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Monday, July 5, 2010

Sail Versus Power Boats: The Great Boat Debate

Over the past 3 years, as we've initiated ourselves into the world of boating, we've learned of a few battles that are as contentious as religion and politics. Some we've explored on our blog, such as anchoring and build -vs- buy. Others, such as power versus sail, we haven't yet. Well, today I'm going to poke into another one.... sailboats versus powerboats. :)

Sailboats are superior. Oh, now thems fightin words! But that is my opinion, based on our needs and desires, sailboats are simply superior. Within the previous sentence is the key, “based on our needs and desires.”

For us, being solo agents and completely self reliant, having redundancy is critical. A sailboat has 2 sources of propulsion. In addition to sails, a sailboat typically has a redundant propulsion source by way of an outboard engine. Powerboats are limited to, well, their combustion engine.

Unlike others who rail against having an engine, I think it is great to have one (heck, we have 2 on our boat now, one for Ariel and one for the dinghy). I, however, think having propulsion limited only to petroleum is too risky for our adventure. 1 engine, 2 engines, 3 … doesn't matter …. we are after different options and wind plus petroleum is the way to go.

Beyond this point, you have all the other “arguments.” Speed, noise, range, electrical power creation, hull shapes for suitability of conditions, and more. These are all valid issues from someones perspective, and based on the someones weighting of each, the scales could be tipped in favor of power over sail or vice versa.

At this point in our journey, powerboats simply are too limited for our tastes. In our weighting system, the value in propulsion source options is such that with all the other factors combined, a sailboat is definitely the way to go for us.

Time to put the sails up and slowly make our way back to the marina, with only the sound of fish jumping, wind though the sails, and the waves lapping up along the boat. Ultimate peace. Well, that and KJ and Dy screaming “Look! Look!” as the dolphins swim along side.

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