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Old 11-12-2015, 03:13 AM   #1
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Question Help me with my market research class! How do sailors feel about electric outboards?

HI. I am a University of Washington student. I am taking a market research class, and I am trying to learn about how people in the sailing community use outboard motors, what they use them for, what size sailboats they use them on/with, their attitude about electric outboard motors, and their over-all attitude regarding environmental friendliness/environmental concern. Would anybody like to discuss any of this with me? I would really appreciate it.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:37 AM   #2
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This website is focused on cruising yachts. Electric motors - inboard or outboard - are only practical when you have access to shore power to recharge their batteries. I don't think you'll find anyone here would be interested in using one for those reasons.

We tend to use 2-stroke or 4-stroke outboards for dinghies mostly, although some lightweight yachts may also have an outboard as their secondary propulsion - primary being the sails - in lieu of an inboard diesel. In the main diesel is preferred for reasons of reliability, economy and safety.

Personally I know of only three people using electric. One is a weekend sailor who recharges his inboard system on shore power. Another is well-known adventurer Webb Chiles, who uses a trolling motor as his primary propulsion while in harbour to reach a mooring. The third is my brother, who keeps a trolling motor on his aluminium runabout as a backup in case his outboard fails while lake fishing.

None of these uses are in open water, as you can readily tell. An outboard of any type is mostly unsuitable for that.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:50 AM   #3
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Webb Chiles' setup with the outboard is quite interesting. Remember that his only means of charge is the solar panels he has on deck, however it has to be said that his boat probably weighs about the same as some larger dinghies.

I would love an electric outboard but the current models just aren't practical at the moment.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:08 AM   #4
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Battery technology would have to improve by a factor of 100 to make them practical i.e. 10 times more power per unit mass, and 10 times cheaper.
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