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Old 29-01-2010, 08:20   #1
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Have to Ask: Outboards on Sailboats?

Hello All,


Why is it you do not see sail boats with outboards?

You would have more room in the boat and they are much cheaper.

I am thinking it is because of HP at the prop

Dutch
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:29   #2
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outboards are far less reliable, and gas engines are far less safe. Sailboats also tend to function better without weight in the ends (forward and aft) of the boat. An inboard engine centers the weight and gets it low.
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:31   #3
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From what I've been able to glean so far, after you get to a certain size, the OB just doesn't have enough push or provide enough control. The thrust is all from the very end of the boat.

I do have a 9.9 OB on my Coronado 25 and it seems to do pretty well. It's hidden in a well at the stern so I don't have to look at it. :P I also enjoy being able to just yank it off and drag it up to the house for maintenance. It's just a trade-off.

Bash- I'll give you everything except the reliability part. I just had a 38 year-old 70 hp Chrysler that ran like a dream for me. It's all about the maintenance. I have to admit...a diesel OB would be neat.
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:40   #4
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Ok thank you, I knew there had to be a reason
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:48   #5
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There is no reason why a properly maintained outboard would be 'less reliable' as a method of auxiliary propulsion.

It can be a perfect solution for the reason you mention. s/v Faith has an 'outboard in a well' which IMHO is a perfect combination of the strengths of an outboard equipped boat with few of the drawbacks. Over several thousand miles of cruising I have found it to be a nearly perfect solution.

The conventional (or now common) method of mounting an outboard on a sailboat does have some 'issues'... Many will mount an outboard on a retractable bracket on the transom. Boats generally do not like this arrangement, especially if they lack the reserve buoyancy aft.

THe weight of a heavy (especially 4 stroke) motor hanging off the stern can be undesirable. It is also prone to cavitate in conditions where the boat is pitching. The outboard in a well has none of these problems when properly executed.

Here is a link to James Baldwins site so you can see what I am talking about.

The transom mounted outboard is often difficult to access for throttle changes, and the 'remote control' option is cumbersome at least as installed on boats I have sailed.

The outboard is not necessarily less powerful, but I do see folks tend to vastly overestimate their needs... less really is more.

A 6hp outboard has suited me just fine with my boat... loaded in cruising trim just shy of 4 tons. I have sailed the same boat with a 9.9, and the stern squat was a problem... not to mention the weight. I have seen silly overpowering, for instance a Catalina 22 with a 15hp...

The outboard has distinct advantages, ease of maintenance and low cost of replacement being chief.

The ability to use the motor to 'vector thrust' when docking is also very helpful, but strangely I do not often see others taking advantage of this.
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:50   #6
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Chrysler?

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Bash- I'll give you everything except the reliability part. I just had a 38 year-old 70 hp Chrysler that ran like a dream for me. It's all about the maintenance. I have to admit...a diesel OB would be neat.
The happiest day of my entire boating career was the day I sold my Chrysler OB. I admit to having horrible outboard karma almost regardless of manufacturer, but the Chrysler was the worst in a long series of disappointing engines. Contrary to the claim that it's all about the maintenance, anyone who owns a still-functioning Chrysler has clearly made a pact with the devil.
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Old 29-01-2010, 08:51   #7
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and gas engines are far less safe.
The problems I have seen with fires on boats have all been related to fueling.....i.e. operator stupidity....

In over 40 years on the water I have never seen an Atomic 4 suddenly burst into flame.

This is the same thinking that Westerbreak used when they took on the Universal Line.

The same way that General Motors bought up trolley lines....then changed to Buses.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:02   #8
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<snip> Contrary to the claim that it's all about the maintenance, anyone who owns a still-functioning Chrysler has clearly made a pact with the devil.
ROFL...Bash would you feel better about me if I told you that I sold it last week? Beelzeboat has released his lien on my soul.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:09   #9
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The biggest issue I see is in waves, especially short steep waves where the prop spends a lot of time stirring the air. There's the weight in the ends issue and manufacturer's don't make extra long shaft motors above 10 hp.

Carl
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:29   #10
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I dont know the answer, but can a gasoline outboard go nonstop for 4 days in a row 24 hours a day? My diesel is very happy doing that.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:32   #11
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A 4stroke with synthetic oil will. But I get your point. Diesel engines will outlive a gasoline engine every time.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:42   #12
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Also, once you get up to 25-27' most modern sailboats are designed to be cruising capable. It doesn't matter that you just want to daysail or go racing. The manufacturer wants to be able to say that one or two people could spend a week on the boat in reasonable comfort with reasonable amenities. Such boats typically offer refrigeration, pressure water, and water heaters. An inboard will support those things; an outboard will not - even with optional outboard charging systems.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:46   #13
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It is much more pleasant to deal with an engine issue inside the boat, than outside. Having said that, it is much easier still to pull an outboard off the boat, put it in the truck, take it to a mechanic and say fix this! Much depend on your usage. On coastal sailboats it may be unclear, once we get past our own prejuides and preference, which offers a better solution.

I see Seawind Catamarans with their out boards and I hold up my noise. Until I see them with the engine pulled off and think back to how difficult it was for me when I repowered. They are in protected locations, have long shafts, fuel tanks and lines appear to be mostly outside the boat. And $$$$ difference!!! But, they don't have the efficency of diesels.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndstar View Post
The biggest issue I see is in waves, especially short steep waves where the prop spends a lot of time stirring the air. There's the weight in the ends issue and manufacturer's don't make extra long shaft motors above 10 hp.

Carl
This is the very problem I had with our first boat. In any kind of weather, the outboard would scream as the prop came out of the water when the wave went under us. It was a constant battle while at the tiller, to crank the throttle down and up, and steer.

An inboard, and a diesel, is the only way to go. The shelf life of gas is too short, and a good diesel that is well-maintained is really reliable.
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Old 29-01-2010, 10:03   #15
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I have an old Macgregor Venture 25 (has a weighted drop keel on a cable). And it has a 10 HP outboard.

There's no built in engine and shouldn't be. The 10 hp is JUST enough to push me up to the crowded dock (because, quite simply, you can't sail up to it because people are too rude, cutting you off, running big wakes even though they aren't supposed to with power ski machines and so forth).

I try to sail away from the dock if it's not too crowded but many times I simply have to drop the motor in the water and pull the rip cord and back out slowly, set sails when away from docking.

I have never had any problems with the engine, keep it cleaned and checked - thought I need to regrease it this winter, just haven't had time.

Given all that, I'm sailing on lakes, and not in the ocean. I would NOT want to power a sailboat, large or small with an outboard on the sea. I can't imagine it would be powerful enough or sit deeply enough to power the boat in high seas. NOT a good idea.
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