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Minn Kota Trolling Motor - a Field Trial  

July 11, 2010. Jim Ospy ( WISP) sent in an interesting report on powering his Dolphin on her first return to water (Lake George, New York) after several years on the hard.


You asked about auxiliary power in an earlier e-mail. As you know I removed the Palmer. Well, I read on a few forums that others had success powering with a trolling motor, so I gave it a shot.


I bought a Minn Kota 36" shaft trolling motor with 45 lbs of thrust ($190.00 at Dick's). I hastily engineered and installed a mounting bracket which allowed the prop to get under water, though not as far as I would have liked.

After we cast off the docklines, we used this setup to motor slowly (maybe a knot or two) away from the marina, and it worked. It was dead calm, no chop, no wind, no wake, and with the speed control on "2" we scooted right along. Then the breeze came up, and I raised the jib (with cheers and jubilation from the crew) and ole WISP came to life, accelerating quickly and heeling slightly. In the midst of our excitement over actually sailing the boat, I forgot about the trolling motor.

A little while later I remembered it (it was running silently - unusual!) but accidentally turned the power to "4" instead of off. The motor instantly ripped off my mounting set-up, and if I hadn't had a good grip on the handle we might have lost it.

I reset the motor sans bracket by just clamping it to the stern rail. The prop was just barely underwater. It worked OK in calm conditions, and was silent as a mounse. Overall, for cruising this is not really an option, as the range is limited and the power really isn't there to get through chop, adverse wind, or current.  But for slow maneuvering around a marina it's perfect, and does not require gas, etc. I bought a large dual purpose AGM battery and attached a bilge pump and the motor. Voila! 

The Minn Kota model with a 45" shaft and 55 lbs thrust would power any Dolphin perfectly, and allow the prop to be far enough underwater, without permanent motor mounts.

A slightly beefed up stern rail would allow mounting without any brackets. For weekending or daysailing, this is a viable option for power so long as you sail the boat like it has no motor, and only use the motor when there is NO wind.

To me, the trolling motor is just a slight improvement over oar sculling. Acceptable for my uses for now.

I would like power generation on the boat, and do NOT like the look of any motor or bracket defiling the sweet lines of the transom, so I will ultimatly re-power. For this summer, the Minn Kota will serve.



April 9, 2013. Responding to a follow up and inquiry on his electric motor we got the following email from Jim (edited).

The Mmin Kota works if you don't really want an inboard auxiliary with power generation, but rather just need an alternative to paddling or sculling. No good for fighting wind or wave or current, really. Perhaps a more powerful model with a true outboard well and a portable suitcase generator for cruising would work? There was something very cool about how powerful and QUIET the electric motor is. I didn't expect that.

Re - researching motors. I can't justify a $7-10K (inboard diesel) motor but have now fixated instead on an Atomic 4. They are too big heavy and powerful but they make up for that in initial low cost and overall performance. I had an Atomic 4 in a Cheoy Lee and it was remarkably quiet and reliable. Used ones are plentiful and reasonably priced. I'm leaning in that direction.





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