outboard motors

Torqeedo Launches Next Generation of Tiller-Control Electric Motors

Torqeedo Cruise 4.0T Electric Outboard System

Torqeedo Cruise 4.0T Electric Outboard System

Torqeedo, which I’ve talked about a lot here on OceanLines, has launched the next generation of its tiller-controlled electric outboard motors.  The company says the new Cruise 2.0T and 4.0T are “stronger, faster, more robust and more efficient.

Torqeedo says the motors have a new, innovative display on the tiller, which shows information regarding battery charge status, remaining range, speed over ground and input power.  A 4AWG  plug-and-go cable set, including fuse and main switch should make the motors more comfortable to use.

Some of the specs:

    • Operating on 48V with 8-9.9 hp, the 4.0T motor only weighs 40 lbs.
    • The smaller Cruise 2.0T operates at 24V with 5-6 hp and weighs 39 lbs.
    • Both models are offered in short and long shaft versions.
    • Torqeedo’s new Cruise 2.0T is priced at $3,299, while the Cruise 4.0T is $3,799.

I think Torqeedo has provided one of the two best technology paths for future tender and small-boat propulsion. Most cruising powerboats have plenty of excess electrical generation capacity and keeping some Torqeedo batteries fully charged for the tender shouldn’t pose any kind of real challenge. The benefit is clean, reliable and efficient propulsion. I’ve always wished someone (Evinrude, are you listening?) would develop a new-generation diesel outboard, but I may opt instead for a Torqeedo electric.

Copyright © 2012 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Engines, Technology

Buzzards Bay 34 Cat – Couple’s Expedition Cruiser

Buzzards Bay 34 Catamaran -- Photo by Billy Black, Courtesy of Multihull Development

Buzzards Bay 34 Catamaran -- Photo by Billy Black, Courtesy of Multihull Development

This might be the perfect boat for a couple looking to cruise the coastline in a boat that puts a premium on comfort — a comfortable ride in seas, comfortable accommodations topside, and a seriously comfortable stateroom. 

Buzzards Bay 34 Cruising -- Photo by Billy Black, Courtesy of Multihull Development

Buzzards Bay 34 Cruising -- Photo by Billy Black, Courtesy of Multihull Development

The comfortable ride is courtesy of the twin displacement catamaran hulls, designed by Chris White, which slice through chop and significantly reduce the pitching and slamming; not to mention damping the rolling motions. In the main cabin, the centerline helm station features two comfy captain’s chairs, and an L-shape settee provides seating and lounging room along the starboard and aft bulkheads. An efficient galley is along the port bulkhead and has everything you need to fix nice meals, including a two-burner Princess propane stove.  When it’s time to retire, the stateroom is down a few steps to starboard and forward, with the bed arranged athwartships. It’s a roomy, memory-foam mattress that lifts easily to reveal massive storage underneath.

Buzzards Bay 34 Catamaran Layout

Buzzards Bay 34 Catamaran Layout

That stateroom also features a unique hanging locker with slide-out rails from both the stateroom side and the port-hull based head. A small fan in the overhead pulls air into the stateroom and it exhausts through the forward anchor locker; keeping the air moving and helping to keep the anchor locker dry and odor-free. That’s a nice touch. The overhead hatch and LED lighting ensure plenty of natural and electric illumination.

Buzzards Bay 34 Catamaran Stern View

Buzzards Bay 34 Catamaran Stern View

Another unique feature of the Buzzards Bay 34 is its outboard propulsion.  The first hull built actually had inboard-outboard diesels, but the advent of newer, high-horsepower outboards offered a chance for more simplicity and convenience and they are the standard offering now. The boat I visited yesterday at the Newport, Rhode Island, International Boat Show, is a pre-owned model (for sale, incidentally) that had the biggest Suzuki’s on it. Standard propulsion is a pair of 225hp Mercury Verados, although the factory can hang any outboard you like.

Buzzards Bay 34 Helm

Buzzards Bay 34 Helm

The cats are built right in Pocasset, Massachusetts, in the heart of Buzzards Bay. The company,Multihull Development, Inc., decided from the outset that the cat would be built without compromise.  The hull is balsa cored and resin-infused, while the decks are vacuum-bagged. Both technologies result in light, strong structure.

Buzzards Bay 34 Stateroom

Buzzards Bay 34 Stateroom

The boat, configured nicely and requiring only electronics and a few optional amenities for most customers, is priced at $405K.  That’s not cheap, but still represents significant value when you consider the construction methods, and level of fit and finish.

Buzzards Bay 34 Head

Buzzards Bay 34 Head

I’d take a close look at this boat for everything from coastal cruising in the Northeast, to snowbird migrations, to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska Inside Passage explorations. It will handle significant seas with comfort, has good range and can pull right up to the beach when it’s time to explore ashore.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Powerboats

Propane for the Dinghy Outboard Part 2

Marine Green Co-Founders Bill Parlatore and Howard Brooks test an early propane-powered outboard

Marine Green Co-Founders Bill Parlatore and Howard Brooks test an early propane-powered outboard

In a recent article here on OceanLines, we described a brand new development effort by a company called Marine Green to adapt smaller outboards for propane fuel.  Since that article, I have been able to talk with the co-founder of Marine Green, none other than Bill Parlatore, the founder and current Founding Editor-at-Large of Passagemaker Magazine. Bill described the work he and co-founder Howard Brooks have done so far, as well as what has yet to be done to bring the new technology to market.

According to Parlatore, the genesis of the propane-powered outboard was his bad experience with phase separation in an E-10 gas outboard. After having replaced the Fuel Control Module two times he began thinking about a different fuel solution.  Parlatore, not surprisingly, is a serious cruiser and his boat, Growler, has been featured on many pages of past Passagemaker issues. He knew that his outboard experiences were common in the cruising community, where the small outboards that typically power dinghies and tenders often go unused for long periods of time and are subject to the hazards of phase separation, not to mention the hassle of dealing with storing gasoline supplies for the motors. Parlatore says, “It’s the perfect example of necessity being the mother of invention.”

Parlatore sat down early last year with his neighbor, engineer Howard Brooks, and discussed creating a new fuel delivery system to power an outboard with propane. The key is the fuel delivery system, which replaces the carburetor or injectors and throttle body assembly on a gas-powered outboard.  Since much of the complexity of a conventional carburetor deals with the transformation of the liquid fuel into a combustible gas, the propane fuel module is much simpler — propane comes out of the tank as a gas.  That simplicity should translate into lower production costs down the road.

Although propane has a lower BTU content than gasoline per gallon, it has an equivalent octane rating of between 103 and 112, so the fuel economy difference is smaller than one might expect. Early testing suggests propane will deliver about five percent less performance over the entire RPM range compared to gasoline. Emissions, however, are expected to be substantially better and the company hopes to partner with a university engineering school to document the emissions performance and study manufacturing issues.

In tests over the summer, Parlatore discovered that the low-speed consumption was actually better for the propane, presumably because of the overly rich fuel-air mixtures common in gas engines at low RPM settings. Testing is focused right now on smaller engines that would be suitable for the dinghy/tender application, the center of which seems to be the 4-6 hp range. At 6 hp, says Parlatore, you’re looking at about a 55 pound engine, which most people can handle.  On the small engines, the propane tank is attached to the engine frame and is easily re-filled with a connector from a standard propane tank.  Larger engines have used typical 20 pound steel tanks, although Parlatore reports that a see-thru, 10-pound composite tank is not only much easier to handle, but is corrosion proof and allows you to judge remaining fuel levels accurately at a glance.

Summarizing his assessment of the propane potential, Parlatore notes that propane “doesn’t go bad; it doesn’t undergo phase change; it requires fewer oil changes for the motor, and gives you better economy and lower emissions.”  Applications to smaller outboards look fairly straight forward, although at higher horsepower levels the propane will need to be delivered as a liquid which poses more complicated engineering issues.  It’s clearly too soon to know how long before we will be able to buy propane-powered outboards, but you may be able to see them running at the upcoming Miami International Boat Show in mid-February.  Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Engines, Environment & Weather, Passagemaking News, People, Technology