Outboard vs. Inboard Power
I barely resisted writing about outboard auxiliary power when Mr. Chulski’s letter was published in the March, 1998 issue. When the July 1 issue arrived with Mr. Beh’s response to the Chulski letter, I could contain myself no longer.
I have sailed a Grampian 26 (5,600-lb. displacement) on Michigan’s Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron for the past five seasons. Use runs from Wednesday night races to week-long cruises of more than 500 miles.
I acknowledge drawbacks to outboard power, but believe that for sailboats in the mid-20' range it is an underrated source of power.
My boat has a 9.9-hp. Evinrude sail model. It is mounted in a transom cutout. It has a long shaft. Prior to this motor I had a 10-hp. Honda. We switched to the Evinrude to get electric start and found the availability of knowledgeable service people to be much better for the Evinrude. All other things being equal, however, 4-cycle is preferable.
The biggest surprise I have had is that the outboard outperforms many inboard sailboats up to 30'. On several occasions, we have overtaken inboard auxiliaries going into head seas. My suspicion is that the effort to reduce propeller drag seriously compromises performance under power. With the outboard, I have a 9" 3-blade prop. When sailing, it is tilted out of the water. Performance is optimized for both sail and power.
I concur with most of Mr. Chulski’s points. I don’t, however, think an outboard would be as satisfactory on a boat of 30' or larger.
I have owned three sailboats over the past 30-plus years. The first was a Lightning, which was great fun but had no propulsion save the line quite often tossed to the stern of a friendly, larger boat. We longed for the day we could afford something with its own propulsion.
That day came in the form of a 22' S2 6.8. The outboard mounted on the stern is a Johnson 9.9 long shaft, on an adjustable bracket. But there is a problem with the outboard that none of your respondents has mentioned, that being that in rough seas it is almost impossible to use any amount of power without burying the motor in the drink. It is very tenuous in following seas. I know of others who had similar complaints and got out of the outboard situation because of it.
I got out and am very happy to have the good services of the Atomic 4 ready to go to work in my current C&C 27, shielded from the fury of the storm. In fact, in a recent race across Lake Michigan, we were hit by a storm that broke our boom gooseneck slide. With our inboard, we were able to come head-to-wind in very wild seas. With the outboard, we might be still out there. Give me inboard power!
New Berlin, Wisconsin
Solar Panel Testing
I found your article “Solar Panel Performance Test,” September 1998, very informative and to the point. I especially liked the data on how the panels performed when partially shaded. However, as someone who has worked in the solar industry since 1975 and as co-founder of Photovoltaics International, I feel qualified to make some constructive comments.
An interesting calculated gauge to measure the relative value of the different panels is dollars per peak (or rated) watt. For the panels in your article, this value ranged from $6.40/W for the Siemens SM-50 to $16.67/W for the Siemens SM-6.
For applications where the goal is to keep the battery alive, a direct connection from a small panel, perhaps with a battery regulator, is appropriate. However, with larger systems, where power generation is the goal, a cost-effective addition is a peak-power tracking battery charger. This device operates the panel at its peak power point (near the knee in the IV curve) while providing the battery with the correct voltage for charging. It is essentially a DC to DC converter that continually adjusts the input voltage to keep the panel at its peak power point. It makes better use of the expensive solar panels.
With regards to the amorphous-silicon panels from Uni-Solar, the term “Triple Junction” refers to three separate PN junctions in the cells that respond to different wave lengths of light. This allows more of the solar spectrum to be utilized to produce power. The better performance under partial shadowing for these panels is due to the parallel/series electrical connection and low-light response.
Harken Furler & Keel Woes
In your September 1998 issue, you printed a letter from Robert Rozene about how he handled a split in his Harken furler. I had an identical split occur in my Harken furler and had the same problem Robert had in replacing the old extrusion—it didn’t want to come apart. The reason it doesn’t come apart is that the spline and extrusions are joined with something similar to Loctite as well as screws. My rigger was very resourceful. We applied heat to the joint and were not able to make it move. So we used a rolling hitch on one side of the joint and ran it around a nearby dumpster. Another rolling hitch on the other side went to the bumper of his truck. Applying pressure as well as mild heat from a propane torch, being careful to not overheat the aluminum extrusion, did the job. Be careful to not stand at the end of the extrusion; the rope was stretched quite a bit and the rebound of the furler put a dent in the dumpster. In the future I’ll use a short piece of rope between the two pieces to control the recoil.
Also, I’ve followed your articles on filling voids in encapsulated keels. I did this on an Alberg 35 I owned for many years. I drilled several holes into the keel area and plumbed several flexible hoses into them using barbed hose fittings. I ran the ends of the hoses into a manifold connected to a solar vent. This ran part of a summer and all winter. The next year, I filled the void with epoxy by using empty caulking tubes, which you can purchase at most places that sell epoxy. The epoxy was mixed with a filler like microballoons. The fill hole was at the bottom of the void and a weep hole was drilled at the top. When the epoxy came out the top hole, we were done.
As the owner of a Morgan 46, Pegasus, I thought I would add a few comments to your fine review of the boat (August 1, 1998). You are correct in your assertion that the ketch version is not exactly a sterling sailor going upwind. However, the sloop rig does not suffer from this malady. With a 62' stick and very high aspect-ratio full-battened main, the sloop version will tack through 90° or better most of the time. It is a bit more tender than the ketch.
The boat was offered with an optional 3,000-lb. 1' keel extension for serious blue-water work. In our case, this brings the loaded-for-cruising draft to 7'. Prospective buyers should be aware of this option, as in our case we were told the boat had a 6' draft by the broker who was going by the standard factory specs. The extra keel has proved its worth.
You mentioned the prop offset. Through a long and painful trial-and-error process, I found out that the offset was also there to neutralize prop torque. A left-hand rotation must be maintained if re-powering. I installed a new Yanmar 76-hp. with right-hand rotation and it became impossible to back-up and turning to starboard was very difficult while going forward. When the boat was put in reverse it would go sideways! Needless to say, I had to change rotation back to its original direction and now the boat will back-up fairly well once a bit of way is on.
The boat benefits immensely from a properly sized inner forestay and running backstays. In a recent Force 11 blow in the Gulf Stream (where else!) we used a storm staysail and trysail as our primary sails for a considerable time. It’s just too difficult to try to remove a 135% genoa from the roller furler in a blow. Better to roll it up and go to a staysail or storm jib on the inner forestay.
On the down side, the engine room bulkheads are not attached to the cockpit sole and in a heavy seaway they tend to groan and pop as they move about slightly. I managed to locate Henry Scheel’s design team and they informed me that later versions of this hull had those bulkheads tabbed in and it would be okay if I did the same.
You are correct about the tankage quantity problem. We were told by the broker that the boat held 100 gals. of diesel and 300 gals. of water. By measuring the quantities with a water meter we found the boat actually holds 175 gals. of water in one tank and 100 in another, giving a total of 275. The diesel tank only took 90 gals.
After reading your article, we measured the boat from the stern to the outside end of the bow anchor-roller assembly and got 47'. Go figure.
We spent $89,000 for the boat (a steal; it appraised at $110,000) and then spent another $50,000 in the refit. But we now have a damn fine blue-water cruiser.
Belhaven, North Carolina
Having gone through underbody concoctions like Singapore, Vinelast, Graphspeed and last season, upon your recommendation, Pettit ACP-50, I’ve concluded that “effective bottom paint” is an oxymoron. When I hauled last October, the bottom was covered with a 1/4" carpet of algae, grass, wriggly things, those disgusting orange jellies, razor clams and barnacles, and this despite two in-the-water bottom washes during the season. A great disappointment, and an expensive one, too ($135/gal).
Last spring I used West’s “BottomProPlus” with 70.6% cuprous oxide ($89.99/gal.). One scrub in early August. When I hauled this afternoon, people at the ramp wanted to know what I had used for paint. It was the cleanest bottom I had ever seen. A little scum and the beginning of some pinhead-sized barnacles. Try this stuff for your next test. It’s made a believer of me.
Norman T. Budde
Delaminated Deck Repair
Four years ago I bought a 1966 Columbia 38 with plywood cored deck. The deterioration was throughout the foredeck, sidedecks and afterdeck. It was so severe that the mushy decks foretold imminent collapse into the cabin below when weight was put on them.
After studying This Old Boat thoroughly I realized that I lacked the tools or expertise to start cutting out the topside glass, replacing plywood core and reinstalling the deck over it. My solution was to take a hole saw with the centering drill nearly even with the teeth of the hole saw (to prevent drilling through the layer of glass below, i.e., the cabin overhead.) and drill/cut holes spaced approximately every 6" throughout the delaminated areas. I evacuated all of the rotten core with a 90° tool (screwdriver, etc.) bent to enable me to reach from one hole to the next. After thoroughly drying the empty spaces I poured WEST SYSTEM® epoxy mixed with bits of glass fibers into the holes, repeating the process as necessary until a fairly level deck surface was regained (in this case, more is better!). With careful sanding and application of paint and non-skid surfacing, the finished decks are as smooth and firm as the original. The deck is extremely stiff and free of leaks three years later. No one could ever tell that the boat was not as solid as original, and judging by the waterline, has gained no measurable amount of weight. As I recall, I used over 5 gallons of epoxy, and a number of yards of mat, cut with scissors to imbed in the epoxy.