Monday, October 2, 2017
One Motor Away
My lovely wife has always said our Oday 19 is too small to make the jump from Florida to the Bahamas. Plenty of boats that size and smaller have made the trip. What she really meant was that it was too small for her.
It's not like she needs a mega yacht to feel comfortable. She was willing to make the crossing in our Ranger 23. Of course, we were going to haul it out first and really go over everything. As luck would have it, we lost the boat and never got the chance.
Then yesterday she surprised me and said that if we had a strong gas outboard on the Oday 19, she'd be willing to make the crossing. That's a huge change for her. It almost made me want to go to the marine store and pick up an outboard.
So what changed her mind? I'm just guessing here, but I've got an idea. We watch a lot of videos of people sailing the Bahamas. An old Distant Shores video featured a boat with a lift keel. I think, with the keel raised, they drew less than two feet. Now this was a full sized cruising boat, not a glorified dinghy like our Oday. However, the Oday, with keel raised, only draws about a foot of water.
She may have reached the point where having a shallow draft is more important than having a larger boat.
So why would she want a good outboard? One of the strategies for crossing the Gulf Stream involves waiting for a perfectly calm day. While there's no wind to sail with, there's no wind to churn up the waves. Northerly winds blowing against the current is especially bad. With a good motor one can just power across.
Right now the only motor on that boat is a 55lb thrust electric trolling motor. It can push the boat around at about half speed. That's fine for most things -it is a sailboat, after all. The electric motor is not a good choice for a longer passage in a strong current.
As for myself, I was thinking that next year we could get a slighter bigger lift keel boat and go to the Bahamas then. Of course, once we are down to Florida this winter, it wouldn't be that hard to pick up an outboard and scoot over to the Bahamas. It would not be the craziest thing we've ever done.