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Old 15-11-2006, 02:02   #1
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engine as glorified battery charger

An engine tends to be, to me, a battery charger, anchor setter, something to get me into and out of marinas, down narrow rivers and channels, and something to do when there is no wind and I get bored.

The usual recommendation for sailboat engine size is 1hp per 500lbs of displacement, which is much larger than it used to be -- when an "auxiliary" was just that, rather than something that needed to drive a boat at "hull speed".

My 10K# boat currently has a 33hp (Kubota) engine, which has only run at full throttle once while I owned it, a few days after I bought the boat. The rest of the time it has run at about half throttle, if that. I often look at the monster and wonder what the hell the previous owner was thinking.

I am toying with the idea of re-engining with a 14hp Yanmar 2YM15. What do people here (assuming you are a 1hp-per-500lbs advocate) think that I would be giving up other than a lot of weight?
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Old 15-11-2006, 03:35   #2
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Hi Matey,
Guess you'll get what is right for your region and if you've plentiful winds and don't see a value in a big engine - then replace it.
Certainly better to run a diesel at more than 50% - so maybe in your case a smaller lump would make sense.
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Old 15-11-2006, 03:39   #3
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I have a 40 foot, 27,000 lb Ketch. I have just put in a new 64HP Westerbeke. I tend to think of the sails as the lungs to my boat and the engine as the heart. Next year we plan to take an extened trip down the ICW and into the Caribbean. We will sail as much as possible, but I wanted to have sufficient power if and when required, I almost went to a 75hp. Maybe I am not as much a sailing purest as some, but I like the idea of have a strong sailing vessel with plenty of sailing power as well as plenty of engine power.
With all of that said, if I was only trying to get into the sound to sail and then returning that night or the next day I am not sure I would have invested in as large an engine as I did. I am a person who tends to think if it aint broke dont fix, if the engine is running well, why change it? I also think it all depends are where you have your boat and what you plan on doing with it. I have come through Watch Hill Passage with the tide turning and was damn glad I had the power I did.
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Old 15-11-2006, 11:02   #4
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Aloha Jim,
You'll get a lot of responses on this good subject. You are definitely overpowered and the weight change will help you with performance. If you have the time, money and inclination for another boat project it would be worth the effort. I usually advocate an if it ain't broke don't fix it philosophy though for economy's sake but in your case you are carrying around about four extra passengers in your bilge or a lot of supplies (in weight comparison).
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Old 15-11-2006, 11:28   #5
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Good Point
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Old 15-11-2006, 12:06   #6
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Maybe over pitch your prop to better load the engine or detune the engine. I would hate to pull out a good motor just because the Hp is a bit higher than required. Plus you are not going to save that much weight, maybe 100 pounds?

We weight 65k and use a Westerbeke 108. It would not bother me if we had another 30-40 Hp.
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Old 15-11-2006, 14:49   #7
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Another point

Depending where, in relation to the COB, the motor is located. You may loose some of your ballast. Making up wind sailing a little less efficient.

The question is; are you getting up to hull speed at half throttle?

On my 14K# I run a 50hp diesel and at 3/4 max. rpm she's at hull speed. If I crank it all the way up I only gain another half a knot.

The point being hull speed is hull speed. You do need a little extra power for short bursts like getting in/out of tight areas. You can't really go much faster then hull speed but, with a larger motor, at lower speeds you can get moving faster if need be especially if the wind is trying to take over while trying to dock the boat.

BTW 50 hp is just right for this 14K# vessel. That's 1hp:280#. Yours is 1:303#. sounds good to me.

Maybe your prop is over pitched. One test you can do is; with the boat sitting dead in the water with the motor running, throttle up fast to almost max rpm's. If the motor dogs down, then you have too much pitch to your prop. Or your prop is too big in dia. Or if it's a 3 blade you may need to go to a 2 blade.

You motor doesn't sound like it's too much, to me........................_/)
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Old 15-11-2006, 15:06   #8
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Horse power is something you never need until one day you need everything you have and then some. I've actually been shoved backward in a 12 knot current with my twin diesels at full throttle.

It's cheap insurance, Keep the engine.

Rick in Florida
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Old 15-11-2006, 15:20   #9
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You are not over powered. You are at the higher end of the spot on range and certainly not overpowered. I would be very happy to keep what you have. You have a good weight to power ratio, plenty of reserve when you need it and the engine is one of the most reliable and easily fixed engines around. Remember you are a heavey boat to begin with. The overall weight of the engine is going to make little difference to your Gross weight. As suggested you will not save a huge amount of weight changing and in the overall gross weight, the % saved will be insignificant in relation.
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Old 15-11-2006, 22:00   #10
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Thanks for the responses. I am not wealthy enough to throw away a good engine. But there are a few issues with it, and the little money-spending bird sitting on my shoulder began chirping "new stuff, new stuff" in my ear...

In the past, I have considered going the Pardey route, hauling the engine and saying goodbye to the grief and maintenance, but the prospect of having to rely on others for tows in windless channels and into marinas (sailing in marinas is rarely allowed in my part of the world) is not attractive, either.

I have experimented with going engineless -- "for this trip, I'm not going to use the engine" -- but that usually ends with frayed nerves and the assessment that "life is too short"...

It's true that the weight difference (and price difference) tends not to be that much when discussing a few horsepower, or even double the hp, but with the dimensions of the 2YM15 I would have a lot more room in my engine compartment for maintenance, which would be nice.

The largest motorcycle made in Thailand is the 200cc Honda Phantom. I could buy four new ones for the price of a 2YM15 installed. And you can never have enough motorcycles

Thanks again.
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Old 15-11-2006, 22:51   #11
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Yeah good points on room and price. But I can asure you, fitting a new "Different" engine is never straight forward or cheap.
So it looks like you may have the prop sorted and the cooling system is well worked over. So what other issues do you have? Maybe we can help there as well. Because as I said, that wee engine you have is going to be hard to beat.
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Old 16-11-2006, 03:10   #12
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Quote:
but that usually ends with frayed nerves and the assessment that "life is too short"...
It's clear you can't be a person without an engine if you look at it that way. Better to just turn it on less and be happy you could turn it on if you needed to. The extra power is always welcome some time some place.

You don't have to run it unless you want to. It's about the same amount of work to own a smaller one.
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Old 16-11-2006, 03:58   #13
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Our engine is forced to service because often there is insufficient wind to get us where we need to be in a timely manner. We don't live in the reliable trade wind zone.

All sailors prefer to use their sails and hate to resort to the iron genny, but unfortunate for us, we do more often than we care to.. even motor sailing to pick up a knot of two or point higher. We are often time constrained and so there is really no option.

However, Shiva is also set up so that the engine is an energy tranfer device... it charges batts, makes hot water, runs the frig. Not the most efficient, but it works for us since as others point out getting in and out of anchorages, off docks etc. you are running the engine regardless.

The diesel has been chugging away for 21 yrs with little maintenane so I am OK with the arrangement. I hate the noise, smell and sometimes the smoke... but we live with it and it makes our lives more comfortable in the end.

But boy are we happy to shut it down and sail and enjoy the peace and quiet that sailing is.

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Old 16-11-2006, 21:52   #14
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I know that I'm spoiled. Except for a couple months a year, we know which way the wind will be blowing next Tuesday, deviations in the northeast or southwest monsoons only a matter of degrees. Makes engineless life easier, but things are different elsewhere. Plans are to sail off next year.

Jef said: "I hate the noise, smell and sometimes the smoke... but we live with it and it makes our lives more comfortable in the end. But boy are we happy to shut it down and sail and enjoy the peace and quiet that sailing is."

That pretty much sums up our view. It's nice to know it's there. I know I don't really have the money to re-engine, just playing with the prospect, though I suppose if I do in the future, resale should be a big consideration.

Thinking about it, the "frayed nerves" I spoke about have really only come when I didn't have an engine to fall back on. Last year I lost my engine during a sail to Langkawi. The wind died completely while passing Koh Tarotao (an island about 10 miles long on which they filmed Survivor a few years ago). Drifting toward the rocks, I prepared to anchor and pouted about having to sit in the considerable swell. I looked around, but there were no fishermen in sight to beg in broken Thai to tow me to a calmer anchorage ... then a bit of wind came along.
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Old 17-11-2006, 00:37   #15
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Jim, I was kinda get the feeling you lack some confidence in certain aspects of your boat. Namely the engine department. I think you need some good reasuring that your engine is a fine engine. It may look old and in fact be old, but these little Perkins engines are one of the most reliable and easily maintained engines you can get. Going to anything else would gain you little except a newer engine and a lighter wallet.
If she starts easily, is still running sweet, has no signs of excesive smoking nor oil consumption, then she will last you many many years. Just keep the external parts clean, corrosion free, ensure electrical connections are sound and clean from corrosion and protected with a regular spray of a protectant and you will have a very reliable work horse, no less than any other make, even a Yanmar. In fact I regard Yanmar and Perkins equaly. Do feel confident in your wee powerhouse you have on board.
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