When my inboard bit the dust on a 26-foot pocket cruiser
, I decided to replace it with extra long shaft outboard instead, so I experienced both on the same boat. The boat was sailed on the Great Lakes
, SE Florida
Things I liked about the Outboard:
1. Much Cheaper (initial purchase
2. I could easily remove it from the boat for maintenance
3. The motor tiller could be turned in addition to the ships's tiller to provide very tight turning.
4. The boat batteries could be completely dead and I could easily pull start the engine to start producing power.
5. I didn't have to have my hands snaking through the bilge to work on it.
6. No stuffing box or intake related thru hulls, so there is less danger
of sinking the boat.
7. I used a common fuel for both main engine and dingy motor
8. I could get gas at any gas station, or simply load the external tanks
in the dingy to go to a dingy dock when anchored, without the need to pull the big boat up to the dingy dock.
9. Freed up more space in a small boat for storage
10. Outboard weighed notably less (raised the water line a couple inches)
11 Fuel system is external, so less danger
in some ways
12. No diesel fumes inside
Negatives: (Or advantages I experienced with an inboard)
1. Inboard is likely to last much longer
2. Inboard is likely to have less maintenance
3. Inboard will most surely have a larger generator
and produce more power
4. Nobody is going to steal your inboard off the back of your boat when you are not looking
5. Less danger of prop coming out of the water or plunging head
into the water
6. Usually they are diesel fuel which is less volatile (but, it's internal)
7. Likely to have a longer cruising range between gas fill ups
8. Engine controls will most likely be located in a good location.
9. An outboard, being external, is more prone to damage.
I'm now back to having an inboard on a different boat, and prefer it overall, mostly because of it's ability to perform in steeper seas. Energy output reduced stress about performance or maintenance are also really important changes for me. As I begin to look at 30-foot boats for ocean sailing. I'm only considering inboard diesel engines. However, if I was looking at 26-27 footer for inland trailer sailing on protected waters, I'd probably go with an outboard.