|Being thoroughly annoyed with the way the Honda BF50 engine control was mounted at the helm, I decided to rework it so the control lever moved forward and back instead of up and down, and so that I could actually see the engine oil pressure and temperature lights, as well as the hole for the key. The control is made to accept the combo shift/throttle lever on either side of the control, depending on which side of the boat the operator sits on. It is also clearly intended for gunwale mounting, on the right side of an operator sitting on the starboard side of the boat, using his/her right hand on the control, or the mirror image, on the port side. In the 'before' pic, it's set up for left handed operation, mounted to the port side gunwale. |
To make it work correctly for right-handed operation, but mounted on its left side on the helm, I use 1/2" Starboard to make a large adapter plate, plus two more layers of 1/2" Starboard as local shims. The large adapter was cut out around the throttle handle hub, which was moved to the inside. One of the control mounting bolts passes through the adapter plate and through the smoked plexi at the helm, but the other two only connect to the adapter, and are nutted with acorn nuts. Several other flat head screws pass through the lexan to secure the adapter to the helm. I made a cover for the original handle location, which uses the two screw holes that originally held the throttle lock ring, as much for show as to keep weather out. It's sealed to the control with butyl tape around the top 2/3, open at the bottom in case a few drips sneak in there, and the back has a recess to clear the die-cast hub which seems to stick out just a hair.
New control cables were installed, as a bit of extra length is needed to make the smooth sweep into a hole I drilled in the rear of the helm station. These cable don't actually get in the way of anything, and so far, I've not hooked them or otherwise have even been aware of their presence, which was a concern originally. With proper adjustment per the BF50 installation manual, the neutral idle lever no longer pops up when shifting, and it all works very smoothly.
The lever can get fouled with the main sheet when power sailing, which was a calculated risk, but that only happens at a specific throttle setting, and I've had no trouble working around that. For normal sailing, neutral is out of the way, but the shift can be moved back to reverse to make more room if I thought it would be necessary. Since it sticks forward so much, it looks like folks would be walking into it all the time, but in actuality, with the main sheet the way it is, I'm not even aware of it, and I've never so much as bumped it.
Overall, I'm quite happy with the result. If I were to do it over again, I'd have extended the adapter back to the edge of the lexan and cut at the same angle to make it blend better, and pick up the same mounting screws, but it's not worth redoing just for that.