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Old 03-12-2016, 22:13   #1
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Inboard vs. Outboard for Cruising

inboard vs. outboard for cruising?

I'm looking to buy my first boat, and I'd rather buy an outboard rather then an inboard engine.

Is it possible to cruise long distances with either one?
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Old 03-12-2016, 22:19   #2
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

The best engine is a diesel inboard. Better fuel mileage, no gasoline fume hazards, better alternator, more reliable, and you can work on it inside the boat.
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Old 03-12-2016, 22:20   #3
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

Wouldn't it be easier to work on an Engine outside the boat? Or in a standing position.
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Old 03-12-2016, 22:55   #4
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

You will need to work on the engine some time and place other than at the dock on a sunny afternoon.
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Old 03-12-2016, 23:50   #5
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

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Originally Posted by ET12 View Post
inboard vs. outboard for cruising?

I'm looking to buy my first boat, and I'd rather buy an outboard rather then an inboard engine.

Is it possible to cruise long distances with either one?
There actually is a thread about this.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ng-160639.html

I have an outboard on my Columbia 29 and it works ok for the kind of cruising, coastally around the local islands, I am doing. It has a number of pros and cons, especially for my size boat. But the diesel still beats it in general as Don says. Often where I am the winds are really light, especially in the morning, so to get around sometimes I end up having to motor, though I'd prefer not. A diesel would give me greater range and speed. But I really like having the extra room inside, no smell and a clean dry bilge. If you are planning to go from LA to Hawaii, you may never fire up the engine... but still good to have one!
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Old 03-12-2016, 23:58   #6
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

I like outboards best. Less expensive, less drag, easy to work on, easy to replace, less weight, more maneuverable. Can use it on the dinghy also.

You need plenty of solar with an outboard though. If you have refrigeration an outboard may not have an adequate alternator for battery charging.
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Old 04-12-2016, 01:07   #7
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inboard vs. outboard for cruising

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The best engine is a diesel inboard. Better fuel mileage, no gasoline fume hazards, better alternator, more reliable, and you can work on it inside the boat.

1. Better fuel mileage: at speeds near 1.00*sqrt-LWL Diesel will get 50-75% more mileage per gallon than a gas/petrol outboard.
2. no gasoline fume hazards: moderate advantage to diesel.
3. better alternator: true in an absolute sense but only marginally better in a real world if the boat is set up to minimize engine use then there will only be an occasional advantage for the inboard.
4. more reliable: Generally true. But an outboard that can be brought up and worked on in the open may get much better maintenance than an inboard with poor access.
5. you can work on it inside the boat: no you have to work on it inside in a confined space. An outboard can be worked on on the mount, on deck or below but not jammed under the cockpit unless you are a masochist and want to work on it there.

But now diesel outboards are becoming available. That means that the only advantages the inboard will retain are:
1. Fuel economy advantage in the 10-20% range. This will be related to the prop sizes each can mount thatcher than the inherent efficiency and energy density of diesel fuel vs gas/petrol in an Otto cycle engine.
3. Alternator

Oh yeah. In every case I can imagine the outboard has a much lower initial cost to buy and install for any sailboat up to about 30' length.

All this said I would prefer an inboard.
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:01   #8
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

We removed a perfectly good inboard diesel in favor of a 6hp outboard. We would not hesitate to do it again. The key to making the decision is knowing your personal cruising style and understanding the limitations and attributes of both engines. Although not typical, there are plenty of sailors crossing oceans with outboards mounted on the transom.

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Old 04-12-2016, 02:02   #9
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

Thank you for your opinions, and information!
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:17   #10
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

What's the average HP outboard for a 30ft and under?

What is the lowest and highest HP outboard in general?


Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:50   #11
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

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What's the average HP outboard for a 30ft and under?

What is the lowest and highest HP outboard in general?


Thanks.
Since outboards are so easy to remove and replace there will be no average, just depends on what the owner whats and can afford.

Outboards have come along in leaps and bounds over the past two decades so for coastal cruising could be an option. You need to think about storage of fuel in a well vented area or properly built in tanks. Also battery charging will be minimal on an outboard of less than 25hp so solar needs to be considered. Finally the controls needs some thought. You don't want to try entering a tight marina on your own operating a tiller and have the outboard controls several feet off the back of the stern. A remote control box would solve this.

Finally some way of lifting up the outboard prop so it doesn't cause drag would be good, just check there is space to do this and the head doesn't foul the transom.

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Old 04-12-2016, 02:52   #12
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

What about for blue water cruising?
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Old 04-12-2016, 03:38   #13
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pirate Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

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What about for blue water cruising?
It works pretty much the same.. your range will be limited by your fuel tank.
Here in the UK several smaller (22ft-27ft) boats were built which had outboard wells built into the design.. the Hurley22, Achilles24 to name a couple.. this moved the motor to a handy place for easy control at the helm and minimal prop clearing the water events.
I took the H22 from Brixham, UK to Viviero, N Spain non-stop, 500 odd nm of open water in winter gales.. the little Honda 5hp performed admirably and helped ride the 9metre plus sea's into the ria in safety.. Shame more designs of this sort were not made for boats up to say 30ft..
I've also used an 8hp Suzuki OB to help get a 37ftr from Seville, Spain to Fig da Foz, W Portugal non-stop.. that however was transom mounted make do as the Westerbeake inboard was screwed.. fine in flat water and could get 5kts but once there were any kind of sea the prop would lift out now and then.
Below is the Achilles 24 which has the well in the cockpit more or less.. the H22 had the well in the front of the Lazerette with the controls coming through into the cockpit.
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Old 04-12-2016, 04:10   #14
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

The biggest issue, particularly for monohulls, is if the boat was designed for an outboard.


If you take a boat designed for diesel and just bolt a bracket on the back, it's probably not going to work very well.


If the boat is designed for an outboard, it's a very nice option:
- It's easier to pull the engine into the cockpit and work on it in the fresh air (not upside down in the bilge with diesel fumes while rolling in a seaway).
- Fuel efficiency with modern 4 strokes is drastically better than the old 2 strokes. The 50-75% fuel efficiency gains would be comparing an old 2 stroke. I would say the new 4 strokes are closer to 10-25% difference, so not nearly as important.
- With the price of solar panels, most cruisers are moving away from charging the batteries by running the engine, so greater charging capability is minor. Also, most electric start outboards are easily pull started so a dead battery is not a major hassle.
- Most outboard designs can pull the drive completely out of the water. This has two major advantages, you sail faster with less drag and probably more important, nothing grows on a prop sitting in air, so when you consider diesel efficiency, it's only there if you keep the prop clean. A dirty prop can easily waste 20-40% of the energy.
- With the entire drivetrain outside the hull, most of the gas fume concerns go away. If you can bottom vent the tank, it's the same as driving a car (who panics about cars blowing up?).
- Up front cost is massively lower. You can replace a 15hp outboard for a couple of grand with an entirely new drivetrain in an hour and most people have the skills to do it themselves. A 15hp diesel dies...a couple of grand is unlikely to cover the cost of the labor to remove and replace.


Outboards are great if the boat is designed for them.
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Old 04-12-2016, 04:36   #15
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Re: inboard vs. outboard for cruising

My 31', ten-ton, full keel cutter has an 8HP High-thrust, long shaft four stroke outboard. Having sailed it from California to Newfoundland and points in between, I can highly recommend that arrangement. One of the worst things of an inboard is that there is a big, noisy, gasping monster IN YOUR BOAT. Unless a boat is over 36 feet, there's no excuse for cluttering it up with inboard engines. I thought at first that I would use the outboard only occasionally, for the last gasp into a harbor, but I've used it much as many people use the inboard, though I hope I've sailed more.
There is one disadvantage, and that is that in a seaway, the prop comes out of the water at times, with a most disturbing sound. Also, if in a big following sea, water can engulf the engine head, cutting off the air supply and making it gasp. But in those scenarios you're usually sailing, and the engine is not in play.
As for electricity, it is a needless luxury. Tear away from the tyranny of batteries and be free! You can read about our inboard-less and non-electric boat and voyage on our blog: zartmancruising.com
PS for Blue Water sailing, unless you're a slave to electricity, the engine stays off or days and days on end--on long passages, it's real usefulness in simply for the last gasp into harbor.
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