Falmouth Cutter

I live in Annapolis, Maryland and am the proud owner of Falmouth Cutter hull #37.
It is the most recent Sam L. Morse Falmouth Cutter that has been commissioned. My boat has no engine (I use a Sawyer oar) and no electricity. I am seeking assistance on the following items:

  1. I am considering putting some type of auxiliary mechnical power on/in the boat. I have explored the possibility of installing an electic engine unit, but the price is simply too high. Installing a diesel is a possibility, but I have greatly enjoy all the interior space that is available without an interior diesel engine in the boat. I am seriously considering the use of a small outboard; it would make movement into and from my slip much easier and faster. What has been the experience with the use of an outboard for power on Lyle Hess designs? What power engine should I consider? Where can it be conveniently stored when not in use? If I do go the outboard route, I would like to have an easily removed mounting. I’ve thought of making something from teak that would be easy to install and remove from the boomkin. Alternatively, a bronze bracket from Bristol Bronze is perhaps workable, but I am not certain in will fit. Is this realistic? I would strongly prefer not to install one of those unsightly permanent brackets on the transom.

  2. How useful is it to install a stern pulpit on the boat. It would appear to be a useful addition, but I would like to get additional views and opinions. Is it a problem if one were to install a wind vane? It appears it would prove to be a useful storage space for rescue equipment, an outboard, etc.

  3. I have experienced problems with the bow rollers. The shackle on my standard anchor, a 25# CQR, is too large to fit through the bracket surrounding the standard bow roller. In addition, the roller is so close to the bow that one needs to be careful to not bang the topsides when using the anchor. What solutions have been found to be workable?

  4. My sail inventory is the standard Yankee, staysail, and main…all in excellent condition. Recommendations regarding light air head sails would be most welcome. I need something to use during the light air days of a Chesapeake Bay summer.




I believe we met at the rendezvous in 04. The type of propulsion unit you install is very dependent on how you plan to use the boat. I am quite sure you have listed all the pros and cons of installing an inboard engine vs. an outboard engine - storage space taken, cost, easy of operation, convenience of operation, etc.

When we owned the Nor’star Flicka, I spent about 1 hour discussing the history of the Flicka with Bill Luther, who is a yacht designer and was “Mr. Flicka” at Pacific Seacraft during the late 70’s and early 80’s. His comments about the type of engine to installed reflect Bruce Bingham’s thoughts on inboard vs. outboard engines. Bill thought, an inboard engine was a good choice for an owner who sailed from and into a slip all the time and an outboard engine was a good choice for the small boat cruiser. His “argument” was the cruiser needed the storage space, he/she mostly anchored out and used the sails as the primary means of propulsion. Another factor which must be addressed is the electrical amp-hours used on a day-to-day bases. If the boat is loaded with “electrickery” then a means of charging the batteries must be added to the list of considerations when selecting the aux-power plant.

Hope that helps,


Hi Jerry,

  1. As you know from our telephone conversations, my FC, Mijita, has an 8 HP Honda outboard for auxiliary power. I would consider this engine to be the biggest you would want to consider because it weighs in at 84 pounds. That plus the bracket puts about 100 pounds on the transom, pretty far aft of the center of buoyancy. If I had it to do over again I would probably opt for the 5 HP Honda which weighs about 60 pounds (as I recall). And if I lived somewhere other than SFBay I might consider even less HP (the tidal currents on SF Bay can be strong).

If you go for a very small outboard to just get in and out of your slip you might consider a 2 HP Honda or one of the other small engines. The 2 HP Honda is aircooled, a nice feature, and weighs 27 pounds. In this case you could use a lighter mount, even one of those that slide into a transom mount so it would be removable. The latter would eliminate most of the ugliness associated with an outboard engine if you can find a place to store everything underway. Such a small outboard could also be used to power your dinghy and could easily be transferred from your FC to your dinghy using the transom mount.

  1. Regarding a “pushpit” on your transom: remember that anything you hang on it may catch your mainsheet.

  2. I have rollers out on the bowsprit of Mijita for holding the anchor under way. This prevents topside damage. A very heavy leather protector sewn around the bowsprit protects the varnish on the latter. But I still have a problem getting the shackle/swivel through the opening. But I have found that I can twist the chain and get the anchor to swivel to allow it to come through. Give it a try.

  3. Try a reacher and let us all know how it works out. I have a cruising spinnaker but have never used it. On SF Bay the problem is usually too much wind.

ron walton