A Motorsailer, aka "motorsailor" , is a type of sailing vessel, typically a pleasure yacht, that derives propulsion from its sails and engine(s) in equal measure.
A motorsailer may have either a large fixed propeller or, ideally, a variable-pitch propeller. A motorsailer will typically be heavier-built, with less delicate lines but with more spacious accommodation. Motorsailers will have an enclosed cockpit, or "doghouse", and a higher freeboard. The motorsailer's sail area will typically be rather smaller than an equivalent yacht's, and any masts may be shorter. Also, while a sailing yacht will often be rigged as a Bermuda sloop or a Bermuda cutter (both types having a single mast), the motorsailer will more likely have a multi-masted split-rig, such as a schooner, ketch or yawl.
While the sailing yacht appeals primarily to the purist sailing enthusiast, the motorsailer is more suited for long-distance cruising, as a home for "live-aboard" yachtsmen. The special features of the motorsailer (large engine, smaller sails, etc.) mean that, while it may not be the fastest boat under sail, the vessel is easily handled by a small crew. As such, it can be ideal for a retired couple who might not be able to handle large sail areas. In heavy weather, the motorsailer's large engine allows it to punch into a headwind when necessary to make a landfall, without endless tacking to windward.
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