Skid Steering

Balsa core flanges glass-epoxied to float.
Balsa core flanges glass-epoxied to float.

Here’s how I’ve mounted the little Torqeedo to the starboard float. The swivel bracket is taken from a spare bracket that Claude gave me. (Misadventure I think is the polite way of saying he dropped one in the drink.)  Its takes a bit of tinkering and some suitable epithets to undo it from the balsa core flanges – but it can be done.  So only the edges of the flanges will be presented to the waves when sailing fast.

View from aft
View from aft

When coming into a marina that has restricted manouvring room I can attach this quick-release swivel bracket, and then slide the Torqeedo into it.  Here’s how it looks attached.  The motor and shaft is attached first, and then the battery added.  So each item is quite light and easily handled – which should be handy on those days when the sea is sloppy.

With this additional thrust well offset from the main motor I’m hoping for a strong skid steering effect.  The little Torqeedo has the same prop (more or less) as the big one and so even though its a much smaller motor, its thrust should still be good, especially as it only has to turn the boat.  I’m looking forward to testing it soon.

Brackets still need fairing and painting.
Brackets still need fairing and painting.

I need to get about 5m of telephone cable to allow the throttle control to be positioned in the cockpit.  It may feel a bit odd because the throttle for the main motor is a fore-and-aft lever and for the 801 is a twist grip.

I can charge the battery using its standard mains charger by plugging it into my 300 watt inverter which handles it ok.  So even though its a roundabout path the energy sill comes from the sun.

2 Replies to “Skid Steering”

  1. Hi Chris

    your approach to steer your boat through tight quarters looks interesting and will probably work. The only thing I am concerned about is the long extension of the throttle steering. I heard from different sources that only 1,5 meters extension can be used other wise the throttle will not work. Maybe you have already thought about that and came up with a solution? Also the new torqeedo batteries for the 503/1003 model seem to be designed for directly charging by solar panels. Maybe it is possible to get one of those batteries instead of going the way through the inverter and the 230V charger?


  2. Hi Matti,

    Hmm. No I wasn’t aware of the extension problem and as yet I haven’t tested it. But even if there’s a problem I recon I can get together with Claude and Torqeedo and figure out a solution. And the possibility of charging direct from solar panels is appealing, but for now my budget is limiting me. If my budget was a boat it would be a submarine!

    By the way, coming down through southern Moreton Bay, we tried out the 801 to see how it would drive Current Sunshine. On one stretch of the channel where we needed to motor due to winds on the nose, we used the 801 – with me sitting on the float and operating the throttle from there. The headwind was light – 5 to 10 knots. We started her moving using the main motor, then ran the 801 at full throttle. It pushed her along nicely at around 3 knots without much rudder correction needed. But when we got a gust of wind, that would push her around to port, (recall the 801 is on the starboard float) and we needed to run the main engine again to steer in a straight line. So for conditions with no wind, it should push her along nicely. We drained the battery pretty quick though.

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