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  #1  
Old 08-25-2008
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Gas Outboard Recommendations or should I keep the Trolling Motor

Hopefully this is the right board to post a question like this, if not feel free to move it.

We have a classic 18' Annapolis Columbia which is a centerboard boat that displaces around 800-900 lb fully loaded. The previous owner fitted it with a 75Ah deep cycle battery and 55ft-lb Minn Kota trolling motor. The trolling motor pushes the boat around 3-4 knots at full throttle in relatively calm water. This worked fine in the small lake the PO used it on, but we live in Buffalo and wind up sailing on either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario and I'm concerned about only having one hour of thrust if the wind dies.

I'm looking at two options now:
1) buy another battery, perhaps a larger one, and get another 1-2 hours of battery life out of the trolling motor.
2) Buy a new or used outboard and keep the trolling motor in the cabin as a third backup propulsion source.

If we go the outboard route, would you recommend a brand new one or trying to find a decent used one? Are we likely to have major reliability issues with a used outboard?

Beyond that, I think a 4HP motor is more than sufficient (probably overkill) for our little boat. Given that, would you recommend going with a 3.5hp motor that does not have external fuel tank connectors or reverse in order to save around 20lb of motor weight, or is it worth the extra weight and money for the full 4HP motor with external tank and a reverse gear?

I like the idea of going pure electric on the boat from an environmental perspective, but I'm not sure I trust the batteries to get us home when the wind dies, especially on the bigger lakes.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
~Matt
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Old 08-26-2008
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You're probably much better off getting a four-stroke 3.5 HP tohatsu or something similar. With a 2.5 gallon gerry can, it'll run over seven hours... since the built-in tank of .3 gallons lets it run for a bit over an hour. It is far lighter than the battery and trolling motor, since the Tohatsu is only 36 lbs. or so.... half the weight of the battery.

The other choice would be something like the Torqueedo...but it is way too expensive for what you're doing IMHO.
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Old 08-26-2008
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Good, well kept outboards are safe enough provided you keep the fuel clean and the motor serviced. Sell the trolling motor, keep the battery for internal lighting and running lights. Use the money to buy a 400 dollar outboard and bracket and you'll be fine.
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Old 08-26-2008
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So you don't think the lack of reverse and external fuel tank connector on the 3.5 HP outboard will be a problem? I was a little worried about trying to refuel on the water with the .3 gallon internal tank, though I did come across a clever solution using an external gas tank's priming pump to refill through the gas cap on top of the motor. I'm guessing that turning the motor around to go in reverse really isn't that big a deal.

From what I read on the Torqueedo, it doesn't actually have a lower power draw than my current motor -- the run-time at full throttle for the 801 was somewhere around the hour I get with the Minn Kota -- so definitely not worth the $1300.

Thanks for the input.
~Matt
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Old 08-26-2008
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Cool

If the funds are available, I'd recommend the new Tohatsu motor route suggested by SD. There is nothing more frustrating than being out there and having the wind die then having to depend on a used outboard.

It's nice to be able to save the money by buying a used motor (there are reliable ones out there) but unless you're mechanically inclined and innovative a tempermental used motor can be a major PITA. Its comforting to know that your engine will start when you most need it.

Tohatsu's are inexpensive, reliable and have several options such as reverse, a charging system (depending on HP) and long/extra long shaft versions.
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Old 08-26-2008
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I have and use the 3.5 HP Tohatsu on my dinghy. Lack of reverse and the lack of an external fuel tank aren't really problems, unless you're planning on taking trips that are over an hour in duration. Most trips are far shorter than that...and if the conditions are such that you can't sail—ie, no wind—there shouldn't be much difficulty in re-filling the internal tank on the 3.5 HP. Granted, there might end up being the rare occasion where having a larger fuel tank would be good, but I see that as an exception, rather than the rule. If push comes to shove and you really need more fuel capacity, you could always drill a small hole in the fuel cap of the tohatsu's internal fuel tank and add a fitting so that you can fill the tank while the engine is running via an external fuel tank with a quick release fitting and a pump bulb.

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Originally Posted by cristamd View Post
So you don't think the lack of reverse and external fuel tank connector on the 3.5 HP outboard will be a problem? I was a little worried about trying to refuel on the water with the .3 gallon internal tank, though I did come across a clever solution using an external gas tank's priming pump to refill through the gas cap on top of the motor. I'm guessing that turning the motor around to go in reverse really isn't that big a deal.

From what I read on the Torqueedo, it doesn't actually have a lower power draw than my current motor -- the run-time at full throttle for the 801 was somewhere around the hour I get with the Minn Kota -- so definitely not worth the $1300.

Thanks for the input.
~Matt
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Old 08-26-2008
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I loaned my then new 2hp Yamaha 4 stroke to a buddy with a C22 for a season, he had no problem including doing the reverse twist to get it into his slip. In flat water it pushed him 4.5kts (clean bottom) at 3/4 throttle and no faster at full juice. The throttle arm extender was a nice addition for maneuvering, he could lock his rudder amidships and just drive/turn with the motor.

I went on one four hour motor trip with him (no wind) where we re-fueled twice underway using a simple hose and squeeze bulb. Save yourself the drilling and fitting and get a common rubber stopper of the right size, drill a hole in it for the hose and push a hard tube through it, then attach the squeeze bulb hose to the tube. It's a temporary fix that lasts a long time and will save you bucks and trouble.
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Hmm...given that the 2hp Yamaha was able to push a C22 (do you mean Catalina 22 here?) at 4.5 knots, I probably could get away with a 2 or 2.5 HP on my boat. Clockwork weighs a lot less than a C22 and has a shorter water line, so I'd imagine the 2HP there would work ever better than on the C22. Would we be at a large disadvantage motoring into wind and chop with a 2HP instead of a 3.5HP?

With the built in fuel tank, is there an easy way to stop the flow of gas to the engine to let it sputter out? Everyone I know with an outboard does that to clear it out at the end of the day -- is that a good idea, or should I just treat the jerry can with fuel stabilizer and leave the motor full until winter storage?

All this brings up one more question -- can I leave the motor on the boat for trailering it (we are trailer sailors at the moment, looking into a slip next year but it will depend on finances), or should I take it off? We're usually driving about 30-40 minutes on either the interstate highway or on country backroad highways to get to the lakes.

I'll rig something with a pump and cap replacement/rubber stopper for on-the-water refueling if we need it.
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Old 08-27-2008
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2.5

Many people use one horsepower per 1000 pounds so 2.5 Tohatsu should be fine. 41 pounds and one litre tank, forward and nuetral selecter,turn 180 for reverse. Maybe you could carry 1 litre bottles of gas for easy refueling (like empty oil bottles).
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Old 08-27-2008
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I'm inclined to go with either the Tohatsu 3.5 HP (also 41lb like the 2.5HP) or the Honda 2HP engine. They are around the same price, but the Honda has a centrifugal clutch instead of a true gear shifter, and is 13 lbs lighter. I haven't been able to find any good calculations of boat speed in various conditions for any of the sub-10HP motors -- anyone know of a good resource for that?

I'm looking for something that would be able to make reasonable, controlled headway against 20-25 knots of wind and the associated chop (depending on wind direction it might be nearly impossible to sail into the break wall channels under those conditions -- anything worse I'd really not consider being out in and it might be hard to keep the prop in the water).
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