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Old 01-08-2013
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Rethinking inboard

We were on two boats today. Both had inboard diesels. One a yanmar one a westerbeke. Both in 27-28 foot range. Plenty of room below but... the smell was heavy of engine in both regards. To this point I have been committed to an inboard diesel for Charleston waters. Now not so sure. I would not want an outboard hanging off the back for many reasons. But I saw a Cape dory online tonight with a built-in outboard well in rear lazarette. This is starting to look like a good option. The well reduces or even alleviates cavitation problems. That and the sound reduction of a closed lid and affordability of outboard maintenance really has me wondering. Beyond the Dory are there other boats out there in excess of 25 feet with a built in well? I see James Baldwin modifying Alberg 30s to use a well... but are there other options? Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

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Originally Posted by rbyham View Post
We were on two boats today. Both had inboard diesels. One a yanmar one a westerbeke. Both in 27-28 foot range. Plenty of room below but... the smell was heavy of engine in both regards. To this point I have been committed to an inboard diesel for Charleston waters. Now not so sure. I would not want an outboard hanging off the back for many reasons. But I saw a Cape dory online tonight with a built-in outboard well in rear lazarette. This is starting to look like a good option. The well reduces or even alleviates cavitation problems. That and the sound reduction of a closed lid and affordability of outboard maintenance really has me wondering. Beyond the Dory are there other boats out there in excess of 25 feet with a built in well? I see James Baldwin modifying Alberg 30s to use a well... but are there other options? Thanks.
A friend of mine did that with his Bristol 27. You lose some room from the rear lazarette but otherwise seemed like a nice solution.
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

There are several issues with well mounted outboards.. most are surmountable if you really want it...

The prop is still further aft and higher than an inboard install so while better than a transom outboard it's not 'the answer' to cavitation in waves.

Many well installs preclude steering the outboard, and if the well is aft of the rudder you lose a lot of maneuverability because you can't 'redirect' the propwash with the rudder.

Side mounted wells can sometimes interfere with full rudder travel, with obvious consequences (T Birds had to put limiting strops on tillers while motoring to prevent rudder from hitting the spinning prop)

To make it quiet, you need to close the hatch.. as you power ahead the stern wave can 'seal' the well, and some engines will actually run out of air.. so now you need to crack the hatch (so much for quiet) or you need to arrange alternate venting/air supply.

Many well designs preclude easily lifting the engine up while sailing, with it's attendant drag. The T-Bird 26 did allow this and even had a drop-in cover plate, but I wouldn't say it was easy to use. But in many cases lifting the engine clear doesn't happen (The Flying Tiger has a clever solution to this problem, and it's under the bridge deck so more or less equivalent to inboard)

I've seen some wells (Columbia 26 IIRC) that were right in the cockpit... noisy, splashy, smelly....

The biggest plus is that it gets rid of the unsightly outboard and bracket on the transom We owned a Viking 28, a very pretty C&C design, originally fitted with a lazarette well that had been removed and a bracket added.. I always hated the way the motor 'ruined' the lines.. great boat otherwise though.

So just some food for thought... btw with a good engine installation coupled with good maintenance there should be no significant fuel/engine odours below...
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Old 01-08-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

Having owned diesels and worked on them for over 30 years, my opinion is that they are far more reliable than outboards. Maintenance is simple and takes me about 2-3 hours a year. You can easily clean up a diesel and get rid of that oily smell. I suspect that the owner spilled fuel or oil.

IMO, outboards in a well do not work well (pun intended). As Faster says, they are too high and cavitate. That results in overheating and loss of power in a seaway. My father had an outboard in a Catalina 27 and it was a real mess in the Great Egg Harbor inlet; he got rid of the boat after 3 years. I worked for a boatyard that even installed a diesel in another Catalina 27 and got rid of the outboard. IMO, outboards for this size boat should be relegated to a racing sled.
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Last edited by Sabreman; 01-09-2013 at 10:19 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-08-2013
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Some wells are quite small so cannot accept 4 stroke outboards so you are limited to older outboards.

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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

A local sailor with a Cape Dory 25 has complained that the well plus having the outboard behind the rudder makes the boat very hard to steer under motor power, especially at low speeds. Another friend with a Columbia 22 that has a well mounted inboard finds the whole thing very loud compared to transom mounted ones.

I had a transom mounted outboard with a 25" long shaft on a Catalina 25 and didn't have problems with prop cavitation even in 3 to 4' waves. I do know that this becomes a problem quickly as the boat gets any longer. I did like being able to steer with the outboard in tight quarters.

An inboard is nicer if you'll be using the boat a lot since it is quieter, has better fuel economy, and is easy to maintain. An outboard is nicer if you are on a tight budget because they are cheap to replace, don't require expensive props to avoid drag while under sail, and don't add a stuffing box and a couple of extra through hulls to the boat.

My Pearson 28-2 has a Yanmar 2GM20F with no smells. Having a diesel inboard doesn't mean that there should be a strong oil or diesel smell.
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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

Nothing beats a diesel inboard. If you smell engine or fuel you have a problem.

Outboards, especially 4 strokes will do for leaving & entering harbour but if you have any distance to go under power they suck big time, especially is there is any sea running. They also use a lot more fossilized liquids.
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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

Ok, here's one that is sure to flop.

Put in a new Atomic 4 from Moyer Marine! Perfect size for boats in this range, benefits of inboard, no smell.

Really, I'm serious. I hate the smell of diesel and prefer the performance of an inboard.

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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

If you have diesel smell you have a dirty engine.

There is no way I'd go with a outboard over a inboard on any sailboat that is being used as more than a over nighter.
I've ridden quiet a few 24-28 footers with outboards, that well is NOT quiet and usually needs to be open to both cool and provide air.

I've got a buddy with a Bristol 24 - he went through heck finding a motor large enough to push him, small enough to fit.
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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Rethinking inboard

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Originally Posted by rbyham View Post
Beyond the Dory are there other boats out there in excess of 25 feet with a built in well?
Pearson 26, great starter boat!
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