cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-12-2013 Thread Starter
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cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard

Hello, Just debating putting an outboard on a 27ft Albin Vega. Just wondering about pro's and cons. Has anybody made the switch?
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-12-2013
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Re: cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard

This is a common dilemna for those with older boats and inboards that are becoming questionable.. in most cases the cost of repowering is much more than the value of the boat, and the 'new repowered' boat will never be worth it's residual value PLUS the new engine's value... at best you'll probably sell the repowered boat sooner than a similarly priced boat with the original engine..

So... what to do? Slap a bracket on the transom and hang an outboard as you've suggested (you might try a search here on the subject)..

Two major issues.... the prop is now behind the boat rather than under it.. you'll need at least a long shaft version, probably an extra long shaft (25") and even so in big chop the prop might come out of the water with alarming frequency.. losing drive when you need it most. The other issue is aesthetic.. nothing ruins the lines of an attractive boat like an outboard hanging off the back. On the plus side you can take it home to work on it.

With the Vega specifically it looks like you have a rather high cockpit coaming aft, and as a tiller steered boat reaching the O/B from the helm will be a problem.. you can add shift and throttle controls, of course, but you'll lose maneuverability because the rudder can no longer redirect the propwash. You can regain/enhance maneuverability by 'steering' the outboard, but that will be awkward to do. Another issue here is that if you have the motor swivel loose enough to steer, torque and vibration often cause the motor to drive itself off-center and you're constantly having to correct that.

It's not an ideal solution, but for obvious reasons it's often done.
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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
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Last edited by Faster; 01-12-2013 at 11:45 AM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-12-2013
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Re: cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard

You used the term sailor and inboard in the same sentence, that's an oxymoron . The question is are you a sailor or a power boater? Most people with sailboats are actually power boaters. I recently saw a 2002 sailboat for sale with 7900 hours, that equals about 50,000 miles under power, really? Cavitation is rarely an issue, if there is enough chop put up the sails and sail, unless you are a power boater.
The ugly factor when putting an outboard on a sailboat is extreme but you can always remove it later.
If you decide that an inboard is the only way to go then its a cost/worth issue. If you are going to keep the boat for 20 years and can afford 15k for a new engine then who cares what it cost. As soon as you put a dollar figure on sailing the purity is lost, its not about numbers its about quality of life and you can't put a dollar figure on that.
Perhaps you could find a small cheap 4hp outboard and try it for a year and see how it goes. The worst thing that could happen is that you become a better sailor and realize engines are completely worthless on sailboats. You own a true classic that will get you anywhere in the world you choose safely including your own backyard, its the perfect sailboat.
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-12-2013
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Re: cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard

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Originally Posted by barefootnavigator View Post
... and realize engines are completely worthless on sailboats. .
Only if you ignore reality (IMO) (no I am NOT trying to start another engine/engineless debate).
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-12-2013
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Re: cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard

The Albin Vega owner's site shows several of these boats for sale or sold. It looks like the asking prices range from $1500 to $12500. The lower price boats look it: one had no motor. My guess is that the IB versions are worth several thousand dollars more--everything else being equal.

The suggestion of a 4 hp motor for a 5100# boat is not realistic. You wouldn't be overdoing it to get at least 10 hp. Nowadays you are talking 4 stroke and 100# for this size engine, so it isn't what I'd call "portable"--you aren't going to take pick this thing off the bracket and take it home very often!

You can shop around for bargains, but you need to consider that your motor is a piece of safety gear--despite what the "pure" sailors say. You may need it to start up (think electric) and reliably move your boat under some adverse conditions (wind, waves, current) that 4 hp can't handle. This isn't a place to cheap out, IMHO.

Just guessing, but by the time you add the numbers up, a solid, reliable, integrated OB installation may cost at least a third of your IB replacement and it wouldn't be as robust as the IB arrangement, nor would your boat be worth as much at resale time.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-18-2013
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Re: cheap sailor, inboard vs outboard

I put an outboard on my Sabre 28 & have been using it for the past couple of years w/no problems, even in 3-5 foot seas. Its only popped out of the water a few times w/ about 40 hours of motoring. Its a long shaft (25") 9.8hp 4-stroke w/ both electric start/pull start & 4 blade high thrust prop. Bought it new online & shipped to my front door. It is mounted on a raising/lowering bracket in the center of my transom. The throttle on its tiller sits just on the top of the transom & is easier to reach than the inboards controls. There is much more manuvering ability in reverse, since I can steer both the rudder & motor independently. I got sick of spending money keeping the diesel running, working in cramped places & trying to find an affordable diesel mechanic whose willing to work in tight places. Its also nice bscause there's no more sound, fumes or heat in the cabin. The only issues I have are not being able to flush the outboard, electric output & changing oil from a dinghy. I can do 4.5 knots at 3/4 thottle & burn about a gallon per hour. The boat weighs 7800 pounds with an additional 1, 200 pound of cargo & crew.

Last edited by JBIZZ; 01-18-2013 at 12:54 AM.
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