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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-30-2010
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Outboard install

Hey everybody!
Im a little new to sailing, or at least having my own boat. I just bought a 76 Catalina 27 a few months ago and its now time for outboard shopping. My boat is the outboard model and I have an open motor well with tiller steering. Ive seen a lot of setup variations with similar boats and have a few questions:

1. Ive seen some people mount the motor in a fixed position and mount to controls remotely (meaning they still rely on the boat's rudder to steer while the motor stays in the same position.) Does that work well? I would think since I would have to mount the motor behind the rudder, the steering wouldn't be too responsive (especially at low speeds.) I really need the motor to get in and out of the marina.

2. Do you have to get a mounting bracket that steers or do most motors have that built in? (I know, dumb question...Sorry)

3. Finally, for a boat this size, any recommendations for motor size? I really don't want to be underpowered. I want to have responsive steering more than I care about actual speed. The boat came with a (what they claim to be a 6hp equivilant) electric outboard. I tried taking it out with that and couldn't even get out of the marina, almost layed it into two other boats because it wouldn't steer. Here in the gulf, there is the occasional 5 knot current that Ill need to overcome. I was looking at a 92 Johnson 9.9 and an 84 Evinrude 15, both just what I could find on craigs list. Both extremely clean, running well for $650. I know these are a bit old but my budget is under a grand. Im good with engines so Im not as worried about having huge repair bills... But Im a liveaboard so I was thinking about finding the smallest thing managable so if I need to pull it out to work on it, it won't be a huge production.... I also want to be able to tilt it out of the water. Any thoughts? Would a 9.9 do well out in the ocean?


Thanks,
Nick
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Old 04-30-2010
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1. Yes. That's what I have and in fact had a bracket custom made to lock the motor into position because they didn't provide that option out of the box.

2. I'm actually not sure what you mean by this. The motor pivots on it's bracket that is clamped to the bracket on the boat. Does that make sense for your question?

3. A 9.9 high thrust will do you well but of course the 15 will give you more juice to get through fast currents. Both should get you to hull speed no problem. I've not heard bad things about Johnson, you'll save on gas with the 9.9 over the 15.
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I've found my 9.9 Merc 2 stroke does the job fine on my Catalina 27. I wish I could tell you whether this pushes it along at hull speed, but my first season sailing it last year I had so much marine growth on the keel, there was no way to know-4 knots tops then, but I expect much better this season now that she's clean.

Unfortunately there isn't room in the motor cut out to pivot the motor on it's bracket, so I have the motor clamped in a straight ahead position, (the Merc motor has a tensioner that allows for this), and I use the boats rudder to steer. (Not nearly as maneuverable as being able to pivot the motor, but that's how it is.)

The Merc 2 stroke tilts out of the water with just a little room to spare. I've seen some nice 4 strokes at the dock with the lower unit gathering marine growth because there isn't room in the transom to tilt them up.

Johnson made a nice low profile 9.9 or 10 hp 2 stroke which might be sweet.

You'd want to take some careful measurements to make sure what you are buying fits.

Hope this helps!
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Old 04-30-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sync View Post
Hey everybody!
Im a little new to sailing, or at least having my own boat. I just bought a 76 Catalina 27 a few months ago and its now time for outboard shopping. My boat is the outboard model and I have an open motor well with tiller steering. Ive seen a lot of setup variations with similar boats and have a few questions:
Is this a transom mounted outboard or a well-mounted outboard. There's a big difference between the two.

Quote:
1. Ive seen some people mount the motor in a fixed position and mount to controls remotely (meaning they still rely on the boat's rudder to steer while the motor stays in the same position.) Does that work well? I would think since I would have to mount the motor behind the rudder, the steering wouldn't be too responsive (especially at low speeds.) I really need the motor to get in and out of the marina.
Yes, it works, but you lose a lot of maneuverability. Vectored thrust, via steering the outboard, greatly increases the responsiveness of the boat with regards to turning.

Quote:
2. Do you have to get a mounting bracket that steers or do most motors have that built in? (I know, dumb question...Sorry)
Most outboards have a tiller/throttle arm and can turn on their brackets. Usually, these need to be modified to lock them in the straight fore-and-aft position.

Quote:
3. Finally, for a boat this size, any recommendations for motor size? I really don't want to be underpowered. I want to have responsive steering more than I care about actual speed. The boat came with a (what they claim to be a 6hp equivilant) electric outboard. I tried taking it out with that and couldn't even get out of the marina, almost layed it into two other boats because it wouldn't steer. Here in the gulf, there is the occasional 5 knot current that Ill need to overcome. I was looking at a 92 Johnson 9.9 and an 84 Evinrude 15, both just what I could find on craigs list. Both extremely clean, running well for $650. I know these are a bit old but my budget is under a grand. Im good with engines so Im not as worried about having huge repair bills... But Im a liveaboard so I was thinking about finding the smallest thing managable so if I need to pull it out to work on it, it won't be a huge production.... I also want to be able to tilt it out of the water. Any thoughts? Would a 9.9 do well out in the ocean?


Thanks,
Nick
I'd think a 9.9 HP would be fine. The 15 HP would give you a little more power, but it is also probably a good deal heavier, and may cause the boat to squat, stern down. More important than the HP rating is getting the proper propellor. Most outboards are not propped with a displacement sailboat in mind, so the prop they come with is often far from desirable for a sailboat.
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Old 04-30-2010
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Sync,

I had a Coronado 25, about 4,000+ lbs I think. It had a well which with a long shaft worked well. Started with a 6hp but it was marginal for San Francisco Bay conditions. Went to a 15 hp Evinrude 2 stroke which really got the job done. IIRC, the 9.5 hp and the 15hp were the same size and weight so I went with the 15. Suggest you get the most powerfull motor with the longest shaft that will fit in the well. If I had to do it over I would get electric start with the charging capability

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I have a very similar boat: 1972 Catalina 27 with Evinrude 9.9 mounted through a hole in the transom. Evinrude and Johnson are the same motor.

As you've described, my motor does not really turn; it has no tiller of its own. Control lines are run to the cockpit for throttle, gears, and starting. This is pretty convenient.

Steering: in forward is fine, though a bit delayed like you'd expect. 15 hp would probably solve that.

Response in reverse is pretty bad, but you can learn to compensate. The motor will not tilt-lock in reverse, meaning a sudden burst of power in reverse will lift the motor out of the water (I have actually tilted it up into the halfway-up-locked position just by reversing). Turning to starboard, you need to take it easy, power for a while, then drop to neutral to steer. Turning to port you can keep the motor in gear as prop walk (yes, outboards do it too, especially since they have a longer moment arm) and wash over the rudder will help you; the Catalina 27 loves to spin clockwise in place at precisely the least convenient time.

The response is such that docking and undocking in any kind of cross wind is always a major event, and I'm really not comfortable doing it alone after two years of practice.

Power: I have never gone over 5 knots with this motor. If you expect to fight a 5-knot current, expect to be waiting the current to go away.

Ocean: the motor is basically useless in a real sea; if you hit any weather, forget about getting help from the motor. I could barely bring the bow through the wind in 25-30 knots and and 4-6 foot seas. Do not expect the motor to be useful in "the ocean".

However, I plan to head to the outside of Vancouver Island this summer; I'll let you know how it performs

Maintenance: I have had to replace the starter motor on my Evinrude, a 1990, as well as repair some corrosion (or maybe erosion) in the cooling system. I'm currently getting some grief from the fuel system... probably not too unusual for a motor of that age, but be prepared to do some basic maintenance on such an old motor. Otherwise it's been fairly reliable.

In the end I'd say you're better off with a 15 hp motor, even if it will guzzle more gas. You'll feel much more secure in your ability to maneuver around the marina.

One thing to watch out for is the dimensions of a bigger motor. The Evinrude/Johnson 9.9 and 15 are the same motor, with the latter having a bigger carb and also being somehow retuned for higher RPMs. Otherwise I think it's the same overall size. Not so with other motors that you might replace them with; newer four strokes will be bigger and if your motor is indeed mounted through a transom hole, might not fit, or might fit and not tilt. I had this problem. The Evinrude tilts and has about 1/2" clearance when the after edge of the cowling passes through the hole.

Someday I hope to glass over that godforsaken hole and install a lift bracket. If you're still in the I-don't-have-a-motor-yet stage, I would strongly recommend installing a lift bracket and putting a 15 hp motor on it, either 2 or 4 stroke.

p.s. I feel like $650 is a bit steep for such an old motor.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you want to hear me complain any more about my motor
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Last edited by AdamLein; 04-30-2010 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 04-30-2010
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Thank you all for all the great info! Seriously...

So basicly everyone uses the rudder for steering with the engine fixed?

What if I mounted it slightly to the side and used a lift bracket? (maybe like the kind that lifts it straight up instead of tilting.) Would it be possible to get the prop burried deep enough in the water and also have the tiller of the motor high enough to steer with the motor? I do not have the motor yet and Im just trying to figure out what the ideal setup is before I invest in something like that...

Ill have to do some measurements. Maybe if I put it on a lift bracket off to the side of the of the motor well and got a long enough shaft ( or maybe modified the tiller to raise it to clear the transom) I could use the motor to steer....I don't know, any thoughts? That just makes more sense to me... Im new to this, I need all the maneuverability I can get.

Also, I am about a hundred or two pounds heavier on the port side due to installing a fridge and freezer, if I put it on the starboard side, it might level things out.....Also, I could use the bigger motor without fear of it not clearing the motor well when it tilts out of the water.
Anymore feedback (+/-) would be awesome....It might be a dumb idea....I guess I'd like to run it by a few people before I go spending the time and $$ trying it....

Thanks again for everything...
Ive been on forums for awhile now on a lot of different subjects and this is the most and quickest feedback Ive ever gotten... I really appreciate it!
Thanks,
Nick
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Old 04-30-2010
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Also (AdamLein), or anyone else, what do you think would be a fair offer on this motor? He said its has a full going through by a mechanic and got a rebuilt carb, new water pump, and head gasket.... It looks really clean inside and out to me...Sounds like it would be a pretty solid motor given he provided receipts and it ran well... Any thoughts....

Evinrude 15hp long shaft
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Old 05-01-2010
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Sync,

I have no experience with your particular boat, but I would at least try for a mounting option that allows you to steer with the outboard. I leave mine in a fixed position about 99% of the time and steer with the rudder only. But that 1% of the time that I need the outboard for steerage in tight spots ...... well, lets just say the extra maneuverability is priceless. It will also allow you to motor in even if your rudder becomes disabled. Be especially careful with your prop to rudder clearances however. Angles may be such that the rudder will not hit the prop when the outboard is in the fixed position, but may when the motor is turned. You might need to add a simple prop guard to your motor to keep that from happening.


You can see the simple guard I made and mounted on my outboard to keep the rudder from coming into contact with the prop. You can also see the damage the prop did to the rudder before I dummied up.
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Old 05-01-2010
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Prop guard is a neat idea. However the Catalina 27 layout is pretty different.

There's a hole in the transom and the motor is mounted on the lower edge of the hole. The rudder is a spade type that projects out a bit aft of the transom, but not as much as the rudder in that photo. I wouldn't worry about the rudder hitting the prop.

In fact, I briefly used a 6 hp Tohatsu while the starter and stator disc on the Evinrude were being replaced, and that had a tiller and you could turn the motor. However, because the motor is mounted in a hole, the angle through which the motor can be turned is very restricted; maybe 20 degrees off centerline if I recall. Mostly I used it to support the turn I was creating with the rudder, but that was a lot of hassle and I eventually gave up on it.

A big source of discomfort there---and it will not go away if you change the way the motor is mounted---is the way the motor is mounted. The motor is accessed through a hatch in the cockpit that leads to essentially an aft lazarette, whose after wall is the transom where the motor is mounted. You'd have to be reaching in there to manipulate the motor. On that note, where are your mainsheet and traveler? Mine are end-boom, which can get in the way if I need to get into the motor well.

If you were to mount the motor on a lift bracket, I don't see it getting any easier to vector the motor. The motor's tiller will probably have to be left in the vertical position anyhow, but a lot depends on your lift bracket. Plus it's so far aft, and you have the stern rail and that lazarette to contend with, along with possibly your mainsheet. That's a lot of stuff between you and the motor.

In the end, I would not count on steering with the motor in an early-period Catalina 27. As you say you are a little new to sailing, your best strategy is not to get into situations where your rudder can be disabled anyway. If your boat has tiller steering there's very little that can go wrong other than striking something big and heavy and dense in the water. Don't do that.
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