re: First boat: Cal 2-27, Pearson 28 or Islander 28?
That's a point very well taken. Despite deciding to go ahead with the electric, I still have some reservations about it, range and power being the biggest ones. From what I gathered, it seems most people have a small portable gas generator (Honda 2000 seems to be the usual choice), which alone is capable of providing around 4 knots of speed under calm conditions. It can also be run in addition to the batteries to get hull speed for a couple of hours. However, I'm not very clear on how it is deployed on the boat, particularly in bad weather, as it cannot be run in the cabin and I'm not sure it's designed to be doused in salt water all that much. I guess I'll start with it, and if turns out to be insufficient, there's always the possibility of mounting a proper diesel genset, although that would be expensive.
Another thing I'm worried about is the safety of that much electrical current running in the boat. Most installations I've seen pictures of look completely open and vulnerable to cabin flooding. I think I'd rather build a watertight enclosure for the whole system, but again, not sure how workable that would be.
So, all in all, I think these issues are workable, but the outboard will stay on the boat for a long time, until I'm absolutely sure the electric will do the job in all possible situations. 100lbs of dead weight is a small price to pay for added security.
Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the progress, but it's probably going to be at least another week till I get the boat surveyed and there's any new information...