Best outboard motor for a small inflatable? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 47 Old 07-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

Hello everyone,
My first post to Sailnet. I recently bought a used inflatable dinghy (an Avon Redcrest) for our sailboat, without a motor. We rowed it to get to shore in a calm bay, but it took quite a while and would be too much in rougher conditions, heavy currents, or farther from shore. Especially since it can only take about 3 large adults (700 Lb limit) and we usually have more people.

I was wondering what would be the appropriate, reasonably priced outboard motor for this dinghy. The dinghy has a rounded inflated stern, rather than a hard endboard, and an insertable rig to mount the motor on a small board. It has an insertable plywood board as its bottom. I believe the original outboard for it was a 2-stroke Seagull (British), but was advised to get a new-ish modern 4-stroke motor.

Any advice on models, prices, mounting, best place to get one etc. would be much appreciated as I'm pretty new to this.
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post #2 of 47 Old 07-03-2014
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

The Redcrest is designed for a small motor and isn't really designed to hop up onto a plane. The Honda 2.3hp or Suzuki 2.5hp are good choices that weigh under 30lbs. The Honda has been made for well over 20 years (it was 2hp during most of that time) and can be found used for under $500 with a little looking.

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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

2 strokes are:
Cheap, light (hp/lb is high), fuel inefficient. Low maintenance. Usually requires oil mix in the petrol.

4 stroke
expensive, in particular smaller engines. Better fuel economy. Better for the environment.

Electrical
silent, cheap. Limited range - depending on battery. Somewhat low power, probably enough for your Avon.

So, depends on what you want, where you sail, how far & much you intend to use the engine.

/J
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

I'd had Redcrests for years and always used a 3.5 hp 2 stroke motor. From memory the Redcrest is rated to 4 hp max. Having said that, and because the motors tend to "tuck under" on a soft tail under load, I always felt the 3.5 was too much and I think they would be happier with a 2 to 2.5 hp.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially when carrying big loads, is that the Redcrest has small diameter tubes. This means that it is a very wet ride. I had one memorable occasion in mine where the boat had actually filled with water when in a choppy seaway with a few big bods aboard - it was like sitting in a bathtub! For this reason, I'd recommend a lightweight 2 stroke in preference to a 4 stroke as they are lighter and, I think, a little more tolerant to being exposed to the conditions they will experience on the back of the Redcrest.
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

evinrude 3.3hp

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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

I use a Yamaha 2hp 2-stroke on my 8-foot, wooden-floor inflatable. It will move you at 4 knots or so with a full load on the dinghy. While it won't get up on a plane, the outboard is easy to move with one hand (26 pounds or so) and has a self-contained gas tank.

If you get a chance to borrow longer oars from someone, try them out on your dinghy. Part of the problem is that the builders furnish you with oars that are too short to get much leverage. The longer oars make it much easier to row when you can't/don't want to motor.
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaramaz View Post
2 strokes are:

Electrical
silent, cheap. Limited range - depending on battery. Somewhat low power, probably enough for your Avon.

So, depends on what you want, where you sail, how far & much you intend to use the engine.

/J
Thank you! I was thinking of a new trolling motor designed for saltwater, like a Minn Kota Riptide, as these are much cheaper even new ($240 + battery).

Most old gas outboards are at least $400 in my area, usually with unsolved problems.

Does an electric trolling motor like that have sufficient power to move a dinghy + 3 people along?

What would be the typical range of the battery it uses?

The use would be to get 100-500 yards from the sailboat to shore.

Thanks!
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post #8 of 47 Old 07-03-2014
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

I have a 2-stroke Yamaha 2hp on my 7'6" Achilles. It also is only good for 3 people. I find the engine a good match to the boat and love the light weight (about 22 lbs). If you can find a good one used, I would seriously consider it.
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

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Originally Posted by JimsCAL View Post
I have a 2-stroke Yamaha 2hp on my 7'6" Achilles. It also is only good for 3 people. I find the engine a good match to the boat and love the light weight (about 22 lbs). If you can find a good one used, I would seriously consider it.
I would suggest and recommend an old Evinrude or Johnson 2HP, 2 cycle - pretty much bombproof, weigh about 18 lb., parts still readily available (Bombardier Industries distribution network) ... and do show up on ebay from time to time.
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Re: Best outboard motor for a small inflatable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaramaz View Post
2 strokes are:
Cheap, light (hp/lb is high), fuel inefficient. Low maintenance. Usually requires oil mix in the petrol.

4 stroke
expensive, in particular smaller engines. Better fuel economy. Better for the environment.

Electrical
silent, cheap. Limited range - depending on battery. Somewhat low power, probably enough for your Avon.

So, depends on what you want, where you sail, how far & much you intend to use the engine.

/J
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