SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: 4hp outboard motor questions Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-14-2012 11:38 PM
Marcel D
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

I had a 4hp yamaha 2 stroke worked great always started. Good engin nice and strong pushed a 24 foot boat tob 5.4 knots threw the water. she had an internal tank that lasted 2 hours.
09-14-2012 11:28 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

Originally Posted by jboat73 View Post
I think I've just ruled out the Honda 2 hp - it doesn't have reverse. It has a swivel mechanism and has to be turned around to go in reverse. I imagine for someone with experience that isn't a big deal, but for me, the difficulty of docking doesn't need the added issue of swinging the motor around!
I had a similar motor when I was 12 years old (no neutral or reverse, but a 360 degree swivel with a handle that flipped backwards) and I had no problem figuring it out at that age. That motor had no clutch at all - the prop was always spinning, and it still worked fine. I think (but you should verify) that the Honda has a centrifugal clutch that disengages the prop at low RPM, which is a little more user friendly than the one I had.

If you feel more confident with 4 hp and really want a reverse gear, that's fine. I certainly don't want to push you into getting a motor that you might be unhappy with.

However, let me make a couple of final points. First, I wasn't suggesting that you should go motorless with paddles. With small kids on the boat you need a motor. I just meant to imply that 2 hp is much more thrust than you would get with paddles, so 2 hp should be adequate for this boat. Also, someone else here already pointed out that he could get 5 knots out of a 1.5 hp motor on his former Flying Scot, more evidence that 2 hp may be all you need.

Finally, one last consideration. I have not owned any of these small motors (as you know, I have a 15 hp Honda on my boat), so I have no personal knowledge of their reliability. I expect Tohatsu or Honda to be low maintenance. But the Honda has air cooling and no reverse, eliminating the water pump/impeller and shift mechanism, which are two maintenance items. Since you had asked about reliability and maintenance, the simplicity of Honda's design would be a plus.

In the end you need to get what you're comfortable with. You'll get no complaints from me if you go bigger than 2 hp. When I was shopping for boats I frustrated several people because I didn't follow their advice, but I'm happy I made the decisions that I made. As you're undoubtedly experiencing now, when you get so much conflicting advice it's impossible to follow it all. So good luck with whatever you do.

EDIT: One last thing. I have an inflatable rowing dinghy that I've never used (see my avatar pic). If I ever start using it regularly enough to need a motor, I'd get the Honda 2 hp in a heartbeat.
09-14-2012 06:56 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

I had the Honda 2HP and now have the Tohatsu 6HP. The Honda weighs 27 lbs the Tohatsu almost 60lbs. Sounds like the Flying Scott is light, my guess is that you could probably get 5 Knots out of it with the 2HP? Long shaft is good regardless of motor. The gear shift is easier than the 180 reverse but that is a big weight difference. My 2HP Honda was a good bullet proof motor, ran it hard for over 20 years, still ran perfectly when I sold it.

Paul T
09-14-2012 06:52 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

With the new information, consider a long shaft 3.5hp.

Weight is still light enough for a light weight yacht.

Brand is not as important as service so see what local dealers are available.

Tohatsu, Mercury, Suzuki and Yamaha all offer good outboard in this size.
09-14-2012 06:40 PM
Sal Paradise
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

Hi ,

I have the Tohatsu/Merc 4HP on my Catalina 22, in the Hudson River which is seriously tidal. The motor is enough for my boat against the tide and even wind.

They are notorious for plugging up the carbs with ethanol gas. Its easy to take the carb apart. Other than that repetitive problem they are good.

It is true that the 4, 5 and 6 HP are all the exact same but different carbs. Might as well get the 6 in case you get a bigger boat or a dingy.
09-14-2012 05:59 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

I think I've just ruled out the Honda 2 hp - it doesn't have reverse. It has a swivel mechanism and has to be turned around to go in reverse. I imagine for someone with experience that isn't a big deal, but for me, the difficulty of docking doesn't need the added issue of swinging the motor around!
09-14-2012 05:44 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

Thank you to everyone that has chimed in; I appreciate all the advice.

The boat is indeed a Flying Scot. The manufacturer says the max is 4hp. I think many owners don't put a motor on at all, but I believe that some of those may be sailing on lakes, so no tide issues. Maybe I'll get to a stage of having enough skill and confidence to have no motor, but right now I really want the comfort of knowing a motor is there to help if needed.

The manufacturer has also said to get the shorter shaft, but what people are saying here about the longer shaft makes a lot of sense to me. Is a longer shaft an issue if the boat sits low and you're in shallow water? I'll inquire about that.

Is it fair to say that Honday 2hp would be lower maintenance than a Tohatsu 4hp? I don't have experience with engines and lower maintenance is definitely appealing. But I'm balancing that against more horses and therefore more ability to get me home after I've screwed up and found myself fighting the tide! Also, in a short sailing window, I think it is inevitable that I'll need to fight the tide one way or the other if I'm not going at slack tide or timing my turn-around with the tide reversal.

Thanks again.
09-14-2012 02:30 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

FYI, if the Tohatsu is only available in a 15" shaft length, then that could tip the balance strongly in favor of the Honda, which shows a 20" shaft length in the link I posted above. While your transom may be only 15" high, you want the prop immersed well underwater so you can motor through chop and also if you're heeled over. Even under bare poles, in a heavy blow your boat could heel over and you want the prop underwater in those conditions.

If the Tohatsu is available in 20" length, then I'd consider that over 15".

By the way, the Honda at (which I linked) is significantly discounted (35% off MSRP).
09-14-2012 02:18 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

if the 19 footer is a flying scot then 2 hp is plenty 4 hp and it might even get up on a plane. what you want is the lightest thing out there. I used to have a scot with a 1.5 British seagull and we had a speed boat, would go over 5 kts all day when we could get it started
09-14-2012 01:49 PM
Re: 4hp outboard motor questions

jboat73 - Since you are getting your boat directly from the manufacturer, I'd suggest you ask them for a recommendation about motor size. Describe where you're sailing.

Many of the boats that are being referenced here are pocket cruisers, which are much heavier than your Flying Scot. As Ulladh said, many use the Flying Scot without any motor at all, and keep a couple paddles for emergency. The one I rented had no motor, and we rented it on a dead day.

I see some guys talking about getting a motor with an alternator to charge your battery, etc. They definitely don't understand your boat. You'll need to filter some of the recommendations based on how well you think the posters understand your boat and sailing range.

For what it's worth, I think it's likely that 2 hp is enough to get you wherever you will need to go, even against the Delaware's tidal current. It's a small boat with very little draft. Most of the guys recommending 4-6 hp are sailing much heavier boats than yours.

The capacity plate says 4 HP, but that's the maximum. (And I question whether you need this much.) For this reason, I wouldn't go over 4 HP, even if the 6 HP motor is a "twin." If you ever get pulled over by law enforcement, you may get some tough questioning about exceeding the boat's rated capacity. And the rating is about more than just dead weight - it's about what can go wrong if you accidentally throttle up too high (like swamping the boat).

Light weight is a benefit for boat trim, even if you don't care about removing the motor every time. Since it's off-center, you want to minimize the boat's list, especially since you're keeping it in a slip. And if it ever needs service, you'll be glad you have lighter weight so you can pull the motor instead of the whole boat.

I read somewhere the Suzuki makes the lightest 2.5 hp motor. I've seen online specials for under $700:


Suzuki Outboards 2.5 Horsepower

But if you're going to buy in this size range, I'd consider an extra $140 for the air cooled 2 hp Honda. Actually its weight looks exactly the same as the Suzuki. Note that Honda has 2 shaft lengths in this size, and you should probably get the longer shaft:

Honda BF2DKLCH Outboard Motor (Four Stroke) - Price: $838.08

One critical thing to look at is how whatever motor you pick can be locked to the transom. This is critically important if you're keeping it in a slip, especially if you're considering downtown Philly.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome