Fall Travel

Nova Scotia is Pretty Nice in the Fall


Maine Too

We just got back from two weeks working on Morgan’s Cloud, to get the jump on the spring to-do list. It was good to get our hands dirty again.

Click on photographs to enlarge.




Learning About Motor Boats


While we were there, we continued our project to learn more about motorboats. But don’t panic, we’re going to be sailors for a while yet. More in a future post.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

7 comments… add one
  • Victor Raymond Nov 4, 2013, 7:57 pm

    Phyllis looks a bit too comfortable at that helm station. I suspect you will have a stink pot sooner than later.

    • John Nov 5, 2013, 8:57 am

      Hi Victor,

      No, probably not. More on why in a future post.

  • Marc Dacey Nov 5, 2013, 4:12 pm

    Some might contend that a pilothouse motorsailer (or “sailer-motor” if you prefer) is a good compromise for those wanting a little more comfort at sea.

    Trawlers seem a touch defeatist to me, although I certainly appreciate some of the amenities, systems and design touches.

    • John Nov 5, 2013, 9:59 pm

      Hi Marc,

      I really can’t see any reason that a trawler is “defeatist”. Depending on what type of cruising you are considering, a trawler can be eminently sensible and practical.

      On the other hand, I have never really seen the point of motorsailors. It would seem to me that a motorsailor is not as good at sailing as a sailboat and not as good at motoring as a motorboat. A motorsailor will also cost more to own than a well designed motorboat or sailboat since the motorsailor owner will be motoring more than a sailboat and paying for an entire rig, unlike a motor boat.

      Now of course if we are talking about a really good sailboat that also motors well, like many do, including our own, then that makes sense to me, but it is not what generally comes to mind when one says “motorsailer”. I can also see the attraction of motorboats with small vestige rigs, like the Diesel Duck.

      • Marc Dacey Nov 6, 2013, 1:38 pm

        I only meant “defeatist” in very personal terms, John. If I couldn’t sail, I doubt I would choose a powerboat or trawler…but that’s just me. I realize that’s not the case for everyone, and don’t begrudge them their choices.

        As for “motor sailers”, that’s why I put “sailer motor”.
        There are adequately rigged boats that can do both without sacrificing too much in the way of efficiency. If you have the right rig, you can sail as long as you care to, but if you have to motor for 48 hours through the calm doldrums at a diesel-sipping 4.5 knots, you have the fuel to do so, plus sufficient reserve.

        The odd thing I find is how much these days (particularly with the cost of fuel) a lot of relatively light performance cruisers opt to motor. This points (for me) to the fact that some people either don’t have the time to work with light air, or don’t have the patience. With enough of both, the difference between sailing at 4.5 kn in a laden motorsailer and 6.0 knots in a Beneteau in 10 knots true becomes trivial.

        Just as there are sweet spots for stowage and sea-kindliness (an admittedly subjective variable), there are sweet spots for time. If you don’t have time, I question why you would get into passagemaking at all, but that’s just me. I agree that the vestigal rig makes sense, as does any “get you home” Plan B. I foresee some trawler-type private vessels using the newish kite/Parasailor sails in downwind use, however, as a way to cut fuel burn and thereby increase range. We tend to think that innovation trickles down from racing to cruising, but sometimes it evolves via the needs of commercial or cargo vessel innovation.

  • scott flanders Nov 5, 2013, 6:26 pm

    Don’t say probably not until you see our next project. Its right up your alley and you guys are one of relatively few folks who could see it’s advantages. And its affordable. How about Greenland in a day? Shove ice around? Affordable. Fun. No sails. Lowest possible maintenance. Simple back to basics. However you would have to give up a microwave, hair dryer and wintering costs.


    • John Nov 5, 2013, 9:50 pm

      Hi Scott,

      Do tell us more, I’m all aflutter.

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