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Old 22-09-2011, 15:45   #1
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Single Outboard

I am looking at a boat at the moment which will be our first cat.

A bloke who has given me a lot of really great advice is warning us away from it as it has a single non steerable engine (outboard). My thoughts are he is right since he has been right about most everything else.

We will probably spend a fair bit of time in the marina regions of NSW & QLD for the first few years. The purpose of this boat is to get our confidence up on a cat before buying something bigger in a few years.

So how big an issue is a single engine in your opinion? At the moment I am taking the advice and walking away (or at least speaking to the designer and factoring in a mod to the price) but what would you do?
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Old 22-09-2011, 15:58   #2
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Re: Single outboard

I never freed up the single drive leg on my Prout. There is a significant loss of turning circle, particularly turning up wind when cross wind.
Add an electric 'trolling' motor ACROSS the stern and apply as needed to push/pull the backend where you want it.
Be more worried about electric charging, if the 'outboard' has no cherger they are expensive to get fitted.
Is this engine inboard driving through the transom to a drive leg (Sillette)?
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Old 22-09-2011, 16:04   #3
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Re: Single outboard

Hi Eleven

No, it is a straight long shaft direct drive outboard. It does have a charger and huge solar panels
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Old 22-09-2011, 16:11   #4
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Re: Single outboard

Can't speak from experience, but I suspect the close quarters (i.e. marina) maneuverability would be woeful, especially if there was a bit of breeze around. Having said that, you do see a few in the marinas so it can't be all that bad. Otherwise I don't think it would be a too much of problem all things considered.
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Old 22-09-2011, 16:16   #5
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Re: Single outboard

Try the electric outboard thingy then. Given that the main engine is running you should never have flat battery problems.
Plan B is to mount it between the bows so you with remote switching but that does mean long big power cables. The bows on a cat really catch any side wind with the result the boat always wants to point downwind. No significant keels means cats move sideways too, much more than a mono does. Manouvring in tight marina's in anything more than a light breeze is not good for the blood pressure, usually half an hour before reaching the marina just the thought of it starts to get to you. You;ll get used to it, but a crew member on the bows with muscles will save most of the 'insurance' claims. Boats not under power cause little serious damage, just scuff marks.
I eventually found a little two way radio saved all that shouting to and fro to the crew man, mine always answered facing away from me, in a normal voice that he could hear in the quiet at the bows, while I was on top of the engine and couldn't hear him even if he fell off!
Was he better than going single handed? Hmm.
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Old 22-09-2011, 19:04   #6
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Re: Single outboard

Do yourself a favour and look at a Fountaine Pajot Tobago 35 or similar! Twin diesels, good performance and accommodation. By the time you finish looking at and debating over the poorly equipped and built one-off designs in Australia, you'll have it delivered to your door by a delivery captain and probably at less cost!
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Old 22-09-2011, 19:44   #7
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Re: Single Outboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnathon123 View Post

So how big an issue is a single engine in your opinion? At the moment I am taking the advice and walking away (or at least speaking to the designer and factoring in a mod to the price) but what would you do?

I would shy away from anything I couldn't test drive, since boats are often different than you might guess. Once you've had a test sail, you'll know.

I had a boat with one engine that could be steered, but we seldom did. The rudders were very large and it wasn't a problem. You will learn your boats limits.
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Old 22-09-2011, 20:02   #8
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Re: Single Outboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnathon123 View Post
I am looking at a boat at the moment which will be our first cat.

A bloke who has given me a lot of really great advice is warning us away from it as it has a single non steerable engine (outboard). My thoughts are he is right since he has been right about most everything else.
He's right. Cats have lots of windage.
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Old 22-09-2011, 20:57   #9
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Re: Single Outboard

Most outboard charging systems are only good for maintaing the start battery and are allright for running lights if powering at night. (YMMV)
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Old 22-09-2011, 21:00   #10
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Re: Single Outboard

It's not that difficult in most cases to make the outboard steerable using cable and pulleys from the existing steering system. I've seen it done by attaching to transom hung rudders. With some fiddling you can adjust it so the cables are slack when the motor is tilted up so as not to overly interfere with the steering when sailing.
A lot of charter cats attach a separate wheel and cables just to be able to use the outboard in docking situations.
Friend of mine used to always go into his marina stern first, said it was more controllable.
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Old 25-09-2011, 10:36   #11
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Re: Single Outboard

I had a Stiletto 30 with a single outboard engine mounted in the middle of the cockpit in an opening that precluded steering it. The stiletto had high aspect ratio centerboards and rudders, that were great at speed, but useless a docking speed. The slightest breeze would take command. I was at a predominantly Power Boat Yacht Club, parked next to the Clubhouse which was built on a 70' steel barge. It never failed that when I returned to my slip, someone would announce to all the members gathered at the bar that "Sandy is parking his tennis court" and they would all rush out to supervise, criticize, or encourage my marksmanship. I would have to just point as carefully as possible, hope for the best, and count on the engine reversing on time. A fine time was had by all but me.

I suspect that the designer believed that this boat would always be sailed onto a beach and walked onto a trailer. or he had a trick I never heard. Every cat I've owned since then (4 in number!) has had a steerable single engine or a pair.

So if this is your final choice, do mount that trolling motor sideways. Possibly somewhere you can steer it. Ive seen a few that have remote steering, too. It will be cheaper that repairing your rub rails!
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Old 25-09-2011, 10:42   #12
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Re: Single Outboard

How hard would it be to buy another OB and mount each on the back, or just inside of each hull? Cats are hard to control even with inboard diesels , so it is a consideration. If the wind was blowing hard, my Lagoon 42 with 2 3GM30's had a real hard time crossing through the wind when leaving anchor etc. It was better with the windward side engine in reverse.
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Old 25-09-2011, 15:15   #13
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Re: Single Outboard

Thanks everyone.

I am speaking with the designer regarding a second engine, might be a solution I think.

Thanks for all the ideas

Will keep you posted!
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Old 25-09-2011, 16:32   #14
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Single Outboard

I imported the very first Fountain/Pajot 37' catamaran into the USA in 1986. It was their Louisiane 37 model, their first production boat model. I had been on several other such vessels that used 2cycle outboards, and was less than impressed with their pushing qualities.

Yamaha had just recently come out with their new 4cycle 9.9hp hi-thrust outboard. it had a gear ratio reduction in the shafting and turned a larger diameter prop than any other engine of that HP. Eventually I experimented with 'cupping the prop' (slight increase in pitch of stock prop), and was able to push that 37 footer to 7 knots in mild conditions.

I rigged somes lines to the motor that ran out to the rudder's tiller arms (not wheel steering). These lines would be left losely connected in most sailing conditions so as to not interfere with any of the normal tiller steering of the vessel. But once under power (outboard in down position) these lines could be 'tied off' to the tiller arms (actually just used a small jam cleat mounted on the tiller arms). This premited the motor to steer right along with the rudders. I could do great maneuvering!...even back into a dock space like parallel parking a car.
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Old 27-09-2011, 06:13   #15
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Re: Single Outboard

If a second engine is an option, I would go for it. After chartering a Mainecat 30 a couple of times in the Abacoes, then finally motoring and sailing mine after launch recently, I am soooo glad I put two in instead of one.
The boat is a much-modified Woods Skua 9m racer-cruiser. I put in two 9.8 toahtsu four strokes with extra long shafts. Both tilt up using a fairing/transom setup that keeps them clear of the water and protected when up and low in the water and still protected when down. Labor-intensive to design and build, but I am happy with the results and can take and post some pictures if you like.

Lincoln
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