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Old 19-12-2010, 22:39   #1
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Outboard Suggestion, Please

Hi. i've just bought my first real sail boat, a 1974 Doug Peterson 1/4 ton 25'. It came with sails, a tiller, a few anchors, a first aid kit and a Suzuki 4hp that looks like it survived a small riot. It runs, sort of. but not well enough for me to trust it. ( you have to invert yourself 5' to start it hanging over the rear safety ropes when it dies )

I've been researching Torqeedo for about 2 months as i REALLY wanted to go that route. But once all's said I can't help but agree with the old salts who say ' i don't wish to be a beta tester for an overly proud German engineering company' trying to show the world how great their engineering is. It IS, really. but the final product just does not seem to work well enough. Nobody ( end users, not corporate lake bound buyers ) is buying the 2.0 and 4.0 models. The few you can track down often have 'rest of the story' tales of repeated parts failures, prop damage, etc.

So two days ago I pulled the plug on that dream. But that left me with a barely working 4hp to get in and out with, not to mention emergencies. ( we just had 1/4" hail here. Half hour from San Francisco. COOL! but.... is the world ending? ) I need an outboard. And one which will push this tub at a resonable speed.

The boat weighs 4700 lb when without burden. Or dry. Displacement is the word I think. Based on the research I've done I THINK I need a 10hp. Maybe a 15hp... not sure. I get the feeling any power beyond that will be essentially wasted due to boat design.. (does this sound correct?)

My new best friend Google has let me down for once. I can't find any publications, much less pubs I might know/trust, who have done head to head reviews of these size motors. The price range seems to be from about $1400 to perhaps $5000 ( bottom of 10hp to top of 15hp market ) which is a lot of difference.

What would any of you suggest regarding either looking up info to make a choice of engine, or just stating your thoughts on what has worked for you and what has not over the years?

I am not sure about long vs short shaft yet: my stern is oddly angled... the 4 hp has an arm assy to lower it into the water... however it's really rickety/loose. I would think I'm losing a lot of energy there. Once I choose an outboard I hope to post here regarding the mounting of it.

Thanks for any thoughts you have.


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Old 19-12-2010, 22:55   #2
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i had a cal 25 with a 10 hp Honda outboard, worked great.
Don't go electric you will be disappointed at the range and the price.
A two stroke Tohatsu Or Mercury (same motor) will work the best for the money and last forever.

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Old 19-12-2010, 23:51   #3
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I agree with beau. 10hp should be plenty for that boat. We had a Swiftsure 24' (another quarter tonner) which looked relatively similar. With an 8hp 2-stroke we were able to maintain hull speed. We upgraded to a 9.9 but it was too much weight on the transom and made us squat too much in the water. Went back to the 8hp.

I would definitely go for a long shaft. Absolutely essential in a sailboat. If you have to power through some snotty waves, your transom will likely "pop" out of the water, and rev high. When it resubmerges, it can result in a spun hub. No fun

Around here (Vancouver BC), older outboards can often be found for less than $1000.

How would you ensure the electric stays charged when regular access to shore power is not available?
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Old 20-12-2010, 00:18   #4
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8-10hp sounds fine to me, look at 2-strokes to save weight. You might consider an electric start if the mounting makes it hard to get at. If you can find a good used one, you can invest the savings over a new one into a gel-cell battery and a solar panel to keep it topped up. A good marine gel battery can be had for around $150 at Sams club, and I believe a suitable solar panel is around that price at West Marine (they do go on sale, so you could get it for less).

And of course, I would recommend fixing/replacing the mount, so you don't risk sending your new motor to the bottom.

Good luck, BWS
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Old 20-12-2010, 01:22   #5
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10 is plenty. Four strokes are nice and quiet. BUT they are heavy to lift on an off. Some come with chargers that can top up your batteries as you motor. Its not the cheapest way ( compared to solar) to top them up, but on a cloudy day or moonlit night it is the perfect way to trickle charge the battery.

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Old 20-12-2010, 03:02   #6
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Rule of thumb is 4hp per tonne, so 8-10hp as everyone says will be good - and I urge an electric start if it's hard to get at (been there...).

Only thing I'd add is to mount the outboard much lower than recommended. That recommendation is for power boats, and allows for the transom digging in under power. That doesn't happen with sailboats - they sit more or less level fore n aft underway - so you need to mount it much lower or the prop'll be out of the water a lot in any sort of chop.
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Old 20-12-2010, 04:55   #7
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Personally I'd recommend the Honda 5hp L/S fourstroke... its an amazing work horse, is very economical and probably weighs the same as an 8hp 2stroke... and will push you along at about 5kts...
Another factor is over this side of the pond 2strokes are being banned from many waterways for environmental reasons... I know you guys take a while to catch up in these matters but if your going to invest $'s 4 strokes the way to go

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Old 23-12-2010, 14:34   #8
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a lot of good advice.

I've looked into the 2 strokes recently. As I understand it in California they don't sell them below around 50 hp. This is due to the extra emissions work that needs to be done to get them legal for the state ( not just the lakes ) so the manufacturer's decided it wasn't worth it to offer them here below a certain size engine.

I've looked a bit for a used outboard, but they are far and few between. And I would have little idea what was sound and what wasn't, so decided to go new.

I did see a nice kit from the local Yamaha dealer... 'high thrust' I think they called it. Much larger prop, exhaust out the front of the prop vs the normal rear, many other changes. Looked to be meant to be used as a kicker for a sailboat. Then he checked and said never mind: that was last year. It's only offered on the 9.9hp now.

I appreciate all the info. This all may now become moot as I've just discovered I may be about to begin a job search ( OTOH more time for sailing! well at least a little more time for it.. <g> ) pretty soon. If that is the case then I'm for tuning the tiny four that barely gets her moving and living with that until things settle down.

I am curious tho. Can a larger prop normally just be installed to X outboard? Or do they need to be designed and engineered for them?

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Old 23-12-2010, 14:57   #9
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Had a Mirage 24 a couple of boats ago that would have displaced a pretty number to your Peterson. I had a 4 stroke Honda 5 on it that easily powered it up to get it onto and off of the lake. Might be interesting to see what it would cost to get the Suzuki tuned up and working right. Might not need to do a motor swap at all, they are/were decent motors. Just remember having a motor is nice, but it's a sail boat.
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Old 23-12-2010, 23:15   #10
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A 10 hp Honda 4 stroke weighs about 80 pounds + the weight of a decent bracket. So, figure 100 lbs exclusive of fuel and tank. This will affect your boat's performance because of its location (stern overhang) and 80 pounds is not something you're going to be wrestling off and on often or easily. I have a 4hp Two stroke long shaft (probably what you'll need) Mercury on a 3000 lb. Capri 25 and it does OK in flat water. It weighs about 50 lbs. Depends on how you're going to use the boat. Gonna be doing a lot of powering in seas or chop? Go bigger. Flat water on a lake...go smaller.
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Old 25-12-2010, 21:01   #11
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Thanks Sailstoo. Your thoughts seem to be on track with most of the threads I've read recently. However I've two 'problems' here :

1: the water's never flat ( how true is that I wonder? The next few years will show me )

2: my boats about 2000lb heavier than yours.

The current 4hp on it works as long as you keep your attention on it. It's ok for getting out of the slip and down to the end of the pier. But a person with both shoes tied together could walk the pier faster than the boat moves. I wouldn't think of trying to use the motor on the bay itself. Well, not while sober.

I need to see what happens in the next few days prior to deciding how much fun I can have fixing my motoring issue.
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Old 25-12-2010, 21:36   #12
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I've used a 6hp 2-stroke long shaft on a 24 ft. sailboat and had all the power I could use. 8 HP would be more than you need, and 10 HP is overkill and 10HP 4-stroke way too much weight. JMHO
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Old 25-12-2010, 21:46   #13
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I am pretty satisfied with my 5hp Tohatsu. The correct prop is more important than high horsepower. If I had my druthers it would be a 8hp Tohatsu with a charging unit and a high thrust prop, but the 5hp does great.

Long shaft is very important.
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Old 25-12-2010, 22:13   #14
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Electric is OK for getting in an out of a harbor but not for cruising when you sometimes need to motor for hours.

I've owned small Yamaha, Honda, and Tohatsu small outboards. I didn't like the Tohatsu (ran rough, hard starting)

I'd go for an 8HP because it's the smallest with two cylinders. one cylinder engines are fine for dinghy's but are rough running - no fun if you need to run for a long time.

For a sailboat, get the largest diameter prop that will fit with the most blades (it will have a lower pitch to not overload the engine). This will give you the best pushing power at displacement speeds.

The shaft length is dictated by the mounting. In almost all cases on a sailboat you need to the long shaft to be able to reach the outboard controls when running.

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Old 25-12-2010, 22:17   #15
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We have a 28 foot 4 tonne yacht. Traditional wine glass shape so lots of wetted surface to push. We replaced the 7hp Volvo inboard with an 8hp Merc (Tohatsu) long shaft and we can reach hull speed with 60% throttle. Its two stroke so not stupidly heavy. We have been highly impressed with the change we thought it would be a major compromise but it has turned out to have been VERY well worth it.

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