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Sail v Power

Not model or forum specific.

Moderators: DougSea, RobS

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Ambler27FC
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Home Port: Patuxent River, MD

Sail v Power

Post by Ambler27FC »

A27 and A25 owners are often ex-sailors, so this seems a good place to ask this particular question. I made the same decision as many of you: I used to sail and know that sailboats often have to motor when conditions are not optimal (sometimes more than not). And it is simpler - less is always good. In constricted water-ways these boats are the smart move.

But I'm thinking of buying a larger sailboat in 5 years, to retire in 10 and doing longer distances south. I see sailboats with roller-furling jibs, roller-furling mails, self jibing poles, solid hulls, and conservative keels and it looks easy - but am I missing anything (other than maintenance)? When a person goes north of 60 are there other considerations - something I might be missing that wants the easier boat?

Side question: sail boats more than twice the weight of an A27 seem to reach hull speed with half of the horse power. Perhaps this is just more efficient hulls? For something like doing the ICW I've looked for more efficient options, but there doesn't seem to be any short of de-masting sailboat and building out the cockpit for more comfort.
SalishAire
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Re: Sail v Power

Post by SalishAire »

Just for some alternative thoughts: When we decided to move aboard a boat my wife did a lot of research (NOTE: she prefers sailing so was leaning that way) on sail vs power. In the big boat world it turns out the fuel savings of sail pretty are much equaled by the maintenance costs of keeping rigs and sails up (and insurable). What we observed travelling from Alaska (almost no one owns a sailboat) to Puget Sound (winds are too finicky) to the Sea of Cortez (where the water is miserable when its windy) was that few people actually sail their boats. And don't forget that to sail north along the west coast means beating almost out to Hawaii on the traditional run (OK it was uncomfortable in a trawler as well but at least in a straight line). Soooooo we have the utmost respect for the few true sailors we have met but mostly we are convinced that a mast is a romantic idea (and most ocean going trawlers carry enough extra fuel that when sailboat's itty bitty fuel tanks run low we will help out fellow boaters).
Norman and Clarice Gregory
A 25 Hyacinth
Lacey WA
https://claricenorman.blogspot.com/
Scudrunner
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Home Port: Searsport, Maine & Jacksonville Beach, Florida
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Re: Sail v Power

Post by Scudrunner »

I'm a former sailor and did my research for buying my retirement boat and I talked to several people who did the ICW with a sailboat. Sailboats will find themselves motoring most of the ICW and bridges can be a pain to deal with. Everyone I spoke to said they grounded at least once due to shoaling on the ICW. I loved sailing and I like the stability of having a keel but as I get older I realized my limitations. As SalishAire mentioned, maintenance costs are higher and can be troublesome. Failure to do maintenance before going out, especially off shore in a blow, can be downright dangerous.
Ambler27FC
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Re: Sail v Power

Post by Ambler27FC »

Thank you for these inputs! It has been 10 years since I owned a sailboat and I never had to redo the standing rigging or sails, but I understand that can be costly and may need to be done every 10 years or so. I have been strictly inland Atlantic (Chesapeake and ICW) where these boats excel, but have been concerned about going off-shore in anything less than perfect weather. I thought it might be more comfortable cutting through more of each wave than riding over them.

Interesting information on the Pacific conditions. I kind of like the motor-sailboats they have the Pacific NW - the comfort of motor cockpit and sails when you want them. But I am sure these are compromise boats. Agreed that the ICW is best in a motor boat by a mile. I have almost grounded on uncharted shoals and was thankful for my 2.5' draft. Lowering the antenna and passing under bridges can also be a big win.

Thanks again. Pulling trawlers back into my research. Very happy with my current boat (and trying to keep things as small and simple as possible), but for me anyway, months long trips might require a few more feet of boat.
DesertAlbin736
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Re: Sail v Power

Post by DesertAlbin736 »

I'm another one of those who transitioned from sailboats, mostly trailerables in the 15 to 25 foot range for lake sailing in Arizona from 1998-2013 (Windrose 25 1998-2000, Vagabond 14 daysailer 2000-2001, Montgomery 15 pocket cruiser 2001-2005, 2nd gen Catalina 22 wing keel 2005- 2008, and lastly a Catalina 25 wing keel 2008-2013) to Albin 25. Our motivation for switching from sail to our Albin 25 (which will be for sale at a brokerage in Olympia, WA later this year) was partly our advancing age (I turn 73 and my Admiral turns 80 in the fall), partly to avoid mast raising when trailering afar instead of being stuck on a 9,000 acre, 4 miles long by 2 miles wide lake. There's a big difference between small sailboats 22 feet and under that are easy to trailer and easy to step masts but only have sitting head room in the cabin and larger boats 25 feet and up that have standing headroom in cabins but also much, much heavier masts. I won't bore you with tales of all we've been able to do with our Albin, but the freedom form dealing with stepping and un-stepping heavy masts has made all the difference. We live in the Phoenix area, 360 miles from the nearest ocean, that being San Diego. I can attest to Norm's, aka SalishAire, take on the Sea of Cortez. We tried that once when I had my Catalina 22, trailered down to Guaymas & San Carlos, south of Hermosillo on the mainland side of Sea of Cortez in October, 2007. The steep chop beat the hell out of us on a windy day. Since then have never been a fan of Mexico.

But I digress. Getting back to your original post on this thread, when you say bigger boat, what are we talking about, 28, 30, 35 or bigger? You're on the Patuxent River, so you don't have to worry about trailering thousands of miles like we do when we head up to the Pacific NW. All boats are a compromise one way or another. When you say longer distances south, are you thinking of ICW or sailing on the outside to as far south as North Carolina or beyond? Or heading north to New England in the summer? How many days at a time would you be staying on your boat? How many guests or family members like kids and grandkids would you want to accommodate? I'd want to keep it within a size that can be managed by one person, say if your spouse sails with you could one or the other handle the boat if the other got sick or injured. If it were me I'd try a couple bare boat charters to try out different sizes and types. If you're going above 35 feet, roller furling headsails for sure, in mast furling main too would be a good option. If not a furling main then lazy jacks and jiffy reefing lines led to the cockpit. At minimum halyards, furler lines, jib sheets led to the cockpit. Maybe powered winches? Certainly a powered anchor windlass. Beyond that what level of creature comforts? What's your budget? Having had our boat on the Chesapeake in June & July of 2015 air conditioning in the cabin is almost a necessity more than a luxury. And if the boat is large enough, a genset to run that A/C when not hooked up to shore power would be nice.

I will tell you from experience retirement years go by faster than you think. I was fortunate enough to be able to retire early, mostly because of the seven year age difference between myself and the Missus. As of right now I've been retired for 14 years, with 10 of those years owning our A25. It all seems like it went by in a flash. Do as much as you can before you get seriously old. If you get the chance to retire in 5 years instead of 10, do it.
"Thanks again. Pulling trawlers back into my research. Very happy with my current boat (and trying to keep things as small and simple as possible), but for me anyway, months long trips might require a few more feet of boat."
At one point we gave serious consideration of up-sizing to a 34 to 36 ft single screw Taiwan trawler with 120 HP Lehman diesel kept up somewhere between Seattle or Anacortes, Bellingham, or Blaine, WA. But keeping a boat 1,500 miles from home I'd be a total worry wort not being able to check on it in person any time I wanted to.
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La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond
Ambler27FC
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Home Port: Patuxent River, MD

Re: Sail v Power

Post by Ambler27FC »

I am a little worried that this post is off topic for the forum's purpose, which is to support these rare styles of boat. Apologies, but I could not resist engaging people with similar thoughts. Pocket-trawlers seem very rare these days. And I have no regrets - love my boat.

DA,

I have worked the Chesapeake up and down a few times over and taken the ICW into NC twice. But starting to think a little bigger, perhaps with trips down the coast and into the outer Caribbean chain of islands. So a mix of ICW and off-shore heavily influenced by weather. Perhaps I am getting soft, but 2' of extra kitchen, 2' of extra bathroom, and two spots to really lay out and relax could really make a difference in a months-long trip. I've showered on the bow in crowded anchorages (and that works) but thought 'well, maybe just a bit more'. And I am still trying to figure out how to mount a hammock in an A27.

Most of the people I have on my boat would need a 20 minute brief before I would let them help dock. It can devolve so fast. So something that can be single-handed in any emergency. I was thinking 35' with everything reachable from the cockpit and a bow-thruster. Any bigger and you would just have anchor more with bad weather.

I am really debating the comfortable layout of a trawler versus the extra stability and (perhaps) safety of a weighted keel. I understand how fast life goes, so this is research I am doing for a decision 5-10 years out. Here we have people here that decided to down-size and my thinking seems against the grain. But also, perhaps I made the right decision 7 years ago - there doesn't seem to be perfect matches for what I am looking for.
Nancy
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Re: Sail v Power

Post by Nancy »

Ambler and all,
This is a very interesting thread, and I don't consider it off-topic at all. Well, maybe it has slid a little off-topic for the A25/A27 section, so I've moved it to General Discussion. 8)
Carry on!
Nancy
2005 Albin 35CB
Yanmar 6LYA-STP 370
Valentine

Former boats
1995 Albin 28TE, Cummins 6BTA5.9 250, 2012-2022
1978 Trojan F32, 1998-2012
1983 Grady White 241 Weekender, 1988-1997
1980 Wellcraft 192 Classic, 1983-1987
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