Voyaging Under Power

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Voyaging Under Power.gif (22594 bytes) This is the premiere and absolutely essential volume for those who wish to design or liveaboard voyaging powerboats. The information presented is interesting and compelling. Most people reading this book will come away from it with a very much expanded understanding of what makes a good serious liveaboard, long range, offshore powerboat. This type of vessel was essentially defined by the author of this book. Everybody designing these vessels since is essentially a disciple of Captain Beebe. The information on proper powering alone will stagger people with the differences from what they see in the boat shows and will inevitably produce in the reader an absolute horror of what boat he or she might have chosen had they not had this book.

I only have one criticism of this book. To Mr. Beebe this type of vessel started essentially at 40 feet and when up from there. Yet most people I have met living aboard powerboats have been only two people. Unless money is no object at all it is not very logical to have a boat this big for two people. Our own little voyaging yacht, was a 25 foot sailboat, rather less roomy than a 25 foot powerboat would be. Yet by my calculation we could put between a 7 and 8 horsepower engine in her and be able to power across the Atlantic quite handily if we were willing to put in rather more tankage than a sailboat would normally have. A friend of ours does in fact live much of the year aboard a 25 foot powerboat with an 8 horsepower engine. This vessel eats very little fuel and could easily take him to Europe. I would judge that this is a reasonable lower limit for two people without getting into the "stunt" category. I absolutely can't see going any larger than around 32 feet for two people. Everything is easier and less expensive on a smaller boat. However, having said that, everything in this book will apply just fine to the smaller boat and anyone can afford to own and voyage in powerboats and motorsailors in this size range.

Besides just showing it is possible and helping us with math and general equipping the other great advance that Mr. Beebe has made for us is in developing paravanes or "flopper stoppers" for yacht use. Sailing yachts are so prevalent for voyaging that people just accepted that the powerboat, since she does not have sails to steady her and dampen rolling, would just have to be less comfortable than a sailboat unless you resorted to extremely expensive active stabilizing fins. Mr. Beebe showed us that simple rugged inexpensive gear could do a marvelous job of making a powerboat wonderfully comfortable at sea in almost all conditions. Indeed even sailboats have found that at anchor in open roadsteads or when running down wind it can be hard to dampen rolling enough to be comfortable. My wife and I and several other sailors have even borrowed Mr. Beebe's idea for our sail boats. My wife and I used a simple flopper stopper to dampen rolling in open roadsteads and found that in a swell in which our beloved "Charis" rolled deck edge to deck edge at a very rapid rate dropping the paravane in the water would dampen the roll to an essentially negligible amount within a couple of cycles. We were able to moor and sleep as comfortably as if we were in harbor anywhere we chose to anchor from then on. When we finish our current refit of "Charis" we will have added a paravane system that we can use under way as well just as the owner of a Wanderer Class sloop, "Widgee", did. This would allow us to dampen roll in the only other conditions in which "Charis" could be really uncomfortable short of full gale conditions. That was when running dead down wind. As we all know instead of providing aerodynamic dampening down wind sails actually act as a rolling engine increasing the roll to the point where it is very uncomfortable. A single paravane, given the high roll moment of inertia produced by the mast and deep ballast keel should make her quite restful to sail without having to tack down wind.

In any case if you wish to liveaboard a powerboat or full power auxiliary sailing vessel and especially if you really want to travel widely this book is just plain essential to have. (tm)


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