Is It Cheaper To Motor Or Sail

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

  1. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    If you are highly familiar with the tides up there like the local fisherfolk and other nautical could probably tour the area with anything on down to an Umiak (skin-covered kayak I believe).Even a middle-aged couple in their late 50's/ early sixties have done the area from a bit north of Seattle all the way to Juneau and back in a Mac 26 in just a few weeks....their 50 hp outboard was in use extensively they said in their log...and they had good charts and were not in a hurry....and a little luck I think too always helps...the more you know about local conditions...the less you need the motor... would be my uneducated take on that area...Right now an outsider...the more you know about the area..the more you want a
  2. MatthewDS
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: Juneau, Alaska

    MatthewDS Senior Member

    I grew up motorsailing in SE Alaska, mostly on the northern end (North of Prince of Wales Island) in a 47' Skookum motorsailer.

    What isn't apparent from your research is how variable the weather in the inside passage is. While it is possible to sail here, it isn't comfortable or advisable. The problem is that the winds are either too light to push a vessel of that size, or they are knocking you down. It isn't uncommon for winds of 80kt to come rolling out of the fjords just long enough to ruin your day. The high winds also come from every direction, so it is very difficult to set your sails and make course. Your kite idea works great in the tradewinds, where the wind is constant, it will not work in SE Alaska.

    We have a sailing club here, but often the races consist of either slowly drifting around due to lack of wind, or frantic tacking while slowly moving backwards.

    If you insist on putting a mast and sails on your boat, understand that they will only be used for stabilization. We used our sails perhaps 5% of the time, I wouldn't consider that a wise use of money. A displacement trawler or a motorsailer is the only choice in this region.
  3. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I looked up some pictures of the Ketchikan marina and lots of motor yachts along with some motor sailers but almost no dedicated sail
    now granted I might have been looking at the few shots which just happened to miss them but I was surprised at the relative scarcity of dedicated wind chasers

    Im not wanting to get into a brawl about which is better
    just which is best suited from a cost perspective for the inside passage

    ( Edit interesting that we cross posted with similar realizations Mathew )
    and thanks the local take on this issue is invaluable
  4. MatthewDS
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: Juneau, Alaska

    MatthewDS Senior Member

    @Boston, there is a perfect boat for everybody, sailboats are plenty of fun in the right conditions. I didn't intend to suggest overall superiority of any class of vessel.

    Whatever you bring, it should be heavy, reliable and warm.

    Otherwise, the inside passage is beautiful and should not be missed.
  5. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    I just took this picture out my office window....someone should warn these folks you can't sail here......;)


    Which has nothing to do with whether sailing is cheaper than powering. does not matter! It is going to take you 10 years to build that boat. By then the world will be a different place and there will be other concerns. By then you may not be allowed to just go cruising in your boat....etc...

    The cheapest way to go cruising is to go now....don't put it off until you have the perfect boat. Scrape together whatever cash you can...haunt craigslist and ebay and wander the docks and boatyards in Seattle. For a couple of grand cash you can get a boat that will take to Ketchikan and beyond.

    Good luck...
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  6. MatthewDS
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: Juneau, Alaska

    MatthewDS Senior Member

    @Tad, assuming that was taken in Gabriola Island, that's so far South it's practically Seattle.

    I should have clarified that that my suggestions applied to Queen Charlotte Strait and North.
  7. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    unfortunately Tad at this rate you are probably right
    but man cannot live by bread alone as the saying goes

    my finances if anything are in reverse at the moment
    Ive hurt my back and am laid out for the last few weeks on pain medication and drinking like a fish to try and escape the agony

    might take a few more weeks to get better to so I need to get after it and soon

    Im as much into building it as I am sailing it so who knows
    but Im planing a move to where I can build relatively close to the water as soon as I can get something rolling

    my take is things just cant go this badly for this long without my getting a spell of good luck eventually

    buy the way Tad just out of curiosity whats the mooring fee there and is there wireless internet available in the bay
    oh and hey whats up with all the empty slips

    cheers to all
  8. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Location: Australia

    Willallison Senior Member

    Best advive you will ever get Boston... I agree wholeheartedly
    Nice office view BTW TAD....
  9. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    Moorage costs are stated in your thread here......

    Yes, wireless interweb is available...both for free (borrowed:p ) or you can subscribe to Broadband Express, I think it's about $360/year?

    Empty slips on the far side of the bay is TugBoat Island, outstation for Royal Vancouver Yacht Club....they yell at us if we get too close......Their season doesn't start until school lets out, and stops mid September. So mostly those docks sit empty...until the revolution comes.......

    Marina slips on this side are empty because small boats go home on the trailer for the winter....the rain and gales tend to be hard on stuff, and the moss grows,etc. Most rarely use their boats anyway, and no one even looks at them in winter.....I do the re-tieing and bailing after storms.

    Also for normal folks...another $150 a month to tie up the boat is too much......thus all the anchored boats. If the marinas dropped their rates a bit...locals would use them...instead they up the rates to get more money from the tourists who drop in for a night and don't show for another 10 months.
  10. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    arrg all I needed to do was check my costs page
    sorry for asking twice
  11. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    Not picking on you Matt...this just happens to be a part of the world I live in and care about.......

    I used to live on Porcher Island, outside Prince Rupert, fished the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlottes, and trolled the North Pacific for Tuna.....under sail!

    I would suggest the type of boat in any given harbour has more to do with the local culture than with the weather conditions......

    Here's Prince Rupert.....probably a 100 commercial fish boats and 5-6 sail boats...that's about equal to national sales of boat types.....:D

    0529.3 Rush Brook Hbr.JPG
  12. u4ea32
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: Los Angeles

    u4ea32 Senior Member

    Pain medications and alcohol can be effective, but the side effects of prolonged use are something to be very concerned about.

    I have found that prednisone (a synthetic steroid) works wonders to reduce the inflammation that actually causes the back pain. Within a few hours, even extreme pain (like not being able to walk) is essentially eliminated. Almost magic, but there are hideous side effects if you reach for this too often.

    Chiropractors sorta worked for a few decades, but have been ineffective for the past couple.

    A huge improvement is bike riding: by essentially parking my car and truck and riding my bicycle to work (20 miles a day), I'm using my muscles and structure the way Darwin intended. Much, much fewer episodes of back pain now.

    Also, depending on where you live, "a close friend" has told me that the devil weed can be a truly instant (like a second after the hit) reliever of this otherwise unending pain. And far less side effects than any of the ordinary and above medications.
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  13. HReeve
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Location: Salish Sea

    HReeve Junior Member

    That's not true for all marinas in that harbour. Some cater almost exclusively to long-term clients with only 2 or 3 transient slips. Marinas are businesses, and exist to make money. They pay a lot of money for their water leases, how they wish to use them is their business.
  14. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    friend of mine owns a dispensary which is legal here and Ive thought of giving it a try
    she says its a miracle worker but then again she is a pot head
    so who knows

    I dont actually like to smoke pot but I'll enjoy the occasional cookie from time to time

    Ill call her and see what she has
    I heard the other day she has something specifically engineered for pain relief

    who knows
    I gotta wonder if most folks dont just want to get high


  15. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    cheapest way to go is to paddle it by kayak. No fuel, no need for wind. The next would be to take the ferry.
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