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Time to switch to electric ?

Bathdave

Well-known member
Joined
4 Apr 2012
Messages
1,034
Location
jersey, CI
Finally getting ready to go cruising again (have managed quite few day sails in last month, in perfect conditions )

Thought I would run the Honda BF2 (circa 2006) at home before I took it to the boat, couldn’t get it to start ..decided to do a carb strip down and clean - a first for me to strip it down and put it back together by myself. Got it running sweetly at tickover and low revs but it died when gunned ...mates advice was that there maybe a gasket leak. Dismantled and reassembled again, splashed on the gasket sealant and it seems to be running fine at all power levels.

Whilst this was in train I pondered selling it and upgrading to a new one...it seems to burn a lot of oil, use fair mount of fuel, it had an immersion last year (immediately stripped down and cleaned, oil changed, fogging oil sPrayed everywhere )

Now it’s serviced and running sweetly there is ready market and my cost to to upgrade to a brand new one net of sale proceeds feels digestible...but then I started to ponder whether an electric might be the answer if I am going to splash out on a new one.

Even though the Honda at 13kg is manageable, I find it a less than trivial getting it off the pushpit bracket and down the ladder and getting it onto the dink (we have a aft cabin and small, narrow swim platform)

I get the historical arguments against electrics (cost, battery life, power and range) and I had I initially pondered an modern upgrade to my Honda. But I am attracted to the convenience ease of use and quietness of electric, and the fact is battery technology is moving in leaps and bounds...I suspect it will be a non choice, being blindingly obvious in say 5 years,

Now it appears to be running sweetly, doing nothing is an option

Dinghy is 240 airdeck
 

pvb

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Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
If it's running well, doing nothing is indeed an option.

I went electric 5 years ago, with a Torqeedo 1003. It's excellent; the heaviest bit is the motor unit at about 9kg, the battery is about 6kg. It's clean, quiet, doesn't smell, can be recharged from the boat's 12v system. Well worth considering.
 

Rappey

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Joined
13 Dec 2019
Messages
1,297
One of the great appeals about electric over internal combustion is even when it's been dumped into ones shed, a year or more later it will work. It's the simpleness.
I would happily dump my yacht engine for electric but for cost and lack of range.
Give it time and I'm sure there will be a power cell to make electric propulsion superior
 

Bathdave

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Joined
4 Apr 2012
Messages
1,034
Location
jersey, CI
If it's running well, doing nothing is indeed an option.

I went electric 5 years ago, with a Torqeedo 1003. It's excellent; the heaviest bit is the motor unit at about 9kg, the battery is about 6kg. It's clean, quiet, doesn't smell, can be recharged from the boat's 12v system. Well worth considering.
Thanks for that

I remember whenTorqueedo came out that I thought it was the way of the future, but I also recall thinking they were expensive

I guess what’s behind my thinking is whether there are new to market motors since then with better batteries and lower prices, with good user experience and satisfaction .

I think what has also crossed my mind is that they may be less resilient to an immersion than a Honda? Probably a write-off?
 

Poignard

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Joined
8 Oct 2018
Messages
11,562
Location
Singapore-on-Thames
If it's running well, doing nothing is indeed an option.

I went electric 5 years ago, with a Torqeedo 1003. It's excellent; the heaviest bit is the motor unit at about 9kg, the battery is about 6kg. It's clean, quiet, doesn't smell, can be recharged from the boat's 12v system. Well worth considering.
'

I have decided to buy one but it would obviously be a very stealable item whenever I left my dinghy unattended.

Is there any provision for attaching it to the dinghy with, say, a padlock and chain?

Obviouly nothing is 100% secure but something to make it a bit more difficult for the opportunist thief would help.
 

mainsail1

Well-known member
Joined
27 May 2008
Messages
1,996
Location
Returned to South Coast from West Coast of Scotlan
If it's running well, doing nothing is indeed an option.

I went electric 5 years ago, with a Torqeedo 1003. It's excellent; the heaviest bit is the motor unit at about 9kg, the battery is about 6kg. It's clean, quiet, doesn't smell, can be recharged from the boat's 12v system. Well worth considering.
My experience is that it is VERY slow to charge from a 12 volt system.
 

RivalRedwing

Well-known member
Joined
9 Nov 2004
Messages
2,545
Location
Medway, UK, boat in SYH
What is the lifespan of the battery? I have an ebike and the supplier is suggesting that about four years is about the limit before a mix of unavoidable battery degredation and battery technology improvements means replacement is a good idea. Now at £700 ish for a battery that is a serious lump of degradation for an occasional use outboard.
 

oldmanofthehills

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Joined
13 Aug 2010
Messages
2,040
Location
Bristol / Cornwall
It saves no weight saving on a petrol outboard, has limited range, and you cant carry cans of spare energy. Probably great for short runs in harbours but after 130year of modern battery development we havent done much better than doubling the capacity. So little prospect of much dramatic battery improvement. (Mobile phone circuit halve in size year on year and thus their power needs, as does computer capability increase. No such leap with batteries)

Niche market. If we get fuel cell electric that might be a game changer, but I would not want to wander around with cylinders of hydrogen or hydrazine.
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
I have decided to buy one but it would obviously be a very stealable item whenever I left my dinghy unattended.

Is there any provision for attaching it to the dinghy with, say, a padlock and chain?

Obviouly nothing is 100% secure but something to make it a bit more difficult for the opportunist thief would help.
Everything is stealable. You could padlock it with a tough flexible cable perhaps. But remember you can simply remove the battery and take it with you. or the control tiller.
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
My experience is that it is VERY slow to charge from a 12 volt system.
Maybe, depends what you expect. If you've used the outboard during the day, and then plug the battery in to the boat's 12v system, it'll be recharged by morning. If you want to go out in the middle of the night, it might not be.
 

pvb

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Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
What is the lifespan of the battery? I have an ebike and the supplier is suggesting that about four years is about the limit before a mix of unavoidable battery degredation and battery technology improvements means replacement is a good idea. Now at £700 ish for a battery that is a serious lump of degradation for an occasional use outboard.
It's a Li-ion battery, and should last many years, with little degradation in capacity. Does your bike have a Li-ion battery?
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
It saves no weight saving on a petrol outboard, has limited range, and you cant carry cans of spare energy. Probably great for short runs in harbours but after 130year of modern battery development we havent done much better than doubling the capacity. So little prospect of much dramatic battery improvement. (Mobile phone circuit halve in size year on year and thus their power needs, as does computer capability increase. No such leap with batteries)

Niche market. If we get fuel cell electric that might be a game changer, but I would not want to wander around with cylinders of hydrogen or hydrazine.
The weight advantage of the Torqeedo is that it comes in 3 main parts, so the heaviest bit (the motor and leg) is only about 9kg. So it's very easy to handle. As for "cans of spare energy", you can always buy a spare battery, but few people need to. For average tender use, the Torqeedo is both adequate and brilliant.
 

Catalina36

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Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
1,080
Two small factoids.

1) Hydrocarbon fuel has 49 times more energy density than a battery and is only £1 per litre to replace.

2) A simple block and tackle from Seasure, c£20, mounted on your backstay will take the work out of lifting your outboard off the bracket and onto the dinghy.

Be a Practical Boat Owner.
 

Catalina36

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Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
1,080
The weight advantage of the Torqeedo is that it comes in 3 main parts, so the heaviest bit (the motor and leg) is only about 9kg. So it's very easy to handle. As for "cans of spare energy", you can always buy a spare battery, but few people need to. For average tender use, the Torqeedo is both adequate and brilliant.
"you can always buy a spare battery"
And it only costs just short of a cheap second hand car.
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
Two small factoids.

1) Hydrocarbon fuel has 49 times more energy density than a battery and is only £1 per litre to replace.

2) A simple block and tackle from Seasure, c£20, mounted on your backstay will take the work out of lifting your outboard off the bracket and onto the dinghy.

Be a Practical Boat Owner.
There's some truth in what you say, but there's also some truth in the arguments for electric outboards. A lot of electric outboards are bought because they are so simple to operate, just turn a switch and they're off, so they're very popular with many wives of sailors.
 

pvb

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Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
"you can always buy a spare battery"
And it only costs just short of a cheap second hand car.
I wouldn't drive a car which cost the same as a Torqeedo battery, so you won't convince me! Boating is expensive, or haven't you realised?
 

Catalina36

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Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
1,080
In this month's PBO there's a tale of a 35 ft yacht with electric propulsion which sprang a leak in the Atlantic, needed a lot of pumping and eventually a dive over the side to patch it. Despite the manual bilge pump failing and a reliance on the electric pump it ended well but there's no apparent recognition by the author that had it gone on longer with nothing to recharge the batteries it would have been game over.
 

pvb

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Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,344
Location
UK East Coast
In this month's PBO there's a tale of a 35 ft yacht with electric propulsion which sprang a leak in the Atlantic, needed a lot of pumping and eventually a dive over the side to patch it. Despite the manual bilge pump failing and a reliance on the electric pump it ended well but there's no apparent recognition by the author that had it gone on longer with nothing to recharge the batteries it would have been game over.
It can't have been much of a leak if an electric bilge pump dealt with it.

The fact that the yacht had electric propulsion is surely immaterial?
 

Catalina36

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Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
1,080
It can't have been much of a leak if an electric bilge pump dealt with it.

The fact that the yacht had electric propulsion is surely immaterial?
The fact that it didn't have any hydrocarbon means of recharging the batteries that the bilge pump was relying upon was somewhat material.

You've made so many posts in favour of electric prolusion on this thread that I have to wonder if you're in that line of business.
 
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