Project Logs

May 2, 2011

I wanted to mention that if you are interested in learning more about Beta Engines, there are a number of resources available.  I’ve included some of those resources below:

December, 2009

Engine’s can be one of the most expensive and important parts of a boat. They can require a lot of maintenance and, with older engines, a lot of headaches. It’s no wonder that some boats really seeking the “true” way of cruising, go without an engine at all. It’s an idea I toyed with as well, but after some research and thinking, I decided to buy a brand new diesel engine.The Bristol sailboats came with two different engine configurations: an outboard in an engine well located in the lazarette locker or an inboard located under the companionway. Sometimes, Bristol 27’s were installed with Gray Marine gas engines, but most often, the inboard engine was a 30hp gas fueled Atomic 4. For more information about the standard equipment of a Bristol 27, visit the Bristol 27 Technical Information section which covers all the standard equipment options available when originally purchasing a Bristol 27 (including the engine options).

When I bought my Bristol, the engine had been removed, but after doing some asking around, I found that the previous owner had removed a 30hp Atomic 4. Apparently the engine had been sitting in a few feet of rain water that had seeped into the boat while it sat in the yard and it was a total loss. This meant that I was starting from scratch when choosing an engine.


  • Gasoline Disadvantages – 1) highly volitaile and presents a constant safety problem. 2) much higher fuel consumption than diesel engines 3) electronic ignition system is suceptible to corrosion and other ravages of a saltwater environment.
  • Diesels come in low speed and high speed models. Low speed, heavy duty diesels have a record of lasting longer than high-speed engines, although some new high speed, low cost, lightweight diesels may as well be just as enduring.
  • What is the fuel consumption and range under power? 600-800 miles minimum under power for long distance cruising where fuel may not be available for months at a time is only a minimum, from my experience  (
  • Colvin says 40 hours of smooth-water powering is adequate for most boats; 20 hours for ocean cruising craft. He further suggest purchasing a slow-revving diesel capable of being hand-started.  (Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, p. 148 )


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2 Responses to Motor

  1. HI,

    Great site! I was wondering if you had any information on fitting an inboard on a 27 Bristol that was originally made for an outboard? Wonder if it is possible, practical, crazy?

    Submitted by: Richard Nemergut on June 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

  2. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your comment and it’s certainly possible – but it would be a project. Off the top of my head, probably the biggest projects would be:

    * Rudder & keel aperture created
    * Propeller Shaft log added
    * Engine Mounts Created (see here for how I made mounts for an inboard diesel –
    * Build an engine compartment (though, depending on your boat’s layout, this may be already in place).
    * Install engine and related systems

    If you already have an outboard in a well, my advice is to stick with the outboard. It would save you time and money.

    In fact, I actually decided to do away with an inboard, even though I had the systems all there, and am likely moving to an outboard in a well.

    Good luck and if you haven’t already, send me images of your B27, I’d be happy to make a page that shows your boat.

    Good Luck,

    Submitted by: Andrew on June 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm


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