The old guy had to go.
We’d being thinking about it since we got our sailing yacht NISI three years ago. NISI came with an old petrol Johnson 3.5 outboard, two stroke. It did serve us well, from the North Adriatic until our home base in the Aegean, Aegina Island.
It was noisy and heavy to get onto the dingy and back into the boat. It’s petrol was also smelly and messy. Two per cent oil and petrol was the ratio we needed to carry in a spare canister to make sure we would not run out of fuel. Starting it was always an exciting moment… we could never be one hundred per cent sure it would start and keep running. Eventually we learned not to elbow ourselves with the starting cord and to play with the choke like a magician playing with cards to keep it running to the shore.
Getting NISI as eco-friendly as possible has always been our goal, so we knew that sooner or later, our little friend had to go. The decision was made last autumn, on a windy day at anchor in Cape Sunion, under Poseidon’s Temple. We were there just for a short stop on our way to Aegina, returning from our Mykonos Tour.
After several attempts to start our Johnson outboard, it became clear that it was not going to happen, no matter how much I played with throttle and choke, or how many times I pulled the cord. I must have pulled over 50 times.
Rowing was our only option, a very tiring activity against the wind, and a bit scary downwind since we didn’t want to miss our boat! We decided that for the next year we would need something more reliable.
From petrol to electric
So, 2019 came along and we needed to make a decision. Which outboard do we get? I spent the winter looking at our options – reviews, YouTube videos, and searching in forums.
Torqueedo was launching their new model of the Travel series, the 1103, an upgrade from the 1003 model. The upgraded version had a slightly bigger battery, slightly more range and it was quieter. It was hard to find reviews of the new model, but there were lots of the previous one.
In almost all the reviews, the main concern was range (how far can you travel), and it was always related to how fast you want to go. The faster, the more power it needs and obviously, the less miles you can make.
We were not planning on making long distances, since we use the outboard to go from our anchorage to shore and back, which is always a short distance for us. We also don’t want to go fast, since we normally are in anchorages where there are other boats at anchor, sometimes people swimming.
So, for a speed of 2 to 3 knots, full battery, the new 1103 was advertised to give us about 20 hrs of use, or a 40 nm range, more than enough.
Not the cheap option, but surely the best.
Buying an electric outboard is not cheap compared with the price of a petrol one that can give you the same power (Torqueedo 1103 is about 4 hp). In fact, the electric one is about 3 times more expensive. But for us, price was only one of the parameters to consider when replacing our old one.
Here are the reasons that were important for us to buy the Torquedo 1103:
- Since we have solar panels aboard NISI, we can recharge the batteries without the expense of petrol.
- We don’t have to carry a canister full of flammable petrol on board.
- It’s reliable, waterproof and built with safety features, for instance, after pulling the magnetic kill cord, it does not start unless it’s in neutral.
- It weighs very little, just 17 kilograms.
- Its battery and tiller can be detached, making its installation on the dingy very easy for one person only.
- Its so quiet that you (and others) don’t notice is on unless you are making way.
- And finally, no more pollution on the water.
These were the main reasons we switched to the Torqueedo 1103, but not to be overlooked, now going ashore is also fun. The Torqueedo has a little computer with GPS integrated, so we can monitor our progress and range, according to ur usage.
We’ve only had our new outboard for a couple of weeks, and we are still getting used to it. We thought we’d make a quick video with our first impressions of this little electric outboard. We hope you will enjoy it, and if you like it, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more fun and instructional videos!