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Beersmith 09-03-2010 14:48

Need Outboard Advice for Dinghy
The dinghy that came with my boat is old just like the mothership, a 1970something Achilles 9.5 foot inflatable. The big chambers hold air just fine and I am able to paddle it around like a canoe with another person reasonably well. I am cruising my sailboat around Florida and need to leave it on a mooring. I'd like to not have to rely on canoe paddling it, especially by myself. What kind of outboard should I look for for this? What size, brand, or any info you can think of would help. Should I look for a used or go straight for new if I can afford it? I seem to only remember outboards being unreliable so I'm nervous about buying used. I'd like something that would work well with a newer dinghy if I got one, and I'm leaning towards a hard dinghy at the moment if that makes any difference. I've learned a lot about my diesel engine, but these little guys confuse me. Also need info on how I would mount it on this thing.

FSMike 09-03-2010 21:02

Beersmith -
You will need to acquire the bracket made by Achilles to mount an outboard, or at least get one fabricated, perhaps modify an old one from a different brand if you can't find an Achilles. That dink probably isn't rated for more than 3 horsepower at the most. New outboards are extremely reliable. We prefer Yamahas for two strokes and Hondas for four strokes, but there are other brands that folks swear by. If you are not going to be using the outboard on a regular basis run the gas out of the carburetor before shutting it off, so the gas won't gum up the carb from sitting. Fuel treatments are also a good idea for the gas in the tank.
If you are considering a new dinghy, I would put off buying a motor until you decide what sort of rig you want. Rigid bottom inflatables with enough horsepower to easily plane are great, but not cheap.

tallyhorob 09-03-2010 21:18

RIB with a 15 HP, wait to buy, you may find a deal with a motor to go with it. Only problem I see with the bracket is that it may be easy to steal the motor in the current set up. So, if you go that way go used and beat up the outside of the motor, A little scot brite to dull up the paint and make it look old and spray paint it some ugly color could deter someone from stealing it.

CSY Man 09-03-2010 21:44

Looks like an Avon Redcrest, 9.3 something..Or a copy of it.

If the dink is old, toss it in the garbage.
You don't want to see the thing collapse on the beach and you are unable to get back to the mothership somewhere of the beaten path when the old seams gave up in the sun and you have to swim 1/2 mile against a 20 knot wind..:(

When it comes to anchors and dinghies, get the biggest ya can fit and afford..No safety points for saving money or weight on anchors or dinks..

roverhi 10-03-2010 01:41

You can get oars for the boat from Achilles. Voila, it's now a one man row instead of a two man paddle. As mentioned above, the boat needs a bracket for the motor also available from Achilles if you can't find one used. These are low power dinghys. Doubt that they are rated for more than 4 hp. If weight is a consideration, look for a used two cycle in good condition. 4 cycles are less polluting but weigh more so can be a problem to horse around when out sailing.

I like this style of dinghy. You can carry them on deck with only half inflated. They are relatively quick to deploy that way and make soft lounge in flat conditions. They don't have a great reputation for rowing ability but I think it's just because people are too lazy to row. We rowed ours hundreds of miles on a year long cruise to French Polynesia after the outboard (may the Seagull RIP) proved too unreliable.

Unless you tear a tube, inflatables don't fail catastrophically. They will develop pin hole leaks that let air out slowly. When that happens, you just need to carry the pump with you till you can fix the leak or buy a new dinghy. Hypalon, which Avon and Achilles are made out of, will last for decades even if left in the sun. The biggest culprit for causing leaks is sand that finds it way to the floor/tube interface and grinds away the fabric. Spend the time to clean out the sand and they'll last a long long time.

The cheaper zodiacs and many other brands are made out of polyurethane or some other material and doesn't last in the sun. Good for little more than a year of 24/7 use in the tropics. Looks the same as hypalon but it's not.

The transom dinghies will take a larger outboard, even plane with an inflatable keel. Problem is the tube inflation is split side to side, not front and back, so they need to be completely deflated to store.

Laidback 10-03-2010 03:26

This is rated for an 8hp outboard. - Go to Ebay and find an O/B. If you don't have the Transom bracket - make one up, plenty of skills on this forum.

Dockhead 10-03-2010 03:49


Originally Posted by Laidback (Post 417040)
This is rated for an 8hp outboard. - Go to Ebay and find an O/B. If you don't have the Transom bracket - make one up, plenty of skills on this forum.

Maybe rated for 8hp, but you would never want a motor that size on that dink. It's not going to plane, and won't have any directional stability, so with a bigger motor you'll just be loading down the transom and giving yourself backache getting it on and off, with no benefit at all.

Any reasonably modern 2.5 to 4 hp motor is going to be fine on that rig, the lighter the better, and so better a 2-stroke. Since the introduction of electronic ignition, two-stroke outboards have become extremely reliable in my experience (knocking on wood). They are lighter and more responsive than four-strokes. You have the minor inconvenience of mixing oil but there isn't really any other downside in my experience other than somewhat poorer fuel consumption; personally I will give up my 2-stroke dink engine (currently, a 25 horsepower Mariner) only when they pry it from my cold, dead, fingers (which could happen the way things are going).

You may find this amusing: YouTube - 2 stroke outboard Vrs. 4 stroke outboard

Two-stroke technology is still developing. Bombardier (which owns Ski Doo and Evinrude) has developed direct injection two strokes and semi-direct injection two strokes which are really cool. I have a 120 horsepower semi-direct injected two stroke in a snowmobile; it is amazingly powerful, economical, quiet, light, and reliable.

No outboard which will work well on that rig will be optimal for a new, larger, planing dinghy, so I would not attempt to find a compromise, if I were you. Just sell the existing dink with whatever motor you buy, and buy the new dink with a new motor.

Buy used, but choose carefully something which is not too old and not heavily worn. It's getting hard to buy new two-strokes in many areas but there's usually a good supply of used ones.

Pete7 10-03-2010 03:53

Yes, I thought it looked like an Avon too. If so the tube material is very heavy duty compared to others and it will last many years.

There is a range of small 2 stroke outboards 2 - 3.5hp built by Tohatsu and badged Mercury/Mariner/Johnson/Evinrude etc which are cheap and reliable. More importantly can be lifted off the dink with one hand whilst you stand up to climb on board. Once you start to get into 8-10 hp they are starting to get heavy and in a rolly anchorage distaster won't be far away. The frame for an Avon is made from mild steel, so even secondhand they tend to be rusty, suggest you have one made by a local welder.

We have the 3.5 hp Tohatsu version, now 6 years old, never been serviced or even had the spark plug changed, dumped in the back of the car and garage, the thing just keeps going, although thinking about I now feel guilty so it might have a little TLC this spring.

Talking of which Spring is just around the corner and I suspect the US like Europe everything goes mad, everyone wants sails made, boats launched and fixed. So suggest you buy soonest before the rush, or wait until next Autumn.


Dockhead 10-03-2010 03:59


Originally Posted by Pete7 (Post 417045)
More importantly can be lifted off the dink with one hand whilst you stand up to climb on board.

It cannot be overstated, how great that is, on a smaller, less stable dinghy like that one. The lighter the better, should be your key criterion.

Beersmith 10-03-2010 18:00

Thanks for the tips everyone.

I think I'll look for a new dinghy honestly. I'm starting to think this thing isnt worth keeping around.

Where should I start? My plans for the dinghy are to use as a tender for my boat, a 1975 Downeaster 38' cutter; and as a recreational boat around the waters of St. Augustine for fishing and whatnot. While cruising (East coast, keys, Bahamas and beyond), I will be doing a lot of surfing and searching for the waves to do so. Searching for waves and fish will probably be done a lot in the dinghy.

My current idea was a hard dinghy, probably a nesting type that I could row easily, motor and maybe even sail. Plus it would be easy to fish out of with some good modification.

What would you look for if you were in my situation? Building a dinghy isn't out of the question, I've considered building the nesting one. Would any of you suggest a different dinghy type for me? I'm not looking to spend top dollar, but I want something reliable and fits my needs and I'll pay what I need for that.

tager 10-03-2010 18:05


Dudeman 10-03-2010 19:21

1 Attachment(s)
My buddy has the exact same thing. He uses it to raft some rivers in Colorado. Nothing crazy mostly class III/beer floats but it's a really durable raft. You can build a simple frame out of plywood added on to the rear seat, add some oarlocks and you'll be suprised at how well it does. I wouldn't give up on it. here's my favorite picture of him and his girlfriend. She doesn't seem to be too worried about the sand bar they're stuck on.

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