I did a conversion/mod to our boat a number of years ago. Diesel
came out. Old engine
compartment now houses 480 amp hrs. of batteries that are charged with solar panels
. Boat is perfectly in trim with weight of batteries (diesel out batteries in). Net we lost
about 100 pounds. Gained the extra battery storage
and an additional 30 gallon tank for water
Built a custom engine well/compartment in the aft cockpit
area. Hung a 15 hp outboard. Engine pivots about 45 degrees port and starboard. So acts like a "stern thruster." Engine and controls are internal to the cockpit
, not hung externally on the transom. Excellent for close in maneuvering. We average a bit better than 4 knots at half throttle. So there is plenty of reserve power. Reach hull speed
at far less than full throttle. If I were to replace the motor
today I would choose a 9.9hp motor
Boat is an Able 32. 12,500 pounds. Engine pivots up clear of water
. The prop has never cavitated up to this point in time. Old aperture has been filled. Bottom is totally clean. Huge improvement to the sailing qualities of the boat.....no question.
I built two small lockers to house two small fuel tanks
. Standard red plastic outboard tanks
....3.5 gal. Two jerry cans at the rail bring us up to 17 gallons total. Can always add two more jerry cans. Fuel
economy has been fine.
In terms of pro and con............?? It has all been pretty much in the pro column. Truthfully. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The only major con would be the fact that we now carry gasoline on board. But we are careful in terms of storage
. All storage is outside in easily hand carried tanks and well drained.
But I rationalize this "con" this way........ Unless you are powering your dinghy
with a Torqueedo or an LP gas engine, then you are most likely using a gasoline outboard. My point here is that most all of us are carrying gasoline aboard anyway. Some safer than others. I would guess that 98% of us have a jerry can or two strapped to the rail...........right?
So instead of 3 types of fuel.....(Diesel, Gas, and Propane) we carry only two. Gasoline and Alcohol for an Origo
I consulted with James Baldwin a bit. Our solution was very much in line with his past work. I agree with much of his philosophy and approach to a good cruising boat. Simple and easily maintained. So I give him all of the credit he deserves.
This solution may not be for everyone. But it has worked well for us. In terms of storage, sailing performance, maneuvering under power, maintenance
and convenience it has been far better than our old diesel
. Thus far anyway.