Get home system

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Senior Member
Mar 21, 2018
Vessel Name
Vessel Make
Kadey Krogen 42 - 016
My KK42 has had the generator replaced, which is really nice.
But I've seen a hydraulic pump mounted to the genset with a hydraulic motor mounted near the prop shaft. A chain was ready to install and use the genset to power the prop shaft to get home
I don't have that or any other get home option currently. A Wing engine is interesting but out of my price range. Interested how others have delt with this issue. My engine has less than 200 hours on it but things can still happen. Ideas?

Thanks gang
Where do you cruise? If in US waters, BoatUS or SeaTow can tow you from most anywhere in the US. If you are a blue water cruiser then most get home systems won't get you home.

I would focus my attention on my single propulsion engine and make that as reliable as possible: mechanicals but also fuel and electrics.

Newer generator? Maybe a torqueedo or two hung on a bracket when needed. Otherwise living in the lazarette?
We plan to be in the bahamas next season then the loop. My mechanicals are all new. Which is nice but just because it's new doesn't mean it won't have issues.

The torqeedo is an idea I hant thought of. Very interesting. Great idea. I'll look into that.

Thanks for the comments.
There are kites that you can fly off of your foredeck that will pull your boat. I don't know anything about them, but I've seen a few videos on youtube.....

Doubtful you will need it for the Great Loop. Between a cellphone and a VHF with a big antenna, I doubt you could find a place without coverage.

As plan B, I bought a Garmin Inreach which gave me Satellite texting capability. You just need to plan in advance who to text.

I considered the same situations as you with my single engine boat, and determined that 99.999% of the time I could arrange a tow. For areas such as crossing to and from the Bahamas, if I was still concerned, I would buddy boat across.

"But I've seen a hydraulic pump mounted to the genset with a hydraulic motor mounted near the prop shaft."

That description fits the KEYPOWER Take-Home system very well.
Auxilliary Propeller "Get Home" Drive

I saw it installed on a 42 in Alaska a number of years ago. The then-owner loved using it for very slow speed salmon trolling! I liked it so gave Key Power a call on my way South in Vancouver, B.C. Unfortunately, my 54 didn't have enough space between the shaft coupling and log to install one. The K58 that made the Nordhavn Atlantic crossing had the units installed on both drive trains, each powered by one of the two gensets.
you may be able to pick up a diesel outboard kicker while in the Bahamas if you visit one of the marine service/sales centers in Nassau.
I must have missed this when it was first posted, just saw it when it was revived. Our KK42 has the get home system that was an option. Larger Onan generator with a hydraulic pump PTO feeding a motor above the prop shaft. Ours is belt drive and not chain drive, with the belt off the pulleys and slid back out of the way when not in use.
We have not tried it since we purchased the boat, it is on my list to do but not a priority. We carry a RIB with a 15 hp outboard, and I would be much more likely to tie that alongside to get us back to an anchorage or dock if the main dies.
I have to admit that the get home is a cool bit of engineering with a lot of thought put into it, ours has fwd/reverse controls and throttle control so I imagine maneuvering would be pretty straightforward. It would be a good option if we ever decide to cross oceans or do offshore trips.
Even if you were to tow with the RIB, I'd expect maneuvering the boat into a slip would be easier with the get home unless it's a face dock.
Stripper, I highly advise you practice using both methods in different sorts of conditions.
Odds are, but not certain, that you will be dissuaded from the dinghy idea pretty quickly.
I had to have a friend tow us back to the dock about a year and a half ago (different boat). That was the first time in more than 40 years of boating that I had to be towed home. It is not something I worry much about. I have tried towing other boats with a dingy, and bringing them into a slip tied alongside. Pretty sure I could do it if I had to.
Regarding using a Dinghy to guide a boat in; I did it and it didn’t go well. We were anchored this past Summer and a solid 15 to 20K wind picked up. The couple in front of us in a sailboat came unglued. The husband was ashore and his wife was solo. They had a small center console tied aft, and she was having trouble managing so I offered to side tie the small center console to my Dinghy and transfer to it their friends boat. With the wind, it took me 20 mins to go 100 yards, and I was all over the place and that is with a hard shell 12 ft Bullfrog and a 30Hp engine. There is no way I could ever hip tie and successfully bring in a larger boat to a slip with any type of weather.
A couple of years ago I was looking at adding a 6-10 kw genset to my boat and got thinking about this get home idea with salmon trawling as a bonus. It evolved from a 15 hp 3 cyl 1800 rpm Misubishi diesel to a 4 cylinder of the same series and with a vs governor which increased the top hp to 39 at 3000 rpm. That meant instead of a crank mounted generator, I put the big load of the Sundstrand variable displacement hydraulic pump I had and mounted directly to the crank with Hayes flex plate and SAE 7 housing. A 12 kw generator was going to be belt driven from the frontof the engine. I bought a large hi torque piston motor to complete the closed loop system that would give me about 2:1 ratio chain driven to the 2” prop shaft. Chain to be removed when not in use. I made a centering ring to mount the 34 tooth #60 sprocket on the 5” Borg Warner 72C coupler only moving the shaft and prop back about 1/2”. This setup could be run for max efficiency of the engine or at full engine power and give you infinitely variable speed forward or reverse. I have not had time to install the system and am having second thoughts because of space. It is all high quality commercial 5,000 psi hydraulic components that at modest pressures required here should last a lifetime. Hydraulic shops words! It was a fun project to design but is overkill for my boat. I could get all the specs if anyone was interested in building one for their boat or may consider selling mine to build one closer to the size that I can work with.


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Still thinking of selling?

I just saw this old post, are you still thinking of selling?
Yes I still have all the components stored in my heated garage. If you wanted to buy the whole package it would be good deal for both of us! What are you thinking of doing?

Call me 780 662 2614. Home
780 718 3601 cell
Some years ago I moved the genset of my Manatee from its athwart-ships position beneath the galley to a new hatchway in the veranda, making sure that the genset crank pulley was directly in line with the prop shaft so a belt or chain drive and idler pulley could be added later. Lateral tension on the shaft created by this setup would pull wear against the top areas of tranny bearing & seals as well as the shaft log, requiring that the shaft stay connected to the presumably undamaged transmission. The Hurth HSW 450 transmission is supposedly OK for the RPMs expected with a 2.5-3.5 to one ratio while in neutral.

The finished system would be a rather crude and ugly thing, but super simple, giving one steerage and about 3 knots in calm conditions. Anything more would require more than the 15 hp my genset delivers. As a legitimate get home alternative… it would only help when breakdowns don’t involve driveline issues from the flywheel back…and in ideal weather conditions….not worth the trouble IMO.
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