We are sailors at heart.
And by “sailor” I mean we are two people who chose to buy a sailboat specifically so that we could use the sails to propel the boat from place to place, day-in and day-out.
We knew when we started this trip south that we’d have to use the engine more than we’d rather. In Maine, the engine was used to leave the mooring sometimes (when it was too crowded to feel confident of not hitting another boat), to maneuver for anchoring, and to return to the mooring, sometimes. In our first season of sailing Sionna, we used about 12 gallons of diesel fuel in 4 months of local sailing – and we sailed a LOT.
But the ICW is a different kettle of fish. Some areas are through what looks like an open bay, yet even then, it’s as likely that a channel has been dredged through relatively shallow water, and you need to follow the marks that define that channel.
But we have learned the joys of motorsailing. It’s a combination of motoring and sailing, with one or more sails up and drawing, helping Mr. Diesel do his job. It’s not quite sailing, of course, but it does at least feel kinda like it, and it also improves our fuel mileage significantly. Sionna’s little 24 horsepower engine normally burns about .6 of a gallon an hour at moderate power settings, but with the Genny (large headsail) pulling, that drops to about a quart. For comparison, some of the motor yachts we’ve met – not awfully big ones – are burning 8 to 10 gallons an hour. Yikes! Glad we don’t have their fuel bill.
We’ll write a bit more shortly about the last couple weeks of moving south through Georgia. It’s been a mix of rare lovely days and long stretches of cool, damp, windy and rough, and its reminded us again that you can’t always plan your experience: Mother Nature always bats last.
Still, those hours of warmth and sun, while the folks up north are seeing their first snow storms and single-digit temperatures? Priceless. We wouldn’t trade it.