20 Aug 14 -- The Engine Delimma.I am often asked about what our plan is for an engine. It is apparent that most people want to have as big an engine in their boat as possible. I have nothing against engines though I don't understand the big engine big fuel tank facination. I would like to have an engine (a small one to be sure) but I have not figured out how to address all the particulars yet. I have often thought we could install a Beta Marine 14HP-16HP engine. I have dropped by and met with the Beta Marine folks at least twice. I have measured for one. I have a plan to install a propeller shaft slightly off-center, exiting the hull perpendicular to the rudder post and just above the top of the rudder (there is some interesting information about this in Skene's Elements of Yacht Design and Chapelle's Yacht Design and Planning). I have discussed folding propeller requirements with Martec. But, until the boat is in the water I can't be sure if there is enough room below the surface of the water for a propeller to work efficiently since I don't know exactly where the LWL will be. However, I admit that I would hate to give up the room we have without an engine, or the lack of endless complications, expenses, nasty smell, and significant tool and parts requirements. And, until the boat is in the water and I am sure what will and will not work there is no sense wasting any more mental energy thinking about it. We have discussed outboard options. My friend Ben Zartman has a 8 HP four stroke Yamaha high thrust engine that propels his 19,000 lb gaff rigged Cape George 31 at 5 knots on smooth water. I have sailed on his boat and the capabilities of that little engine are very impressive. However, I would like to avoid an engine permanently hanging off the back of the Far Reach. I have sketched swing side mount engines as used by Yves Gelanis on his Alberg 30 Jean du Sud. Its a pretty neat system. But, it seems complicated and will take a couple of weeks of hard work to figure out how to adapt it to the Far Reach and a bundle of money to build. What are we going to do you ask? My answer, I really don't know. Currently, we are thinking about buying a 10' roll up inflatable with a small outboard (6hp - 9.9hp) so we have a second dinghy and a way for our kids to get around. It occurs to us we could employ the inflatable as a "yawl boat" to move the Far Reach around until we determine if we can make a small diesel fit as described above. A yawl boat seems like it would work, others have done it, though it would certainly not be convenient. I have talked to Larry Pardey about this predicament a couple of times. For 40 years they moved both of their boats with a sculling oar--Serrifyn at 10,500 lbs and Taleisin at 19,000 lbs. So, it is doable . . . at least for them. While we sort out what to do engine wise, I thought I could build a sculling oar and see how it works. I have researched it a fair amount. I have exchanged emails with Douglas Brooks who is an expert on the Japanese Ro sculling oar (similar to a Chinese Yuloh) and who has written articles about it for WoodenBoat magazine as well as many other maritime publications. I have also read about Bob and Kathy Groves use of a Yuloh to move their 14,000 lb Benford 34 Easy Go (though they did finally install a diesel, sadly just before their boat was lost last year). For the time being, I have decided to build a simple "life boat" style sculling oar using ash as described in the Self Sufficient Sailor (see gallery below). A yuloh, and ro as well, is very long and I imagine quite heavy too. Though I understand them to be very powerful and efficient I think they would look odd on the modern western style Far Reach. A simple style sculling oar should not take a lot of time to build--four or five hours for a few days to knock out. I have little expectation that it will really work for us but I think it is worth seeing what it can do if for no other reason than to conduct an interesting experiment and have an informed opinion. This would certainly be a better option if the Far Reach were on a mooring--which is what I would prefer. However, I have not been able to find any decent mooring fields that have sailing room any where near where we live in eastern North Carolina. So, there you have it . . . we have a few options to pursue--a diesel inboard, an outboard on a swing up mount, a yawl boat, and a sculling oar. Somewhere in there, we will find a workable solution. But, first we need to get the boat to the water.