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Posted on Wed 08 July 2009 in Systems - Dinghy

We bought an Aquapro Sportsmaster 860 used off of craigslist last summer and we wanted to add an outboard. I thought buying an outboard would be a pretty straight forward thing to do, we had some specific criteria:

  1. 4-Stroke – I don’t want to have to carry 2-stroke oil, deal with mixing it in with gas and 4-strokes burn cleaner and run quieter. Ideally we’d have gone with an electric outboard but they run \$3k and I just couldn’t justify the money on such a new technology.
  2. 8HP – Our dinghy is rated to 8hp and I wanted the biggest engine she could handle. This will essentially be our car, no actually more like a pickup when we’re out cruising so I wanted to be sure it could move when we wanted it to and that it could carry a load when we’re ferrying supplies and parts.

I looked at the SSCA’s Equipment survey and 2-stokes were more common than 4-strokes, but 4-strokes are really starting to take off over the past few years especially given the environmental and noise considerations. Looking at the brands all the biggies were there in sufficient quantities and were well rated. I also read the Practical Sailor reviews of Outboards and while I don’t think there were any clear winners and losers they Yamaha rated well and had nice touches so I decided to go with a Yamaha F8 Short Shaft (I think it has since been replaced by the 9.9).

I spoke with two dealers at the Seattle Boat Show and one was kind of slimy saying “For you, we’ll throw in a gas tank.” where Jacobsen's’ Marine said, “There’s a Yamaha special right now where they throw in \$200 of free accessories and you can pick what you want”. Jacobsen’s was \$10 more, but I just felt they were more forthright in their sale and they’re office is located here in Seattle.

We’ve use the outboard a few times now and from a weight perspective I think we could have gone with a 6hp. However, I have been able to get the dinghy up on a plane with both Dawn and I in it, so maybe 8hp was the way to go. Initially when you run the motor you push a pretty big wall of water for a while. When towing with the motor on, I think it slows Down Deep Playa by a knot or maybe even two knots. I don’t plan on towing the dinghy like that but hey occasionally we all get lazy. Weight aside and me being a complete and utter neophyte to outboards aside; she runs greats and starts with one or two pulls so you can’t complain about that. The “guys on the dock” say I will probably want to add a fin to the motor (like a wing) which will allow it to get out of the hole and up on a plane faster. I’m still looking into that.

I’m also building and installing a teak outboard mount and then we can mount the motor on the stern rail for short trips. The current outboard mount is made out of fiberglass and starboard and I don’t trust it so I have to leave the mizzen halyard on when I was mounting the outboard. The new mount will be VERY sturdy and then we can use the mizzen halyard or a block on the mizzen boom to raise and lower the outboard.