Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bellingham WA
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I understand the weight distribution issue, cavatation issues etc. and have seen many smaller sailboats with motors on the back doing exactly that. However, as I said once before: exactly zero people who are crossing oceans in sailboats are using any motor for anything but entering and leaving port. As for the weight distribution argument: I think they are thinking too hard. Having 40 pounds back there (often kept on the rail when not in use) will affect performance less than having a 5 year old in the cockpit with them. Case in point: A good friend of mine has a San Juan 24' that he races. He has a motor on the back... just about never loses a race - and they race in all conditions, even in the Straight of Juan de Fuca which is basically open ocean - just ask the many large ships at the bottom. Yes, he races against inboards too. Often a full fuel tank weighs more than many small outboards. Cavatation: I'm not saying it's impossible for mine to cavatate, but I haven't been able to make it happen in some pretty aggressive conditions. The downside of my setup is that the motor is in the water all the time producing drag - though a minimal amount. I suppose I could rig something to pull it up once underway but then it really would be in the way. I'm a little too lazy to move it that much anyway. As it is it sets mostly unnoticed under the tiller. As a side-bar: have you noticed that Pacific Seacraft (and many others) who equip their boats with a diesel inboard also put an outboard bracket on the back and on the rail? Smart fellows. ;-)
Of course, as with anything there is a trade-off and any motor can and will break down if not properly maintained. If you have an inboard you never have to worry about it getting wet; although it would be pretty tough for mine to get wet - but it does take up a little potential foot space in the cockpit as you pointed out. It's all electronic ignition anyway and a little water wouldn't be a big deal like on older motors. But the large hole in the cockpit also makes for a pretty big self-bailing port. In literature I have read apparently it was one consideration for an off-shore offering. But space is space and every inboard takes more of it and weighs about triple of a heavier outboard. Maintenance of inboards is considerably more expensive than an outboard as well, especially if you have to pull and replace it.
So, what's the score-card look like? Propulsion - equal. Reliability - equal. Cost - not equal. Convenience - not equal. ;-)
Sailed yesterday... absolutely beautiful!