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Old 25-04-2020, 22:28   #1
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Sailboat without engine?

Another question from the wannabe sailor!
What are the most serious disadvantages (or even dangers) of sailing the boat without engine? Besides getting out of the port, that is...
Thanks very much!
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Old 25-04-2020, 23:09   #2
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

If you are going to do it you want a fair bit of experience. You’ll also want a boat with good light wind sails.

I’ve done it with a conked out motor when I’ve had to. In the long run I want an electric drive boat for in and out of moorings with a small outboard when I need to get home on a schedule and the wind has died.

If you buy a boat with no engine you can’t have a schedule, you move on weather windows.

Where are you? Putting that info in your profile would save folks having to ask that question.
If you are in SoCal area I would happily meet you when lockdown eases.
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Old 25-04-2020, 23:16   #3
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

I imagine most marinas will disdain sailboating in their harbors (while I still treasure the experience of docking under sail in my father's Columbia Defender, a 29-foot sloop).
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Old 26-04-2020, 01:02   #4
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

Getting out is fairly easy. It’s the getting in that’s tricky.

Watch some “how to sail oceans” on YouTube, he shows it well.
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Old 26-04-2020, 05:08   #5
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

PM boat_alexandra if you'd like firsthand info.

His boat doesn't have an engine and he uses a sculling oar to manouvre his sailboat in harbour.

This is an old article about him:

https://towndock.net/shippingnews/se...-and-alexandra

Warmly,
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Old 26-04-2020, 05:10   #6
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

I've been dealing with this issue for a while, involuntarily. it adds a whole new level to your planning.

to leave my current mooring I would need to wait for a perfect ese wind. this would allow me to sail up around Fleming key but still have the correct wind to leave key west.

an alternative is to wait for a dead calm and tow my boat to a staging area where I could take advantage of any east wind.

my trip down the east coast of Florida was 8 days vs 4 because of light winds. so you can't be on a schedule.
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Old 26-04-2020, 05:10   #7
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

(Of course, us dinghy sailors all started out in boats without engines... and hey presto! When you move up to bigger boats, same principles still apply!)
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Old 26-04-2020, 06:26   #8
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

For most cruising sailors the engine does far more than just move the boat.

Kerosene lamps are a PIA to live with , a cabin fan is a huge delight when there are too many insects , and on and on.

Small engines are the size of many gen sets and if needed can be hand started.

A proper install is quiet and vibration free.

It allows coming to a dock for water and holding tank dump , and the dumpster to be done on your sked, not mother natures.
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Old 26-04-2020, 06:42   #9
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

On some boats it might be impossible to get out/into a port, narrow inlet etc under sail unless you wait for the right wind, which of course might never come. Take a pig like my boat. You would never sail it out of a narrowish channel with win on the nose. So you'd end up with the boat dashed to pieces on some rocks somewhere. Doesn't matter how good are you can't beat physics.

In many ports and marinas in Europe it is forbidden to sail.
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Old 26-04-2020, 08:01   #10
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

You're right, Mike. Don't know why Portsmouth is making such a useful example today, but for example, pilotage rules for the harbour entrance say that you may enter under sail, but that your engine must be running and generally, we'd leave it in neutral as a fallback.

In Toronto Harbour's Western Gap, we have a similar rule. Not only is there a ferry that goes across to Billy Bishop Airport regularly, but the wind also gets blocked by the airport buldings just about smack-dab in the middle of the gap. So again, engine on for safety.

So I guess your choices will need to be dictated by your local waters and your own harbour, FlybyNight.

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Old 26-04-2020, 10:08   #11
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
I imagine most marinas will disdain sailboating in their harbors (while I still treasure the experience of docking under sail in my father's Columbia Defender, a 29-foot sloop).
mark question what was the name on your dads defender?
I now own the former SV Don't Panic.
Hull #60
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Old 26-04-2020, 10:10   #12
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

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Originally Posted by flybynight View Post
Another question from the wannabe sailor!
What are the most serious disadvantages (or even dangers) of sailing the boat without engine? Besides getting out of the port, that is...
Thanks very much!
it definitely hones your sail handling skills . Most marinas frown upon sailing in and out of your slip. On my islander I had a spot on the breakwater for that reason .
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Old 26-04-2020, 10:29   #13
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

Stay away from bridges during strong tides.

If the wind drops, your only saving grace will be your anchor.

Other than that, you will need to not be on a schedule at all especially if you want to cruise on weekends and on short vacations

Then of course you need experience sailing without an engine.

I did that for 15 years race beach cats which are really super hi tech sailing machines as compared to most any cruising boat, but it the wind drops to near zero, you are not going to sail very far in a day

I've also sailed for a few days on my Bristol 27 with an engine that had failed. This all on one long weekend cruise where the wind stayed up around 12-16 knots most of the time.

The engine I do have on my 6600 lb displacement Bristol 27 is a 5 hp 4 stroke outboard which means in certain circumstances I'm sailing without an engine as this small outboard will not help much
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Old 26-04-2020, 10:37   #14
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FAST FRED View Post
For most cruising sailors the engine does far more than just move the boat.

Kerosene lamps are a PIA to live with , a cabin fan is a huge delight when there are too many insects , and on and on.

Small engines are the size of many gen sets and if needed can be hand started.

A proper install is quiet and vibration free.

It allows coming to a dock for water and holding tank dump , and the dumpster to be done on your sked, not mother natures.


Engine power fan? Sounds impressive.
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Old 26-04-2020, 12:54   #15
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Re: Sailboat without engine?

To paraphrase Spike Africa, anyone can sail a boat, it takes a sailor to stop one. Depending on the size of the boat and its maneuverability, it's no big thing to sail it almost anywhere. The real problem is stopping the boat if you are sailing into a slip. Better hope for a downwind slip or have the anchor ready.

The Pardeys sailed all over the world for many decades in an engineless boat. Josh Slocum circumnavigated more than a century ago. Of course, boats did it for several millennia before the advent of steam. You are at the mercy of the wind and tide but a little patience and good luck will get you almost anywhere. The real test is maneuvering in tight quarters. A screw up can get very embarrassing and possibly very expensive. Judicious use of an anchor can save a lot of embarassment.

We normally sailed our 20,000# full keel boat on and off anchor and into tight harbors but never tried to put it in a slip under sail. Other than that used the engine primarily for battery charging. Of course we weren't on a schedule and several times drifted outside a pass/harbor waiting for favorable conditions.
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