Join Date: Jun 2006
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It's nice to see measured advice here full of real-world information. The Honda, being at one end of the weight/convenience spectrum, has design aspects "not for everyone", and yet not everyone uses their tender the same way.
The "leaping into forward" thing on the neutral-less Honda concerned me...until I actually tried it! You can grip a dock or simply loop a line to defeat it, but me, I just aim the boat and let 'er rip!
The other aspect of this, of course, is that I don't see the Honda as a small outboard so much as a "big, tireless rower": I frequently will row away from the boat first to see if there's wind or traffic nearby that needs to see me...then I will fire up the Honda and be on my way.
I have done the 180 degree flip thing and gone dead astern and I would say this works marginally better than "reverse" on a standard outboard. I have also simply done slow circles to stay "on station" if I am fiddling with a radio or something.
Anyway, the ease of use and portability trump this model's "little ways", but I can see that if you left the engine on the dinghy on occasion, or if you were regularly pushing 4 people or half a dozen diesel jugs, a more beefy, more standard small outboard would be a better choice.
This suits us at the moment, but that could change. An air-cooled 3.5 HP at 35 lbs. would be near perfect, for instance.