It would seem, what is the complexity of managing a classic dinghy with an outboard motor? However, everywhere there are interesting nuances. Journalist Rachel Sprot shares tips and tricks
Outboard motors have undergone significant changes over the past decade. Most manufacturers prioritize ease of operation and installation over performance and range. This has led to a constant increase in the number of electric motors. Alas, propeller debris and heavy overloads are still a problem. You need to be as careful with any type of outboard motor as you would with your yacht's main engine.
Installing the outboard motor
Installing an outboard motor on your tender is not a safe process, but it is easier if it is an electric motor that can be separated from the battery. Outboard motor lifting straps or a dedicated lifting arm such as the Forespar Nova Lift make it easy and safe to install large engines. Two crew members can manually transfer a small outboard motor with a tether without much difficulty.
Attach the dinghy close to the transom under the engine lift point and make sure the person on the boat is strong enough to lower the load all the way to the dinghy. A person in a tuzik should not take on too much weight alone, as they have a much less stable surface to work on. You can easily flip the sailboat.
To prevent this from happening, you should kneel on the transom and direct the engine on the cable to the right place. Modern electric motors in this regard are more convenient for installation - you can disconnect a heavy battery from the engine and shaft. Accordingly, it is easier to install the elements individually than to pile up the entire engine at once.
Starting the outboard motor
Familiarize yourself with the controls before starting: throttle, shift lever, engine tilt, steering lock and stop button.
Be careful with the throttle or you may flood the engine with water. Be sure to check the engine for water inside after the engine is running.
On a small boat, it is worth starting the engine before the crew gets into it. This will make it much more difficult to hit someone when starting from the starting cord.
Outboard motor control
Control characteristics vary considerably depending on engine power and the number of people in the boat.
Without a keel or ballast, dinghies rely on the stability of the hull shape and the position of the crew. Distribute your weight carefully to stay upright. The fact that the weight will periodically shift (and the center of gravity, respectively) is inevitable. Inspect the crew to make sure no one is actively moving at high speeds or in tight turns.
Small gas engines and electric outboards do not have enough power to deal with headwinds or strong currents, so try to choose a landing site or upwind.
In recent years, there have been several tragic accidents involving fast RIBs. Most tenders are not equipped with powerful outboard motors, but if speed is your forte, additional training is required.
Outboard Motor Tips
A few simple tips for using your outboard motor:
- Test and service the engine under favorable conditions. Don't wait for faults to show up.
- Start the engine before the crew enters the boat to avoid injury.
- Know how to change fuel filters and spark plugs. Carry spare parts with you on a long swim on the tender.
- Tie down the engine with extra cables, do not rely on clamping blocks as they may fail. For long journeys, tie the clamps together.
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