Sailboat with electric trolling motor?

I'm considering putting an electric trolling motor on my 13 foot sailboat. The boat weighs about 400 lbs. I navigate a narrow tidal creek which is 1 mile from the waterway where I sail. Currents are not very strong. I've read where sailboats which are much larger than mine do this with 50 lb thrust electric motors. Is this a good choice for me?

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I've never had any success with this type motor. The "pitch" of most trolling motors is to high to give you the control you need, at the higher rpm that these motors turn. Then there is the cavitation problems. Don't forget the weight of the battery need to power this motor. Most people resort to a paddle, but if you must have a motor, there are a few that might work. However, each has drawbacks, like no gear shift, or no reverse at all. Some are harder to start than expected. A 3-4 hp. gas is best.

  • bruce
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Electric Motors For Sailboats

  • cupit
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Sailboat Electric Motor

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I used to have a 50# thrust on my Cal 21, which has about an 1850# displacement, through the local lake channels to get to the big picture. But by the time I added the weight of the 3 batteries and the motor, I just opted for a 3.9hp Volvo Penta which I purchased off ebay for a couple of hundred bucks. he motor weighed less than the 3 batteries and trolling motor together. I believe it weighed about 32 #'s. I think you should look for 2-3 hp long shaft motors. They're a bit more expensive if you purchase them new but they don't drain batteries and you don't have to make storage for the batteries and you don't have battery cables all over the place and you don't have to charge any batteries.

    All in all, it's pheasible to run trolling motors but my experience is get a gas powered motor. You never know when you're going to run out of wind and unless you have a volt meter, you don't know when your batteries are going to tucker out, but that usually happens when you're on the other side of the lake and the weather turns foul from what the forecast says it was going to do.

    I hope this helps

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  • 1 decade ago

    I used a 77 pound electric with 105 amp-hour battery (2x12v in series for the 24 volt motor)

    That set moved a Neptune 16 at a reasonable speed for about three hours. That is consistent with a 30 amp draw for three hours. That run exhausted the batts, which is not good practice.

    I think you will be OK at 2 miles range, especially if you are ready to row/paddle if things go south. Best practice is to use the top half of your batts, so go big or risk premature battery failure.

    I want to try towing a small boat like yours with a fishing scale. I found one that read to 100 pounds, so it may be that you could estimate your thrust requirement by towing.

    Just recall that it is a vicious cycle when you look for range, as the bigger batts weigh more, requiring a bigger motor to push.

    Good luck

    Peter in Portland

  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with all the posters pro and con. You have to decide if the pros out weigh the cons. I have a 30# thrust Minn Kota on a 14' kayak and one battery that weighs 34 lbs.and it will scoot me around all day if run below full speed. It makes a big difference what speed setting you have it set on. Because there is no gearing(direct drive) they have a low pitch prop. This gives great start up torc but low overall speed . This won't matter for sailing because you mainly want to just get out far enough to set sail. If the wind dies you should be OK, just don't be in a hurry ,set a cruise position on the throttle, it will get you back. If however you encounter sudden bad weather gasoline motors out perform electric speedwise and in endurance. I say give electric a try. DP

  • 5 years ago

    Yesterday I succeeded in running my 40 thrust Minnekota Endura Max from a 48V nominal lithium ebike battery pack, using a 12V 30Amp DC DC converter. The pack weighs 13 lbs, and has equivalent watt hours to a 90amp hour AGM trojan discharged to 50% (on the trojan). It weighs about 1/5 of the AGM, and runs the motor flawlessly at just under .4 horsepower (6 amps at 52 volts measured with a watt meter). I was worried the DCDC waveform would conflict with the PWM max controller, but no issues. The voltage sag is less too, than the AGM.

    Very impressive for a small LIFPO4 lithium pack. I have several other bigger lithium packs in my ebike fleet - trolling with a 14foot square stern fibreglass canoe will be AWESOME! With the TROJAN AGM for backup. Nothing got hot - the DCDC remained cool, at 75% throttle on the Minnekota for 10 minutes. I got it on Amazon for under 100 dollars. 12V30Amp rated.

  • 4 years ago

    I use a 40 pound, ( from walmart) and keep 2 batt.. on my boat, solor panels as well,with a meter on the system, seems to work great, on a 19 ft oday, even up river with out a paddle. has a good speed( lol not for water skiing, great for motor sailing) has 5 speeds to work with as well 3 speeds in rev/ and to think how much quiter it is and maintance is cheap, and no fuel to buy as well, so the cost seems to come out to beening the same , no matter what..

  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Get the 'spec'.s on that motor.

    (50# is quite a bit of thrust.)

    Even though you're only 13 Ft. you've got a lot of

    windage to manage, and to be safe, you'd better have

    two houres of battery power, which might weigh a bit.

  • 1 decade ago

    I would say very much so. my boat is 28' and uses a 10 hp motor to putt-putt it's way out of the marina. At least this way you don't have to worry about gas fumes and noise but you might want to protect your battery from salt water as battery acid and seawater make chlorine gas.

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