Is It Cheaper To Motor Or Sail

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Boston, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    inside passage Alaska
    calm winds, calm to moderate seas, moderate to strong currents, large tides, traffic
    vessel ~45'
    live aboard

    so the question is whats the biggest bang for the buck
    sail or motor

    the up front costs of building favor motoring
    but what about the operating costs
    I there seem to be excellent arguments on both sides for sail or for motor

    frankly Im leaning towards kite assist if the technology can be applied for a reasonable cost

  2. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
    Posts: 1,854
    Likes: 71, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 896
    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    Drifting is the cheapest, Bos.
  3. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 4,603
    Likes: 174, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2484
    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Rig up for serious fishing. The wind WILL blow.
  4. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    oh you guys are helpful :p

    actually I checked the wind records in the area against the performance curve of the sail boat I was thinking of. In that area given the strength of the tides, the limited space and the number of large vessels or working vessels I came to the conclusion it would just be rude to struggle by on sail alone. That and I'd end up motoring a significant portion of the time anyway. So I thought of something primarily designed for motoring and then if I can manage a kite assist I will.

    Im not all that into going back and forth across the oceans as much as Im interested in some nice leisurely exploring

    although I would like to in a blue water capable boat which is one of the reasons I increased the free board a little on that plan

  5. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 4,603
    Likes: 174, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2484
    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Sails are nice if you have them and the rigging won't interfere with fishing. And if there's a bit of wind of course.

    Motoring without masts and sails makes a nice uncluttered setup, but you pay. If th wife pays then defenately take this option.

    The two are nice backups for one another, sometimes you pay and sometimes you sail.

    Sailing is fun to do, or can be. Motoring is dreadfully boring. There should be a law that kids can operate them and that you can whip them if they leave their post . Or maybe a shocking device in a back pack that triggers when they turn their heads more than 30 deg from the front of if they let go of the steering wheel. Yes, I like the second option better, it can be automated and whipping can make one tired ;)

    If you can look forward to a bit of both then you should be ok. That is the wife paying and you whipping a coupe of times, but we already determined you're too stingy to get the shocking device at extra cost.

    Don't be surprised if the wind blows the crap out of you when you take too much fuel, or when you take the bare minimum there probably won't be any wind. Sorry but it's a law of nature.

    I very much doubt you will find just perfect conditions. There is always something challanging coming up. Hell it could be another tsunami and won't that be fun.

    You can tell I'm from safrica can you. I also brilliantly kept any politics out of this post.
  6. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    You can't ask a general question and after that make heavy restrictions.
    Overall classic old fashion (no electrecity) sailing vessel is by far less expensive than an engine running motor boat. By several thousand dollars.
    If both as to motor it's LOVE like in tennis.
    I think it is a wrong debate because if you have a modern sailing boat with electric winches, 120 AC 24 DC refrigeration, light all the the time, of course she will be as expensive as a motor boat.
    I don't remember the name of the delusional who pretended that is motor boat is more economical that his sailing boat.
    He must have been a loosy sailing boat designer.
    And he used 8000 gallons of fuel. Enough for three lifes on my sailing vessel.
    The tanks will be not empty for my grand-grand-grand son.
    I exagerate of course.
    But the question is: What KIND of boat we are talking about?
    Generalities are dangerous.
    The Hiskock used 8 gallons of fuel for the round the world with their sailing boat.
  7. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Operating cost:
    Cooper sheathed
    Oil, no enamel paint
    Heavy timber on deck can take the strength of crew with heavy boots
    Galvanized rigging
    Manual sawing machine
    Spare part of everything
    Complete work shop inside
    Gravity feed water and hot water to radiators
    Large coal stove
    Small kerozene stove
    Water tank partialy on deck
    All pumps manualy activated
    Tender with a 4hp outboard and oars and sail for fun
    and finaly: know what you are doing, and do not go on a marina.
    They are a bunch of rascal.
    Guess the operating cost?
  8. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 774
    Likes: 26, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 423
    Location: Fox Island

    TollyWally Senior Member

    I've been up the inside passage a couple dozen times. If you like sailing, a dedicated MOTORsailer would give you a sailing fix occasionally. Since you're asking about sailing I would assume displacement speeds are adequate. There are areas it would be nice to sail. It would be handy to steady the boat in the rough spots. Most cruising sailboats seem to motor most of the time, purists less than most. Brent Swain ought to show up on this thread perhaps he personally doesn't use his motor but most do if they are trying to make time and distance. If you really want to sail, take the outside :)

    When we travel the passage we are traveling 24/7 generally. Always swearing that next time we'll take our time and poke around. We never do. I enjoy sailing but I would pick a motorboat. It's not the right answer for everyone but it is for me.
  9. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
    Posts: 1,854
    Likes: 71, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 896
    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

    Are you still thinking steam and wood pellets?
  10. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Steam no. And why you think steam?
    Wood pellet is not very calorifique in small quantity and very expensive. Coal is realy the best way. Don't forget the stove run all the time, it is the heart of the vessel.
  11. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I am but my financial condition has deteriorated to a point were ist not within the budget at this time.

    you are right Ds but my cost on wood pellets is minimal ~150$ a ton
    yes its more expensive than coal and for less BTU's pr/ton but there are other considerations
    its half to way less than half the cost pr/btu over diesel but it takes up twice the room
    coal smoke leaves a filthy greasy film on everything and coal dust gets into everything
    I also hate the idea of a big filthy plume of black smoke trailing behind me wherever I go

    dumb as it may sound I was thinking of the engine out of my truck
    its pre power stroke Ford diesel actually manufactured by International
    170hp 380ft/lbs runs like a top, smokes like a *****
    but only when you first start it, it clears up in just a few seconds.

    Ideally I would have steam power with kite assist but apparently that is asking a bit to much at the moment

    the engine room is designed for steam but going to be powered on diesel as things stand now. Nothing about the basic structure will prevent a relatively easy conversion.

    the kite assist is still in the very early stages of consideration but I really like the idea so I'm starting to collect info on them and have been looking at tandem parasails for the actual kite. Would be a manual launch and recovery system and probably a manual kite as well although there was talk on another thread of some folks building there own controllers for them

    I think if I can afford the kite I could save big on fuel at least down wind but unless things pick up around here its all academic. I need some sales to come through and fast.

    my thinking so far is that building costs for a motor yacht are cheaper than for sail so you end up with more space pr/$.
    The cost of at least two boilers and a steam engine and fuel bunkers with auto feed is well into the 20K range.
    The motor and trans out of my truck cost zilch and then its a mater of fuel tanks that fit the space intended for the bunkers
    no big deal and it just happens that 55gallon drums would do it if it was legal, which I dont think it is.

    I know its kinda turning into junk yard wars over here but I gotta work with what I got

    whats funny is I got skills in most materials and the hull itself can be top notch
    its just the stuff I have to buy is got to be best bang for the buck

    another consideration was getting up rivers from time to time
    always a nice option to have so draft and max height was something to think about ~30" draft and ~12' minimum clearance to bottom of bridge
    the kite system negates the height problem

    its all a compromise I know
    ( just dont tell Rick )

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  12. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
    Posts: 3,590
    Likes: 130, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 2369
    Location: Australia

    Willallison Senior Member

  13. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    thanks Will
    I had seen the Dashew thread but missed the other one

    the cruising motor costs thread is starting out a tad combative
    can hardly put it down
  14. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 481
    Likes: 13, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Really depends on how you like to sail...or how you like to motor...some like to motor in a 12' skiff with a 6hp Johnson on the transom ...some might prefer to sail in a sunfish sailboat or an Opti pram or a 15-foot compac...other motorboaters might want a 40 sport fishermen with a tuna tower and twin454 chevy's while another sailor might prefer a Morgan 41' OI with genset/watermaker and microwave instead of the pram...kinda big variables here in the cost per mile department...

  15. Pierre R
    Joined: May 2007
    Posts: 461
    Likes: 32, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 458
    Location: ohio, USA

    Pierre R Senior Member

    You get the right motor boat and its cheaper to motor. You get the wrong motor boat and its more expensive than sailing.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.