The answer depends on a couple variables.
How are you going to use the boat? I have a Colgate 26. I am a daysailor. I like having an outboard for a number of reasons:
1. Servicing the engine is easier. Just take it off and bring it in or do it yourself on shore. Also, with today''s 4 stroke outboards, reliablity is great, there is no smoke or smell from burning oil like the 2 stroke outboards. They are also very quiet. At least my 4hp 4 stroke Yamaha is very quiet.
2. Less expense.
3 Don''t have to winterize the engine, just take it off and bring it home in the winter.
If you are going to cruise extensively.
4. Its safe. It is not enclosed. If you have a gas inboard there is always the danger of fumes collecting in the engine compartment if you don''t ventilate before starting--explosion. Also, diesel is very safe but you do get the diesel smell which can permeate the cabin. This happened to me once on a charter boat that needed its fuel system redone right before we go the boat. We had to terminate the charter early because of the terrible stench. Under normal conditions, most boats with a diesel inboard have pretty minimal smell. Also there is always the problem with diesel fuel with contamination: water and microorganisms. This can be minimized with the right additives and correct preventitive maintanence, but on a older diesel there is always the problem of sludge buildup in the tank etc. The outboard has almost none of these problems.
5. Easy to replace when the engine is at the end of its life.
6. If you race, you can take the engine off and save weight.
7. If you want to trailer at all, an inboard adds alot of weight. My Colgate is incredibly easy to trailer. A comperable sized boat with an inboard would be much heavier I think.
If you do ALOT of cruising it would adventageous to have an inboard. When you get in heavy weather the outboard prop will pop out of the water often. With an inboard this is not a problem. Some boats have wells for their outboard, and I''m not sure if this helps this problem, but I would guess that it would.
Also an outboard can be easy for someone to steal if it is not locked up well There are very good locks out there though.
Thats my 2cents. What do the rest of you think. I know there are alot of inboard diehards out there, and for the type of sailing they do (alot of cruising), it makes sense.
Remember, if you are mainly going to daysail, get a daysailor with an outboard. And when you want to cruise, just charter. You''ll save a ton of money, and instead of cruising in your local waters, go somewhere warm and exotic.
Yes a boat (or motorhome, etc) Can be considered a 2nd home. It must have a place to sleep, a place to go to the bathroom (who knows...a bucket might work) and a place to cook. that is the requirements, but you can generally only write off the interest on the Mortgage for the boat. thats it (unless you have it as a business...but then that a whole ''nuther can o worms)
BUT if you use a home equity loan there is no reason to set it up as a second home becaus you are already writing off the interest on the loan to get it.
How big is the 26? Some 26 footers are heavy and beamy and push the limits of the size boat that should have an outboard. Consider Paceship PY26 (also marketed as Tanzer27?) as an example of close to too much boat for an outboard.
Cost of purchase/cost of maintenance.
A 10hp 4stroke outboard costs approx $3K canadian. New saildrives are closer to $10K and I don''t have a clue what true inboards (shafts) cost.
When an outboard dies a used one can be picked up usually under $1000. There are lots of them available. When inboard or saildrive dies you are extremely limited on the used motor market and most have problems.
A friend boaught a used Catalina with an inboard. 6 hours after purchase it died. $7000 later he was back in the water. He now swears by outboards.
Ease of maintenance:
Already mentioned by someone else. Outboards are portable.
Speed under sail:
If you are racing an outboard is much faster since it is not dragging in the water.
The inboard has the propellor under water at all times (if it is not you are really in trouble). The outboard can have the propellor come out in heavy weather or the motor can get swamped. The inboard is usually a much better method of propulsion.
In my own opinion a clean stern on an inboard vessel is much prettier than an outboard stuck on the back. Especially if there is not a big mess of deisel residue on the transom!
An outboard is nice on race day and an inboard is nice while cruising. Decide what you are doing with your boat and then make your decision.