Inboard vs. Outboard - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-13-2007 Thread Starter
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Inboard vs. Outboard

I'm looking at a 27 foot Albin vega in my area that has a 15 horsepower honda outboard. I graduated from college this past December and would like to buy a boat to live/cruise on for a while(on the cheap). I've never sailed on a boat with an outboard. Could I use the same motor for my dinghy? Will it get similar gas mileage as an inboard diesel? Will maintenance be more or less frequent and more or less expensive? Will the weight affect the boat? Can an outboard be as efficient as an inboard without the propeller reaching down as far? I'm fairly new to sailnet and hope i'm not asking too many questions at once. Thanks for the input. --Richard
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-14-2007
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Green...welcome! A 15HP outboard for a Vega needs to be a long shaft model to keep the prop in the water in a sea way. I assume this is the Honda configuration. Unfortunately that makes it unsuitable to power a dinghy.
Since you will be living and cruising and spending time at anchor to live on the cheap, you need to CHARGE your batteries with something so I would suggest looking at boats with internal engines and alternators. Diesel preferred.
What waters will you cruise in and what kind of budget are you working with?
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-14-2007
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Green

Cam's spot on with the long shaft requirement. And even with a long shaft, if the engine is mounted aft on the transom, in any kind of seaway it will be virtually useless as the motion will lift the prop out of the water frequently.

The Honda 4 stroke fuel efficiency will probably be similar to a gas inboard like an Atomic but not as good as a diesel.

15hp is a bit big and heavy to be transferring back and forth, and in any case as Cam indicated you'd need a pretty substantial dinghy to handle 15 hp.

If the outboard is mounted in a well rather than on the transom this should help some with keeping the prop immersed. However it's a noisier, smellier install and some boats have problems with air starvation if you close the hatch to keep the noise down.

Few outboard powered boats have internal fuel tanks, so you will also be stuck with either switching tanks or transferring fuel while underway - a sometimes difficult task with potential for spills and worse.

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post #4 of 20 Old 01-14-2007 Thread Starter
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Camaraderie and Faster, thanks for the expertise. Charging batteries is an aspect of the inboard that completely slipped my mind. Also the inability of the long shafted outboard on a dinghy makes it even less attractive. So while the boat's price is attractive I think I should just keep looking as repowering is probably a task for the more experienced/mechanically ambitious than I. But, just out of curiosity...whats a ballpark estimate for installing a new, say, 12 horsepower diesel? I'm looking to spend around 20-25K on my boat and outfitting for cruising. I then am wililing to spend at least that much over the next couple years cruising but will hopefully take jobs like waiting tables to help keep me floating. My tentative plan is to buy a boat on the east coast. Travel down the ICW and then on to the keys. After I have enough balls/experience move on to the Caribbean and from there decide what's next.
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-14-2007
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Sounds like a plan greenie!
A new 12HP diesel will set you back 10-12 grand typically with installation...not something you want to have to face on a budget! One priority for you will be a GOOD engine on whatever you buy. The trip down the ICW and to the keys is 95% motoring!! Once you get down there...then you can sail...but you need a good iron genny to get you there. A re-build job on a bad diesel still run around 5 grand so when you find the boat you like, be sure to hire a diesel guy to go over the engine and tranny for a couple of hours before ya lay your money down.
I assume you will also get your boat surveyed as well...but suggest you do both as most surveyors are not great diesel mechanics!
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-14-2007
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Green:

There is an active Vega owners' group with many English speaking members which you may, or may not, know about. Here is a link to their e-mail list on Yahoo.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AlbinVega/
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-15-2007
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Cam, why are LS OB's unsuitable for dingy use or did I misunderstand you
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-15-2007
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Green, I would recommend you find a boat with a newer installed diesel engine, or one not on the last stroke. Because of the time you intend on the ditch your engine is really important (as opposed to someone that pulls out of a slip and sails a bay and returns everyday). Or else plan on spending some money right off getting your boat ready to motor dependably with a reinstall. Cam is not far off on the estimate of a reinstall but not on a complete conversion if the boat has never had an inboard engine.

Power generation is the main issue as pointed out, although some small outboards do come with alternators but small output amperage.

Caveat on my advice is that I'm fairly new to sailing myself, but have considerable history power boating and have repowered a couple in the past. I'm in the process of repowering my sailboat now with a 21HP Yanmar.
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-15-2007
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Longshaft OB's put the prop too deep in the water when mounted on a dinghy, and the boat handling suffers for it. It also leaves the prop very vulnerable to striking things, since a dinghy is generally used in very shallow waters....and generally has a very shallow draft...but the long shaft would still be almost two feet deep.

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post #10 of 20 Old 01-15-2007
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Being further beneath the water's surface, the forward thrust from the prop of a longshaft outboard, would also have a stronger tendancy to lift the dinghy's bow above the water - especially at higher speeds.

True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat
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