My wife hates outboards. I’ll never forget running up the magical Frenchman’s Creek off the Helford River with her in my trusty red punt, complete with 1½HP British Seagull. I could have rowed, but the Seagull had only recently come my way at the popular price of zero and I was out to play. Seagulls had character, but they were thirsty, gruesomely ungreen with their 8 :1 oil mix, and they made an amplified swarm-of-angry-bees sound. My wife sat in stony silence as we buzzed through the limpid waters in a haze of blue smoke.
A further reason why ladies hate outboards is that they just can’t start the things. For years, I imagined this was because I’d acquired ancient relics and fettled them up, but it’s something to do with the strength of their pull. Then there’s the weight. They are not light to carry.
And what about the oil? Show me a sailor with an outboard and I’ll show you a person who, at some time, has bad-mouthed the leaking lubricant, either from a carburettor not turned off, a can not properly sealed, or from a four-stroke not placed properly in the car boot. Then, there’s the danger of exploding petrol.
Now I bring glad tidings! I have taken the plunge, against the advice of my friends, and have acquired an electric outboard. All the world assured me it wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding and that my battery would go flat half-way to my mooring, but it’s not true. The trusty Torqeedo is a proper job. It powers silently along with a built-in meter which calibrates how long and at what speed you can go before you run out of juice. I can charge it easily at home or on board. It runs for a remarkably long time on one charge – well over an hour at reasonable speed, and if I want a burst of serious power to overcome a foul tide or a headwind, I have it in abundance.
At last my wife can enjoy the peace of the river, go solo if she wants, and come home smiling. She doesn’t need me any more!
Their website http://www.torqeedo.com/en will tell you more