I noticed this thread a few days ago, and...... still no replies. Does it mean that everybody has an engine
I sailed my ferro
for about 5 years without an engine. Boat
was 34 ft, 10-11 tons, long keel
. That was when I had to replace my dirty rusty fueltank that caused engine to stop, and then engine was removed, I thought, may as well put in new watertanks, and then a new galley
and then….. you get the picture. I was not good in keeping a project
within the initial scope
I sailed mostly from my pen in the marina (or ‘slip’ as Americans call it I think). I think for sailing without an engine there are a few prerequisites.
- Have a boat that sails
- Be extra careful, sail conservative
- Plan well in advance
- Have exist strategies
- Simplicity is a must
- Patience is a virtue
- Anchors are your best friend
Good sailing boat: I assume that many or most of us learned sailing in a dinghy
. No motor
. A big boat is just the same, only a small mistake may be have big consequences. And a boat that sails
well, will certainly help.
Careful: It is only the last 20 to 50 metres before entering a pen/slip that is vital, no room for errors. 100 metres away one always turn around. Only enter areas when you cannot see other boats moving, because those boats will cause at best angst, at worst a scratch or dent.
Plan: The biggest problem was when the wind
on my stern. A few times I nudged up to a pylon on the opposite (windward) side, attached a 12 or 16 mm line on the stern, round that pylon, and let myself assisted by the wind
slowly in the pen. But this was a bit of effort, and could not always get a pylon directly upwind from my pen. So mostly with unfavourable winds, I anchored out for a few hours or used a known mooring
. Winds were fairly predictable there.
I had a grapnel and ie 8-10 mm line ready, just in case my speed dropped before I entered the pen. I had to use that a few times as I tended to err on the side of too slow, which was better than too fast. BTW, if going too fast, some fast rudder
movements port to starboard would wash off some speed as well.
Exit points: be aware where you can go if wind strength or wind direction is changing. If possible establish the point of "no return".
Simplicity: I made sure the cockpit
and all the sidedecks were clear, to reduce trip hazards (I sailed mostly on my own).
I dropped and secured mainsail
and boom well before entering harbour. I sailed in with a large genoa
on a roller furler
that I could roll in and roll out very easily and quickly. I rolled that in once I committed to the last 30-40 metres.
I generally secured the boat with one ready made (to size) springer
Patience: sailing without an engine is no problem, just the need to be in hurry to meet a schedule does not go well without an engine. It is when entering a channel, harbour or other tight spots that it may become more difficult. If things are not quite right, have the courage to change the plan, wait outside, anchor
out, until conditions improve. This applies even more so when entering an unknown harbour. Anchor
out, do a reconnaissance with the dinghy
, talk to locals, then attempt to enter the harbour.
desire for oversized anchors could well stem from those days. In the beginning I had a Danforth (and OK for the mostly sandy soil there), then CQR
(?20 kg), but I had a few close shaves. A 20 kg Manson Supreme never let me down. I had a smaller Danforth anchor on the sternrail, ready to deploy, as a brake, but never had to use it. The anchor on the bow could be deployed easily and quickly as well.
Would I have a boat without an engine by choice? No. But engines/transmissions do fail and at times we have to sail the boat without one. I think it pays to practice. Have the engine running but in neutral when you make attempts in maneuvering. I will be a skill you need one day.