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Old 12-03-2016, 15:03   #31
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Bloke I met in Gibraltar had sailed down from the UK with his wife.. only times he would use the engine was for entering marinas.
Apparently they were becalmed for 4 days in the Biscay, and 3 days between San Vincente and Gibraltar and no matter the slopping about he refused to use the engine as sailors don't use an engine.. they wait patiently for the wind..
She flew home on the first flight available and started divorce proceedings.
Next time I saw him was Agua Dulce and the boat was For Sale.. on the hard as it was part of the settlement.
Common sense.. some have it.. many do not

hmmm i suspect a lot more was going on in that marriage than being becalmed
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:06   #32
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

Haha, yes, I think that's a safe assumption, RC
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:21   #33
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

Yet another decision/problem which is eliminated by sailing with no engine.

I've met many sailors (and my own guests) who believe the sails are just for show, like a nice hobby...and the engine is for getting places (just like a car, you know). This mentality drives me crazy.

When I crossed the atlantic, I found that the skipper would have motored the entire way if he had enough fuel. He had very little faith in the ability of the sails to move us very far or in the desired direction. It turned out that although he had owned the boat for years, he had always motored, and only put up the sails when there was nothing to do, and no where to go. One night, when I was alone on watch, we were motor sailing at about 5 knots, with the sails flapping. But there was a little wind at a good angle, so I slowed the engine, trimmed the sails, checked the speed, slowed a little more, trimmed...eventually we were going about 4.8knots with the engine off. Finally, the boat was quiet. The skipper stormed up on deck and asked "why have we stopped?", and immediately started the engine, and throttled up till the sails were flapping again. Every day the skipper would ask me "how much farther", and "how much fuel do we have left". The moment our range under motor was greater than the distance remaining, the sails came down and the engine came on...and stayed on.

All this makes me think that racing is good training and experience when learning to sail, since you cannot start the engine during a race, obviously.

On my own boat, I prefer to sail, and use the engine as sparingly as possible. But I realize that my kids get bored, my guests have schedules, and my marina does not like me sailing so close to the docks. So grudgingly, I start the engine when necessary.

IMHO, when the wind dies, its time to go swimming.
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:22   #34
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Bloke I met in Gibraltar had sailed down from the UK with his wife.. only times he would use the engine was for entering marinas.
Apparently they were becalmed for 4 days in the Biscay, and 3 days between San Vincente and Gibraltar and no matter the slopping about he refused to use the engine as sailors don't use an engine.. they wait patiently for the wind..
She flew home on the first flight available and started divorce proceedings.
Next time I saw him was Agua Dulce and the boat was For Sale.. on the hard as it was part of the settlement.
Common sense.. some have it.. many do not

As much as I dream of going engineless, where I am, I'll be sitting 3 miles offshore all night looking at the lights and mast and main flopping back and forth. Pretty sure my crew would abandon me too!
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:25   #35
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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Originally Posted by cruisersfarm View Post
The answer is.......

When you feel like it.

You're on your boat to enjoy yourself, not prove anything (hopefully).
this one.

I dont claim to have a huge amount of sail experience. I think im going into my 5th year with my lady (purchased late 2011) and prior to my sailing experience 'all' of my boating was in protected waters. My sailing miles is about 4000 miles (im guessing) in that time. I seem to be a magnet to bad weather (or im just shocking reading weather forcasts).

What i do is if im a day out from my destination ill annoyingly motor in if becalmed. Or ill motor out and have done for up to 12 hours to reach the wind i kniw is there. I find its annoying because its noisy and a little smelly.

I always motor in (and out) of port regardless of the conditions so that i have the power to make any changes quickly.

When the weather catches me out, ill use the motor if im having problems with steerage or ill turn it on to help reef. That will sound odd to many but i cant seem to get sails down to reef if im over 30knotts, and i need to turn into wind to get them down, so i use the motor to help turn and hold into wind.

Once i've got the reefing done and the heading is sorted ill then turn the engine off and just go under a minimum of sail which seems to have no problem in maintaining max speed in those conditions.

The other time ill motor/sail is if im keen to get to destination due to anything, weather, unfamilir destination, and by motoring will give me another couple of knotts on top of the current sail speed.

So, whenever i want
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:28   #36
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Yet another decision/problem which is eliminated by sailing with no engine.

I've met many sailors (and my own guests) who believe the sails are just for show, like a nice hobby...and the engine is for getting places (just like a car, you know). This mentality drives me crazy.

When I crossed the atlantic, I found that the skipper would have motored the entire way if he had enough fuel. He had very little faith in the ability of the sails to move us very far or in the desired direction. It turned out that although he had owned the boat for years, he had always motored, and only put up the sails when there was nothing to do, and no where to go. Every day the skipper would ask me "how much farther", and "how much fuel do we have left". The moment our range under motor was equal/less than the distance remaining, the sails came down and the engine came on...and stayed on.

All this makes me think that racing is good training and experience when learning to sail, since you cannot start the engine during a race, obviously.

On my own boat, I prefer to sail, and use the engine as sparingly as possible. But I realize that my kids get bored, my guests have schedules, and my marina does not like me sailing so close to the docks. So grudgingly, I start the engine when necessary. However, when the wind dies, thats means its time to go swimming.
Yeah, i know a guy thats owned his 38 footer for 8 years and i doubt he has ever had the sails up.

Theres a saying, 'racing creates sailmanship, cruising creates seamanship'
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:36   #37
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

Don't overthink it. Whatever feels right to you, just do it.

As for me, it varies between putting the motor on when the speed drops under 7 knots, if I'm in a hurry (tidal gate, weather, whatever), to hanging out for days at a time, going with the flow, and everything in between.

Sometimes there is some perfectly legitimate or illegitimate reason for wanting to get to port, sometimes I just love being at sea and don't mind drifting around waiting for a breeze.

It drives some of my crew crazy sometimes, but I love being becalmed if there is no good reason to hurry into port. Calm weather in the ocean out of sight of land? Throw me in that briar patch. In what way exactly is that worse than being in port somewhere? Let me rephrase that -- what could possibly be better?
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Old 12-03-2016, 15:54   #38
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Don't overthink it. Whatever feels right to you, just do it.
Has anyone read the original post?

He's after advice for 20 day passages and 3-5 day passages.

Its NOT whatever feels right!

Fuel calculations are vital.

Even without propulsion, using the engine to generate electricity uses fuel on a 20 day passage that will effect motoring time.

I am as interested as the OP in finding out how others calculate fuel/motoring etc on 20 day passages. I would like to know how others do it.
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Old 12-03-2016, 16:14   #39
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

depends on how long i been drifting and whether i am trying uphill or downhill port. or if i even care.
sometimes the latter wins for a few days.
oh yeah .. mileage to next port. how many miles per hour can boat comfortably make.
figger how many hours it would take to get your boat those 400 miles at 3 kts. work out also 2.5 kts if going uphill. figger it at 2 kts, which is realistic in a sloop against the wind and current--btdt.
is much the same as figgering your fuel needs for same distance.
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Old 12-03-2016, 16:45   #40
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Has anyone read the original post?

He's after advice for 20 day passages and 3-5 day passages.

Its NOT whatever feels right!

Fuel calculations are vital.

Even without propulsion, using the engine to generate electricity uses fuel on a 20 day passage that will effect motoring time.

I am as interested as the OP in finding out how others calculate fuel/motoring etc on 20 day passages. I would like to know how others do it.
Well, if you have fuel constraints, you do what you feel like, but within those constraints.

I have about 1000 miles motoring range at economical cruise speed, so have never run into those constraints, myself.

If I were running into those constraints, I would make a budget. I would take the worst case passage time and figure worst case fuel required to make electrical power. Three hours of generator per day at 2 liters an hour = 120 liters reserved for electrical power. Then take the 560 litres left and that's about 800 miles. So it's like money -- spend it when you feel like it, but with an eye towards having enough left when you need it. An hour of using the main engine subtracts an hour from required generator use, so you gain a fudge factor there. Eventually (hopefully) you will get within motoring range of your destination and you stop worrying about it. Keep track of your fuel on a daily basis ("bunker report") to be sure. I have Maretron fuel flow meters so can keep a precise count of fuel used.
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Old 12-03-2016, 17:16   #41
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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I have Maretron fuel flow meters so can keep a precise count of fuel used.
Yeah, I wouldn't mind one of them.

More boat toys...
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Old 12-03-2016, 17:47   #42
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

mine are generally 3-7 day passages. uphill is longer, more time, downhill is faster.
donot forget to figger in your drift current, which on west coast runs 1-4 kts to south, depending on location. bashing north against it is not fun and takes more fuel and time than you figure into the mix.
on east coast you have gulf stream, same in parts of gom. will they help or hinder you/
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Old 12-03-2016, 17:54   #43
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

My motoring rule is simple.

When the speed drops below four knots, I turn on an engine.

Two exceptions to this rule:

1. If weather is getting bad and night is falling, I will turn on two engines if I can get in before things get untenable.

2. If I am coming to a new port at night that I don't know, I stand offshore by 5 to 10 miles rather than motor into port in the dark.

That worked for me all the way around the world.
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Old 12-03-2016, 18:06   #44
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
Why was putting away all your sails the thing you did? I'm not trying to be dense but I'm not really getting your point. We find it always more stable in big winds and seas to have SOME sail up. Even if motorsailing having that bit of sail up makes the boat more stable. Miserable to just motor with not a scrap of sail to stabilize the boat.

I do understand some people feel more comfortable motorsailing, yes. But more comfortable motoring with not a scrap of sail up is just not what I'd want to do, on our boat, in heavy weather or even in a brisk 20 kts. It makes no sense to me. Please explain.

Thanks,
Brenda

I get that. I often motor with some stabilizing sail, but that works better with a fairly steady breeze - wild and woolly just flogs the sail(s) for no good reason. On the Bahamas crossing, we were literally zigzagging around avoiding scattered thunder-cells. They painted really well on the radar, and the lightning confirmed the areas to avoid. The downdrafts were insane, and the water was completely confused. Fortunately our big, heavy boat seemed to handle it quite well, so I think any sail would have exacerbated the rolling, vice helping. On reflection, during our trip to Highborne we actually left the mizzen up. The storm came on us so fast that we didn't have time to get it down, so just centred the boom and tightened the running backstays. It flogged around and made steering a little more challenging, but it's too small to have really created problems. Wouldn't say it helped any.
Now that I think of it, it really makes no sense to keep the sail up, if there's no wind at all. Going into Charleston, we kept the main up mostly to dry off, as we had a good rain overnight, but there was no wind and plenty of chop. The sail flogged horribly and I was relieved when it had dried off enough that we could furl it. It didn't cause us to flop any more (or less), but it was quieter.
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Old 12-03-2016, 18:06   #45
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Re: When to motor the rest of the way?

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You forgot weather. A bunch of storm cells pop up and the wisest choice is to furl it all and motor.

I dont get it, yours and other similar posts.

In the orig post, he was headed to land. In your scene a storm pops up. Isnt the wisest thing to head back out to sea to get searoom and heave-to until conditions improve to approach the landing either by sail or motor? Isnt motoring to land in a storm the greatest way to risk a crash? If not, why not?
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