Port Credit Marine Survey
& Yacht Delivery
2. Power & Sail Differences
Despite the sometimes petty antagonism between power & sailboats, for this trip there are only four major differences between them. In a survey of sailboats who kept a log I found that between the Great Lakes and Florida they had the sails up for 6-12 hours. Those that did not keep a log claimed they had sailed much more (not likely).
a.) Draught. powerboats heading south are of the trawler or motor yacht type with draughts between 3’ and 4’ ( I was raised in Scotland and can't bring myself to spell it "draft" ). Sailboats drawing 5’ 6” can do most of the inside route but kissing bottom somewhere between the Carolinas and the middle of Florida is a sure bet. Of course anyone drawing more than  3’ 6” ( I mean the boat ) should forget about the inside route from New York Harbour to Atlantic City and any drawing more than 4’ should bypass the inside route from Atlantic City to Cape May unless you are willing to run only with the tides. Don’t forget that most boat specifications were published before the first model hit the water and many changes were made throughout the production runs. Also remember the small type “subject to change without noticeprinted on most boats spec sheets. Do not trust the measurements on the literature…..measure it yourself. We met a couple in Wrightsville Beach SC who were waiting to have the keel on their recently purchased Bavaria 42 modified. The broker and the surveyor assured them that they had measured it and the boat did indeed have a 5’ 6” draught as per their requirement and according to the original spec sheet. After buying the boat they discovered it had a 6’ 10” draught. Someone is paying for a very expensive keel modification.
My Mom, little brother and I with Frazerburgh’s NorthSea trawler
fleet in the background.
b.) Air Draught. With a controlling fixed bridge height of 56’, some sailboats will have to do a couple of sections on the outside. With many bridges much lower, sailboats can spend a lot of time circling waiting for an opening during the fall rush south and the spring rush north. This can be hard on the nerves as 10-20 boats try to hold station in a narrow channel with river and tidal currents, wind and less than expert boat handlers.

Hang back a quarter mile or so out of the crowd. When the bridge opens you will have lots of time while the mob sorts itself out. Let the gofasts to the front of the line then you won’t have to deal with their wake as they jockey to pass slower boats after the bridge. Actual “air draught” is critical and this too you should measure yourself. More than one boat has lost anometers, antennae, radar arches and occasionally a mast.
You’ve seen this boat before but I like it so much I thought I’d show
it again from a different angle

If you are doing the Trent, Severn or New York State canal systems you may wish to consider shipping your mast to the other end of the system rather than carrying it on deck. Crossing Lake Ontario with prevailing beam seas can be difficult and even dangerous with 50' of aluminum pipe tied on top of your boat. It had better be extremely well secured.
Unless you have a bow thruster getting a little sideways in a lock can be a costly excercise with 10' sticking out past your bow and dragging another 10' behind you.. Please give serious consideration to shipping your mast by truck or just admit your error and buy a trawler :)

c.) Horsepower. There are the obvious currents and tides to fight like the Hudson River, the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays but there are also many other narrow cuts and sounds to be crossed with tremendous currents. Lower horsepower sailboats have to pay much more heed to these currents than the powerboats. Even with our 145hp and 24X20 propeller we could only make 2.4 knots against the tide in the Elliot Cut south of Charleston. A close study of the tide table is imperative. More on this in the  “Navigation” section.

d.) Helm Height. Most cruising power boats have a flying bridge and operating from 12’ above the water is a significant advantage in reading river currents, spotting shoals and judging distances in a crowded anchorage. Laura never has to stand at the bow to see what’s immediately in front of us and its just plain better for sight seeing on the rivers where we can see over the banks without 40' of boat and masts in front of us.

See ! Not so many differences considering sailboats will be motoring 95% of the time.
Green Turtle Key, people you meet.
Chapter 3. Boat Preparation & Maintenance.

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