Over the years I have turned from an engine enthusiast and advocate to a more sceptical approach. When thinking about safe and competent sailing a boat like a Wayfarer, is an engine really part of the equation? Or is it just a convenience? Nowadays I tend to lean towards the latter. After all, Frank Dye never carried an engine on his epic voyages to Norway and Iceland.
Here is a question of conscience for a true Enlish Gentleman: If it is only “just a convenience” do we really want the trouble of carrying an engine, just to be home in time for tea?
Luckily I am not English, that makes the choice a lot easier. We don’t have tea over here, we settle for an after sail beer instead….
I would say that in some respects, an engine is merely a convenience. Since you cna never entirely trust an engine, you should avoid putting yourself in a position where you rely on it. But mistakes and accidents happen! I was converted to the benefits of engines after being rescued from an uninhabited island, when my own Wayfarer became disabled and the friend who I was cruising in company with was able to tow me home. I’ve also seen the convenience of being able to rig the boat at sea with one person kleeping the boat head to wind using the engine, and the other raising the sails. Safer than trying to rig the boat whilst drifting, IMHO.
Of course in an ideal world I would leave the engine at home. But there is the small matter of getting homebefore dark, or in time for work, or other commitments!