I’ve made a change to SKYE’s auxiliary propulsion system. Previously, the electric Torqeedo Travel 1003, mounted on the rudder, was used. Worked pretty darn well, from a “can a 3hp electric outboard actually move a 18,000 lb + boat around satisfactorily” point of view. In practice, it proved to have some drawbacks… specifically that it was mounted very close to the water and was thus very difficult to reach from on deck, to change the batteries, tilt up, etc. Also, being an electrical thingy, occasionally getting splashed by salt water, some corrosion of the connectors occurred, which resulted in less than reliable operation. And, though 3 hp did work, it was a might bit iffy at times, with marginal reverse thrust.

So, I investigated the alternatives, and arrived at the conventional gas outboard on a transom bracket — the very thing I was trying to avoid from the beginning. I did not want to add such a — have to say it — ugly contraption to the wonderfully curved transom of SKYE. But aesthetic druthers are only part of the equation, and I needed a reliable, easy and quick to deploy, sufficiently powerful, get-me-out-of-the-traffic-lanes-right-now (to cite a rare but possible case), solution. On the plus side, the outboard (a Tohatsu 6 hp SailPro) is, and the outboard bracket will be, removable, so the clutter on the transom can be cleared away when wanted.

Here’s a couple of photos of the finished installation, and the control box (shift and throttle) hidden in the starboard deck box, in which it luckily happened to fit…



In a pleasant coincidence, the maximum trim angle of the outboard exactly matched the angle of SKYE’s transom, which not only positioned the outboard properly vertical, but increased the total up/down range of the bracket to over 18 inches. The hailing port (“Port Townsend”) will be moving over the port side, under SKYE.

Since the need to move at night, under power, is a possibility, I also needed to upgrade the navigation lights. In addition to the existing masthead tri-color, there are now lower sidelights, a stern light, and a steaming light — all mounted temporarily, since one of the tasks on the schedule for next month’s haul out (in Olympia) is some updating and repairs to the electrical system, plus the mast will be unstepped, which will allow a proper mounting of the steaming light. Again, these are just temporary, field-expedient, and not-for-long…


The new nav lights are LED, which only use about 1/10 of the wattage, in general, as a incandescent bulb light. Bright little critters, too.