North American J/80 Class Association
By Peter d’Anjou
When I bought my J/80 in the fall of 2014 it came with a 5-hp Nissan long-shaft. Nice engine, plenty of power, started right up, but it was a beast, weighing 85 lbs. along with it’s external tank. For me, too unwieldy for a rolling deck and storing it behind the Barney post behind the steps was very difficult to wrestle it in and out.
Now the class rules have four specific provisions for outboards; you must carry one (in working order), they must weigh 28 lbs or more empty of fuel, they must be stowed below while racing (not on the transom), and they must be stowed below behind the front face of the cockpit.
So after burning out the impeller on my Nissan when everyone ran to the bow for something, I decided a change was in order. Something a lot lighter, so I bought the 28 lbs air-cooled Honda 2.3-Hp long-shaft.
However, I had not found a good solution for stowing it below. As with the old motor, I tied it behind the Barney post in a web of line that only made it harder to retrieve. It still slid around some. So I added some eye straps to the sidewalls of the quarter berth where I could add even more lines.
I then came up with a way using 3” u-clamps and a piece of Water proof Azex trim attached to the Barney post itself. This eliminated the line, put the engine in a reachable position just under the step/ladder. Simply remove the step for access and best of all, it used the engines own screw clamps to secure it. This worked on my boat but when I made a few of these for fellow J/80 owners found that not every engine fit under the step.
A few years went by until the 2022 Worlds. I chartered the boat back to the original owner and his crew observed and made me aware of the rule for stowing the engine behind the front edge of the cockpit. My solution was clearly encroaching beyond this by the width of the step, so once again the engine got thrown behind the Barney post tied with lines as they didn’t want to lose a championship on a technicality.
I was determined to find an alternative that was easy and permanently legal. I studied the “boxes” many of the Europeans made - but those secured the engine face down, my Honda is designed to stow on its side. I designed many elaborate frames supported on the barney post that would push the engine further aft by the post. That is when I came up with the idea of making a mount attached to the sidewall of the quarter berth rather than the post. The engine could lie on its side on the platform by the Barney post, be accessible by removing the seat. And rather than build a frame found that a simple J/24 engine mount worked best. The mount was procured from Vela Sailing - World Champion bowman Rod Favela has many J/80 specific parts available through his online store.
I laid the engine on its side with the mount already clamped on to find the best position and traced the location on the sidewall for the mount. It is within a foot of its old location under the seat but now clearly further aft and legal. It seems this position would also accommodate a slightly larger engine too as it is not under the step anymore but behind it. I used a fender to support the prop end of the shaft - more to protect the boat than support the engine. It added about 3 lbs to the boat and cost me $140 for the motor mount. I’ll see how effective getting it in and out is and I do wish J/boats had made a similar accommodation from the beginning, but then it may not have fit all engine options. In any event it has taken years of practice to solve this and I hope that my solution(s) may be useful to others. If getting the engine out is too difficult, especially in an emergency, then how good is it really.
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