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Forums / General / OB motors in well  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 13 Jan 2010 at 6:59am
Hi all
Many Dolphins have outboard motors in transom wells, as I do. As my engine is a short shaft, only 4hp without reverse, it weighs only 32 lbs and its relatively easy to take it out and store it below while sailing, or when not in use. Most owners have 5 to 8, even 9 hp motors weighing 60-80 lbs or more that are permanently in the well.

Question: What experiences do you have with sailing in a breeze and having water from a following or quartering sea surge up through the well and collect in the leeward side of the transom? I know the compartment is sealed, but on my boat if I leave the motor in the well, 2-3, maybe more, gallons of water can be sloshing around in the leeward side, especially when heeled going upwind.

Any comments, fixes much appreciated

Ron Breault
Marionette, #12

Posted: 13 Jan 2010 at 1:27pm
Hi Ron. I've had the same experience, although I rarely have as much as much water as you describe slosh over. Perhaps the walls of the Yankee motor well are a bit taller than they are on Marionette.

I have drain scupper holes drilled on either side, through the side walls of the motor well, just above the floor of the compartment. They drain the water out, although this really won't happen until the boat returns to a non-heeled attitude.

I've be working on sorting out and cleaning up my engine compartment recently. This has included putting a plastic through-hull fitting through the port side wall of the motor well, and attaching the bilge pump hose to it. My bilge pump now discharges into the motor well, in a nice, clean installation. Works very well. When I finish my revamp of the compartment, I'm take a few photos for you to post on the site.

By the way, I just bought the Tohatsu 6hp Xtra Long Shaft outboard from Online Outboards ( http://www.onlineoutboards.com ). Will receive next week. I'll reserve judgment until I receive the goods safe and sound, but so far, dealing with Online Outboards has been a great experience. They ship anywhere in the lower 48 for free, and no sales tax if you are anywhere but Tennessee. Looking forward to trying the motor out.

Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 6:50am
Hi Eric
I had an reply on this question from Jim Robinson, Aquila, Pacific Dolphin #273. He sails out of Morro Bay in your part of the world. These are his comments.

I've always taken it for granted I'll have a little water on the lee side of the transom in larger seas, but to date it hasn't been a problem. An average summer day on Estero Bay will produce 6 to 8 foot breaking seas with 15 to 25 knot winds. Aguila and I have encountered up to 18 foot breaking seas and 30 knot winds, gusting to 45 while running before the wind. If there was a problem with the transom flooding I did not notice --- but then, I was pre-occupied. To be more specific she seemed to keep her lift on the crests and did not wallow in the troughs. I'll keep an eye on that area in the future and let you know what I observe.


When I get a chance I'll measure the height of my transom well and if you do the same we can compare numbers - that will be instructive.

We have pictures of David Baumer's, Yankee #81 Terry Bullock's Yankee #109 transom well and plug in the technical section and if this is the standard Yankee/Pacific system there is a pretty sizeable lip above the deck of the transom locker. This change may have 'fixed' the problem that O'Day boats had/have. http://www.dolphin24.org/81_transom_plugl


Posted: 19 Jan 2010 at 1:30pm
My motor compartment and well looks quite similar, if not identical to David's #81, and my hull plug looks the same as Terry's #109. If it ever stops raining here in Los Angeles, I'll take some photos and measurements and forward them along to you.

BTW, my new motor arrived yesterday. Haven't unpacked it yet, but it got here seemingly safe and sound. I'll give a full report once I've had a chance to try it out.

Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 20 Jan 2010 at 8:40am
It seems that the raised 'lip' around the top of the Yankee/Pacific well may also be big factor in preventing water entry into the transom locker. O'Day boats do not have such a lip.

I wonder how that lip would affect rotational movement of the head of the motor. Even if you have reverse, sometimes, in a tight spot, and especially going slow, being able to at least partially rotate the motor gives a lot more steering control than relying on the rudder alone

I thought I'd give a full report on my lazarette and motor well on Robin Lee, with some new insights, and some notes on my new Tohatsu engine.

The three side walls of the motor well, the "lips", have the following dinensions:
Above the floor of the lazarette compartment: 4" at forward end (where motor mounts), and 9-1/2" at aft end (inside of transom)
Above waterline: 13" at forward end, 18-1/2" at aft end.

Note that there are three holes you can see in the port sidewall of the motorwell: 1) A drain hole in the aft corner, right above the floor of the compartment, to drain slosh-over water back into the well. 2) a 1" diameter forward/center hole, for fixing the plug in place when underway (more on that later). And, 3) a penetration for the plastic through-hull fitting I installed to drain my bilge pump into the motorwell.

This also appears to be standard issue Yankee product. It has a glass-over-plywood vertical fin which serves as a handle to insert and remove the plug, and which has a 1" diameter hole in it, similar to the side walls of the motor well.

Terry Bullock (Yankee #109) has already noted that the holes in the side walls of the well align with the hole in the fin handle, and that the plug can be fixed in place by passing a line through the three holes and tying it off.

I was thinking about that, how the holes align perfectly, and also thinking about the fact that the holes are all 1" OD. It occurred to me that maybe Yankee supplied the boat a rod that passed through the three holes and locked the plug in place. I bought a piece of 1" doweling, and tried it out:

Sure enough! A perfect fit, and the plug is locked firmly in place. It's so obvious to me now that this was Yankee's intent with these holes. Other Yankee owners may chime in and tell me this is old news, but my boat didn't come with the dowel, and I had to figure it out by myself.

I've had a chance to get my new Tohatsu 6 hp extra-long shaft engine up and running. Still breaking it in, but so far, so good. Todd Phillips advised me that the fuel hose attachment faced forward on the front of the motor, and pressed against the forward bulkhead of the lazarette, and he was right. Using his recommendations as a starting point, I modified the installation with a new, longer fuel line, and re-routed the fitting to face starboard. A couple of cable ties attach the new piece of fuel line to the lifting handle on the front of the engine, making for a clean installation.

I've installed a pulpit-mounted outboard bracket (West Marine), which allows me to lift the motor out of the well, and store it securely mounted to the stern pulpit. This means the moving the rather heavy motor (60 lbs.) around is reduced to a minimum.

So far the motor seems to be a very good one indeed. Came all the way from Tennessee to California, and I took it out of the box, put oil in it, filled the gas tank and hooked up the hose, and pulled the starting cord ONCE. Started right up.

Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 02 Feb 2010 at 10:08am
Thanks Erik
We have incorporated these posts on to the relevent pages in the Technical Section - Outboard Motors:

and Transom Wells and Plugs:


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