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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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Living the dream
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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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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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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
One more ..the Lehrer....propane driven
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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My first post to Sailnet. I recently bought a used inflatable dinghy (an Avon Redcrest) for our sailboat, without a motor.
My thoughts:

Spend some time rowing. As noted earlier a set of longer (collapsible) oars will make that easier. So will practice.

4-stroke engines (including Lehr propane) are heavier than 2-strokes or electrics. That is a particular problem for boats like the Avon Redcrest that don't have much buoyancy aft.

Remember that aside from trim and heel issues, the engine comes out of your load capacity.

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.
If you are mechanically handy you might consider a Seagull 2 or Seagull 3. You should be able to find one in decent condition for less than $400. The little engines are darn near bullet proof and run well. Parts are still available (there aren't many). It wouldn't be the most efficient engine ever but the Redcrest/Seagull combination is a classic and would certainly set you apart from the crowd. *grin* It might cause you to speak with an accent and start drinking warm beer. *grin*

I had what I think was a Seagull 3 on a Cape Dory Typhoon back in the early 80s. I don't think I spent more than two hours a year on maintenance.

Regardless, pay a lot of attention to engine weight. Think hard about fuel tank or battery size, weight, and location in the dinghy.
 

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I had an old seagull on a avon redcrest for awhile, damn thing was so loud it nearly made me deaf. Tough little motors. Get a Yamaha 2 of 3 Hp. Save you tons of trouble.
 

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We're using a 1959 Elgin, yes I said 1959. 2hp. Don't burn up the water, but we get where we want, and I'd guess it weighs less than 25 lb. Fairly simple, which is a good thing. I built a bag for it and the engine is stowed in a locker when not in use

An outboard mechanic once told me that the best thing for an OB is to use the 54!t out of it, and that seems to be true for the Elgin
 

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Kinda depends on what you need to do, and how fast you want to get there. If you simply need to get out to your boat on a mooring, or to get to the shore on an anchorage, then a 40 lb. or 55 lb. thrust Electric motor with a series 24 battery will work fine. However, if you are on an extended cruise then you won't have any way to chart the battery. I mean, I know of people who use a 55 lb. thrust electric to get their 2500 lb. sailboat out of the mooring or slip because its slow but sure.

I have a 40lb thrust that I use on my kayak to get to and from the mooring which is about 200 yards from the dock. I also use it on the club dinghy to do the same. And, I have an attachment to use it as a backup for the 5 hp Honda 4cycle which is attached to the sail boat. But my boat only displaces 1200 lb.

It all depends on what you want to use it for, how fast you need to get there, and if you have a means to charge the battery if you use a battery. I did see someone at my club take an inflatable like yours and connect a 5hp just like mine to it. He had the dinghy bow 2 feet off the water.
 

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I have an older (78?) Evinrude 2-stoke on mine, which still work well after some mechanical work to replace the waterpump. Although 2-stokes have their drawbacks (noisy, use more fuel, have to mix fuel), i think in the long term the positives (simple to maintain/fix, less weight) outweigh the negatives. Unfortunately they are no longer sold new in the US, which is strange, since the new ones are environmentally a lot better than the old ones. As far as brand, I was thinking about going with a new Yamaha, since I can get that fixed anywhere in the world. I was looking at the less expensive Suzuki, but could nit find any indication of a world-wide support network such as the one Yamaha has. If you plan on going cruising,whatever you end up with should be maintainable in the areas you will be cruising. The electric motors seem nice, but I don't know you easily you can find parts. So for cruising I would get a small Yamaha 2-stroke outside the US.
 

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The electric motors seem nice, but I don't know you easily you can find parts.

The fresh water electrics are so cheap that when they break you buy another one. It cost me $180 to just get minor service and parts repair done on my Honda 5HP, and I can buy a new 40 lb. thrust one for $149. Its easy to use a freshwater one on salt. Just rinse it with some fresh water after use, and regulary spray parts down with wd-40.

There's a thread here on doing that, with people have used the fresh water models in salt for many years without a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you for all the helpful replies!

Our use is mostly to get ashore after anchoring, so far only in the U.S. Northeast (ME, NH, MA, RI). After spending a couple of hours shuttling crew while rowing 300-400 yards to shore back and forth, I'm considering would would be the best option to do it more efficiently.

So, one is a freshwater trolling motor like the Minn Kota from West Marine
which you say would work fine even in saltwater, provided it's rinsed afterwards (e.g. with a cockpit shower or slip hose). It's only $149 new + a 12V battery.

Any idea how long a battery for this motor would last in terms of range, and how much it would weigh? The trolling motor is 30 Lbs. The battery must be another 20 at least, I'm guessing? Could it be charged like the house system batteries by the inboard motor, by swapping it with one of them?

I'm also considering old Johnson and Evinrude 2-3 HP 2-strokes, as these seem to be the cheapest, lightest and available in the area. Didn't see any inexpensive Yamaha 2HP outboards on the local craigslist. The 4-strokes seem to be at least $500.

If I have to row (don't mind the physical labor, more the time it takes with multiple trips with >3 people aboard), I was thinking of fashioning a rudder for the Redcrest out of PVC pipe, some fittings, and a piece of oar or paddle so I don't go in circles. Has anyone here built something like that? It seems pretty simple and theoretically should work well :)

I am also thinking of trying out a kayak paddle which I use with our canoe very efficiently, but I'm guessing on a flat bottom rubber dinghy it wouldn't work so well - unless it has a rudder. Thoughts?
 

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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.
Ditto. I prefer to row, but couldn't resist a 1.5 hp Evinrude (later became the 2hp) on CL for $180. At 18 lbs, I can easily carry it one handed and there's no external gas tank. I spent a bit of time cleaning it up, changed plug, impeller, gear oil, etc., and it fired up in a bucket in the garage on the first pull. Parts and the service manual were easy to obtain online. That saying "they don't make them like this anymore" really does seem to be true. It's a solid little motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I had an old seagull on a avon redcrest for awhile, damn thing was so loud it nearly made me deaf. Tough little motors. Get a Yamaha 2 of 3 Hp. Save you tons of trouble.
Hello,
I am considering an old (1966) Seagull 40 Plus, 3HP, that went with the Avon Redcrest.
Can anyone tell me more about it? Are they unbearably loud? How is the reliability and ease of maintenance?
Thanks!
 
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