I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 55 Unread 6 Days Ago Thread Starter
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I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

My outboard has kicked the bucket again. 3 year old engine. Bought new, shop maintained, 4 stroke.

In the last week I have sailed into 2 unknown marinas sailed out of 2 unknown marinas and sailed into 2 unknown coves because my outboard just wouldn't run.

Any way, wife said sell that xxxxxxx outboard and lets figure something else out.

Any way. Thinking about going electric. I know several here have done the same. The boat is only 900 pounds, 21 feet.

I am not sure if I have a question but curious if there is any feed back.

Already on the boat is 20 watts of solar and an 80 AH agm. I own a 35 lb trollling motor. It will push the boat to a couple of knots, i might end up upgrading to a 55. Thats plenty for me for docking.

I don't see any need for mechanical propulsion on open water. The boats sails way better than it motors. Even in light air (sail area displacement ratio of 33).

I don't have much room for solar. I figure I can swap the 20 on the bow for a 40. 40 on top of the forward hatch and maybe 75 on top of the companion way. Thats 135 watts.

Plus, if I am getting rid of outboard and gas, i can take that space and weight alottment for another battery. Big battery I am thinking. That should give me better range. 5 miles would be nice for dead wind and canals.

So thats what I am thinking.

Last edited by Arcb; 6 Days Ago at 06:05 AM.
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

That 2.3 honda was never well thought of.
Id look at 3.5 or equivilent tohatsu.
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

I have a Minn Kota 74lb thrust trolling motor on my Catalina 22. The boat is probably 2,500 lbs and the motor will push it between 3-4 knots at wide open, and still about 3 knots at half.

The 74 lb thrust is plenty for me. Iíve motored into strong headwinds and Iíve towed other boats and itís never been a problem.

If I were you I would go with a 55 lb motor so that you could stay 12-volt. That simplifies things a lot.

I have two group 31 batteries in series to give me 24 volts. I have a 50 watt solar panel and a Genasun MPPT controller. On a good sunny day I probably get 20-30 minutes worth of half throttle motoring out of the solar panel. But thatís more than I usually motor, so itís not an issue.
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

I am building a solar system for my truck now so have a little knowledge on solar and battery needs.
I think what you are doing would work as long as you are only planning on using this for day sailing or will stop in port each night to charge your battery(s) each night. This factoring in you are using your motor each day. This would change if you don't motor much each day. I just looked and found video the 55lb thrust motor draws between 7 and 32 amps depending on settings.

I don't think you will get much more out of a larger solar panel. I would invest in more batteries and an appropriately sized charger. You could buy the electric motor and test the needs with your current battery for power settings to determine your future battery needs.
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

I am not sure about a charger working for me. In the 3 years or so I have owned this boat I have only stayed in a marina 1 night.

I do visit marinas, but usually only to get supplies. Todays visit was because my wife ran out of Olives for her martinis. So we stopped at the gas dock for an hour to run to the dollar store. Not long enough to charge batteries.
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

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Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
I am not sure about a charger working for me. In the 3 years or so I have owned this boat I have only stayed in a marina 1 night.

I do visit marinas, but usually only to get supplies. Todays visit was because my wife ran out of Olives for her martinis. So we stopped at the gas dock for an hour to run to the dollar store. Not long enough to charge batteries.
I am still learning so take what I say with a grain of salt and double check my numbers.

A large expensive battery charger will top off your batteries quicker. Other options a Lithium battery will charge very quickly and be lighter per Amp hour. Expect to spend about 10 per amp hour so $500 for a 50AH lithium battery.

The problem you will have with an electric setup is doing multi-day cruises without marina visits. Anytime you need to use max power from the electric will drain your battery significantly.

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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

I have a 5hp Tahatsu propane. Before it a propane Lehr......starts first time every time
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

I too have the 5 HP Tohatsu propane outboard which starts everyone, no drama. Your challenge with electric is going to be recharging the batteries which I believe makes it incompatible for your application. I suggest you give propane some consideration.


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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

The little 4-strokes are notoriously troublesome. My 25 year old Mariner/Yamaha 2hp 2-stroke starts on the first or second pull every time. It's a lot lighter than the 4-strokes too. If I had to replace it, I would look for a good used 2-stroke.
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Re: I have had it with Outboards, Time to go Electric

After my Honda 2.5 four stroke went to the bottom during Hurricane Sandy I went electric in the dingy after having done the same with the in board diesel ten years before. I use an Electric Paddle Carry model. Much lighter and reliable than the gas outboard. Charge the battery with a small 300 watt 12 volt sine wave inverter or 120 volts if I fire up the generator. Stores below the cockpit with no gas or fluids to worry about leaking out.
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