Gasoline, in its liquid state, is not flammable. It is the vapor that is explosive. For this reason, I keep my gas tanks outside of the hull. For local cruising, say within a 50 mile radius, I carry a 6-gallon gas tank of mixed fuel
connected to the motor, a 5-gallon can of unmixed which can do double-duty both in the generator or mixed for extra motor fuel
and a 1 gallon can of mixed for use in the skiff motor. These have homes in the foot-well of my cockpit and are not in the way. In fact, they make for rather nice foot-rests. On cruises of greater length, I lash two more 6-gallon tanks up on the foredeck.
My 8hp burns ¾ gallon per hour at cruising throttle which gives me a steady 5 knots. That equals out to a 160 mile “steaming” radius with a full load of fuel
. Incidentally, my old inboard MD7A diesel had the same ¾ gallon pre hour consumption rate. With a 20-gallon tank and an actual useable amount of around 15 gallons before the internal baffles were useless and the fuel
turned to foam, I still had to carry extra fuel!
Unlike some sailors, I live on a budget. I don’t mind laying to my own hook or eating Stop & Shop brand foods. It makes me feel good when I can enjoy all of the same ambiences of a place that the big boys do, without paying the big bucks at the marina. One of the ways I save money is, I carry a foldable two-wheeler cart. With this, and some spacers to go over the tank handles, I can in one trip, port all of my tanks to a gas station ashore and avoid the outrageous fuel prices found at the marinas. I found, on the average, fuel prices ashore run around 1/3 less.
I suppose I could write a book on the benefits of an outboard over an inboard. I could write about the superior maneuverability with an outboard, or the lack of excessive vibration from a diesel motor bouncing around in the bilge. How about getting rid of the excessive heat in the cabin and the noise and the odor. Cutlass bearings, shaft alignments, intakes for this and more holes for that! How about the hours of maintenance and enough spare parts to just about build a second motor, or the pile of wiring that would make an Italian spaghetti cook proud! Sometimes it felt as though my boat was merely a support platform for the friggin’ motor! No more!
I don’t sound too opinionated, do I?
In the summer, my outboard quietly rests, always ready, atop it’s bracket. It’s connected to the hull by its two clamp bolts and locked with a piece of chain, period! All of its systems, parts and gear are completely integrated in its one case. A few spare parts are below, tucked away in a small plastic toolbox. In the winter, I bring it ashore, put it in the cellar on a motor stand and take care of the yearly maintenance. There she’ll sit until spring when she’ll most likely fire on the first pull.
Last I heard, my old MD7A was still running the hydraulic power at a logging operation up in New Hampshire! Good place for it!