A maximalist outboard cruiser, why not?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Westfield 11, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. David599
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    Location: NJ

    David599 Junior Member

    there was actually two different boats mentioned in my post. it was confusing. One was a reference to the atkins hull which he tried and didnt quite get what he was after.

    the other was a reference to his Tolman Trawler concept.

    It was sort of based on his Jumbo hull but six inches wider and I think more deadrise and much more room, designed for REASONABLE cruising speeds, yet not displacement speeds which on a 26 ft boat would be slow. he cites 10-12 kts but with the ability to go fast if the HP, fuel tank and wallet allowed it

    here is a sktech I pulled off the other site.

    Attached Files:

  2. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    I believe if you take that Tolman L-boat very far you'll end up at Bluejacket....
  3. tom28571
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    tom28571 Senior Member


    Much of this thread kept outside of what my boats were designed for and so I kept quiet. One of the Bluejacket 28s is currently a bit over halfway round the Great Loop in Kentucky Lake. I consider it ideal for cruising the Loop in above minimalist style and with all the comforts that most will need or want. To borrow a phrase, "perfect is the enemy of good" and Bluejackets are very good cruisers but will meet no ones idea of perfect if they want all the extras, voluminous space and amenities of home life.

    Small for a live aboard but plenty for cruising, especially when most everyone is off the boat visiting and sightseeing every few days. I've known a family of four to live aboard an old flush deck Cal 25 for years crossing big oceans, including when the kids were infants. That is my definition of roughing it.

    The blog of the Loop cruise of De De is at: https://www.facebook.com/vesseldede

  4. brian gardner
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    brian gardner New Member

    pod for my cruise craft 166raider runabout
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "If we are going to have a permitted oversize load for width, why be limited to 65' in length? "

    Because with out a CDL , and commercial inspected & registered truck and insurance you are limited to how long a rig can be.

    From the front to rear of the entire package 65ft is allowed in SOME states , and for no CDL there are no over length permits.

    The 2 vehicle towing length will be the limiting factor

    State Height ,Width ,Trailer Length ,Motorhome Length ,2-vehicle Combined Length ,Triple Towing Allowed

    Alabama 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 65'
    Alaska 14' 8½' 40' 45' 75' •
    Arizona 13½' 8'(16) 40' 45' 65' • (43)
    Arkansas 13½' 8½' 43½' 45' 65' •
    California 14' 8½' 40 45'(27) 65'
    Colorado 13' 8½' NS 45' 75'(27) • (27)(42)
    Connecticut 13½' 8½' NS 45' 60' (1)(13)
    Delaware 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 60'
    District of Columbia 13½' 8' (28) NS 40' 55' •
    Florida 13½' 8½' (16) 40' 45' 65'
    Georgia 13½' 8½' NS NS 60'
    Hawaii 14' 9' 40' 45' 65'
    Idaho 14' 8½' 48' 45' 75' • (40)
    Illinois 13½' 8½' 45' 45' 60' • (19)(43)
    Indiana 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 60' • (41)
    Iowa 13½' 8½' NS 45' 65' • (42)
    Kansas 14' 8½' NS 45' 65' • (41)
    Kentucky 13½' 8½' NS 45' 65' • (41)
    Louisiana 13½' 8' (16) 40' 45' 70' • (42)
    Maine 13½' 8½' 48' 45' 65'
    Maryland 13½' 8½' 40' 40' 55' •
    Massachusetts 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 60'
    Michigan 13½' 8½' 45' 45' 65' • (19)
    Minnesota 13½' 8½' 45' 45' 60' • (19)
    Mississippi 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 53' •
    Missouri 14(27)' 8½'(27)' NS 45' 65'(27) • (27)(41)
    Montana 14' 8½' (28) NS 55' 75' • (42)
    Nebraska 14½' 8½' 40' 45' 65' • (41)
    Nevada 14' 8½' NS 45' 70' • (42)
    New Hampshire 13½' 8'(16) 48' 45' NS
    New Jersey 13½' 8'(16) 40' 40' 50'
    New Mexico 14'(1) 8½' 40 45' 65' •
    New York 13½' 8½' (27) 48' 45' 65'
    North Carolina 13½' 8½' 35' 45' 60'
    North Dakota 14' 8½' 53' 50' 75' • (40)
    Ohio 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 65' • (41)
    Oklahoma 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 65' • (41)
    Oregon 14' 8½' 45' 45' 65' (19)
    Pennsylvania 13½' 8½' (26) NS (19) 45' 60'
    Rhode Island 13½' 8½' NS 40' 60'
    South Carolina 13½' 8½' 48' 45' NS
    South Dakota 14'(1) 8½' 53' 45' 80' • (40)(43)
    Tennessee 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 65' • (41)
    Texas 14' 8½' NS 45' 65' • (41)
    Utah 14' 8½' 40' 45' 65' • (27)(41)
    Vermont 13½' 8½' 46 46' 65'
    Virginia 13½' 8½' 45' 45' 65'
    Washington 14' 8½' NS 46' 60'
    West Virginia 13½' 8½' 40' 45' 65'
    Wisconsin 13½' 8½' 48' 40'L 60' (19) • (19)
    Wyoming 14' 8½' 45' 60' 65' 85'
    Note: 2.6 m = 8½ ft.; 12.5m = 41 ft.; 16.15m = 53 ft.
    While every attempt has been made to verify this information, the Good Sam Camping cannot guarantee its accuracy, and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Changes may have been made since this data was compiled. Call state and provincial tourism offices for additional details.

    (Footnotes:) Back to Top

    (P) Indicates "as posted." Information is based on latest available data; laws may have changed since press time.
    (·) Indicates "yes," item is permitted or required.
    (NS) Indicates not specified.
    (L) Indicates legislation pending to increase length allowance.

    (1) On designated rural interstates; some exceptions.
    (2) Required on trailers over 3000 lbs.
    (3) Prohibited where posted.
    (4) Required on trailers over 3000 lbs. or if gross weight of trailer exceeds empty weight of tow vehicle.
    (5) Required on trucks over 3700 kgs.
    (6) Required if weight of trailer exceeds 40% of tow-vehicle weight.
    (7) Required on trailers over 6000 lbs.
    (8) Required if gross weight is over 2500 kgs.
    (9) Required on trailers over 1000 lbs. unladen, or 3000 lbs. laden.
    (10) Riding in fifth-wheel with audible or visual device with tow vehicle and safety glass.
    (11) 24-hour limit.
    (12) Required if trailer exceeds 50% of tow-vehicle weight. BC:Laden.
    (13) Trailer limited to 48' in a 60' combination.
    (14) Eight-hour limit.
    (15) Only if required by CSA at time of manufacture.
    (16) 8½ ft. on certain federal road systems.
    (17) Gross weight requiring brakes.
    (18) Must have free access to drive compartment.
    (19) Maximum combined length 60 ft. on selected highways. Special permit in Oregon, Wisconsin.
    (20) At least one exit must be opened from outside and inside.
    (21) Not to exceed 18 hours in any two-week period.
    (22) Headlights or daytime running lights required at all times.
    (23) 12-hour limit.
    (24) Must be able to stop in 40 feet at 20 mph.
    (25) On interstate highways; secondary roads still 8 ft.
    (26) 8½' on all state routes. On some other roads 8' limits are posted.
    (27) Some exceptions or restrictions.
    (28) Special wide-body regulations.
    (29) Two safety chains or breakaway switch required on trailers.
    (30) Required if RV is wider than 2 meters.
    (31) Not recommended.
    (32) Seats must be equipped with safety belts.
    (33) 14 years of age and older.
    (34) Required on trailers 3000 lbs. and over
    (35) If passenger can communicate with driver, and exit can be opened from both interior and exterior. California: Seat belts required.
    (36) Suggested, but not required.
    (37) Required on bumper hitches only.
    (38) Required if gross weight is more than 1350 kgs.
    (39) Headlights must be used when visibility is less than 500 ft. Yukon: always, outside of city.
    (40) Total maximum combined length of 75 ft.
    (41) Total maximum combined length of 65 ft.
    (42) Total maximum combined length of 70 ft.
    (43) With certain qualifications. Only with fifth-wheel trailer in Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Manitoba (maximum length 23m.) and Saskatchewan.
    (44) Total maximum length of 72 ft.
    (45) See state and provincial regulations.
    (46) Total maximum combined length of 80 ft.
    (47) Total maximum combined length of 21m.
    (48) Total maximum combined length of 23m: ballhitch Ok on fifth wheel only.
    (49) Total maximum combined length of 20m.
  6. Kevin Morin
    Joined: May 2013
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    Location: Kenai, AK

    Kevin Morin Junior Member

    Power for Trailer Cruiser?

    West', Tom, Tad, all on this thread's comments.

    Since the design is still a discussion not a plans set or in build, I'll comment about a concept that could be somewhat helpful in this exploration of a concept?

    At first there was a general consensus that trailering the boat was a given so relatively narrow hulls were explored, now the concept has scaled down the idea of a relatively narrow Beam to Length ratio still seems applicable?

    One aspect of these hulls that isn't discussed fully- yet- is the effect of the moment arm of the locations of heaviest hardware- propulsion. Outboards, if large will need to be offset by some mass forward or the hull will squat, but what about an inboard amidships? Outboards if smaller, will deliver less power and work harder for their small mass drive trains.

    If a small horse power (<100hp), higher RPM diesel were located almost amidships and used a jack shaft under the after decks and any cabin to a stern mounted I/O then even a light(er) wt, cruiser could be trimmed regardless of fuel, water and stores as the 'big ticket' mass was close to the center of buoyancy.

    Generator heads, close coupled with several types of drives could be driven of the 'front' of this engine and the boat can be a 'camper' on the trailer, a long distance cruiser on the water and run quite a load of AC appliances as though it were an highway type RV.

    Let's use Tom's BlueJackets for a mental picture. As outboard powered they move well, are efficient and provide a good volume of living space. What if that 'same' hull and arrangement traded the entire stern arrangement for an engine covered and located about the after cabin bulkhead? The overall wt of the engine/gen will go up- but as the added wt is amidships; the waterline is only an 1" or 2" down. (? total speculation on my part?) The drive train will cost more than an outboard or two but... the addition of the generator does not add the full wt of a genset that is independent of the propulsion.

    An on-engine alternator will take care of running DC needs, and even power an external battery or two for nav and other electronics. Depending on the cruising charts course, stopping (decoupling the drive and coupling the gen head) to cool the reefer, freezer, or use other AC off the gen; could be done by using the gen head end of the engine (operating inside the diesel-to-gen working RPM's and loading only the front end of the engine.)

    I am just exploring the idea of a live aboard, where the creature comforts of AC can be very appealing, especially when cruising where AC powered Air Cond. might be worth some diesel fuel conversion?

    An efficient hull, like a BlueJacket, adapted to the concept of a small diesel and stern drive arrangement seems to me a good beginning to designing a cruising boat that could be hauled in reasonable affordability on a trailer.

    I'm suggesting that a (design) key to a boat that enjoyed 'both worlds', AC Generator's comforts of home and narrower, longer Beam to Length hulls' efficiencies may be found using a well-designed, amidships installation, of a combination diesel (jack shaft & I/O) propulsion and generator?

    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    The hassle is always weight , all the diesel crap, noise insulation, mid ship ventilation jack shafts will make a heavier boat.

    AND eat loads of room!

    Stick an outboard on the Blue Jacket carry a Honda gen set to run the air cond and you are GONE with proven OTS stuff.

    A small Mitsubishi mini split will give heat and air cond.

    In a decade or two, when you wear out the OB the new spark ignition diesel fueled units will be lighter , as quiet and have the efficiency that comes with denser fuel.

    And even be allowed by the Air Police.
  8. Sailor Alan
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: Gig Harbor WA

    Sailor Alan Senior Member

    Excellent discussion.

    Several decades ago, some very smart boater's in NZ calculated that the actual running use of a ~40' power boat was quite low, the vast majority of time being at anchor in a bay, or in the home marina. Being north NZ, secluded bays were in abundance, but facilities, even for buying stores, were few and far between. As OB's were much lighter then, though burned more fuel, the total weight hauled for a season was lower with an OB rig. Equally, auxiliary power could be supplied by a sound isolated gen set. Much the same argument for gas turbine aircraft, and/or cruise ships.

    The result was a magnificent 38' low draft power cruiser with 4(5?) outboards on the back. Remember, OB's had not reached the powers available today.

    After some years the owner sold this and had a 62' version built, again with multiple OB's (5-7?) on the back. In each case the boats were strip red cedar, glass covered.

    Neither of these had a trailer requirement, but both were relatively light displacement. As I remember, the bottom right aft was quite flat immediately in front of the OB's, so the OB's were always in a neat horizontal row. The bilge aft, though round, was quite tight. Forward the stem was nearly vertical, with a very sharp entry. Perhaps more like a Luhurson E Boat hull, though clearly not exactly the same.

    I do not know who the designer was, but these looked rather like Jim Young's round bilge power boats designed from the early 60's, but with NO KEEL. Neither of these boats looked like the Bluejacket, and I personally would not enjoy the appearance of such a boat.

    I personally am in favor of the larger, 35-40+' cruiser, with OB power. Sound isolation, vibration isolation, ease of repair, and certainly ease of replacement in the future being some reasons. I'm not sure, but I suspect further economies of operation could come from running fewer OB's, with the others tilted up, for slower cruising. Then the running ones could be run in a better RPM range. With solar panels, and gen set back up, batteries could run all auxiliaries desired, including AC, hot water, etc. To my mind, I prefer Tad's raked back windscreen version, with no visor, but also wonder if the aft sides shouldn't be carried further back to cover the OB's, enhance sound isolation, and give a longer, leaner appearance.
  9. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Of course, since we are talking cruisers of moderate performance here, a mid engine design works well with a sidewheeler and unlike a prop design some (accommodations increasing) boxiness of the superstructure may actually be admirable styling for same. For occasional towing there would be the hassle of dismountable wheels to avoid being too wide, but there are materials these days by which these can at least be lighter ... though still quite bulky.

    For easier maxi towing, not needing dismountable wheels, an aft engine sternwheel boat can take advantage of the same sort of styling too. I personally like something like the Alligator (The Rudder, 1911) for appearance. The Mud Turtle style of design is bulkier, but wouldn't be ugly by any means.
  10. Easy Rider
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: NW Washington State USA

    Easy Rider Senior Member

    I'm keen about outboards but like the CG better with an inboard.

    An OB of this length would likely have issues w props grabbing air with stern seas under.
  11. Kevin Morin
    Joined: May 2013
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    Location: Kenai, AK

    Kevin Morin Junior Member

    Designed systems' vs Displacement

    While Fred and others prefer to stay with disposable power for this design's power and gen. I can't see any argument that has been expressed by actually building experience?

    One of my power boats, that was by law only 32' LOA, had two Detroit 6V-92 TA's under the cabin and at the helm, just above, you could hear all 10 radios just fine, and carry on a conversation without yelling in the small cabin/helm.

    If you can silence "screaming Gimmy's" three feet below your feet, a small inboard diesel in a generator like 'clamshell enclosure' with sound dampening lining can be as quiet as an RV with a gen set?

    Yes, it took some engineering and careful construction but this topic contemplates a purpose designed and built, trailerable, cruiser. A packaged engine enclosure for the 40-80hp (@ the prop) with a clutched drive to a gen. head foward is not even a difficult engineering design with today's materials.

    All the points about lining the stern with outboards, seems odd? Most of those posts talk about all the space given up to a small diesel inboard? What about giving up the entire stern and having to fish over the engines? Of all the prime real estate on a cruiser; the stern's entire area, swim platform, transom gates, boarding and swimming seems most compromised by hanging a bunch of kickers off the stern? I see the use of outboards for this class of boat as a much bigger mis appropriation of boat living space than a small 'box' in the middle of the aft cabin bulkhead?

    in the tiny horse power that I'm assigning the engine and propulsion to allow a long narrow hull to attain semi-planing ranges of speed ( 12-16 knts) a 1" shaft with pillow mounted roller bearings in a shaft alley under the after deck, driving a gear reduced (1.65:1 or 2:1) outdrive will last for plural decades because the drive was intended for hundreds of hp and much higher RPM's.

    Coupled with a 2.5 or 3:1 marine gear, a 700 t0 900 rpm prop as large and flat as could be fit on the leg, will give fuel efficiency that no outboard can currently offer. The mass of the diesel's moving parts is close to the entire mass of the outboard or similar horse power !!! Therefore the torque curve of the inboard can be optimized for a net thrust that can not be approached with a dozen outboards at the same prop rpm and associate efficiency.

    Using the gen head on the pulley not flywheel end of the engine is not going to age the engine's forward crank bearings because the centerline thrust is all torque, with little side loading (assuming a clutch mounting) so longevity of this arrangement is easily 20,000 hours.

    I really can't see much real argument in regard outboards, but understand the posters' preference for the packaged product represented by that power. I have designed and built lots of industrial packaged systems, marine and other applications and just don't see the issue with producing a very quiet, compact and fully enclosed "diesel drive and gen" for this class of boat.

    Other aspects of the inboard vs the outboard- no hydraulics from outboards but they're almost easy with an inboard. No cabin heat from and outboard but its automatically available with some hose and a few radiators with inboards, and that includes domestic water heating with heat exchangers, as well as cabin heat or hanging locker drying. ( I live in Alaska where it makes a difference)

    I can't agree the effort to design a compact, quiet and fuel efficient diesel with a jack shaft and outdrive propulsion for this class of cruiser is more trouble than its worth. I further argue that the central issue of combining push and generator is a serious overall weight conservation and that is a net savings to the design goals of this class.

    But.... some guys like Chevy's and other Fords, and there's not many who are willing to switch. I've built a couple hundred outboard welded aluminum skiffs and they're fine for what they do. But then I've done a dozen or so inboard powered boats, both gas and diesel, and they are a different class of boat. The inboard comforts come by the type and placement of power but in outboard boats they all require extra wt, lots of redundant systems (heat, hot water, lights, hydraulics to name a few) so... I'm an inboard advocate- when top speed is not critical and live aboard conditions are required.

    If I were building a Bluejacket or a Surf Scooter, or any boat roughly in this light enough to be trailered (but still) cruising class- I'd try to include inboard power. Admittedly, I've been packaging very compact industrial systems for a living for decades... so I'm inclined not to see the package being a burden... I'm inclined to see the potential benefits over the implied work and costs.

    I'm not convinced by any of the posts up to date that there's 'reason' to ignore inboard... there may be reasons... but they're not here - yet.

    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    A "SKINNY" boat will need about 6-1 L/B ratio in order to go modest speeds with low fuel consumption. It will also need to be quite light .

    A modern quiet 4 stroke in a well aft of 25-75 hp might be enough , depending on LOA. and wet weight.

    Certainly some aft cockpit space would be lost , but with no center line engine a centerboard could be fitted which might smooth the rolling better than flopper stoppers. With zero effort at deployment or storage.

    Sure at 14-18K there should be little rolling , but few folks will resist the 1/2 to 3/4 lower fuel bill from a 6K - 8K cruise speed.,most of the time
  13. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Ah, the great compromise: a boat that can cruise affordably but will be expensive to sit at the dock vs one that is comfortable, even roomy, and relatively less expensive to dock but sucks gas....

    As for throttle happy friends and family running up your gas bill I once joked, but am now leaning towards actually liking the idea of, a "coin-op" throttle. Maybe one of those new personal credit card machines would be easier to implement ... and you could have an owner's bypass card that way.

    Humorous aside: if your stereotypical really dumb criminal stole your boat you could track it down by his paying to run the throttle wide open.
  14. Sailor Alan
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Sailor Alan Senior Member

    Excellent, excellent argument, well thought out, and quite true under some circumstances.

    First experience. I have crewed, and been an observer on, many, many, predicted log competitions, and even in boats costing a million or more, engine noise was objectionable, if not annoying. Yes you could converse, and hear the radios, but at a price. In smaller boats, the stern drive, or OB was usually drowned out by water noise, but in these cases speed was greater than we are discussing here as well.

    So generally I am not well qualified to make a judgement.

    But, I know the diesel must be running to supply cabin heat, though hot water, and electricity can be stored for a time. I like redundant services, though of course a gen set will not get you home if the main fails. A diesel cabin heater WILL heat without the engine, and some without electricity as well.

    My argument starts with how little actual running time such a personal pleasure boat uses, and how much relitivly it sits moored, or anchored, whilst occupied.

    Your points about the transom useage are very valid, though as a dedicated non fisherman (I am mildly allergic to iodine, found in sea fish) the issue of fishing over the motors is not very convincing. I also object, again through bad experiences, to having the diesel in the middle of the accomidation during repair or maintainence, though to be honest hanging over an OB on the stern in a seaway is no fun either. Hence the redundant OB's I guess.

    We are unlikely to settle such a discussion here, it's been going on for decades, but all POV's are usfull, especially at the design stage.

    A couple of points. I have been astounded at the increased weight of some modern OB's compared to their older versions of comparable power. I also know diesels are getting lighter, though usually at the price of increased basic RPM. As boat hulls get lighter, especially in the case of aluminium ones, and not helped by the practice of attaching OB's to 24" or more of bracket behind the transom and planning surface, weight distribution for heavy weather handling must become an issue.
    Again through experience, it is rare for an OB to get air in a following sea if the boat is under command, and has steerage way on. It usually comes down to experience in such situations, but of course it's possible for an unskilled helms person to really scare themselves, though the motors built in protection would usually protect it from overspend damage. This is where the argument for a keel or not in such a slow speed hull enters the fray.

  15. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I think the main point of an OB powered larger boat (of a size normally powered by inboards) would be a design that does well with different amounts of engine power, and loadings, since its much easier to add and subtract engines.

    I'm thinking of about 50' semi-displacement that could get by with as little as 40hp in protected areas, lightly loaded, under 10knts, typical day picnic or cross lake ferry or other No Wake Zone uses, but take up to 300hp worth of outboards for much faster cruising with much heavier loads (including lots of fresh water, and fuel).

    Since the motors are such a big part of the price tag.

    Also, with more than one motor you don't need to depend on that one motor being reliable, so you can 'chance' cheaper used big outboards.

    Plus the whole Kicker Motor thing for fishing.
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