Outboard Well Conversion

SeaStu1

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I own and sail a Leisure 20 which is powered by an outboard which was originally set in an outboard well in the cockpit of the boat. The previous owner had the well fibreglassed over and put the outboard on a bracket on the transom.

Having used the boat now I'm not keen on having the boat over the transom, The Leisure 20 has a high freeboard and leaning over side to start the motor and get to the controls is awkward and with this in mind I would like to consider putting the well back and using the outboard in there. I understand that several owners of Leisure 20's done this conversion as the fumes from the outboard in the cockpit could be a bit overbearing. I'm hoping with a four stroke outboard this would be minimal.

Has anyone ever converted a boat back to use the outboard well again? Would I be right to assume that essentially it is a matter of cutting through the fibreglass and tidying up the edges, or is there likely to be other grp damage around the hole which would need repairing?

Any thoughts appreciated. Cheers.
 

northwind

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I'm not familiar with the Leisure 20, however I have an outboard well on my Super Seal.

Bear in mind that the outboard well would have been designed to house a 2 stroke engine, and that 4 stroke engines are generally bigger, so you may want to find out if their is an engine that will fit in the well before you do the conversion. I doubt I would get a 4 stroke engine to fit in my well.

My outboard well has a couple of holes in the transom to allow air to enter the well, This arrangement seems to work well to keep the fumes at bay.
 

SeaStu1

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Thanks northwind, its a valid point you make regarding the well being designed for a two stroke engine. I will perhaps try and contact some other Leisure 20 owners and see what engines they are using.
 

Egbod

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When you have an outboard in the well, can the outboard tip up to lift the leg and propellor out of the water? If the outboard has to be left down I estimate that you will lose 1 knot of speed. This could be a significant loss of speed for you. My boat is designed with a well in the cockpit that also allows the outboard to be tilted up clear of the water.
 

Tranona

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The fact that a previous owner has converted to a transom hung outboard is sending a strong message. Wells are not always a good idea. The best bit about them is that the prop stays in the water better and in some cases is forward of the rudder. The two big downsides are ventilation (or lack of) and drag caused by the hole in the bottom. Tilting or lifting the motor (and perhaps putting a blanking plug in) is difficult even with older smaller two strokes and as already noted 4 strokes are bigger and heavier. Fumes may be less of an issue with a 4 stroke, but will still be there.

Think you might have to accept the limitations of a transom mounted outboard, some of which can be reduced by having remote controls and a remote tank.
 

RobF

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If it's any help, I've got an outboard well in my RF200e (which is also a 20ft trailer sailer). I changed my Johnson 2stroke 6Hp for a Tohatsu saildrive 4stroke 6HP. The Tohatsu is smaller and lighter than the Johnson and delivers significantly more torque. It is also easier to get in and out of the outboard well.

I'm looking to get rid of my outboard well because:-
- it creates significant drag
- you do get fumes in the cockpit (even with a 6mth old 4 stroke)
- the autohelm doesn't work when it is placed directly over the alternator of a saildrive engine.
- on the positive side, the engine in this location does direct water onto the rudder which provides better manoeveability in close quarters situations.

I'm not sure what kind of engine mount you've currently got - is it fixed or one that lifts the engine in and out of the water? The latter could lift the engine to a position that would enable easy starting (so long as you put it in the water within 10 secs you'll be fine). A long shaft would also assist in this dept.

An easy solution to find out what other leisure owners have done is to search the classifieds. You'll quickly ascertain from the pictures and descriptions how other owners have mounted their engines.

Hope this helps (or at least provides some food for thought)
 

Fantasie 19

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In contrast to all the others, I have an outboard well on my boat (Fantasie 19) and wouldn't be without it... huge benefit to me is not having to manoeuvre an outboard on and off a transom mount (knowing me I'd drop either it or me in the 'oggin while manoeuvring it), not having to refuel and start the engine while leaning over the back of the boat (in bouncing sea's), and also the balance of the boat is better (probably more of an issue to me as the boat is smaller) without a heavy engine right on the back..

The amount of fumes I get (2 stroke 4HP Yam of venerable age) is not noticeable, as the moment I start motoring they blow over the back. As for drag, I get enough speed with it down as the prop sits behind the stub keel anyway...

To be honest - in the list of requirements for my next boat (whenever that will be), an outboard engine & well is high on the list...
 
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The fumes from a 4 stroke will be less but only because it uses less petrol.

Is the outboard locker to one side of the boat? I had this on a HUnter and it was useless. You could only motorsail on one tack.
 

Tranona

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In contrast to all the others, I have an outboard well on my boat (Fantasie 19) and wouldn't be without it... huge benefit to me is not having to manoeuvre an outboard on and off a transom mount (knowing me I'd drop either it or me in the 'oggin while manoeuvring it), not having to refuel and start the engine while leaning over the back of the boat (in bouncing sea's), and also the balance of the boat is better (probably more of an issue to me as the boat is smaller) without a heavy engine right on the back..

The amount of fumes I get (2 stroke 4HP Yam of venerable age) is not noticeable, as the moment I start motoring they blow over the back. As for drag, I get enough speed with it down as the prop sits behind the stub keel anyway...

To be honest - in the list of requirements for my next boat (whenever that will be), an outboard engine & well is high on the list...

You are right. A well mounted motor is far superior for many reasons. However, most do not work properly. The fact that a previous owner of the OPs boat has blanked it off and gone for an inferior transom mount suggests the original design did not work. Imagine putting in allt he work to re-instate the well only to find it does not work. Better to change the boat or find ways of managing the outboard better.
 

VicS

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I will perhaps try and contact some other Leisure 20 owners

The Leisure Owners Association is a pretty active organisation. It also has a members forum. The LOA and its forum is likely to be a good place to make inquiries.

http://www.leisureowners.org.uk/site/contents/home.shtml


The original design for the L20 was with an outboard mounted in the aft end of the cockpit, under the tiller. Fumes would I am sure be a problem.
In more enclosed wells the fumes also can cause problems with the running of the engine

leisure-20-4.jpg
 

Hardley

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I have an old 28 year old 2 stroke O/B in a well and have no problems with fumes, many years ago I attached a length of plastic piping to the exhurst pipe, drilled a hole high up in the transom and passed the plastic pipe thru there, exit fumes astern.
As for slowing the boat down, it has a designed speed of 6.5 knots and I regulary each and exceed this limit.
 

Fantasie 19

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The Leisure Owners Association is a pretty active organisation. It also has a members forum. The LOA and its forum is likely to be a good place to make inquiries.

http://www.leisureowners.org.uk/site/contents/home.shtml


The original design for the L20 was with an outboard mounted in the aft end of the cockpit, under the tiller. Fumes would I am sure be a problem.
In more enclosed wells the fumes also can cause problems with the running of the engine

leisure-20-4.jpg

Blimey - that picture ticks most of the boxes for my next boat.. :D
 

Tranona

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That underwater profile perhaps explains why the well has been blanked off. Being so far forward and in front of that huge skeg means that exhaust fumes build up under the hull and can't escape - except up through the well. Often the motors are set too deep and that leads to excess gas coming out of the bleed hole on the leg, which can sometimes be dealt with by taking a tube overboard.

I was heavily involved with making outboards work in wells when this type of boat was new and builders were keen on wells. Those that worked were usually behind or to one side of the rudder and the hull sweeping up aft. Through hub exhausts were also generally better at getting exhaust fumes away. Don't know if newer engines use them.

A Poole Canoe has a very good well but it takes up a lot of room. It is used so that nets can be shot over the stern. Early boats used a Seagull and were very effective - even though the Seagull (particularly 10:1 ratio models) chucked out huge amounts of smoke and unburned oil.
 

SeaStu1

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Thanks to all for your contributions - a mixed bag of views. The jury is still out on this one, I will explore with the Leisure owners website and see what others are doing also. I can see that no-one would go to the lengths of blanking off the well to stick the outboard on the transom if the well was working ok, but surely yacht designers wouldn't get this so wrong??

Thanks again.
 

Seajet

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My boat has a well, just to port, ahead of the small skeg - and ahead of the transom hung rudder.

Never had a moment's bother with air supply to the engine, in 33 years ( 5hp 2 stroke ).

I always lift out my engine and stow it on any decent sail, and fit a fairing plug; remember you will have to make this, but not exactly rocket science.

The well being off to one side means the engine won't conflict with the tiller so much for engine in / out operations.

A good 2 stroke of this size is something to cherish and hang onto, 4 strokes are lovely & smooth etc but cripplingly heavy, both for the human lifting them & boat with all that weight aft.

The engine being just off to one side does not restrict motorsailing, but this will be a function of hull shape.

Engines on transoms are just not in the same league as a properly designed well; follow your instincts and reinstate the well, in the unlikely event you're not happy with the results you simply glass in the fairing plug !
 

Chrissie

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hopefully the point (reinforced ridge) where you actually mount the engine onto, in the well will still be there, if not be prepared to make one. Get all your measurements right before you cut, and will you be using it fixed in one direction? my last boat had an outboard in a well, and I had just enough space to be able to steer with the engine handle as well as the rudder in confined spaces like moorings. (bit like a stern thruster)
 

SeaStu1

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The edge where the outboard mounts is still there, a piece of board has been screwed onto this to blank the hole from the cockpit. I would have the outboard fixed. Another thing that puts me off having the outboard on the transom is that the outboard is too exposed to theives. Although the outboard i have is currently locked and bolted on and doesn't look the nicest motor, hopefully i am safe, maybe.
 

Seajet

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SeaStu1,

would you be able to stow the engine in a cockpit locker ? That would be ideal, though beware 4 -strokes are a lot more fussy about horizontal stowage; another point for 2-strokes !

One thing if you do stow the engine in cockpit locker or even cabin, I take off the fuel supply and let it run dry before stowage, so as not to have fuel spills.

Also unless things are hectic I stand the engine on the cockpit sole to drain for say 10-20 seconds.

And this may be the clincher; some people reckon wells with the plug in make good wine / beer coolers ( though I'd be keen to wash the tops of bottles or cans with fresh water ).
 

Tranona

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but surely yacht designers wouldn't get this so wrong??

Thanks again.

Yes they might! Your boat was built when wells suddenly became fashionable and designers often did not have a clue about whether they would work or not. Just cut a hole in the bottom and stick the engine in it.

If it is just the hole that is blanked off, then it should not be too difficult to remove it and try the outboard - although suspect you will need a different engine as it probably uses a 15" short shaft and transom mounted engines are usually long shaft. Suspect if you do it, all that will happen is that it will confirm that the previous owner made a wise decision!
 
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