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Motor boat vs Sailing Boat

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
432
I have a 28ft Dehler sailing boat in Cardiff. Absolutely love it and have spent a lot of time and money on upgrades. However, it is becoming clear that the characteristics of the upper Bristol Channel mean that a sailing boat is proving to be somewhat limiting to my needs and therefore time spent on the water.

My available time is usually limited to 2 to 3 day slots. In addition my wife is not a sailor but enjoys being on the water if the conditions and timings are right. She tends to enjoy mini cruises to somewhere nice where we can go out to dinner and sightsee a bit. She also likes her creature comforts and inviting friends to join us. The issues with our current set up are:

1) Tides dictate the agenda. Leaving at 4.00am or arriving back at 22.00 hrs is not an issue for me but does not suit her / guests
2) A 2 day, 1 night trip is severely limited in destinations available. Portishead and Porlock are the two we use most but would like more variety
3) The small physical space on the boat is not ideal, especially with guests
4) Moving my current boat to somewhere like Plymouth or Dartmouth would turn a 1.5 hour journey from home into 3-4 hours - not ideal for a mini break

Despite my affection for my boat and enjoying sailing I am wondering if a motor boat would suit us better at this stage of our life. Something like a sea going, 33-39 foot, twin diesel engine cruiser with aft cabin/heads for guests. Cruising speed c.14 knots. I would have to live with the fuel and maintenance costs. What I really need is two boats - sailing for fun, motor for convenience but that is not really practical. I thought about one of the boat share schemes but they were all Solent based and the boats were too big for single handed use easily.

Opinions anyone? Any flaws in my thinking?
 

ashtead

Well-known member
Joined
17 Jun 2008
Messages
2,469
Location
Surrey and Gosport UK
Have you consider a Greenline -they look a bit like a sailboat without a mast . Maybe a Nimbus or Dutch mobo ?
if you wanted a sailboat for fun maybe a cheap older 20ft version ?
of course if you wanted to keep the masts a lifting keel boat with an outboard on the stern😀 gives 20knots maybe under power.
 

Morpheous

Member
Joined
16 Jul 2009
Messages
760
Location
Chippenham
So we were in exactly the same situation. Had a motor boat in Portishead, then sailing yacht in Cardiff. Upper Bristol Channel is very limiting for sailing especially if like me you need to sail with family who are not really that keen. A month or two ago now we sailed round to Dartmouth and have an annual berth at Noss on Dart marina. Absolutely loving. No tides will stop us and can do something or go somewhere what ever the wind direction. Really looking forward to Guernsey opening up, that’s a 10 hour sail from here. Blue water, we’ve seen dolphins every time we’ve been out. Worth the extra drive for us.
you definitely have more options on the BC if you have a motor boat. And more still if you can take the ground
 

PCUK

Well-known member
Joined
29 Jun 2005
Messages
6,772
Location
Mid Devon
You will need a planing boat if you want to change your habits radically. We had a beautiful steel flybridge cruiser with a cruising speed of ten knots and had the same problem as you. I am currently rebuilding a planing cruiser for future trips.
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
432
I was thinking of a planing boat c. 2x175hp diesels, 20knots top speed, and a realistic cruising speed of 14kts.

Dartmouth sound attractive, I have sailed out of there a number of times, but 4 hours + on a Friday/Sunday evening takes a lot out of a weekend. We live on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border.
 
Last edited:

PCUK

Well-known member
Joined
29 Jun 2005
Messages
6,772
Location
Mid Devon
If you can up your cruising speed to 20 knots it will dramatically increase your possibilities. If you can keep boat size down then consumption won't be an issue. I’ve installed a single 250 hp in a fairly light 27 footer.
 

TwoHooter

Active member
Joined
6 Sep 2014
Messages
662
Location
marinetraffic.com MMSI 235116115
We live in broadly the same area as you, between Monmouth & Chepstow, and there are some similarities in our situations. I enjoy boating more than my wife. We both love the actual boat but my wife sees it more as a sort of mobile seaside home, for which it is ideally suited because the galley is in the saloon with good views and the whole vessel is spacious. She is a really good crew but she gets seasick, and she finds cruising boring, she prefers walking. We have tried lots of places as bases including Penarth, Portishead, Neyland, and Chichester, . At present we are based in Plymouth to take advantage of the short distance cruising available. Our last trip was to anchor at the Salt Stone near Salcombe, and tomorrow we are going to Fowey for 2 nights. I am typing this after a dreadful journey down to the boat on the M5, but that's our fault for letting a family get-together pressure us into travelling on a late summer Saturday afternoon instead of our usual mid-week mid-day or evening timing which takes a minimum of 2.5 hours and a maximum 3 hours.

I will be interested to see what you decide to do, if you post it on here.

A month or two ago now we sailed round to Dartmouth and have an annual berth at Noss on Dart marina
How did you get that berth? We enquired earlier this year and they put us on their waiting list somewhat grudgingly. We have heard nothing.
 

PlumDuff

Active member
Joined
18 Aug 2020
Messages
175
I have a 28ft Dehler sailing boat in Cardiff. Absolutely love it and have spent a lot of time and money on upgrades. However, it is becoming clear that the characteristics of the upper Bristol Channel mean that a sailing boat is proving to be somewhat limiting to my needs and therefore time spent on the water.

My available time is usually limited to 2 to 3 day slots. In addition my wife is not a sailor but enjoys being on the water if the conditions and timings are right. She tends to enjoy mini cruises to somewhere nice where we can go out to dinner and sightsee a bit. She also likes her creature comforts and inviting friends to join us. The issues with our current set up are:

1) Tides dictate the agenda. Leaving at 4.00am or arriving back at 22.00 hrs is not an issue for me but does not suit her / guests
2) A 2 day, 1 night trip is severely limited in destinations available. Portishead and Porlock are the two we use most but would like more variety
3) The small physical space on the boat is not ideal, especially with guests
4) Moving my current boat to somewhere like Plymouth or Dartmouth would turn a 1.5 hour journey from home into 3-4 hours - not ideal for a mini break

Despite my affection for my boat and enjoying sailing I am wondering if a motor boat would suit us better at this stage of our life. Something like a sea going, 33-39 foot, twin diesel engine cruiser with aft cabin/heads for guests. Cruising speed c.14 knots. I would have to live with the fuel and maintenance costs. What I really need is two boats - sailing for fun, motor for convenience but that is not really practical. I thought about one of the boat share schemes but they were all Solent based and the boats were too big for single handed use easily.

Opinions anyone? Any flaws in my thinking?
Your post describes my situation exactly, and I suspect the situation of many others. The problem is that as a sailor you like the journey and the skill involved whereas a mobo would be the marine equivalent of driving a campervan. Not only that but weather that is feasible in a sailing boat is not feasible in a mobo short of a Nelson. So the number of days when weather is suitable is fewer. Then there is the cost.

I have tried your option 4 and come back to the channel because the drive to the south coast mooring meant that a day pottering with the boat wasnt feasible, and maintenance became more difficult

I've seen a couple of sailors go the Mobo route only to sell the mobo pretty quickly.
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
432
Thinking on it there is an option 5 - change the wife to one who loves getting wet and uncomfortable whilst pulling lots of bits of string , going nowhere slowly. Trouble is that is likely to be the most expensive options of all🙂
 

jwilson

Well-known member
Joined
22 Jul 2006
Messages
5,142
I used to sail in the Bristol Channel and unless deeply confident in the engine and highly competent in repairing it, I would be distinctly nervous in a single-engined motorboat. If the wind gets up it can get seriously unpleasant surprisingly quickly, and in some locations if the engine died tides could take you into serious danger long before you got outside help. At the least I would carry a big (preferably Danforth or Fortress) anchor and a LOT of anchor warp.
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
432
I used to sail in the Bristol Channel and unless deeply confident in the engine and highly competent in repairing it, I would be distinctly nervous in a single-engined motorboat. If the wind gets up it can get seriously unpleasant surprisingly quickly, and in some locations if the engine died tides could take you into serious danger long before you got outside help. At the least I would carry a big (preferably Danforth or Fortress) anchor and a LOT of anchor warp.
I agree. I would only consider a twin engined motor boat and regard over specified anchor and a lots of rode as being essential Bristol Channel Safety equipment.
 

Dutch01527

Active member
Joined
7 Jul 2016
Messages
432
Been doing a bit more research and thinking on this one including speaking to some motor boat owners at the club.

Fuel costs seem to be a major issue and most tend to do very few miles. A 34 foot twin 145 hp diesel owner quoted his rule of thumb, 15kt cuising speed callculation as being 3 litres of fuel per mile. That means that a weekend jaunt of the type I was considering such Cardiff - Ilfracombe - Tenby - Cardiff would cost about £300-£400 in fuel. There was also a general consensus that a older boat (25 years plus maybe ) was likely to be a ongoing maintenance nightmare because of the added mechanical complexity. A realistic budget for a newer boat in the 31-39 foot category was seen as £75-100k. I would not be comfortable with those levels of cost.

So, latest plan is to relocate my current boat to Devon, which my wife loves. Keep it for a year or two to see how much use we get in reality and then upgrade to a bigger sailing boat if justified. As my wife pointed out, does an extra hour or so’s drive really matter that much?

Looking at a swinging mooring somewhere pretty like Dartmouth or Newton Ferrers At the moment but open to suggestion.
 
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