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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Med
    Posts
    6,205

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnalison View Post
    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.
    Six knots really or you just pulling our leg
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,589

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sailaboutvic View Post
    Six knots really or you just pulling our leg
    I can see that - our 5 knots could easily be 6 as an arbitrary figure. The problem comes I think from doing a passage plan at a particular speed (for us 5) so my wife considers us to be running late if we drop below it. I’ve tried getting her to plan at 4 knots but she said correctly that that is too inaccurate.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Med
    Posts
    6,205

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RupertW View Post
    I can see that - our 5 knots could easily be 6 as an arbitrary figure. The problem comes I think from doing a passage plan at a particular speed (for us 5) so my wife considers us to be running late if we drop below it. I’ve tried getting her to plan at 4 knots but she said correctly that that is too inaccurate.
    We be running our engine all the time at that rate
    To get a constant 6kts we need at less 15 kts wind and then the seas have got to play ball .
    When we do long crossing we try and aim for winds over 20 kts but has I sure you know out In The med is all or nothing and to get a good wind for a 36 hour passages let alone a 72 hours is hoping too much .
    The trip in the opening posting we had winds from 8 kts up to 33 kts , speeds 7.5 kts down to 3 kts and ever thing in between in the end we had nothing and had to motor the last three hours , Wind died and we was left in a couple meters seas being thrown all over the place .

    I suppose we do have all the time in the world so unlike some people we can just plod alone .
    But we also like not having the engine running and fuel is no longer cheap .
    Warning forumite dyslexia near by
    www.bluewatersailorcroatia.webs.com

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
    Posts
    19,650

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sailaboutvic View Post
    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 .
    Normally 2kt or if we won't arrive where we want to go until after dark.
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Boat (now back in) the Clyde
    Posts
    5,646

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    It was very noticeable in the Baltic how the Scandinavians were much more interested in pure sailing. Even older boats often had immaculate laminate sails, and would happily sail upwind or downwind in 5 knots of breeze.
    Meanwhile most of the British ensign boats shoved on their diesels and motored all day at 6 knots.

    We specifically chose a boat that would be fun and efficient to sail in under 10 knots breeze, so enjoyed mini “races” with the Scandinavian boats . Lack of tidal gates in Baltic helps. But sometimes we change explicitly into “delivery mode”, typically to longer distances to get to a new cruising area. Then engine on certainly below 4knots SOG.
    Interestingly in flat water, motor sailing doesn’t really exist with a brisk boat - if need to motor then wind so low that will in most cases need to furl jib as apparent wind goes almost directly ahead.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Algarve
    Posts
    11,512

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    In crossing from the Azores to Lagos we had our own little doldrum following us along. Not enough fuel for the whole journey, so 4 hours a day on engine at 6 knots and drifting about the rest of the time.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Zürich
    Posts
    978

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Depends.
    When I have time I will leave it off. Managed an heroic 15NM in 24hrs back in July.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    St Ives, Cambs
    Posts
    582

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    For us, it's not really a question of speed. There are 3 reasons we start the motor:
    *The mainsail is slatting badly
    *We reckon motoring for a short while will get us to somewhere with some wind - typically at lunchtime moving out of the land breeze into the sea breeze
    *We are coastal sailing and the wind has died in the evening and we want a viable anchorage

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Gone cruising
    Posts
    2,395

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    As slow as the conditions allow. Reasons the engine goes on:

    * to get somewhere before dark (we're normally going to places we've never been before and while it's possible to do this in the dark, many places it's much better if you can see, and also more fun).
    * to get out of an uncomfortable sea state sooner (e.g. light wind but big swell)
    * if the wind is so light/the boat rolls so much that the sails are slatting. As Dashew correctly points out, it's cheaper to motor than to pay for the wear on sail hardware in that situation. We usually leave the main up to stabilize the boat and/or motorsail.
    * for collision avoidance (today we crossed to Cephalonia and met two cargo ships with fast asleep crew and an Italian superyacht playing chicken with us - sail before power? Dream on!)
    * if speed is meh and the batteries could do with some charging anyways (this is rare as we mostly have enough solar, but if there's several days of rainclouds it can happen).
    * in places not suitable for sailing (like the Corinth canal).

    When we're in a cruising ground, a lot of motoring can be skipped by simply waiting another day or three in the anchorage for the wind to get more favorable.

    Now the next question is, how many cruisers bother with beating into the wind?

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    20,318

    Default Re: How slow do you sail ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    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
    I spoke too soon.

    After writing that post we set off heading south after leaving our long bay heading east . There was little wind so we left the bay on engines at about 5 knots boat speed but we put the mainsail up anyway. Once we left the bay and turned south we had a wind from the west right on the beam which quickly climbed to 12 or 13 knots. Genoa was raised and engines off and we sailed at around 7.5 knots for the next hour or so until we had to turn east again. With the wind now directly behind our speed dropped to 4 knots so on went the engines with just mainsail up for the last couple of hours.

    All in all, a good day in the Adriatic!

    Richard

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