Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Advantages and disadvantages of a motorsailer

Advantages and disadvantages of a motorsailer

Updated on January 29th, 2024

Motorsailers are usually classified as sailing vessels, not motor yachts. A motorsailer is a compromise that has some advantages, but also has significant disadvantages compared to thoroughbred sailboats.

As an intermediate class of yachts, motorsailers strive to sail well and run fast under the motor. But they do neither.

Simply by virtue of their design, motorsailers are displacement motor vessels on which one or several masts are installed. There is no ballast keel, but there are a couple of small fins (usually) or a long longitudinal keel, and the Deck Saloon hull layout doesn’t look good for efficient sailing. As a result, you can forget about sharp courses to the wind. In addition, the sail area is more modest than on conventional sailing yachts, so the motorsailer will always be an outsider.

Motosailer for cruising

A motorsailer can fold the sails and start a fairly powerful engine. In this case, it turns into a displacement trawler, which, however, is more pleasant to go through the wave than on a typical motor yacht, and even more so on a planing cruise boat.

By the way, in the class of motorsailers there are also fast models with a planing hull. But in this case, the behavior of the boat under sail, as you understand, is completely disgusting.

It is said that a motorsailer offers the best of both worlds. But this is not so, because in this case it would be an ideal vessel. It’s much more accurate to say that a motorsailer offers the worst of both worlds. It does not feel good under sail and is far from ideal under the engine.

Why then do you need a motorsailer?

A motor-sailing yacht is an excellent option for older yachting enthusiasts, when it becomes difficult to manage full-fledged sailing equipment on a strong heel, and purely motor yachts cause melancholy and apathy.

A motorized sailer is very good for traveling, because it is not too voracious, comfortable in terms of habitability, and a small draft allows you to come close to unequipped shores and walk deep into the continents through inland waters. Combined with a folding mast that opens up a passage under any bridge, a motorsailer is the ideal option for many. Long passages on an ordinary sailboat with an open cockpit in bad weather can be tiring, and when something else drips from above, the Deck Saloon becomes very cozy.

Be that as it may, a motor-sailing vessel, yielding to sailing yachts in terms of running characteristics, gives odds to motorized vessels in reliability, safety, efficiency and seaworthiness, but at the same time losing to them in speed.

If you plan to travel in a damp and cold climate and do not want to spend all your attention and energy on working with sails, then a motorsailer allows you to keep the romance of sailing without cutting back on living space, without a strong list, and at the same time you can manage it with one hand.

At the same time, you should understand that, most likely, at the crossings you will move under the motor, and the sail will rise only at rare moments of the backstay (although there are models that cut the wind acceptable) or during a leisurely boat trip while relaxing with guests.