Motor or No Motor

Thread starter #1
Hi, I just recently purchased an '88 Capri 14.2. My wife, daughter and I just took her out today for the first time out from the Washington Sailing Marina in Alexandria, VA. The winds were about 4-5 and we had a hard time getting out of the marina into clear wind. We were thinking about putting on a small outboard, 3 hp Honda, to help when the winds were low but noticed that none of the other sailboats that were out on the water had them. I haven't had much experience in higher winds and was nervous about the posibility of capsizing with the motor. Since I sail with my daughter who is only 4 I like the thought of having a motor to get back to the marina if something were to happen or the wind were to die out all together. I was thinking if the winds got to be too strong I could always lower the sails and motor back to avoid going over too. At what wind speed do you have to worry about capsizing and what is your thoughts about attaching a motor?
To Paddle Or Not To Paddle

Since my mast came down today in the middle of the lake,
I discovered an excellent way to make my way to shore.
Have a passing motorboat tow you in. That way, you
don't need a motor of your own, or a paddle either.

Here in Indiana, the addition of a motor to a sailboat,
whether trolling motor or a gas-powered engine,
requires additional fees, etc. I hate additional fees.

Oh, for the good old days, when you could just drop your
Moth, Nipper, Snipe, Lightning or what have you in the lake,
not worrying whether the DNR looks unfavorably upon you.

Now, to find a better way to secure my Capri's mast bottom.
I sail out of Colonial Beach and have been caught in the doldrums there a few times, plus I put in way up in Maddox Creek, which isn't very wide and not too windy sometimes. I just bought a 3 hp Johnson that I plan to put on the next time that I'm down. Bear in mind that once you have a motor in Virginia, you've got to register the boat.
A paddle or two on the boat is a must. You can also rock the boat side to side to get it to "walk" forward. Some on this board use trolling motors for propulsion in a pinch and seem happy with them. Gas outboards seem to never start when I want them to but I'm just lucky.:eek:
2HP helps

I have a 2hp Honda on my 14.2 Expo and find it useful for navigating channels and clearing swimmers, rocks, etc. after launching. I only get about 1/2 hour on a tank which only holds a quart of gas so I also bring an extra gallon of gas. Came in really helpful when the webbing broke that attaches the mainsheet lanyard to the boom. (I had this happen twice, which I was told had to do with the new manufacturing location in Largo, FL outsourcing some of the parts. They did replace this with two new ones and I've had no problem with the replacement.) I don't know how much it might impede righting the boat, as I haven't capsized yet, but it's not very heavy - 30lbs.

I do have to register in Florida with the motor added, and it is one more thing you have to pay attention to so those are considerations.

I recommend a 2 - 3 hp motor with an itragal fuel tank. While it's a flag of a novice sailer it's smart to have one on board. You can build a simple cradle and store it in the cubbyhole until needed. You don't need a mount but if you don't use one you need to add some thin strips of wood to the transom to protect the gelcoat.
I used to sail a lot on Smith Mountain lake Virginia. One time a storm came up and we went into a cove. After the storm the way out of the cove was the wind in our face and not enough room to tack. I paddled until I nearly flipping died and to no avail. We spent several hours in that cove and finally got towed out when a boat cam along. That is when I bought the used boat motor. Its and antique and you will find lots of them around. No need to spend big bucks on a new one or fool with batteries. Its trustworthy and always takes us about 4 knots even when direct into some hard winds. I kick it up when not needed.
I'm 48 and lazy

Some people will try to convince what you do or don't need by bragging about themselves, but it is good safe boating to have a well maintained small outboard off the stern and I would recommend the motor mount. If you need to add a motor wount, make sure you clear the rudder when it's at extreme angles - my capri's previous owner did not.

Make sure the motor is well clamped down, and then get heavy guage wire or cable and secure the motor to the motor mount so if your motor decides to go swimming it doesn't become a diver's find.

Down here in the South the wind can die in summer, you can paddle your butt for four hours getting back to marina - have fun with that. Also there many great dammed river/lake systems that have wind shadows - ok go ahead and paddle.

I have sailed with two small kids for several of their early years and it was such a boost in confidence and convenience in getting off/on the trailer at the ramps and getting out of the way of the fishers, tubers, jet skis and all variety of people who stare at you with your SAIL boat.

I have a Yamaha 2.5 hp (weighs 35 pounds), and carry a small spare tank up in the cubby - I have never needed it, and trolled for more than an hour many times. Remember you don't need full throttle; you can go 3 or 4 knots will very moderate throttle.

There have been plenty of time on Appalacola Bay, Lake Lanier, Like Huron, and Lake St. Claire, where weather systems appeared out of nowhere and my first concern was my two small children and getting them out of harm's way. And then there was the time we realized we were in a freighter channel on Tawas Bay.

Having said all that, if you're going ourt alone or with an able bodied buddy, and you want to push the boat and see what she can do in some good wind, then I recommend leaving the motor behind.
I second the motor motion. I'm a newbe to sailing but not boats and keep the Capri in the water all the time at my private dock behind our weekend house on a canal. It would be next to impossible to get in or out of the canal without a motor as its lined with tall trees. So when I got my Capri 14.2 recently I put an old 2-stroke Mariner 2 hp on the transom that I'd bought new in 1982 to usee on a small duck hunting boat. It is actually made by Yamaha, and I've always drained the gas when I put it up & keep stabilizer in the gas. A true one-pull motor every time. Hint: if your motor is hard to start, invest is an aerosol can of "starting fluid" - which is ether - and give the carb area a shot, then pull.

The transom is not a good place for the motor as the traveler and main sheet tangle in it. I bought a motor mount and stuck it as far to the port side as I could (on most Capris only one side of the transom is cored with wood) and it makes the motor invisible to the lines & stuff. My rudder has a bite out of it from a prior owner putting the motor to close to the middle. I sail mostly on a tidal river lined with tall cypress trees and in the turns its hard to find any wind, so one pull on the motor and putt-putt to the wind, very easy. And as was mentioned above, down here in the South our breezes are subject to dying at any time. I carry a home made cypress paddle that I plan to just use for whacking snakes and alligators. Paddling is like mowing your lawn, better ways to spend a day.

I'm not into racing or going real fast, so capsizing is probably not in my future, but I did take the boat to the edge of doing so last weekend just to see how it feels and how to reecover quickly. Gusty winds would be what I'd avoid as I can see how you could get dumped real quick.

Vic Roy
I clamped my motor down to where it never pivots and it always straight ahead, that way when I start it I just use the boat rudder to guide the boat. I don't see any reason for the motor to pivot. Plenty of those little motors around, people never get rid of them and it doesn't take much work to get even an antique one running if its been kept in a decent place.


Sailing on Shelter Bay
Motor, no motor?

This was a very interesting thread. I do not have a motor and I have had some very slow trips out of the narrow entrance to the Sound to where there is usually more wind. I recently fashioned a "tiller Tamer" to the tiller just so I could paddle with both hands on the paddle. I'd consider a motor, but I'm not convinced it is necessary at this point. I sailed boats when I was very young (lightnings and others) and we never had motors. We learned how to get back with just a whisp of a wind. Perhaps it makes one a better light wind sailor.