I do have an 2hp Suzuki outboard ... though I don't usually us it on my Morbic – Taranui. I can foresee circumstances when I will use a motor, but it is a short shaft (15") so I will have to take off the rudder for the prop to submerge.
Does anyone use an outboard? If so, what model, and shaft length? And if a short shaft, how do you lower the attachment clamp?
Of is it easier to give up and buy a long shaft (20")?
The Mahurangi is a 12 km estuary that, for the first four, runs through a narrow channel between dense mangrove beds. There are herons, plovers, Kaka flying over head, it is remote and mysterious.
The tidal stream is about a knot, but the wind inevitably blows against desired direction of travel. Hence an outboard means the difference between camping in the mangroves or reaching the ramp before the low tide mud stymies retrieval.
I have a short shaft Suzuki 2.5 hp. Mike (Swefn) tells me his short shaft Honda is mounted in a six cm cut out on the transom. With the boat empty, the motor is too high but it is just deep enough with one or two aboard.
Similarly, I found that if I lifted the rudder stock and mounted the outboard in the tiller cut out, then with two persons on board, the prop and exhaust were well below water, and steering was effective with the outboard alone.
On the return journey (against a fresh breeze) I tried mounting the motor to starboard of the tiller slot with the rudder in place; if I sat towards the stern, the prop and exhaust were just below water level. But when I turned quickly to avoid a mud bank, coming into a very muddy ramp, the prop struck the rudder blade.
The resulting ricochet broke the mounting pad, the motor almost popped off the transom into the mud, and the prop struck and sheared off drain plug cap. Just as well that happened as we were coming into the ramp as by the time I had fetched the trailer, there were about 4 cms of very muddy water in the bilges.
Even from a non-purist point of view, the motor presents other negative issues. First, when tilted, the cowling is almost 40 cm above the top of the transom. I run the main sheet through a rope horse above the transom, so there is an additional risk of the main sheet catching under the motor. I like the sheet set up, since I think it gives me more control over sail shape. But if I were to use the motor frequently, then I would shift the main sheet to the centre of the boom.
Second, it almost inevitably means carrying fuel.
And third, I just don’t like the noise. Even at low revs and with a relatively quiet motor, you can’t talk to your companion, listen to bird song, and hear the poetry of the waves. And are not those reasons we enjoy dinghy sailing?
So I shall keep the motor, but for restricted and hopefully rare use.
Re. Shaft length.
RP (Proteus' co-owner) said; "since we only use an electric outboard and that very rarely I'm not sure it'll be much help" and; "with an electric outboard, the shaft length is variable easily, not so with a regular outboard, so I don't know which length is best".
Electric is the way forward?
You mentioned Mike Curtis' boat Swefn so I thought I'd post a photo of said boat and put in a plug for the DCA at the same time.
You'll see Mike is now using an e-propulsion electric outboard.
Almost silent, No smell, No Fuel.
I have recently bought a second-hand Torqueedo from a friend and think it's great.
I don't have the cut away and it will fight with the rudder if you're not careful.
They are much more powerful than the cheaper trolling motors and don't require big lead acid batteries but they are expensive compared to a petrol o/b, everything's a compromise.
The graphic is for one of our backdrops at the RYA Dinghy Show 24-25 Feb.
This year we are focusing on Women Skippers with three of our intrepid ladies showing off their boats.
No Morbics I'm afraid, maybe next year.
Come and say hi if you are at the show.