Motoring through Newburyport Harbor - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 03-20-2007
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Question Motoring through Newburyport Harbor

I am trying to determine how much horsepower I will require to be able to motor against the current in Newburyport (MA) Harbor. I am considering a few keel boats that are 25 - 26 feet long, and displace about 5000 - 5500 lbs. Most of the boats that I am looking at have 5 or 6 HP outboards. Since the max current seems to be about 2 kts (based on this site), I feel that I should be ok, but others are telling me that I will need a "beefier" motor.

My mooring is going to be up river, just past the Rte. 1 bridge, so I will need to deal with this current on every trip.

Will a 5 or 6 HP engine be sufficient to be able to safely navigate though the harbor and up the Merrimack River?

Thanks.

-Mark
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Old 03-20-2007
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The general rule of thumb is 2 HP per 1000# displacement. Increasing HP gets to the point of diminishing returns on displacement hull boats as they won't drive past hull speed and fuel consumption/reliability dramatically worsen. Another consideration is mounting location. Outboards are terrible for rough water as the prop pops in and out of the water resulting in no drive/control and potential damage to the engine. Transom mounts are not equal either. Proper construction, location and backing are imperative to prevent hull damage or engine loss. If using an outboard make sure the prop is well into the water (long shaft in most cases) and work within your limitations. Enjoy!
Regards,
Red
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Old 03-20-2007
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Add the Beef

The 5 or 6 may be fine for a nice calm day..... but against wind, waves, and tides I would want 10 minumum for that size and weight boat. Don't forget you have to get to that nice sheltered mooring area from what may have been a good day gone bad out beyond ......... and that Will Happen.
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Old 03-20-2007
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I'd agree with Stan... but anything above 12 HP is probably pure overkill and a waste of money. The real thing will be to get a properly sized and pitched prop for the boat and engine as that often makes far more difference IMHO than the HP.

BTW, a keel boat that is 26' long will probably have a LWL of 21-22' and the hull speed will be maybe 6 knots...so if you're going in against the current, you'll be moving at about half the speed as if you time it with the current. So watch your tide tables.
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Old 03-20-2007
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Great info, thanks very much. So it looks like I will try to get an outboard in the 10 hp range. Thanks for the quick replies.
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The 9.9 HP outboard by almost anybody is a good one to get. If you're going to power the boat via an outboard, I would also recommend you a very small Racor designed specifically for outboard motor type applications.

It will act as a fuel/water separator too. Very cool. It's about 4.25" high, to give you an idea of the size, and you can read about it at the bottom of this page here. BTW, it is the middle one in the specs column, the other two are fuel filters but do not separate out water.



Minimizes the fuel hassles if you get a bad batch of fuel or if water gets in the fuel tank.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 03-21-2007
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Okay. Youíre boating in Merrimack river, down to the Annisquam river, and up to the Piscataqua river, into Essex, Ipswich, and Plum Island Sound. Hummm. Iím well versed in those waters, sure! Iím pushing 28 feet, at least 8 tons of full keeled boat and it ainít enough to shove Ďer against it! Really, you canít have enough horse power in those waters. My MINIMUM recommendations are: 6 - 8 HP on 20 Ė 22 feet. 9.9 HP up to 25 feet. 15 HP up to 27 feet and a 20 HP on up to 30 feet. Get the full 25 inch shaft depth on the motor! The sea state outside those entrances can get pretty tough, even with no wind. Iíve seen 4 Ė 5 footers on a flat calm day! Having a motor that can reach down and keep the prop in contact with the water while sheís wallowing around and hobby-horsing in it is critical!
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Old 03-21-2007
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Been There

Had a mooring in the middle of the river years ago, and tried to row ashore (very short distance) and ended up a 1/2 mile downriver before I knew what was going on. Currents are as tough there as anywhere, and if you have to go up as far as the Rt 1 bridge...you will appreciate every unit of horsepower you get.

Great harbor....the next day early in the morning, motoring out in the calm, saw a whale come up and breech with a mouth full of fish. There was no air to sail, so my fishing friend and I drifted along Plum Island and caught a bunch of blue fish right off the boat. Fun!!!

Anyway, I would go for the horsepower. Good Luck.

Moe
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Old 03-21-2007
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You will find the 9+ HP motors very heavy to handle on a 25 foot boat.

Get the smaller motor, long shaft, and use a low pitch prop to get the best thrust performance.

I sailed a 16000 pound displacement (light) Cheoy Lee in those waters for many years with 15.5 HP and it gave us no problems. Hull speed is hull speed after all..
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