Electric outboard drive for small cruisers

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  • 24 Nov 2022 11:31
    Reply # 13000796 on 8809939
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Seriously, what about those with disabilities for whom rowing or paddling are difficult? 

    In that case I'd take the trouble to make a decent mounting bracket which holds the shaft in place and allows easy one-handed steering. I'll bet you could come up with a way of doing that better than anyone. Steering seems to be a bit of an issue with the longtail configuration, although for a kayak maybe that is still the most practical configuration. For a small dinghy, I think a "L" configuration (like a conventional outboard) would be better, and I'd make one from a broken line trimmer, get rid of the non-functioning motor and apply a cordless drill to the input shaft - there is something rather fun about the idea of re-purposing something as ubiquitous as a cordless drill isn't there? And we are only talking about a bit of fun aren't we? Just bring along a spare battery.

    (Robb White Jnr reckoned the best invention of the 20th century was the white plastic bucket. I reckon the cordless drill driver comes a close second).

    (That's Robb White the boat builder. "Flotsam and Jetsam" his short stories compiled posthumously by his sister. A great read.)

    Last modified: 27 Nov 2022 00:02 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 24 Nov 2022 09:21
    Reply # 13000700 on 8809939

    David Th: If there's one tool that a serious cruising boat should carry aboard, it's a cordless drill! Not just for holes; it can multitask:

    Turn your handheld drill into an electric winch handle

    That's not all that people have dreamed up either. Enter the phrase 'cordless drill powered' into your search engine, and see how many variations on a theme there are.

    Seriously, what about those with disabilities for whom rowing or paddling are difficult?  I'm no longer fit enough to paddle my kayak to the top of the river and back, if there's a breeze. Put it down to old age and parkinsonism.

    Graeme: Nothing very fancy in the way of engineering, just an oversized hole in a piece of low friction plastic ought to do it. [thinks: how would I make a hole? oh, I know, I have a cordless drill aboard!]. But other options are available: 


  • 24 Nov 2022 05:08
    Reply # 13000592 on 8809939
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Turns out the idea has been around for a while.

    The mad Brits used to have a "Makita 600 Cordless Challenge" at the Beale Park Boat Show.

    A 600m sprint attracting tri hulls, cats as well as monohulls, with multi-engine installations. Inboards, outboards and even paddle wheels - not to mention of course, the inevitable eccentric in a twin-engine cordless drill-powered floating motorbike side car.

    You can probably guess the prize


    (David T I don't know if you are serious, but I can't see the need for any fancy engineering. If there is somewhere on the back of an inflatable to lash to, I would have thought a loose lashing around the rotating shaft would do well enough, of that cheap slippery rope (I forget what its called), you hold the drill in your hand of course. Quick to dismantle should you find you suddenly need to do some home handyman work on your boat. And as for water-proofing - same as for any outboard I suppose - just try not to drop it in the tide.

    David Th (very serious) - Ah! But you can't drill a hole in something with a pair of oars can you? Eh? I agree, the last thing we need on a junk is "needless junk", but I reckon in a flat calm one of those little Kohler catamarans should go like a rocket with a couple of 18V Ryobis on the back! (One in reverse of course - counter rotating props LH RH))

    Last modified: 24 Nov 2022 11:55 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 23 Nov 2022 18:45
    Reply # 13000055 on 8809939

    Whilst I applaud innovation and finding new ways of doing things I cannot help but feel that such a device is just needless junk on a small boat, and I expect that with any real load such a small battery will not last very long. I enjoy the simplicity of rowing, and enjoy the exercise gained from rowing. This contraption will maybe last for a little while, but will eventually end up in a landfill. A pair of wooden oars however can last for decades, and when they do eventually break, or wear out, the remains can at least be chopped up for firewood and used to keep someone warm in the winter.

    I am for keeping boating simple and wholesome.

  • 23 Nov 2022 10:00
    Reply # 12999551 on 8809939

    H'mm. Interesting. I don't know whether this comes from the same supplier, but clearly someone, somewhere in China, is giving the matter some thought. 

    I see that a 21V drill with two 2Ah batteries can be had for less than £40 in the UK. Still needs some engineering to mount it on a kayak, though ... and what about weatherproofing?

  • 23 Nov 2022 01:22
    Reply # 12999286 on 8809939
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "Maybe not applicable to small cruisers, but I've been thinking for some time that this is what electric propulsion for a small dinghy ought to look like - more like the "longtail" motors. Having tried unsuccessfully to get a small inflatable off a beach with a regular electric outboard, I was thinking of converting it to the longtail format".

    For David (the longtail we never knew we had!)

    battery included?

    If its a 2-speed drill, is there a barge model prop?

    Hammer drill mode for rocky bottoms? (the sea bed)

    Probably got reverse too.

    (I was about to "click" buy one - until I read the faint print! Look at that shipping fee! Sigh. Oh well, I'll try my paint stirrer - its a 4-blade. RH if I recall.)

    Last modified: 24 Nov 2022 11:42 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 16 May 2021 10:01
    Reply # 10511214 on 8809939

    When I came to refit the Haswing outboard this Spring, I found that the connector, a Chinese copy of the Anderson, had failed - the metal leaves that hold the contacts in place had disappeared. So I've replaced it with a genuine Anderson 175A connector, and added the PVC boots that are available as an optional extra. I've also filled the contact area with dielectric silicone grease. I hope that'll see me through this summer without troubles, now.

    1 file
  • 01 Sep 2020 11:06
    Reply # 9203875 on 8809939

    Especially important to use the emergency stop cord.  I tied it to a line attached to my harness, also arranged a line that would lift the tiller pilot off its pin if the lanyard tightened.

  • 01 Sep 2020 07:55
    Reply # 9203606 on 8809939

    When I had the Tohatsu, in a well ahead of the rudder, I couldn't leave the helm for a second before she would start turning in tight circles. Clamping the helm allowed me to go below for a moment, but no more.

    With the Haswing on a transom mount to one side of the rudder, she runs straighter, I can clamp the helm and go straight enough for long enough to make a sandwich and a drink, but no more.

    For longer than that, my wind vane will hold a course when motor-sailing to windward in light airs, but not downwind. With plentiful electric power now available, the answer is a small electric tiller pilot.

    Ten miles at 2.5 knots takes 4 hours - the length of a watch that we used to have stand in the olden days, at the helm, glancing at the compass every so often, before self steering of any kind was available. Boring. 
    PS. When I bought Weaverbird, she came with a tiller pilot, but it had been wrongly installed and I couldn't use it - something to add to the winter job list.

    Last modified: 01 Sep 2020 08:36 | Anonymous member
  • 31 Aug 2020 23:59
    Reply # 9203044 on 9202828
    Scott wrote:
    I have been wondering how you and others deal with the helm when motoring. Does under power mean you are steering by hand?
    While motoring a wind vane self steering system generally will not operate as prop wash will deflect either the pendulum servo blade, or trim tab. On some boats it is possible to lash the helm while underway so the boat will hold a steady course, although I have never found this to be successful for long periods as prop wash always wants to head the boat off to port or starboard. So the best answer is some kind of electronic autopilot. For most small tiller steered yachts a tiller pilot such as the Simrad, or Raymarine brands work well and do not draw much power. Otherwise it is a matter of sitting at the helm hand steering for long periods of time. A good opportunity to develop 'reading a book while steering' skills! 
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