Sailors seem to be as passionate about their dinghy/outboards as they are about their motherships.
Before we left the US to sail to Australia
in 2009, sailing friends advised us to purchase
a 2-stroke Yamaha in Panama
for our 10' Caribe RIB
. The logic here was that you can get a 2-stroke engine
repaired almost anywhere in the world - even in the remotest Pacific island where the local fishermen are surely using that same motor
. Wish we'd listened.
The 4-stroke 15hp Honda
we'd had for 5 years was always a non-starter; in fact, my husband had to get it started because I just didn't have enough strength nor patience. I don't know why we bought it - I'd owned one in the 90's and it wasn't much better. Both Hondas were in the repair shop more than on the dinghy
. Every year they required a $250 tune-up just to get us through the Chesapeake Bay
Well, by the time we reached American Samoa
, the latest Honda was toast. But we were unable to purchase
a 2-stroke Yamaha there because, after all, it is 'America' and they have the same rules regarding 2-strokes as the US mainland. We even tried to get one through Apia (former Western Samoa). We spent about $600 and three weeks getting the Honda working again in Pago Pago. In the end it only lasted another couple of months - and upon reaching Australia
, the outboard mechanic
gave it its last rites (the engine
block was warped - apparently due to excessive heat build-up).
So two years ago we purchased a 2-stroke 3-hp Yamaha and a 2-stroke 15-hp Yamaha. It is nice to have the little, lightweight and easily handled motor than either of us can pick up and install on the dinghy transom - it is perfect in protected waters where all we need is to get to shore and where it is light enough that we can easily drag the dinghy up on the beach. Then the larger motor works when the seas are rough, or the distance to be covered is long and we want to plane. The 15-hp requires use of a transom davit, however, it weighs significantly less than our 4-stroke Honda. We typically don't use it as often as the smaller engine. But we like the security
of knowing we have the ability to tow our sailboat, if needed - in fact, we've had to do that in the past by lashing the Caribe abaft the beam.
I know that if you are in the US and looking for a 2-stroke, you don't have any options for purchasing
one. However, those who are headed through the Panama Canal
(or just cruising Panama) can get them reasonably cheap
in the Free Zone at Colon. Also, I am wondering if they are perhaps still available in the Bahamas
.... certainly there are places in the Caribbean
where you can get them.