Propulsion of Tomorrow

There is a lot of dispute about the benefits of diesel-electric propulsion over traditional diesel, and comparable numbers are hard to come by. Could you arrange a test? Diesel-electric benefits in charging house batteries and powering the fridge are obvious, but propulsion is less so. What I would like to see is a chart of the kinetic energy of each system in the X-axis, and in the Y-axis, consumed fuel. That ratio should be the value that counts. Of course, a range of appropriate propellers would also have to be tested.

Hawkeye Scope: A Bird’s Eye View of Your Pistons

Ever wish you could see what the parts inside your engines combustion chamber look like? Now you can with the Hawkeye borescope. Whenever you...

Oil and Fuel Filters

One Practical Sailor contributor, the manager of a custom boatbuilding and repair/refit yard, had this reply: "Not all filters are created equally: There are differences from filter to filter. We see no problem using after-market filters whose reputations are proven: brand names such as Fram (makes filters for Honda, Chrysler, and others), NAPA, Wix (Wix actually manufactures NAPAs Silver and Gold series filters), Fleetguard (owned by Cummins Filtration), and Baldwin to name a few.

Mailport: 12/09

I have a Pearson Ensign 1962 now at a slip in New Rochelle, N.Y. This season marked the first time we had the luxury of keeping our boat at a slip. In order to maneuver through the marinas byways without worrying, I bought a 24-volt Minn Kota outboard (80 pounds of thrust) and two 12-volt batteries, which I hook up in series. Not only am I able to stop start, turn, etc., in the marina, but-to my surprise-in the calm sound water, I can nip along at about 3-4 mph with myself, two crew, and the 3,000-pound boat. The result is that Ive only used my 5-horsepower Mercury outboard once this year. My electric outboard doesn't stall; it has variable speed like no ones business; reverses with relative ease, and is less expensive-though more cluttered-than the self-contained electric outboards you recently reviewed. Am I part of a growing trend or just weird? If the former then it might be worthwhile testing electric outboards for boats my size (22.5 feet) and commenting on their applicability.

Practical Sailor Compares 3 Electric Outboards

When it comes to the development of electric drive systems large and small, there’s a double-headed challenge. The first is the propulsion system itself, a combination of electric motor and drive train that efficiently turns watts into speed through the water. The second part is the acquisition of power to run the motor. Electric propulsion, in our opinion, is a good fit for daysailors and marina-to-marina cruisers, so we tested a few options available to recreational boaters looking for an electric outboard: the Torqeedo T-801, which we previously reviewed; the new Torqeedo T-1003, a beefier iteration of the T-801; and the Electric Paddle, a less-expensive option.

9.9-horsepower Outboard Engines Put to the Test

Todays 9.9-horsepower four strokes pack just the right amountof punch for a portable dinghy engine. The downside, as you may have guessed, is their hefty weight. The three Practical Sailor tested range in weight from 82 to 92 pounds. All are two-cylinder, water-cooled engines that take about a quart of oil, and all are pull-start models, with chokes that need to be used only when the engine is cold. All come with a standard 3.1-gallon plastic fuel tank, a fuel hose, and an aluminum propeller. In terms of propulsion, none of these portable outboard engines has it all. So after evaluating how easy each was to operate, transport, store, and maintain, we based our recommendations on weighing each engines pluses and minuses.

Winterizing the Engine: Maintenance that Is Truly Preventive

Winterizing an inboard engine installation means a lot more than filling the cooling system with antifreeze and stuffing a rag in the exhaust outlet. It means taking care of the exhaust system, the fuel system, the engine controls, and other components of the drive train, such as the shaft and prop. If you want to do these things yourself none of them is difficult, only time consuming plan on a long day of work, or perhaps a leisurely weekend.

Practical Sailor Tests 4-horsepower Electric Outboard

As we did with the Torqeedo electric outboard and Minn Kota trolling motor in past tests, Practical Sailor put the Solid Nav Traveler to work in sea trials on a Cape Dory Typhoon to determine whether it was a viable replacement for a small boats gas-powered outboard. The four-horsepower Traveler electric motor is marketed by Solid Nav and manufactured by Suzhou Parsun Power Machine Co., Chinas largest outboard exporter. Using a brushless 48-volt DC motor made by Mars Electrical Co. of Milwaukee, Wis., the Traveler combines a familiar drive train and an innovative solid magnet electric motor. At first glance, it looks like a small conventional outboard. Available in both long-shaft (20 inches) and short-shaft (15 inches) models, the Traveler is a gasoline outboard alternative best suited for a pocket cruiser (like a Cal 25) or similarly sized weekend cruiser where electric propulsion is desired. However, its required battery entourage limits its portability and affordability, and charging needs limit its practical use on smaller boats.

Yet Another Motor Hoist-the Kato

Lifting the outboard motor from the dinghy to its mount on the stern rail (or pushpit as the Brits say) has always been a...

PSs Top Picks for Winterizing

Protecting marine water systems from freeze damage is a deceptively simple goal. The terminology and various product claims can be confusing, and what seems like a good common-sense decision can lead to trouble. We tend to think that all water systems are the same; that boats as well as RVs can be protected by the same pink antifreeze without any further thought. However, many of the problems we associate with age, or normal wear and tear-stiff impellers, cracked pipes, ruined joker valves, and foul-tasting tap water-can often be attributed to errors during winterization.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.