tender motors

Take the Poll — What’s the Ideal Tender Outboard?

A Maritime Engineering Group Vision Diesel Outboard

A Maritime Engineering Group Vision Diesel Outboard

Yanmar D-Series Diesel Outboard

Yanmar D-Series Diesel Outboard

If you could have the perfect outboard for your dinghy or tender, what would it be?  A diesel perhaps, because you’re already carrying hundreds or thousands of gallons of that fuel and because looking for and storing gasoline is such a pain in the neck, not to mention dangerous? I’ve long thought, for example, that Evinrude could probably make a small killing by adapting its current universal-fuel outboard for regular diesel use. It would probably get a little heavier, but since most of us are using a davit or crane of some kind already, that might not be a big problem. Size is probably the biggest current issue for small diesel outboards. Most engineering efforts, such as the Marine Engineering Group outboard in the top photo, have focused on larger, high-power units so far. But there are 20- and 30 hp diesels out there that might be adaptable. The second image is of the old Yanmar D Series, which I don’t believe is available anymore.

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

What about a propane-powered outboard? There’s at least one in development that looks promising and if you’re tanking propane for stoves or barbecue grills, it wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience to use that for the dinghy, too.

Yamaha's Current 2.5 hp Gas 4-stroke Outboard

Yamaha's Current 2.5 hp Gas 4-stroke Outboard

Maybe you just want whatever is cheapest because you don’t use it enough to justify any real investment. You just want something cheap and reliable. That’s probably a two- or four-stroke gas outboard, which is relatively inexpensive and (mostly) reliable.

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

What about an electric outboard? Like the Torqeedo or something similar?  Lots of benefits there — low noise, zero pollution, great acceleration, and plenty of fuel since most cruisers and passagemakers have copious electrical generating capacity. Okay, some sailboats don’t and maybe for them electric isn’t a viable option.  The downside to electric? Somewhat limited range, depending on what kind of performance you require (fast or slow). Read about Torqeedo’s outboards here and here.

Whatever your thoughts are, we’d like to hear about them.  Please take just a few seconds to take the poll on our front page (lower right section, you may have to scroll down a bit). We’ll do a follow-up with the results, although you can see the results any time you’d like by clicking on the link at the bottom of the survey.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Engines, Gear & Apparel, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology

Torqeedo Adds More Electric Outboards

 

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

Torqeedo keeps adding new models to its line of electric outboards. The latest is the Travel series with two new units offering power equivalent to 1.5 hp and 3 hp, respectively. The Travel 503 and Travel 1003 not only offer more power than their predecessors but are tougher and are completely waterproof to IP67 standards.

According to Torqeedo, the Travel 1003 offers a battery with 30% more capacity and an even higher level of efficiency than before.   Torqeedo’s lithium-manganese batteries enable a large amount of energy to be stored per pound of battery weight.  At slow speed, the range of a Travel motor exceeds 12 nautical miles. A display located inside the tiller shows precise information about the remaining range, as well as current speed-over-ground, power consumption and state of charge.  Speed and range information is calculated with the help of the integrated GPS.  If the remaining charge of the battery drops below 30% an acoustic warning is triggered.  Both models can also be rigged for remote throttle.

Torqeedo outboards are not cheap by any measure but they offer some significant advantages. On a diesel yacht, carrying a Torqeedo-powered dinghy or tender can eliminate the requirement to carry hazardous supplies of gasoline. You’re not going to water-ski behind a Torqeedo outboard, but if you’re looking for quiet, environmentally sensitive power, they will fill the bill.

You can even charge the motor in a more environmentally-friendly way. Foldable, 3′ square solar panels utilizing CIGS-technology are available.  The absorbed sun energy is stored in the weatherproof and UV-resistant modules, so they still deliver electricity even when the sky is cloudy or dull.  I can imagine installing the solar panels on a small tube frame over the outboard, or above a driver’s console in a bigger RIB.  When the panels are combined with a Torqeedo Travel, users get one of the lightest and smallest solar-powered drives in the world, with a total weight of only 31 lbs.

These new Torqeedo models would be great for dinghies, tenders, Jon boats, fishing boats and any other sailboat up to a weight of 1,653 lbs. for the 503 or 3,000 lbs. for the 1003. The Travel 1003 from Torqeedo has a price of $1,899, while the Travel 503 costs $1,599.

Editor’s Note:  The Torqeedo Travel 503 and 1003 will be on display in booth #J65 at the Miami International Boat Show, February 11-15 in Miami, Florida.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Engines, Gear & Apparel, Industry News, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Technology

Torqeedo Ups the Horsepower for Electric Outboard

Earlier this year I wrote a Wish List item about the advantages of a single, common fuel for all marine engines; the issue being the need to carry gasoline for a tender wile operating an otherwise diesel-powered boat.  There may be another option and that is the one provided by Torqeedo, manufacturer of an innovative line of electric-powered outboards.  The company’s latest offering, the Cruise 4.0 R has a thrust equivalent to a 9.9 hp gas outboard, which makes it a good power match for an inflatable or light RIB up to about 11 feet or so, depending on your need for speed.

Torqeedo Cruis 4.0 R Electric Outboard -- Photo: Torqeedo, Inc.

Torqeedo Cruis 4.0 R Electric Outboard -- Photo: Torqeedo, Inc.

Torqeedo motors utilize a special onboard computer that includes an integral GPS.  This allows the system to display not only speed, but time and distance remaining on available charge.  This information is presented on the remote throttle display.  The motor uses a special 48 volt lead-gel, AGM battery bank or two high-performance lithium manganese batteries.  The company says the Cruise 4.0 R achieves an efficiency of more than 50 percent, which is significantly higher than most electric propulsion motors.

While we think the Cruise 4.0 R is a great alternative for a passagemaker who doesn’t want to deal with finding and carrying good gasoline, Torqeedo also suggests the motor is a good  choice for boats on “green” lakes, pontoon boats, sailboats and catamarans.  In fact, the company tested the new model on a “well-stocked, 24″ pontoon boat with 25” pontoons and seven people aboard — achieving a speed of 6.1 mph.

The motor is not cheap, with a suggested retail price of $3,699, although it likely has a much more competitive total cost-of-ownership when you consider the cost of gas and oil and the maintenance requirements of reciprocating engines used in salt water.  The Torqeedo unit comes with a cable set, fuse, main switch, remote throttle, magnetic off/on switch and a link-arm for connecting to standard steering systems.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Technology