Sailing the Coast with The Cruising Sailor


Traditionally the yachting world has been divided into two camps, stinkpots and bedsheets. For many years they have been considered un-crossable barriers.

Motor yachts and people who own them are often looked down on by sailors as not “real” sailors since all the have to do is turn a key and go. No skills needed to push a throttle for forward motion. That part may be true, but the idea they are not real sailors has quite a few serious flaws to the argument. Any human brave enough to leave solid land out of sight will need some real skills to be safe, sail or power.

Probably the greatest divide between the two is speed. Motor boaters complain that sailing takes too long. Sailing is too dependent on the whims and forces of nature. Sailors complain that motor boaters don’t appreciate the intertwined nature of sailing or the adventure of the journey itself.

The entire world is undertaking serious changes and yachting is being swept up with it. Cheap fuel is a memory. Costs are headed into the stratosphere. Yachts are no longer just a boat, they’re an RV now with family outings becoming as common as couples who cruise.

The worlds of the stinkpot and the bed sheet gang are beginning to merge. Speed is at the forefront of the biggest changes of all. Motor yachts are going slower to save precious fuel. Technology has made high speed sailing easier and more accessible.

Gunboat is a leader in high performance sailing catamarans. They recently unveiled a rather remarkable foiling cat capable of 30 knot speeds based on technology used in the Americas Cup racing. You can now purchase a 40’ sailboat that can outrun most of the powerboats and do it all without distance limits imposed by a gas tank. Admittedly it suffers in loss of cabin space and creature comfort.

Another new yacht on the market comes from Nordic Tug. A palace on water, it’s real glory is long range allowed by extremely efficient engines that sip fuel. It’s also cruising at under 10 knots to achieve this great feat.

Sailing is no longer the only way to enjoy the passage, and motor boats are no longer the fastest way to get from A - B. Maybe east can meet west without a fight breaking out after all.