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Old 05 May 2010, 19:40   #1
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Aux motors: the theory...

As can be seen in another thread, I am new to ribbing and currently seeking out my first 'starter' RIB. I have seen a few I am interested in, but what keeps niggling me is that they have no auxilliary engine. I seem to rarely see them on ribs?

I plan to use the boat I buy on the Atlantic coast of the Isle of Lewis, and while I will do the necessary RYA PB2 and VHF course...the thought of engine malfunction fills me with dread.

I just really wanted to hear what the thinking is on the subject. Is it: "buy a good engine and keep it maticulously maintained, and the chances of failure are slim"? I mean, I hear that well maintained 2 strokes are very reliable...but does age come into it?

One of the boats I am interested in is a Searider 5.4. Can you mount an aux. engine on this boat? There doesn't seem to be enough room on the transom. Also, the ubiquitous Yamaha Outboards these come with...are they reliable?

Any thoughts/advice/philosophys welcome. Thanks again.
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Old 05 May 2010, 20:15   #2
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Originally Posted by ooglewoogle View Post

One of the boats I am interested in is a Searider 5.4. Can you mount an aux. engine on this boat? There doesn't seem to be enough room on the transom.
There is, just. I have a nearly identical Searider. I can just fit a 2.2hp Suzuki on the transom next to the main engine. It's very very slow but it'll give me steerage way (and I can use it for trolling a fishing lure )
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Also, the ubiquitous Yamaha Outboards these come with...are they reliable?
Hell yeah.Just keep them serviced and they last for a very long time.
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Old 05 May 2010, 20:30   #3
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I guess a lot of it depends on where you are - trundling around the Solent is fairly safe, being potentially 15 miles from the nearest vessel and 10 miles from the nearest human habitation, which is not at all difficult round these parts, means I wouldn't be without one. Having said that, I had mega paranoia about engine failure and the potential embarrassment of being towed home in the early days, but after a year or two of never missing a beat, I worried about it less, but I still wouldn't have gone far without the aux even though I only needed it once in four years (and that was user stupidity - casting off from a pontoon with the engine off and then flooding it by using choke on a hot engine)

Have a good engine, keep it maintained, and have an aux just in case because 4 knots is a hell of a lot faster than rowing or swimming, that is my philosophy
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Old 05 May 2010, 20:32   #4
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have an aux just in case because 4 knots is a hell of a lot faster than rowing or swimming, that is my philosophy
I *love* your philosophy!
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Old 05 May 2010, 20:33   #5
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There is, just. I have a nearly identical Searider. I can just fit a 2.2hp Suzuki on the transom next to the main engine. It's very very slow but it'll give me steerage way
Wow, that is great to know. Is there a pic of that on the site somewhere?

Thanks Nos!
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Old 06 May 2010, 03:43   #6
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Heres one - 2.0 hp johnson single cylinder
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Old 06 May 2010, 04:02   #7
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Bearing in mind your base, I's be hanging an aux on my transom!

There are some older generation 4Hp twin cylinder machines that are quite slim. My transom is on a par with a searider one, and I can get one on there.

Other handy tip - get a long shaft - otherwise the prop will pop out the water at every wave!
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Old 06 May 2010, 04:22   #8
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ooglewoogle,

If I were in your location I would want an Aux (in fact even though I am not as remote as you I now have a very small Aux on a very small boat). I think the reasons Aux are not common on Ribs are:

1. There is a high density of RIBs on the South Coast, where Sea Start, the rescue services, and other boaters are all only a few minutes away.

2. Its tricky to fit one on and mount it in a robust manner - especially if you are into wave jumping.

3. There is a perception that RIBs are intrinsically safe, and to some extent they probably are a better place to be bobbing around waiting for a tow than on a boat with no permanent buoyancy.

The other thing I would do in your position is try to understand the common engine problems that occur at sea, and firstly try and avoid them with good maintenance and secondly know how to fix them to get you home. To my mind the two big problems are: (a) Fuel (b) Electrics.

For Fuel there are a number of silly things to be aware of - breathers closed/blocked, lines kinked, dodgy priming bulb etc. Then there are fuel filter blockages. I guess the turnover at your local garage won't be good to start with - so crap in fuel may be more likely as well as water in fuel. So a good fuel separator filter is probably important, along with a spare to swap at sea. You also want to know how to drain your carbs. I'd be tempted to keep a small tank of fresh good fuel in a separate can with its own hose and priming bulb on board in case your main tank gets contaminated, water in it etc. On the electrical front then you want to make sure you know how to start the engine with a dead battery. You also want to keep all your connections clean/dry. One possible area of trouble that seems to crop up is a short in the kill cord/stop circuit which will prevent you running the engine. Useful to know the symptoms and how to quickly disable this temporarily.

My own experience is that when you're at sea and it won't start you begin to panic a little bit. You need to be calm and logical and go through a set procedure. E.g. with me it is usually a kill cord not connected properly or that the engine is still in gear that means turning the key does not spring to life. If you are likely to get a bit flustered by it then a "check sheet" or trouble shooting flow chart (I think Haynes manuals used to have one for cars) would probably be a good call.

Now a 2 HP single aux isn't going to be much fun on SR5.4 in the sort of conditions you might face, and you may not be able to make progress against a strong tide but it would let you limp along whilst either waiting for a tow or trying to go debug the problem yourself.
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Old 06 May 2010, 05:15   #9
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Here it is in action, it does make headway, steering is a nightmare to keep it in a stright line if you have an a frame fouling it, an transom outboard bracket would resolve this, either way, it'd get you home eventually

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Old 06 May 2010, 05:32   #10
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Quote:
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I guess a lot of it depends on where you are - trundling around the Solent is fairly safe, being potentially 15 miles from the nearest vessel and 10 miles from the nearest human habitation, which is not at all difficult round these parts, means I wouldn't be without one.
This would be my thinking. I don't have an aux - but I never leave the Solent.
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