Originally Posted by labatt
I wouldn't worry too much about the offset mount of an outboard.
I was actually speaking from my own experiences, which are likely somewhat boat specific. As on example, our last boat, a Potter 19 (oh how we miss it now), had an offset 6.5HP Evinrude. The motor had a dead man throttle. The mount had a hinged bracket which could be pulled out of the water.
I always found it very uncomfortable to be reaching back to hold both the throttle with one hand and the tiller with the other. When I did this I usually ended up twisting my body, which aside from the discomfort of such a position, also left me with a blind spot of traffic, usually on my port side.
The handling was acceptable under mid to full speed/throttle though it would slew a little. It was much dicier at low speed because the motor's offset from the center line left the rudder almost, but not totally useless. Just useless enough that if you didn't tend it then it would foul you up. Assuming you had it in.
I think that possibly we have a larger concern wrt because we were (and at least for now still are) routinely trailering. I think that if you're mooring it is perhaps less of a concern. You have some room around you and are in deeper water.
Getting in and out of ramp areas means having the keel up, and frequently the rudder too if it is real low tide. Often the rudder wasn't even on the gudgeon or in the water when doing this. Getting the boat lined up right and cranked onto the trailer was tough due to the slew of the side mount motor. The over-hyped and unfulfilled promise of the MacGregor was that it addressed this.
As of now our opinion is that we traded one problem for another. the Mac owner's manual and other advice given me by folks more experienced is that in order to handle well at low speed you need full ballast, with keel and rudders down. My experience to date is that even in that config it is tough to handle at low speed. I also feel that (most likely due to the very large freeboard) it is *really* tough to handle when motoring in winds over 10 knots at any speed. Even in light wind, when coming into the dock, we've taken to trying to position ourselves upwind then get blown down onto the dock. Not an optimal situation....
Maybe folks will have comments or opinions, but my hunch is that part of the reason for this is the dual side rudders. My current (pardon the pun) theory is that at low speed the flow from the prop doesn't wash past the rudders and as a result doesn't generate as much turning force. Only the body of the engine serves to do this and the fore-to-aft length of it isn't much. Along this line of theorizing a side mount motor with a center rudder performs better because more wash pushes on the rudder, but its drawback is that it is off center and creates some slew. So the next conjecture is that a design like the Hunter Edge might, at least according to my theorizing, handle well because the turntable mounted single rudder is just forward of the center mounted engine so all the prop wash pushes against it and would create the most turning force possible, especially at low speeds.
OK, time for others to chime in whether my assessment of the interaction between rudder and prop wash is all washed up (I can hear the groans
BTW The steering system on the Mac has a lot of slop in it. It feels like I'm driving my Dad's old Buick Electra or some other Detroit iron with mushy power steering. You can rock the wheel a couple of inches side to side with no change in throw on the rudder/engine. Are any of your boats like this, or is this another "feature" of my wonderful ride?