Thanks to the folks at Torqeedo, getting rid of that silly old internal combustion engine has never been easier.
Back in 2014, one of our favorite smaller designs, The Signature Series 24, got a loving prototype build up at the Northwestern School of Boatbuilding, in Port Hadlock, Washington. Christened Azulita at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, that year, this little Spirit of Tradition honey has since made her way to the mid-west. These days she charms her current owners day-sailing on Lake Michigan.
(Go ahead, waste the morning and check this video of her footing around in, at most, 5 knots of breeze. She’s really is the perfect little boat.)
Like a lot of small boats, Azulita bumbled through the grim auxiliary power issue with the usual stupid-ugly, side-mounted, small-horsepower electric “sheer killer,” oh sorry … motor.
So late last year, we were thrilled to hear from Auzilita’s owner: He wanted to retro-fit in a new, way-slick propulsion system — a Torqeedo ‘Cruise’ fixed pod. The side-mounted electric motor had become too painful to handle. If you’ve not checked out one of these small, all-in-one electric power systems, by all means do. For $5,000 — or about the same cost as a combined outboard, control system, and fuel tanks — you get a motor, a battery control system, a throttle, a battery, cable, parts and clear enough instructions so any competent yard can install the system in less than a day.
In fact, we think the Torqeedo is so simple, you could probably install the thing yourself. So in that DIY/SOT spirit, we’re including some of our working drawings to help you get started.
Here’s some notes:
The Motor Is On the Outside: The big news with the Torqeedo, and some other similar power pods, is the motor is not in the boat. It’s right down there near the prop encased in its aluminum lower strut, in the water. The motor needs no cooling system. It’s in the cold water! There is no spinning drive shaft penetrating the hull. Instead, installation is all about mounting the prop/motor housing in the right place, drilling some holes, designing a proper mounting structure and then running the control wires to the battery and throttle. That’s pretty much it.
- The Battery is No Big Thing. Torqeedo confirmed to us that it intelligently uses two types of battery technologies to drive its systems: Lithium iron phosphate and lithium nickel manganese cobalt. These are the smart and safe ones that don’t explode — unlike what’s in your smart phone or the 787 Dreamliner. Just locate the battery securely in the boat for best trim. The Torqeedo system install is hard to mess up.
You’re drilling a hole, not installing a drive shaft. Since you are just running control wires, and not a vibrating turning drive shaft, the through-hull is a simple, single vertical hole drilled into and through the boat, sided by two smaller holes for thru-bolting the entire pod/strut in place. The drilled holes need proper protection and must be well-structured, secure, sealed, and stable. We included the drawing to show you how simple it is. Anybody can do it.
- Read the Instructions. Honestly, the only way we can see screwing this up is succumbing to Male Answer Syndrome, and trying to drop this unit in without going through the manuals. Don’t be a dope. Instead, click here and download the pretty well-written instructions that are both in English and German. You will find these Bedienungsanleitung worth reading, even if you’re planning to hire the work.
Obviously, we would happy to hear from you about your propulsion needs. We have several sophisticated cross-platform projects crossing our desks as we speak. But that’s not the point here today. We think Torqeedo is a great idea. And it deserves our support: We’re happy to forward you our drawings, as long as you understand you are using them at your own risk, and you will likely benefit from designers, like us, to help with particulars regarding your boat. But if you want to do it yourself, great. Just email us and we will gladly assist in helping you sort out the best solution.
If you’re thinking of re-powering away from internal combustion engines, by all means, start with this power pod. It’s easy, perfect for any small sailboat, and oh boy, does it work.
Gute Arbeit, TORQEEDO!