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Old 03-25-2017, 07:35 AM   #1
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Dinghy gas or electric

Hi,
I'm looking at two small dinghies, one inflatable about 80# and a hard on at 185#. Both two place. I can get either for next to nothing.

What would be the goods/bads of powering it with a gas engine vs. an electric engine.

I sure like the simplicity of electric, and seems much easier to deal with, but would it be powerful enough and battery life long enough....?
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:06 AM   #2
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2 person dingy is perfect for electric.

Chances are you aren't going to run 5 miles high speed in most.

Electric is simple, easier for many to start, though the very small gas aren't too bad.

I would probably go electric so partner could use, she can't pull the 8hp 4 stroke.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:17 AM   #3
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I think you have to decide how you're going to use the dinghy. When we were in the Caribbean, it became our car. Some places required significant distances and others not so much.

In the Bahamas we would sometimes dinghy for a mile or two to go lobstering. I cannot imagine that a small engine, or should I say low horsepower engine, would have done the trick. Even in someplace like black point, in the Exuma's, you might have to dinghy a half mile from your boat to the dinghy dock. When we were in Georgetown, off of volleyball beach, we had to take me more than a mile to Georgetown proper to pick up and drop off guest. A small dinghy and small motor would not have served us well. When we were in Georgetown, off of volleyball beach, we had to take me more than a mile to Georgetown proper to pick up and drop off guest. A small dinghy and small motor would not have served us well.

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Old 03-25-2017, 08:27 AM   #4
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A Torqeedo electric outboard had a range of about 7-8 miles pushing a dinghy that size with two people at around 3.5 knots. If you go faster it is less and you can go farther if you go slower. If you can live with that the electric is very nice. I have had electric for 5 years with zero problems. My wife had some "range" anxiety so I bought a second battery but have never needed it.

The Torqeedo comes apart easily into easily lifted pieces so it is MUCH easier to put on and take off the dinghy. The down side of that is that there is no good way to secure the removable parts, so theft becomes an issue in some places. Not having to deal with gas is also a big positive.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:55 AM   #5
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If I was going to travel miles in a dingy...it probably would not be your average 2 person one....just not enough boat unless it was special purpose.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:20 AM   #6
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How are you planning to carry it when cruising? If you have to break it down every day, I would go lighter trolling motor/battery. Manhandling a motor anything over 40# can be painful.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:38 AM   #7
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On our 26-footer, which has a built-in 10-gallon gas tank for the kicker:

Our Avon Redcrest (2-3 people and our dog, weighs only 40lb) is powered by a 2-stroke 2hp Yamaha (Mariner labeled) that weighs only 22lb. 29 years old, and runs like a top. Our 100-lb 12-year-old can start it.

Often we row (with better oars than the Avon take-downs), but when we choose to motor, manhandling the little motor onto the dinghy is no big deal. Goes 3-5 miles at 3-4 knots on its internal 1-quart gas tank. Easy to take another gallon in a jug. No heavy battery (which must be re-charged) needed.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:42 AM   #8
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The dinghy/power issue contains a number of variables: size of boat (which to some degree defines carrying capacity and comfort), speed needed or desired, range needed or desired, and which fuel (gas or electric) is compatible with your situation.

It appears that size of boat has been defined for you, and perhaps with the small size, speed has been defined, so range and fuel compatibility are left. Depending on how you plan on using the dinghy range may or may not be an issue. If you plan on just going from anchorage to shore or cruising the cove you are anchored in, I would definitely go electric. If you may be using the dinghy for more exploring, getting to a store/restaurant a few miles away, tending to a line of traps or spending the day fishing, gas may be the way to go.

Having had both at different times and different places, each (gas or electric) has their strength and weakness. We are now happy with our small, slow dinghy and electric outboard. It's really nice not having any gas on board.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:57 AM   #9
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I get by with a 9.5 ft inflatable Achilles with the smaller 15 inch tubes (LEX-96). It has a soft bottom with a wood floor. The boat weighs about 75 lbs and is manageable without a davit on the swimstep. When tied to a dock, I can load it on the bow for long-term storage without help. It also deflates and stores in a bag below deck.

I use a Honda 2 HP that's only 27 lbs and drives the boat about 5 Kts at WOT. 3-4 Kts is a more comfortable noise level, but the air-cooled Honda 2 HP 4-stroke is a bit noisier than most water-cooled models. It holds a quart of gasoline and it lasts for about an hour at WOT or up to 2 hrs at slower speeds. I carry a small one gallon gas can if I'm covering any distance for plenty of reserve fuel.

When I have the need for speed, I can switch motors to a Merc 15 HP 2-stroke (77 lbs) that scoots that dink right along at about 20 Kts WOT/12-14 Kts cruise. I think a larger dink with 17 inch tubes would be a drier ride, though.

For me, carrying gasoline onboard is not an issue since I'm already carrying some for a Honda generator. Safe storage is available to me in my attic (aka flybridge). Some diesel boats don't have good gasoline storage options.
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Old 03-25-2017, 01:03 PM   #10
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I agree that carrying 10 gallons or so of gas on a boat is one of my least worries.

But....depending on dingy use...simple is good, but for me it certainly isn't the remote danger of some gasoline onboard.
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon J View Post
I think you have to decide how you're going to use the dinghy.
Yep. Pax, speed, distances, storage, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by High Wire View Post
How are you planning to carry it when cruising?
And yep.

Believe safest to solve these before -- or at least while -- choosing dinghy size and type (rigid, RIB, inflatable, kayak, porta-potty... er... porta-boat), horspower, and propulsion fuel (gas, propane, electric).

Some of the "how ya gonna carry it" depends heavily on how the mother ship can be adapted to suit. Which also suggests the mother ship will dictate parts of the solution, too.

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Old 03-25-2017, 03:12 PM   #12
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I've got a little 3hp two stroke, but would certainly consider an electric of similar power.

I'm just wondering how an electric outboard motor and battery would handle getting submerged in sea water. I've had the experience of getting dumped in the beach surf, resulting in a long row back to the boat and stripping down the outboard to clean the water out.
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:29 PM   #13
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Bad experience with Torqeedo electric outboard 3 batteries in 3 two years the battery technology just isn't there yet . I now have a little 2.5HP two stroke Suzuki its as sweetas and the lightest in its class .It has a built in tank and uses next to nothing in fuel we putter around all day on 2 lites and who dosnt like the smell of 2 stroke in the morning .
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Old 03-25-2017, 04:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Hi,
I'm looking at two small dinghies, one inflatable about 80# and a hard on at 185#. Both two place. I can get either for next to nothing.

What would be the goods/bads of powering it with a gas engine vs. an electric engine.

I sure like the simplicity of electric, and seems much easier to deal with, but would it be powerful enough and battery life long enough....?
An electric outboard isn't as simple as it might seem when you consider the limited range of an electric and the impossibility of begging or buying electricity to get you back to the dock or your boat. I suppose TowBoatUS would to tow it back for you.

How will you keep the battery charged on your boat? Remember, you now have to put the motor and the battery on the dinghy to use it and unless you're using a sealed battery, you have to keep it upright at all times.

You can buy a Honda 2.3 HP 4 stroke that weighs 27 lb. That's not hard to store or install on the dinghy. You might do better weight wise if you can find a used 2 stroke.

I don't think they make a propane outboard that light, but propane would be my choice for a dinghy outboard. Propane does not deteriorate in storage like gasoline and it won't gum up your carburetor. Spillage is not a problem but I would keep the extra cylinders outside where any possible leakage would dissipate.
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:40 PM   #15
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The lightweight of a trolling motor and smallish battery if range is not a problem make it possible to leave in the dingy depending on how the dingy is carried.

Charge wires/solar can help keep that battery charged depending on use.

It really all comes down to use, not complexity.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:32 PM   #16
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What would be the goods/bads of powering it with a gas engine vs. an electric engine?
Have you considered a Lehr Outboard? Either a 2.5hp (37lbs) or a 5 hp (49lbs.) They both can run on a typical propane canister such as you'll find on a marine propane barbecue. No gas, no heavy battery, no charging problems...just an extra canister or two which can be carried easily in the dinghy.

I'm leaning in this direction as I have no plans for exploring , fishing, water skiing, etc. in a dinghy. It's just a tool to get me to & from the beach from my boat.

Make sure you view the video (Blue Dot) on the link.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/lehr-...93?recordNum=9
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seevee View Post
Hi,
I'm looking at two small dinghies, one inflatable about 80# and a hard on at 185#. Both two place. I can get either for next to nothing.

What would be the goods/bads of powering it with a gas engine vs. an electric engine.

I sure like the simplicity of electric, and seems much easier to deal with, but would it be powerful enough and battery life long enough....?
I used a Torqueedo electric on a 10' Rib for my sailboat. It had plenty of range and I had a solar charger for it. I loved never having to have a gas can.

I am going to get rid of my 8hp 4-stroke that came with Kinship. It isn't enough juice to plane the heavy dinghy that also came with the boat, so what's the point? I am going to try using the electric on it AND on the new hard shell dinghy I bought.

If I decide to go back to internal combustion, I will likely get a 15hp propane outboard.
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
The Torqeedo comes apart easily into easily lifted pieces so it is MUCH easier to put on and take off the dinghy. The down side of that is that there is no good way to secure the removable parts, so theft becomes an issue in some places. Not having to deal with gas is also a big positive.- TDunn
Tdunn-
Found this nifty security product for the Torqeedo T-1003... (click on the little picture for more pics of it)

Dragon Fabrication

and this recommendation of it.

Torqeedo Security

Quote:
Bad experience with Torqeedo electric outboard 3 batteries in 3 two years the battery technology just isn't there yet . -gaston
gaston-
Wow, I am sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. Our two Torqeedo T-1003 batteries are still going strong after three years. Normal trips (under 4 miles) we only take one. Long trips (over 4 miles) we take both batteries.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:37 AM   #19
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Have you considered a Lehr Outboard? Either a 2.5hp (37lbs) or a 5 hp (49lbs.) They both can run on a typical propane canister such as you'll find on a marine propane barbecue. No gas, no heavy battery, no charging problems...just an extra canister or two which can be carried easily in the dinghy.
I have the Lehr 9.9. So far am happy with it. However, there are a few issues. If you go with the fiberglass fuel tank, understand they have a 15 year life from date of manufacturers, and then are throw aways. The tanks don't seem to be widely popular, so there is a lot of old stock out there. Been looking for another green one (draws liquid instead of gas) and keep finding 2013 dates, expires in 2028. Filling can also prove challenging. Most propane refillers won't touch them. Obviously you only need to find one, but best to do it over the phone. Most of the national companies said no. If the size doesn't need liquid propane for full power, I would consider an aluminum tank instead.

The OBs are made in China and not of the better aluminum alloy that name brand OBs are made of. Mine ( 9.9 HP) already has some corrosion on the lower unit and is mostly operated in fresh and brackish water, very disappointing. The company needs to work on their customer relations department. Have called them on two different occasions with a question. Never returned my phone call. I'm not the only person. My slip neighbor had issues with corrosion and a broken shift linkage. No response, and slow response for the dealer trying to get parts. After 3 weeks without it, he bought a new gasoline OB.

Needless to say, I'm concerned. If I didn't like the concept so much of a propane OB, I may have gotten rid of mine already. So far, none of my problems have been a deal breaker. Just not as trouble free as my 6 HP 33 year old 2 stroke Mercury.

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Old 03-26-2017, 09:18 AM   #20
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Bad experience with Torqeedo electric outboard 3 batteries in 3 two years the battery technology just isn't there yet . I now have a little 2.5HP two stroke Suzuki its as sweetas and the lightest in its class .It has a built in tank and uses next to nothing in fuel we putter around all day on 2 lites and who dosnt like the smell of 2 stroke in the morning .


We haven't had any problem with ours at all. I haven't treated it all that kindly either.
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