Vidwatts 5:55pm, 26 July 2009
I've only just discovered the Achilles 24: a couple of weeks ago I was in a local yacht club cruiser race as a guest on a friends Hunter Medina and wondered what was that attractive yacht that was beating us. After some questions and a bit of searching I discovered it was an Achilles 24 and having looked at the info here and elsewhere think it might just be the boat I've been waiting all these years to find.

I'm looking for something that will enable me to do some light club racing, a little local cruising and possibly the very odd overnight stay. I may be tempted to do some modest coastal passages in the right conditions. I think th Achilles 24 meets these criteria.

Today I went to Gillingham Marina to view one for sale there - Slippery When Wet. It was really to view an A24 rather than seriously view this one but it turned out to be a very pleasant boat.

Some questions though, generic about A24s:

a) Mainsheet traveller - the position seems to vary from cross-cockpit to behing the cockpit: is there a reason for this or does if reflect differences in the boom length and therefore overal rig size?

b) Engine - does it normally stay in its well at all times, or should it be removed when sailing or leaving the boat on its mooring?

c) Racing - what's a good crew - two, three or four? Is there room in the cockpit for all?

d) Triple keels - any disadvantages? I'm probably going to be keeping mine on a drying mooring - mud with shingle underneath so I don't suppose it would be a good idea to have a fin keel moored there.

Forgive naivity in the questions, I'm only at the very beginning of this process which I anticipate not completing for some time. For now it's research and understanding I'm after, before I start actively looking at Achilles for sale, which is why I decided not to view Aeolus at this stage though it could well define exactly what I will end up looking for.
Skykomish E29 9 years ago
Hi ,
With regard to the engine there are those (Ron) who believe it sacrilage to leave the engine in situ whilst sailing, however as we cruise ours and speed is not an issue we do leave her in the well, if however you are racing then out it comes.
We are on a drying mooring and always take the engine out and store in the undercockpit locker, as I think that constantly submerging the water intake in gluppy mud really is asking for trouble and may have been responsible for our previous engine's early demise.
Triple Keelers are a little slower but are catered for in the handicap process and obviously are better for drying out.
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
hi, Very early boats had the traveller across the cockpits, later ones a tube horse, or a square ally one. ,,, Slippery when wet does not seem right, perhaps fitted for raceing ,, as she has the later high bridge deck..
The tripple keel is a quick boat, the fin is very quick,,,
Leaving the engine in is like asking Red Rum to pull a milk cart,
but i admit lifting it out and stowing is difficult, I sail on and off the mooring if possible. (most of the time)
Three crew is usual if serious ,There is room they say!
the Achilles is a competent ocean crosser ,but wet!
Vidwatts Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Vidwatts (member) 9 years ago
So, to be clear, is the position of the traveller reflective of different rig dimensions, or it is the same boom length with the mainsheet led further back? I don't like the mainsheet in the cockpit - having seen a crew-member sustain a broken arm from being struck by the mainsheet during an accidental gybe - but are there disadvantages to the rearward mounting?

As for the engine, I've seen pictures of some Achilles with a transom-mounted outboard. That would make more room in the cockpit but there must be penalties for additional weight aft - any others? An advantage would be to be able to tilt it out of the water when sailing I suppose, but isn't it a bit awkward to reach from the helm?

I am inclining towards a late-model triple keel, I think.
Skykomish E29 9 years ago
it is more efficient to have the engine in the well as the water flow from the prop passes directly over the rudder, it is easier to control without standing right on the back of the boat, and is better for the trim of the boat bearing in mind the weight of modern fourstroke engines. some , like norman's have the transom fitted engine as an auxillary for the inboard.
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
Boom length and sail areas are the same,
Engines seen on transome brackets are after thoughts with the standard inboard as main engine ,, not a good idea as a main driver as keeping them in the water in a seaway is 50/50 .
No disadantage having horse behind you, in fact v good .
The engine in the cockpit is under the tiller sweep so does not intrude,
Vidwatts 9 years ago
Thanks for the replies - becoming clearer now.

So, to all intents and purposes, having the engine sitting in the cockpit well is actually a rather neat solution to avoid the expense and weight of a conventional inboard: I like it.

I can see though that it would tend to stay in place for most of the time as lifting, carrying and carefully stowing a modern 4-stroke on a small boat whilst under-way would be a challenge, I expect.
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
with two on board its not too bad,, I sometimes use my 3,3 merc
(dinghy engine ,, Long shaft) that lives on pushpit, Its ok ,,,just..
The big advantage is you can take your motor home for the winter.
Im sure your best bet is Aeolus ,, its not expensive in the longrun
(add up the bits)
That s from someone with an Achilles for sale,
websoldtoys 9 years ago
Repeating the answers above:

The transom mounted engine on the boat I almost bought, was indeed not reachable from the cockpit and therefore had remote controls fitted, for throttle and F/R only. It steers like a pig using the rudder, unless you hook up remote steering to the outboard as well. An outboard in the original location just ahead of the skeg, under the tiller, works a LOT better, when motoring it allows the rudder to direct the thrust, where a transom mounted engine is always trying to push you straight ahead.

The only downside is it reduces cockpit seating, especially on bridge deck boats, to 4 from 6. That is if you were willing to live with legs in the way of the tiller sweep - if you don't (I wouldn't advise!), the engine sitting entirely under the tiller is never a problem.

Bottom line - it's actually a very clever location for the outboard.
Skykomish E29 Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Skykomish E29 (member) 9 years ago
Thank you for the plug Ron.
With regard to lifting the engine out, we now always do it when we have been sailing and though initially it does seem a chore, when you are tired from a sail, it really isn't too much of a problem. It also encourages you to flush it after every use which we do religously now, after our previous engine just became scrap metal after just 90 hours running but several months spent just sitting in the well
when at Ramsgate all summer sitting in salt water and when we moved 19 hours a day sitting in mud.
It really is worth the effort to lift her out and flush her through believe me. (at £1000 for a new engine it can get expensive)

Another advantage of the outboard is that if you get caught up in rope from lobster pots, or fishing line, you can simply lift it out clear the problem then drop it back into the well.
Vidwatts 9 years ago
Where do you stow the engine when underway or when the boat is at a mooring? I can foresee disadvantages with it being in the cabin so is there room somewhere else for it?

Presumably there is some form of plug for the cockpit well as I wouldn't want to loose winch handles, mugs of tea or crew members through the aperture :-o

Also, where does the fuel tank go - in the floor well with the outboard when in use or do these engines have an integral fuel tank? (I really don't know much about outboard engines).

Many thanks
blueachilles Posted 9 years ago. Edited by blueachilles (member) 9 years ago
Engine goes under cockpit floor, via the cabin. Or you can of course simply leave it in place.

There is a plug for when the engine is not in place.

You do have to be careful about the well even when the engine is in place, my mobile phone went down there last time we were out!

The fuel tank lives in the lazarette, and a fuel line comes out of a small hatch.

My outboard (4hp Mercury 4 stroke- perfectly adequate) has an integral fuel tank which we use as a reserve.
Super Snoopy 050 9 years ago
The ultimate is a nice new 2 cylinder 10hp inboard diesel. Outboards are noisy and stink!
websoldtoys 9 years ago
Note that the sailing plug does shut the well properly save for a small drain hole ; it's only the engine plug that leaves a bit of open space around the engine. Of course once you know your outboard's exact shape you could easily fabricate something to mostly close the gaps around it, to save your phone, tea and the ship mice.
guillainevib 9 years ago
OK Snoopy, point taken, but the weight of the inboard? The whole set up with engine, gearbox, prop shaft stern tube and prop must be 10% of dry boat weight. Give me 25 kgs of outboard any day.
rothwell_neil 9 years ago
One thing about the engine well is that if you take the engine out and leave the boat with no plug in then you may be lucky enough to get visitors. Took the negine out in October but left the boat in until January and an otter found that my cockpit was very comfy for eating sleeping and as a toilet. Marina staff wondered how the otter was getting onto the pontoons, through the well. Glad the otter liked it as a few buckets got rid of the mess.
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
my wife said Oh Bless!
Skykomish E29 9 years ago
AEOLUS now has a new owner... well she will have once he parts with the readies...haha MR WATTS has bought Aeolus so hopefully she will remain on here with regular updates
Vidwatts 9 years ago
Indeed she will :-)
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
A chineese will do for commission..
Skykomish E29 9 years ago
What about your Snowgoose referal?
busy home [deleted] 9 years ago
Just sent more photos, Fingers crossed!
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