Black Watch 26 Engine Bracket Installation

There are many reasons to install an outboard bracket on the back of a powerboat. Sometimes the strength of the transom is in question. Without a doubt, adding a bracket will increase your cockpit real estate. When you move the outboards aft onto a bracket the performance of the boat changes and so does the fuel efficiency. Brackets dampen the roar of loud engines, and when older boats have the outboard mounted low, as was the case with many older powerboats, it is peace of mind to not only move those engines, but to close up the transom entirely and install a bracket.

Such was the case with Mike Mills’ Black Watch 26 which had the 2 outboards mounted on a transom that was too low for his liking. He and his family like cruising offshore to nearby islands like Cuttyhunk and the Vineyard, and the open transom felt unsafe for those passages. Additionally, he felt he could use the cockpit space for extra seat aft, adding valuable area to the back of the boat. Mike’s other reasons for wanting a bracket were bonuses to the safety he felt with the closed stern. He gained a great swim platform and lost some of that rumble from the twin Mercury 4-Strokes that power the boat.

With the boat pulled into the TotalBoat Workshop for the winter, he removed the engines and began by closing up the transom. Experienced naval architect and boat builder, Matt Smith, was on hand to help with the reconstruction. A door was added to the new transom to give easy access to the platform aft and with the stress put on the stern by the 2 engines moved to the bracket, the new enclosed area was all about beauty and less about brawn.

Foam core was cut to size and wrapped in fiberglass and TotalBoat 5:1 Traditional Epoxy. It was faired with TotalFair Epoxy Fairing Compound and then primed with TotalProtect Epoxy Barrier Coat Primer, a high build primer that is a barrier coat for above or below the waterline. It’s the perfect base for priming brand new fiberglass. The new transom was then painted so that it was complete before the bracket was installed.

The door was built into the new transom with G10 plates added in the foam core where the hinges and the door latch would be installed. Holes (sort of big ones) were cut into the deck aft – right at the base of the new transom – to provide access to attach the new bracket to the stern from the inside. TotalSeal was used to bed all the fasteners for a guaranteed watertight attachment.

Since the installation, Mike has noticed much better fuel efficiency and a better ride for the 26-foot boat. The Armstrong bracket he chose is provides positive flotation and are among the best outboard mounting systems in the industry. The bracket’s bottom has a hull shaped chine to add serious merit to the hull shape and waterline.  The effect of the extension of the vessel hull below the waterline optimizes the performance of Mike’s two powerful outboards. Increased efficiency means lower fuel consumption, a drier ride and better handling. All in all  – a project that has been very worth the trouble, time and effort.  

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