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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Med
    Posts
    6,208

    Default How slow do you sail ?

    I'm curious at what speed under sail do people start their engine ?
    On short sails under 15 miles we happy just to plod along as long as we moving forward .
    We rather be sailing then rushing to get into an anchorage and sit bobbing about .

    We are a Heavy boat so we need wind to get us moving at speed .
    But Even on long trips and especially at night we sail at 2 kts ,unless there a reason as in weather change of at time when the waves are hitting us at an angle that the boom does nothing but slap . ( our bung we rig at times to act as a shock absorbers isn't any help )
    Two weeks ago we sailed the 360 nm from Sardinia to Malta , our speed ranged as high as 7 kts and as low as 2 kts there was many hours at low speed below 4 kts but over the 360 miles we still avg around 5 kts .

    It's not unusual to see people motoring pass us when they have favourable winds ,
    Is it the case that sailors these days feel anything under 4 kts isn't acceptable?

    Agree there times when one have too turn the donkey on .
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Farnham, Surrey
    Posts
    21,425

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    It all depends.

    On an ocean passage the engine goes on very very rarely. If we are becalmed, I just go for a swim...

    Crossing the channel I’m much more likely to put the engine on when the speed drops below three of four knots because it’s a tedious trip I’ve done many times and I just want to get it over with. I also know I’ve got plenty of fuel to get there.
    Semper aliud

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    20,477

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    We usually put the engines on once the speed drops to 4 knots or lower. However, we usually leave the sails up as at least it's showing willing and the wind might just pick up again .... although it usually doesn't.

    Richard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Winter in Falmouth, summer on board Rampage.
    Posts
    5,211

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    It all depends. If we’re heading for somewhere that get crowded and we need to get there, then we’ll motor if the speed drops below about 2.5 knots. On the other hand, if there’s no pressure to get somewhere for a particular time, we’ll just plod along unless we’re making no progress at all.
    Long crossings it depends on how the foods holding up and how much fuel we’ve got: the motor goes on if we think there’s no wind to be had any time soon and the fresh food is running out...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    I start thinking about the donk at anything below 2kts.

    It depends on what we are doing and the motion of the boat. I hate rolling about, slatting the sails for hours on end for no gain.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,607

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    With us it’s 5 knots but if we have more time then 4.

    We are time limited and I’d rather have a lower speed but it’s one of the compromises I make for happy sailing as a couple.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Surrey & boat in Dorset. Both have pubs
    Posts
    3,796

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    As others it does vary and sometimes you just want to get somewhere and stop ! Quite often though, the engine is used to make 'tidal' gates such as Portland Bill, St Albans and Hurst Castle otherwise another 4 hours plus is added on to the voyage.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,106

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Achosenman View Post
    I start thinking about the donk at anything below 2kts.

    It depends on what we are doing and the motion of the boat. I hate rolling about, slatting the sails for hours on end for no gain.
    The basic problem is a sea bigger than the wind can push against. If you can't keep the sails full it can be purgatory.
    Last year doing a circuit of Ireland, we found the westerly swell difficult to deal with if the wind was less than about 15Kts.
    Otherwise under 5Kts of real wind is about our general patience limit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    22,904

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    I love sailing slowly and once took four hours to sail a few miles from Copenhagen to Ven a few miles away. However, if we are on passage across the North Sea with just us two oldies on board, I will put the engine on if the speed drops below six knots. If I have started at 6am for a day-sail I don't want to arrive at four in the morning. I have nothing to prove.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    jersey, CI
    Posts
    925

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Sailing round the CI and normandy/Brittany coast, tidal gates for both harbour access and having a tidal stream with you rather than against you are pretty critical, so I always have an eye on missing a gate...

    If that is not an issue, my cutoff is usually about 3 to 3.5. Although First Mate sometimes seems to be ‘let’s just get there’ if it gets below 4 ..

    For FM it Depends on the overall weather (sunny and warm vs grey and a bit chilly)

    We’ll tend to motor sail if we do start the engine, if at all possible

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