I’ve never been much of a fan where internal combustion engines are concerned in general and marine engines in particular. Part of this might stem from going fishing with my dad in his ongoing quest to catch a world-record light tackle Sailfish. An experience that is very much tied to projectile vomiting, the smell of diesel, and the feeling that sitting under an apple tree in Kansas would be a very good place to be in the moment.
So to say that I’m not keen on an internal combustion engine within the confines of a hull I’m living in is a given.
Then I must be a fanboy of electric propulsion… Right? Well sorta/kinda. I’ve had three different electric propulsion systems aboard “So It Goes” and while they all worked it was obvious that they were all problematic on a couple of levels. The first is charging issues on a boat with a finite space available for solar panels and the second is various issues of energy storage. While I have high hopes that within the next decade, we’ll see great strides in solar tech as well as salt-based energy storage but for me, I’ll wait till it happens.
This pretty much leaves me with sail power and that’s OK with me as I like to sail and 6-8 knots is a pretty awesome speed to cross oceans with. Sails provide all of the horsepower that one actually needs.
That being the case I don’t need an engine for cruising except to get into a marina, up a river, or a hurricane hole and I can get by with a 4-6HP just fine for that. Of course, I don’t ever motor dead towards windward, and from time to time I may find myself sitting on a boat that isn’t moving until the wind reappears.
I’m OK with that.