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Electric or gas motor for a core sound 17 mark 3?


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We just finished building our Core Sound 17 Mark 3, named Good Morning.  We have been using an electric motor, made by EP Carry, on our Scamp, but are thinking about getting something bigger for the new boat.  Has anyone had experience with the Suzuki 2.5 or the Torqeedo on the Core Sound 17?  Any advice would be appreciated.

Samantha

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Wow… nice work.  Hope the boat meets your needs and hopes. 🙂

I like the mizzen tabernacle… boomkin… and what I think is your connecting halyard to sheets when masts are down.  All interesting.  
 

I use my Honda 2.3 on both my CS15 and CS17m3 since it’s light and easy to move and mount.  (I mostly do day sailing on inland lakes.)  BUT, it needs rotation for reverse since it doesn’t have F-N-R shifting like the Honda 5 I bought for the 17’.  I prefer the way the 5hp runs and comfortably powers the 17’ with less noise  than the air cooled Honda 3.2. 
 

What? No yellow accents like my Avocet? 😁

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I have a 2.5 Suzi on my CS 17 Mk I.  It works swell.  Goes c. 6 mph at full throtle, great for getting in and out of places.  Keep the oil level low, at the mark, and don't store it on its side like they say in the manual.  I store it vertically in the winter and "face down" (pull cord facing down) when traveling.  Run it dry when you're done for the day by closing the gas valve, and then reach in through the side hole with a phillips screw driver to open the screw a half turn and drain the carb into a rag or paper towel held under the housing, too.  None of that is in the book, all of it is very useful.

 

Someone will weigh in, but I assume it would be fine on the MkIII.  It's a very trustworthy engine.  Started first pull 3 or 4 different times when I needed it on last outing.  I love the way it purrs at low throttle.

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Congratulations Sam! Good Morning looks beautiful.

 

I think an electrical outboard can be better than a combustion engine outboard, but it really depends on how you use your outboard. Rather than a binary yes or no, it is all about tradeoffs.

For years, my wife and I had a suzuki 2.5hp outboard on our Core Sound 20 Mk 2. We prefer to sail or row and only use the outboard in busy harbors or when the wind dies in a ship channel. I don’t think we’ve ever motored more than 7 miles at a time. 

 

We switched to an e-propulsion spirit just before we took a 2 week cruise in the fast moving waters of the Puget Sound in May of 2022 . We only went into port one time, and we only charged the battery twice. If we had brought the solar charger, we would never have had to plug in at all. A few factors that made cruising with the electric outboard a success:

  • We had a flexible itinerary, so we could wait out storms (a gale came through one day).
  • There typically isn’t a lot of wind in May in the Puget Sound (except for storms), and there was plenty to explore in the San Juan Islands, so we didn’t need to go far.
  • We rowed a lot and were meticulous about choosing favorable tides and currents. 
  • Over two weeks we sailed 56 miles, rowed 12 miles and motored 11 miles. We also did a lot of hiking and even hired bikes.
  • We had a packraft for a dinghy which allowed us to anchor out or stay at a mooring buoy while still being able to go ashore.
  • We used the motor a handful of times, usually at a very modest 150 watts to cross a ship channel, avoid ferries or get past a headland. For example, our longest time under electric power was to cross Rosario Straight in a dead calm. Rosario Straight has fast currents and big ships and it was our first time, so we were extra cautious. We crept up the east side of Cypress Island in a tidal eddy up to the tip of the island. At that point we increased power (more than 500 watts) for a few minutes to get through the strong current at the point and out into Rosario Straight. Then we crossed the ship channel at 150 watts, going 2 kt forward and 3 kt sideways until we caught the tide into Peavine Pass at 6 kt (2 kt motor, 4kt tide). 

As I mentioned before, we prefer to row or sail, but it would have been impossible for us to punch past the eddy by just rowing - our boat is too big and we aren’t strong enough. If we hadn’t had a motor, we would have missed the tide window and had to stay one more night on Cypress Island. This story illustrates the tradeoff we have made: we use the motor for cruising flexibility while still staying mostly human and wind powered. In exchange our boat is cleaner, more quiet, less smelly, and we don’t have to worry about motor maintenance.

 

I am always surprised by how powerful the ePropulsion spirit is. It is so quiet that I don't get any engine-noise feedback to tell me how much throttle I've put on and if I'm not careful, I will jerk my 20', 400kg boat forward like a toy. When I first got the outboard, it took me some time to get used to it. My boat handling was very jerky while getting into a slip - start, stop, start, stop, etc. It is a bit like an electric car in how quickly it can go from 0% to 100%.

 

If you need maintenance, a regular outboard shop won’t be familiar with the motor, but then there is almost no maintenance, so I haven’t been worried about that. A few weeks ago, I ran into some levee rocks in the Sacramento river delta and damaged the tilt device. It didn’t stop me from using the motor, but the reverse feature (which I love) didn’t work. I like working with tools so when I got home, I used wrenches, screwdrivers and a small hammer to remove the part, and then I ordered a replacement online. I am pretty sure a regular outboard shop would be able to do the same even though they aren’t an “authorized dealer”

 

Here’s a video that just came out about electric outboards on small sail boats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WomwETaSUmU&t=1s

 

The electric motor is working out very well for us. I’ve just purchased the solar charger so next big trip, we will be even more self-sufficient.
 

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I have an epropulsion Spirit that I first used on my Catalina 18 and have been using on my CS 17.3. I think it works great. It gets about 22 miles of range at modest speeds. I would only get a combustion engine if I really needed propulsion for a multi-day sail of some kind. Even then I'd consider electric and solar panels.

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Amos and I just sailed/motored last fall from Chesapeake city to the B & B Messabout , each with our own respective Core Sound 20 Mark III. We both used Suzuki 2.5 hp motors and they worked well. I am a big proponent of electric, but for that trip, we had some long runs under power, and charging would have not been possible. I do like the idea of the E-propulsion motor for the typical use of these boats to get in and out of ramps and harbors where long motoring runs aren't neccesary. 

 

As for the Suzuki, I like it but it has no reverse. On a light boat with a lot of windage "Skeena" can get blown around easily. I've had a few close calls pulling into docks in tight quarters when I'm by myself. It takes too long to reverse swinging the engine around. I also have a lot of more motor sailing plans that include the Rideau canal in Canada, and possible a long trip down the Erie canal/Huson river, through NYC to St Michaels MD. 

 

I have now purchased a Suzuki 6 hp which is way more power than necessary. Truthfully the 2.5 was plenty and the 4hp would be fine, but the 6 weighs the same as the 4 and I got a great deal on it. It adds about 20 pounds to the stern compared to the 2.5. It has an internal tank and a a remote tank. 

 

When motoring long distances, I would carefully fill my tank on the 2.5 with a MSR fuel bottle on the fly. On longer trips like that I'm planning to use the bigger fuel tank which should be nice. 

 

I will post soon how thinks go with the bigger Suzuki. I hope this helps. 

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Call me a luddite if you wish, but a little Suzuki 2.5hp 4-stroke makes the most sense to me.  The reason is economics.  I can get a brand new Suzi for under $1,000.  A gas can costs about $20, and it takes less than $10 to fill it.  A 3hp e-propulsion (with battery pack) will set you back $2,600.  How much gasoline can I buy for the $1,600 difference?  Plus you'll need a battery charger capable of charging Lithium batteries.  Oh, and then there's the cost of the solar panel and controller.  Occasionally, I'm tempted to make the switch, but basic economics and common sense prevails.

 

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I notice that the electrics (epropulsion/torquedo) come in different shaft lengths than the standard 15/20/25  found on the gasoline engines.

 

what epropulsion shaft length would be best for my cs17?  Dont want to drag the prop in the water while sailing, but the prop needs to stay submerged while motoring across Nantucket Sound to the next harbor.  The current motor is a tohatsu 3.5hp, 20" shaft.  It stays down, but will cavitate in bumpy sea conditions.  

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