PS Advisor May 15, 2001 Issue

PS Advisor 05/15/01

Repowering With An Outboard
Can one place an outboard engine in the lazarette of a 1966 27-foot Bristol standard cruiser’s sailboat? I have a 25-horse Graymarine gas inboard now, but I hate the damn smelly thing and I want it OUT. Is it OK to cut a hole aft and under the counter so that one can fit say a 10-hp. outboard to the boat? SAY YES.

-L. Digioia
Via e-mail

As much as we sympathize, we’re going to have a hard time getting to yes. The best we can do is “Maybe, but you’re opening a can of worms.”

Consider the following:

1. You cut a hole in the overhang, then how are you going to bulkhead it inboard? Are you going to leave the lazarette open to the water?

2. How long will the outboard shaft have to be in order to get good prop placement and still leave enough of the upper unit for you to work with? Will you be able to pull-start it? How about gas line clearance? How about shifting? Are you going to rig gear and throttle cables, or reach down into the lazarette?

3. What are you going to mount the engine on — a new fiberglass flange forward of the hole you cut? How are you going to secure that?

4. Will you leave the lower unit dragging through the water, or are you going to install a lift for the engine? If so, what are you going to mount it on? Will the engine fit under the lazarette hatch if you do lift it up? Will you be able to seal the hole in the counter with the engine lifted?

The biggest problem is getting the prop down far enough into the water to push the boat in a chop. It might work fine in flat water, but when the boat begins to pitch, the prop will tend to cavitate if not come right out of the water. On sailboats meant to be powered by outboards, you’ll generally see motor mounts way down on the transom. It’s hard to see how you’re going to achieve the same thing here.

By the time you get everything figured out, built, and paid for, you’re probably going to wish you’d just bitten the bullet and gone with a rebuilt or new inboard auxiliary.

Sorry to rain on the parade.

Stiff Nylon Dock Lines
I have always preferred 3-strand nylon to braid for dock lines. The main reason for this is the ability of braid to soak up water like a sponge and take forever to dry (when on the move and storing wet lines).

Here’s the question: How do you soften old 3-strand nylon lines that have gotten so stiff they are difficult to bend around a cleat? I hate to throw them away when they are not frayed or otherwise damaged. I have tried soaking in fabric softener and then rinsing with warm water. This was not much help.

Maybe your readers will have a few solutions as well?

-Al, aboard Andiamo
Via e-mail

The technique we most often hear is to put the lines in a washing machine with warm water and fabric softener. It sounds as if you’ve come pretty close to that without good results.

We have a bunch of old docklines like that, too. They’re impossible to work with on board, and we suspect the stiffness also indicates a loss of elasticity in the nylon, such that if the line were put under a severe load, it might fail. So we use the lines for odd jobs ashore. When they’re too stiff for cinching up a bowline snugly, out they go.

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