No, I don’t think they’d be used more if they were that efficient, and I do think most can make 50*-55* off the wind
or better depending on wind strength, sea state and centerboard
I think sailing dinghies are not attractive to cruisers for a number of reasons.
A lot of cruisers really are just decent sailors and can’t get the best out of their dinghies.
Sailing involves ceding a certain amount of control to wind and sea conditions. People want to point the dinghy
at their destination
and go. Sailing involves tacking up wind. Look at the ratio of power boats to sail bots for local and moderate distance use.
Sailing a dinghy
limits the load carrying. Heeling while sailing means that you can’t load the dinghy as much as when motoring or rowing.
Finally, most of the time a sailing dinghy takes a LOT longer going the same distance. There’s setting and dousing sails
at each end of a trip. Shipping
and unshipping the mast
each morning and evening.
The added distance upwind while moderate is significant. The big thing though is sailing a dinghy is just going to be slower than motoring. The WB10 has a hullspeed of about 4kt. With a big enough motor
you might push that up to 4.5-5.5kt, especially if you ignore the 3hp rating and put a 5-6hp on it. Sailing in perfect conditions you might hit 4kt but 2.5-3.0 is a lot more likely especially with the stock rigs sized as they are. Loaded the dinghy is going to be even slower.
Let’s do the math. Assume a really good sailor is handling the boat
in perfect conditions. The destination
is 1nm to windaward.
He/she has 1.5x the distance to sail upwind and same distance the other way. So, round trip, the sailing dinghy has to sail 2.5nm vs 2.0nm for the motorized version.
The sailing dinghy makes 4kt vs 5kt for the motor
That’s 24min round trip for the motor dinghy and 38min for the sail.
Let’s say starting/stowing the motor and untying the dinghy takes 2 min at each end for a total of 8 min.
Let’s say raising/lowering sails
and getting underway take 5min at each end for a total of 20min.
Adding those to travel time it’s now 32min motoring vs 58min sailing. That’s almost a 2:1 difference for a very good sailor in ideal conditions.
Less than ideal conditions will decrease both boats speed, the sailing boat
probably more so. And even if there was an equal drop in speed the percentage drop in speed will be greater for the sailing version.
Lackluster sailing will decrease speed further.
The moderate increase in distance covered magnifies these effects even more for the sailing dinghy.
Pretty soon you are looking at taking 3-5 times as long sailing and this doesn’t even take into account needing to make an extra trip because of loading limitations and the time involved shipping
and unshipping the mast
You don’t need to grossly exaggerate the effect of the extra distance sailed to figure this out.
I started sailing dinghies in 1986 and teaching in 1988. I’ve sailed on:
I-14 (both 1970s and 1995 vintage boats)
E-Scow (2nd biggest dinghy currently after the A-scow)
Tempest (though this is really a dinghy/keelboat hybrid. )
Victory 21 (very small keelboat, large dinghy)
Plus several others I only sailed a couple of times and don’t remember.
I raced Stars for 2 seasons though that could be considered a keelboat.
And I was race
committee for the Seattle
Laser fleet for about a year for their Sunday practice racing
in the late 1980s.
And I raced a Boston Whaler 16 once in a beer
using a Flying Scot rudder
, the rig from a 470 I think and 470 centerboards C-clamped to the side as lee boards.
Probably the Lido 14 was closest to the WB10 in size and hull
shape but even that had comparatively reasonable sail area.
For comparison the Laser which is 156lb vs 126lb for the WB10 has 76sf sail area vs. 50sf.
The WB10 really is under canvassed with stock sails which makes for mediocre sailing but a good business decision. The good business decision is that they are just cheap
enough to lure in more customers but small enough that they are are less likely to overstress the boat and rig and incur liability.
For the last 10y I’ve been sailing keelboats almost exclusively.
PS: What’s your experience sailing dinghies?