Sailing with no engine?
Don raised a question in the restoring Carlotta thread regarding the recent presentation by Stephen and family here in Silva Bay. Stephen has built two 18’ sweeps for Carlotta and they plan (at least for now) on having no propulsion engine or internal combustion generator. Carlotta is a 50’ heavy displacement pilot cutter, no small thing to row! But she has been sailing for many years with no engine, also with no through hull fittings. The concept of cruising and full time living aboard a fairly large vessel with minimal systems causing minimal impact has continued to generate much discussion here.
As a designer I thoroughly enjoy re-examining the givens, throwing out our foregone assumptions. Most folks contemplating larger vessels assume inboard diesel power, perhaps a generator for battery charging, and numerous through hulls to service various systems. What happens when you decide to sail without all that?
The obvious immediate positives to leaving out the propulsion engine……
1)More interior space…..elimination of the awkward engine box and fuel tanks, often positioned in the best (central) part of the boat.
2)Less weight up high in the boat, possibly more weight in the ballast keel.
3)Less drag…..no prop or strut hanging under the boat.
4)No nasty hole in the rudder (for the full keels in the crowd).
5)No drips from the stuffing box…perhaps even a dry bilge.
6)No concerns about where to route the exhaust pipe and worries about cooling system through-hull fittings.
7)Far less expense in first cost and in long term maintenance.
8)Elimination of reliance on a system that may quit at an awkward moment.
9)Elimination of visits to the fuel dock….more money for other things.
10)Elimination of noise, vibration, smoke, and stink, etc. created when running the engine.
11)Lowering of concern over your use of irreplaceable fossil fuels and your addition to global warming (smaller footprint?).
12)Elimination of expectations about meeting a schedule….you now have a good excuse for being a month late!
The obvious immediate negatives to having no main engine…….
1)Safety…..if I get into trouble how do I get out?
2)Fewer battery charging options.
3)Less ability to meet any schedule.
4)Limited mobility….there may be places that become hard or impossible to get to.
I'll look at some of these in more detail in my next posting.....