Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yes Virginia, I am a POWER boat (part 2)

Left this off with my rant that not all power boats are the same, just most of them. And my attempt to justify why Viking Star is different, and hence more suitable for this cruising thing. But still, Cruising? Come on, you got to have Sails - Everyone knows that.


OPINION FILTER HERE - Take it FWIW

Blue water sailing, no question. Sail is the way to go. If we were looking to cross the Pacific and round the world in a couple of years? Sail--hands down. Why? Well,
  • Fuel. Wind is mostly free, right?
  • Comfort. Sails and a Sail boats underway provide a level of stability that a Power boat is hard pressed to replicate. In fact, without some type of stabilization, either active fins or passive 'flopper stopper', a power boat will just beat the heck out of the crew. On a Sail boat you might be a bit tilted, but it is often at a more consistent tilt :-)
  • Storm safety. Laying a hull, knock downs, turning turtle. Because of their fundamental design, mono hull sail boats are much more likely to survive harsh conditions. (Not going to get into the Mono vs. Cat discussion here). It has, to be honest, as much to do with to intrinsic constraints imposed on a design by the nature of carrying sails: Ballast, need for low decks, etc. Power boats? People will focus on the glass of a typical power boat, fact is: Glass is the least of the worries: Few power boats could survive a knock down or roll over due to the construction of the deck house. Sorry, it is what it is.
  • Lower cost. Go to one of the bail-out points in the world--you know the places, where folks with dreams figure out it is not for them (ala Trinidad), and you can pick up a very capable already fitted out Blue Water Cruiser for $50,000 any day of the week. They are a dime a dozen. The few Power Boats who are designed as a World Cruiser? You would be hard pressed to get one for under $300,000. . .

So, if we were heading for Hawaii and beyond: Sail - no question here.

But we are not looking go round the world in a couple of years. We are looking to adopt a cruising lifestyle. I remember reading a book that surveyed cruisers and their lifestyle. It was folks on the ICW, but still interesting. One key take away: most folks stayed in one place, moving every 6 days, and when they DID move they were underway for 4 hours. Even if we look at the Blogs of cruisers not in the ICW, we see that they spend a LOT of time in one place. Hey, this is supposed to be relaxing, right?

So? Well, a Power Boat often has better accommodations then a sail boat. No 'Down in the Tube' feel, wider cabins, better visibility. Cats are an interesting trend, and many folks who are into them will also point to benefits like this as well. If I am at anchor for days in a row, I will guarantee I will be more comfortable in my Power Boat than a typical sail boat.

But what about all that Fuel burned? Well, go the prior post: Viking Star is rather fuel efficient. This shocks most boaters I meet (Power or Sail). So yes, Fuel is a cost, but it is manageable even at multi$ per gal. And ok: Lets talk about Sail Boats 'Dirty Little Secret': they actually spend a LOT of time under power.... a lot. Either the wind is the wrong direction, or the wrong strength, or folks just get impatient. Fact is, cruising sail boats break out the Iron Jib more than is talked about in polite company. And woe be the Sail Boater who dares to air the dirty laundry...

A Power Boat? Sure, why not. Well, at least why not one like Viking Star. She offers:

  • Great accommodations at anchor
  • Modest fuel usage
  • Safety during operation, docking, and anchoring.
  • Safety and comfort at sea (I do need to add Flopper Stoppers...)
  • Low cost (I paid a LOT less then $40,000 for her, and in fact a lot less than the asking price..)
  • Blue Water capability. (What? Well, yes! Get a copy of Robert Bebees 'Voyaging Under Power'. The original version, not the one rewritten as an advertisement for Nordhavns. See page 135/136, that is Viking Star's design.)


See, she can do all we want. She is a good choice for this usage, and will serve us well as we move into this new lifestyle.

Now to be honest, had a Wet-Sail popped up for a killer price during that one Yachworld.com search, well, maybe THIS blog entry would have had a slightly different slant ;-) Mankind does tend to rationalize their choices, right?

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