of New England's Marblehead harbor until she was well into her 80ies, only stopping when she broke her wrist jumping from her boat into the launch.
That boat never had an engine.
It was she who taught me what a "cat's paw" is, and it was she who taught me to always keep an eye to weather for squalls and wind shifts.
She taught me how to steer a compass
, and how to pick a landmark and steer towards it inshore when I just 10 years old.
Once back in the harbor ashe had me shoot her mooring
- all under sail - as a child.
Her great uncle was John G. Alden.
So you see - sailing is a sacred thing to me - something I've dedicated my life to, and I want to make sure I do right by my grandmother.
Thanks for your responses and your help. They are truly, deeply appreciated.