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Thread: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

  1. #1
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    Default Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Anybody ever put a small outboard on a shellback dinghy.
    They don't seem to be designed for it or a least I've never seen one with one.

    I've moved somewhere with a dock but the road access is very steep, windy and narrow, and likely unusable if it snows.

    I thought it would be good to have a little motorcraft for emergency/snowbound access to civilization (10 min away by car, 30 min by rowboat)
    I like the shellback as an exclusively oars and sail little adventure boat but was wondering if needed , could it be used with a say a 2hp honda 4 stroke (28lbs) or something similar
    I was thinking transom strengthening might be a thing . Especially as mine is solid yew. I do have a 9 ft glass faux clinker rowboat and potentially another option.

    Bad idea? Anyone hear of someone doing it?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I have to put in a plug for the EP Carry electric outboard here:

    https://www.electricpaddle.com/

    We bought one recently to use on our 9’ fiberglass tender, which is similar to a shellback, and are very happy with it. Light weight, quiet, and certainly capable of moving a shellback at hull/rowing speed which is all you would get from a more powerful motor in any case.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I have not. But I have put a 45# thrust electric on a 10' Dory Tender with success.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I'm very interested by the idea of an electric outboard myself, and I was intrigued by that unit but the price of $1600 ($2000 Can) puts it well above what I paid for my shellback, including the sailrite kit for a new mainsail and other modifications.

    Maybe I should sell the pair of used honda outboards I bout recently and reinvest the money in the EP though they're out of stock.
    I really enjoy NOT having a stinky loud noise polluting unit on my wee sailboat, really changes the experience.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I’ve had a 2-1/2 HP outboard on a 9’6” Nutshell Pram and all was fine. Electric would be better, I’d think.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    For a lot less you can buy a trolling motor and a 12v lithium battery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    I'm very interested by the idea of an electric outboard myself, and I was intrigued by that unit but the price of $1600 ($2000 Can) puts it well above what I paid for my shellback, including the sailrite kit for a new mainsail and other modifications.

    Maybe I should sell the pair of used honda outboards I bout recently and reinvest the money in the EP though they're out of stock.
    I really enjoy NOT having a stinky loud noise polluting unit on my wee sailboat, really changes the experience.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Try to find a British Seagull ! My favorite for a classic small boat. Find one, restore it and it will run forever. It even looks good not running. Heres my British Seagull poem:
    ODE TO THE SEAGULL
    The trip was just a summer jaunt
    up the Delaware Bay
    from Cape May to the D/C Canal
    our British Saegull for power that day.

    a Century Plus with a 5 blade prop
    and a shaft both long and true
    a cowling on the carburetor
    in case a storm came through

    The rain came down, the coffee flowed
    as we powered up the bay
    all was well on the Delaware
    until the sky turned gray.

    At times the Seagull took a wave
    but gurgled under water
    We stared at the motor, quite impressed
    we were very glad we brought her!

    At last we saw the light that marked
    the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal
    But in the darkness and the storm
    we missed the narrow channel!

    "Dad! I see rocks...dead ahead
    We have to turn around!"
    We doubted the Seagull could save us
    we were practically aground.

    But turn we did, n the length of the boat
    and the Seagull faced the storm
    It never stalled just plowed through waves
    and kept us all from harm.

    I'll never forget that British Seagull
    though 35 years have passed
    last week I found another one
    Mine to save at last.

    It ws filled with water, the piston seized
    but it WAS a BRITISH SEAGULL
    ..... to be continued

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy


    johngsandusky
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    Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    For a lot less you can buy a trolling motor and a 12v lithium battery
    .

    +1

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 10-22-2021 at 05:00 PM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I have no connection to the EP Carry other than liking the product. That said, a few comments:

    - I can't comment on the EP Carry vs. trolling motor question except to note that the EP Carry is specifically designed to power a small boat efficiently at hull speed. According to EP Carry their motor is several times (4x) more efficient than a trolling motor but I haven't found any data to back up the claim. However any increase in efficiency is a significant advantage when charging via solar or inverter from the house bank.

    - The EP Carry is a high quality product and very different from your cheap Walmart trolling motor. In particular, where the trolling motor locates the motor in a pod under water, the only underwater moving parts on the EP Carry is the propeller drive gear. Much better for longevity, especially in salt water.

    - I love British Seagulls. Had one when I was a kid. Great motors. They have a huge nostalgia factor but are not at all the thing I want to start up at 0700 in a quiet cove to ferry the dogs ashore for their morning walk. And dealing with gasoline and two stroke oil is a hassle I can do without as well. Any motor that depends on fuel overflow from the carburetor for cold start is a dinosaur. (As an aside, I used to ride a Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans I with race kit Dell'Orto carburetors that had tickle buttons instead of a choke. My gloves always smelled of gasoline. Also nostalgic, but not very polite). No, row or electric is the only way to power a dinghy. All the gas motors can go into museums where they belong. Sooner the better.

    There is a lot more information and general comment on the EP Carry in this thread, if you have not already seen it:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...amping-rowboat

    Rick has a lot of experience with the motor and is also a fan of the product. Regarding availability of the EP Carry, it might be worth giving them a call. Joe Grez, the owner of the company, told me they had motors in stock a few weeks ago.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Or for those who really want the Seagull experience but without the noise and environmental impact of a gas motor there is also the DIY approach...



    I like it! Need to hide the controller in a Seagull fuel tank and paint the motor housing gold and I'm sold.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    A 2 hp will be nice
    4hp will be overkill

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Toxophilite, put your shellback on a firm surface where it won't move about. Then push and pull on the transom... apply as much force as you think the motor will. Or at least as much force as you think the motor will need to apply to get the boat to move. If the transom doesn't flex or break in this test... you're gold.

    Remember... the boat doesn't know or care what the energy source is applying the pressure. Too much from an electric motor will wreck things just as fast as too much from an internal combustion motor.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    The 2HP air-cooled Honda weighs about 27 pounds, but it is dang noisy. Electric would be way more peaceful.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Wow thanks. Lot's of good information. I have had many seagulls and enjoyed almost every one. My last boat used a longshaft 40 plus almost exclusively. It was a luxury model with a manual fork clutch. However the EP is very alluring. I have had trolling motors. i should look into the lithium battery availables, Before (several years ago) it was always a giant deep cycle battery . I enjoyed the piece and quiet but the giant battery was a worry
    I will look at the EP thread and maybe give the guy a call.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    They should call that egull a Smeagull
    it's hilarious but it has sort of a star wars sand people look to it.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I'm currently considering a lightly used Watersnake 24 electric motor and deep cycle battery locally. $125 can all in.
    Made for kayaks, canoes and small dinghies.
    The Shellback weighs in at 100lbs pre extra gear and human(s)
    Probably wouldn't push through chop or into a stiff breeze but maybe an alternative to rowing on longer trips when the wind disappears

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Picked it and it's deep cycle battery up for $120. It's hilarious. I want to hold it my arms and sing lullabies to it it's so small and cute.
    From descriptions and reviews watersnake seems to have a similar ethic to the old seagulls. Simple in function but solid construction and good materials.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    The Shellback Dinghy is basically a double-ender on the waterline and putting an outboard there will immerse the transom too much. Perhaps if you attach a broomstick to the handle so you can sit far forward it will work. Frank

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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    The Shellback Dinghy is basically a double-ender on the waterline and putting an outboard there will immerse the transom too much. Perhaps if you attach a broomstick to the handle so you can sit far forward it will work. Frank
    Another good point for the EP Carry. It has a long tiller that allows the helmsperson to sit well forward of the transom. However it's true that the price cannot be compared to something like the Watersnake. The cost premium for the EP Carry would buy a lot of broomstick tiller extensions. But either way I hope the Watersnake works out. One less noisy gas motor is all to the good. Now if I could just get the neighborhood yard crews to ditch their gas powered leaf blowers...
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    For what our experience was worth with our shellback, we borrowed a 2.5 horse outboard (once) to motor up a small, rather narrow twisting channel in the mangroves while cruising MAGIC on the Pacific coast of Mexico. We found that the Shellback would just barely tolerate 1/4 setting on the throttle before excessively vibrating the poor craft. As long as we kept it below that throttle setting, it buzzed along adequately. Higher speeds were ineffectual because, as FF pointed out, the weight of the outboard drags the transom down, sucking up quite a wake. In fairness, we did not have an extension handle to permit both of us to crowd forward.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I have a little Yamaha 2A. Very light and would likely do quite well for that. Even a bit Seagull-ish, as you have to wrap the cord round the flywheel...

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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    My "Spike" (skiff designed by Iain Oughtred) is similar in shape and length as the shellback dinghy. See under my construction thread on this forum.

    I have tried different motors on this boat: Electric (Torqueedo, Minnkota), Gasoline 4 stroke (Honda 2.3 and Mercury 5 hp).
    The trasom of my boat has a similar inclined as the shellback and You need to adopt Your transom in any case to allow for vertical installation of the motor (Motor-shaft vertical to the waterline). Probably the best solution is an outboard-bracket which you could fix on the transom of the shellback on the port-side of your transom, out of the way of Your rudder. You will need such bracket also in order to be able to kick-up the motor if You are in sailing-mode. I do not know if the shellback has a strong-enough transom to allow for the forces the motor would push to the transom, but it would be easy to glue some wooden reinforcements to the transom to deal with that issue.

    On my boat I glued some wedged wooden pieces on the transom, but I am now bulding a special bracket (made of hardwood and some steel-angles) on which I can hang a motor. (Similar to picture below)

    If You will need the motor for short time (under one hour) only and you are in protected waters without winds or currents, an electric motor would be ok. But when it comes to more difficult situation I would recommend to go for a gasoline-motor with minimum 2 to 3 hp. The Honda 2.3 is ok, but is quite loud and it has no option for an external tank. You could construct some solution to be able to fill gasoline by an external tank (seen on this forum), as filling gasoline on small boat with wind and waves is a mess.

    I had an 5 hp Mercury on my skiff, but the motor could not use its potential and is much heavier and therefore the nose of the boat is going up if you are going full throttle. A tiller-extension is a must and You need some ballast fwrd. I cannot recommend to use a 4stroke 5 hp on such boat. I guess that there are lighter 2-stroke-motors around (second-hand), probably an 3-4 hp 2 stroke (low weight) would be fine.

    Here a picture of my boat wht the 5 hp 4-stroke Mercury (standard shaft-length) . Note the special bracket (wedged) to get higher level of motor and to allow vertical position of shaft. I would not recommend this solution and I have built a "shoe"-extention on my boat (see my thread on this forum) and with this the motor is fine. But this is then not for the sailing-rowing mode and for this modes I take away the "shoe".

    As I would like to sail having a gasolin-motor fixed on the transom (for emergency or if the wind does not allow me to sail home in time) I am now thinking of putting a 3 hp second-hand "British Seagull" onto my transom.

    Bracket for small outboard (I actually will bulld one
    , in priciple similar to this):
    british-seagull-auxilary-bracket-removable-1344359280-l.jpg

    Testing 5 hp Mercury on my Spke. See remarks above! (For this type of boat one should go for a lighter 2-3 hp Motor!)

    Foto 01.jpg
    Hay mas tiempo que vida!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Had a 1964 Seagull. Ready parts available, fun and easy to work on. I quickly donated it to the outboard collection at a local museum.

    Clouds of smoke.
    Noise that would raise the dead.
    An oil slick that trails behind your boat.

    May I suggest a MinnKota trolling motor?
    HO HO HO

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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Thanks Jim Bow, ok, British Seagull is dead, You killed it .
    I tried the MinnKota as mentioned in my post above, but a MinnKota will not be able to bring me back to the harbour if the winds, waves and currents are not in my favour. The electric Torqueedo would have enough push, but is too expensive for me and would dain its battery fast if one goes full throttle. If Seagull is killed, than remains light gasoline motor similar to Honda 2.3 but preferable with external tank
    Hay mas tiempo que vida!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I've done some sea trials with the watersnake
    It came with a lead acid deep cycle battery , probably about 30-50lbs! yeesh
    However I put it just behind the middle thwart in a bin for trying it out . Motored around in front of the dock and it moved at a nice sedate pace at slow speed and seemed to be doing around 3.5 knots at high speed.
    Took it out again today,and was setting up the rigging as I motored past this little island that shelters my dock. Sailed for a bit to see how it's placement interacts with the running rigging. I disconnected the motor from the battery and attached it's clips to line threaded through my gunwale. No problems.
    The wind died after I crossed the inlet so I motored around this tiny island and it moved the boat really well, Sailed back across and then tried motoring into the wind and around the area. probably used it for 30 minutes at full speed with no lessening of power and it seemed to do well into the wind and small waves too.
    The Watersnake seems to be a little more solid than the minn kota I have, and at 6.5lbs about 1/4 the weight and the lower pod seems to be metal and it has a stainless shaft.
    The weight was negligible on the transom but when using the motor I raised the kickup rudder to avoid rudder prop collisions
    I think if I can find a decent price on a lithium iron phosphate battery (which is obviously a big part of the EP's cost) then it could be a good auxiliary.
    As a $400 50AH LiFePo4 battery is less than half the size of a deep cycle and only weighs around 12-15 lbs My total cost would be around what I paid for each of the Hondas I have (Can $$)

    I don't see this rig as a get me home through wind and waves option. For wind I have sails, for too much wind I have oars to head to the nearest shelter. beyond that well I'm probably in distress regardless of what I have on the boat.
    I see this rig as useful for longer trips, Like the two 40 km(there and back) camping trips I did this summer.
    I don't mind doing 2 hours of rowing..but not 4 or 6.
    A 50 amp hour battery should give me 2.5 hours of rowing breaks if needed
    And if I have to tack back into the wind, as long as it's not too much wind I could motor instead to save some time.

    And it's hilariously tiny, quite quiet, not stinky and polluting, no gas in the boat, minimal impact on the peaceful sailing experience.
    I still think the EP is a very cool idea, just out of my price range right now.



  26. #26
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    That's a lovely Shellback! Your success with the Watersnake sounds like a great result to me. For a LiFePO4 battery you might look at this option:

    https://www.amazon.com/Ampere-Time-R.../dp/B08K7MKRF7

    I haven't used one myself but it came up on the electric camping rowboat thread (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...90#post6533690). Seems worth looking at. They don't list a 24V, 50Ah battery but two 12V, 50Ah batteries would be $400. You would also need a suitable charger which would add to the the cost a bit if you don't already have a charger that is compatible with Li-Ion batteries.

    As another option for longer trips though, you might consider a smaller battery paired with a solar panel. One of the various folding panels might work well on the Shellback and be easily stowable when not in use. We have a 36V, 65W solar panel that charges the 24V, 12Ah battery for the EP Carry for example (although we don't do it while under way since our boat is just a tender, not a cruising dinghy). But both Rick's electric rowboat thread and this article https://www.electricpaddle.com/solar...g-epcarry.html give a lot more info and data on the practical aspects of cruising under solar power.

    Finally, 40km in a Shellback seems like quite an odyssey to me. What sort of water are you doing that on? A lake?
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    I raised the kickup rudder to avoid rudder prop collisions
    I used to run a 14 ft daysailer with a Seagull on a mounting bracket, set up very similarly to what you have. If I moved the tiller, the rudder would foul the prop in one direction. I found it best to steer with the Seagull's tiller, while the boat's tiller was centred with a piece of bungie cord, lightly stretched. Turning the outboard would cause the rudder to turn too, keeping it out of the way of the prop. I think this rig may have improved maneuverability, too.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Hey thanks, that's a crazy low price, half the lowest price I found. What do the people say about them on the forums? Do you know?
    It's so low one naturally thinks "What's the catch?" One fellow said you couldn't use it below freezing, which in my application shouldn't be a problem
    The Watersnake is 12volts so one of these would do. A way smaller investment. And Almost 1/4 the weight.
    That's 40km total, 20 there 20 back. Indian Arm, off of Burrard Inlet. Generally a relaxed sail downwind there and a motoring or beating back. My first two trips in a boat this small (generally before, 14'-20' mostly the former) loaded with gear and no auxilliary except oars. 1st time with my GF the 2nd time by myself.
    It was windier than I've ever really experienced, both times so I had several hours of wet white knuckle sailing in short chop with little white horses. Some hours of rowing and lots of great sailing and camping too. A fellow in a larger boat pulled up at one of the worst times and applauded me which was very funny. (I was singing to keep myself company on the long beat back). Shortly after that it became a little too much and I reefed which made it hard to punch through the chop. One seems a lot closer to the water in a shellback.

    The water snake has a tiny tiller handle. It's collapsible and only about 5" long. I could fashion an extension for it.
    However just having one tiller is more streamlined on a small boat like the Shellback. Though I agree that one gets way tighter turning using the engine/motor.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    Hey thanks, that's a crazy low price, half the lowest price I found. What do the people say about them on the forums? Do you know?
    It's so low one naturally thinks "What's the catch?" One fellow said you couldn't use it below freezing, which in my application shouldn't be a problem
    The Watersnake is 12volts so one of these would do. A way smaller investment. And Almost 1/4 the weight.
    That's 40km total, 20 there 20 back. Indian Arm, off of Burrard Inlet. Generally a relaxed sail downwind there and a motoring or beating back. My first two trips in a boat this small (generally before, 14'-20' mostly the former) loaded with gear and no auxilliary except oars. 1st time with my GF the 2nd time by myself.
    It was windier than I've ever really experienced, both times so I had several hours of wet white knuckle sailing in short chop with little white horses. Some hours of rowing and lots of great sailing and camping too. A fellow in a larger boat pulled up at one of the worst times and applauded me which was very funny. (I was singing to keep myself company on the long beat back). Shortly after that it became a little too much and I reefed which made it hard to punch through the chop. One seems a lot closer to the water in a shellback.

    The water snake has a tiny tiller handle. It's collapsible and only about 5" long. I could fashion an extension for it.
    However just having one tiller is more streamlined on a small boat like the Shellback. Though I agree that one gets way tighter turning using the engine/motor.
    That was pretty much my reaction to the Ampere Time pricing as well. But they have a decent warranty, good reviews on Amazon, and the distributor appears to be responsive. And a poster on this thread on the DIY Solar forum gives them a thumbs up after extensive testing:

    https://diysolarforum.com/threads/am...reviews.11161/

    So they sound legitimate to me. Maybe not the same quality as Battle Born or Victron or another well known brand, but they seem like good value for the money. The Watersnake and an Ampere Time 50Ah LiFePO4 battery puts you at under $500 all up for an electric setup. Just need to add a folding solar panel for charging. And I expect you can sell the Hondas for more than enough to cover the cost.

    Indian Arm looks like a great place for camp cruising but I'll bet it can get windy. And funny, I sing to myself on long solo passages too (rowing mostly). Have done since I was a kid.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Small outboard on a shellback dinghy

    Interestingly Ampere time has different pricing for US amazon vs Canadian Amazon

    $199 US plus $149 Can Shipping
    vs $799!! Can plus $145 Can shipping for the same 50AH battery
    Renogy is having a sale on there 50AH for $350 Can with free shipping though they have terrible feedback for customer service.

    Once when I had to motor sail (I couldn't get the gaff main down because I couldn't leave the %$^%$ tiller or I might've broached) my friend's George Holmes Eel inspired canoe yawl back across Georgia straight for 4 hours through the worst conditions I've ever experienced (there was a 40' boat flying a handkerchief of a trysail) I sang every song I could think of (and I'm a musician) including all of 100 bottles of beer on the wall which takes about 13 minutes by the way.

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