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Looking for what the cool kids are using to push their little one designs around nowadays.  Tired of fiddling with the aging Torqueedo and the over weight water cooled Mercury needs to retire.  So what do I get to push around my J22 and Melges 24?

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4 minutes ago, sailhmb said:

Honda 2hp 4 cycle.  Quiet, light, reliable.  Use it to push Cal 20s around. Had mine since 2000.  The new ones are rated at 2.3hp.

Two out of three ain't bad.

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I was just in the market for a small outboard to be closer to minimum allowed weight for the J/80 class (12.5 kg). I was looking at the Honda 2.3 (29.5 lbs for short shaft) but apparently its a centrifugal clutch rather than a gear shift (engages at whatever RPM), and some user reviews suggested it was much louder than normal water cooled 4-strokes. I ended up with a Suzuki 2.5 hp (29.0 lbs short shaft) which is water cooled after a couple friends who have the same motor recommended them and I found one locally. I got the long shaft one, which is around 34 lbs (dry).

 

If you're looking for a motor to actually get you places though when there is current or bad weather, I don't think less than 4 hp is going to help. When not racing the J/80 I carry a 6 hp Yamaha 4 stroke on the back. Weighs over 60 lbs but can motor at around 6 knots.

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I owned one of those Suzuki 2.5's for a few years to power a Walker Bay 10 and it was great. I only got rid of it because I replaced the dinghy with a RIB.

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1 hour ago, Max Rockatansky said:

Icarry a 6 hp Yamaha 4 stroke on the back. Weighs over 60 lbs but can motor at around 6 knots.”


As a comparison point, my dinghy’s 1988 15hp Evinrude weights 75...

I've got a Merc 15hp 2-stroke from 1991 that weighs almost exactly the same. It starts on the first pull every time. The old 2-strokes are dirty but you can't get a more reliable or lightweight design for severe service. 

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air-cooled outboards = lighter, but also louder and stinkier...

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They're great little motors, if a bit loud and if you don't mind the centrifugal clutch. My Walker Bay had me sitting close enough to kiss the thing so I opted for the Suzuki water cooled for its lower SPL. The extra half horse didn't hurt either (the Honda was still 2.0 hp at the time).

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If you can find an old 3.5hp 2-stroke Tohatsu that's not on it's last leg... that's what I'd go for.  Had one on my old SC27 (I miss them both).  At 28 lbs it could get her over 6 kts on flat water.  I bought an extra fuel cap and rigged up a remote tank system for long deliveries.  The light weight made it much easier to mount/dismount in a sloppy seaway (while precariously hanging out over the transom). Easy to store below while racing.  A bit loud and not the greatest fuel consumption though.

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On 1/30/2021 at 10:21 AM, sailhmb said:

Talk to mr Honda about the data, it is not my job to defend their claims.  

Do you have a preferred quiet outboard option for JimBowie?

I agree with the others. It’s a noisy little monster. Having said that, it’s a fantastic little engine, and my recommendation as well. We pushed a B-25 around with one for years without a single issue. 

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Honda - 53 dB  (at 100m)

Seriously I've never seen published noise values for outboards. Measured maybe in boating tests, but never by the manufacturer.

The 2 / 2.3 HP is a noisy little fucker

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My only other complaint about the little Honda was the inability to hook up an external gas tank. Having to refill it every hour and a half on long trips gets old. Of course, once we discovered the pleasure of being towed at 15 knots, we retired the Honda on longer rides. 

7F229B1E-8F7C-4594-AB3E-DCC204D50349.jpeg

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On 1/29/2021 at 8:17 PM, JimBowie said:

Looking for what the cool kids are using to push their little one designs around nowadays.  Tired of fiddling with the aging Torqueedo and the over weight water cooled Mercury needs to retire.  So what do I get to push around my J22 and Melges 24?

I have a 24 foot custom sport boat (similar displacement and hull shape to a Melges 24) that came with a Tohatsu 3.5HP 4 stroke with an internal tank. PO only needed to use the motor to get out of his slip into the fairway, while I needed to motor nearly an hour out of a harbour through a current gate to get to any and all races. The 3.5 was noisy, rough, and pushed the boat at about 5 knots flat out which resulted in some long slogs through the 4 knot flood on Wednesday nights. It died a couple months into ownership and I replaced it with a early 90s Yamaha 5HP 2 Stroke I found on Craigslist for $500. I spend the $40 bucks on a new, lower pitched prop from Yamaha, and now she can comfortably cruise at around 6.5 knots through the water, and can push 7+ at WOT. The 2 stroke only weighs in at about 45 pounds whereas the Tohatsu was 41 pounds, so weight savings by going with the lower HP was not worth it. The single cylinder of the 2 stroke makes it a bit rougher and louder than a 2 cylinder model, but it is not prohibitive, and much quieter that the 4 stroke was. Depending on how far the delivery is, I can either take my 2.5 gallon fuel can, or bring a larger one from my big boat dinghy (helps that my dinghy has a Yamaha 15 HP 2 stroke so all tanks, hoses, and mix ratios are the same) and motor for multiple hours if need be. We did a distance delivery regatta a couple summers ago, and actually towed a competitor to the start line as their Torqueedo was insufficient to push them the distance required before the wind filled in.

I have looked and still look for quieter and lighter alternatives, but have yet to find anything that can compare to one of these old 2 strokes. Electric would be sweet, but the weight of all the batteries to get more that a 20 minute range far exceeds what I want to add to the boat, and the cost is astronomical in comparison.

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18 hours ago, Zonker said:

The 2 / 2.3 HP is a noisy little fucker

The really old version (before the centrifugal clutch) had a water cooled exhaust and was quieter than the later version.  The model code is BF2A (and BF2D is the fully air cooled model with the clutch).

It didn't have a shiftable transmission, and was just always in gear.  That might be interesting on a sailboat.  I mostly used it on inflatable dinghies.

 

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I've used a small outboard that only had forward and neutral. Reverse was spin the powerhead and hold the cowling. It was a pain.

Always in gear would be a pain to use when docking a sailboat.

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It was even a pain with a rigid dinghy.  With an inflatable it was no big deal to slam into the mothership at idle speed, but that isn't nice behavior with a rigid.

For my dinghy purposes I switched over to electric (where I get forward, reverse, and neutral and it is silent).  I love electric, but it wouldn't be my choice for a race boat.  You'd need a large battery to meet race requirements and batteries are still too heavy.  On my dinghy a 3 hour battery (pushing the boat at it's 3.8 knot hull speed) weighs about 10lbs, but on a light sailboat that would probably be more like 40-60lbs and cost a couple thousand dollars.

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I still have a 1970's 2 HP Evinrude. It has no gearbox so if it is running you are moving. The first start when cold is especially fun since it won't catch unless it is greater than 1/2 throttle. I set the boat up, point the dingy away from anything I don't want to hit, yank the starter and hold on. It took a swim last season when a squall flipped the dingy and I do not have it back running, so I now use the electric.

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On 1/30/2021 at 11:02 AM, sailhmb said:

Honda 2hp 4 cycle.  Quiet, light, reliable.  Use it to push Cal 20s around. Had mine since 2000.  The new ones are rated at 2.3hp.

Great little motor... not quiet.  

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"I still have a 1970's 2 HP Evinrude. "

I had one of those.  Great little motor, light enough to handle with one hand.  

Was lifting the motor off the dink when I lost my balance (pizza and beer involved) and fell backwards off the dink.  All happened rather slowly and I vividly remember carefully placing the motor into the dink as I rotated backwards into the water.

Yeas, a lightweight wonder that old motor.  Wish I still had it.

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19 hours ago, jamhass said:

"I still have a 1970's 2 HP Evinrude. "

I had one of those.  Great little motor, light enough to handle with one hand.  

Was lifting the motor off the dink when I lost my balance (pizza and beer involved) and fell backwards off the dink.  All happened rather slowly and I vividly remember carefully placing the motor into the dink as I rotated backwards into the water.

Yeas, a lightweight wonder that old motor.  Wish I still had it.

I have one of these.  Awesome motor!  

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You all are making me nostalgic. I may have to pull it out of the garage and get it working. Having said that the benefits of the electric when it comes to noise and mess make it unlikely I will go back using the evinrude much.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/29/2021 at 10:17 PM, Senator Seditious Maximus said:

Looking for what the cool kids are using to push their little one designs around nowadays.  Tired of fiddling with the aging Torqueedo and the over weight water cooled Mercury needs to retire.  So what do I get to push around my J22 and Melges 24?

For what you give for a torqueedo, it's kind of disappointing they are so fiddly.   Similar things are 1/2 the price, epropulsion, EP carry,  minnkota and clones,   Elco.    The elco looks neat since the motor is not in the water, which I would think might last longer, not sure if heat or water intrusion is more dangerous to the motor.

 I have a 2.3 honda bought new for just under a grand.     I like the centripetal clutch, so I have neutral, just idle it down.    It's at about class minimum weight too, and  that's nice for shipping it for races.   It is still sometimes a little cranky.   Doesn't like to lie down on it's side, I made a little bracket so it can stand up below during races.   Still carry a spare spark plug, and I've had to use it.   no mixing, so that's nice.   Supposedly it's loud, but I'd say it's the same as the 2 strokes I've used.    Air cooled, so I don't worry when it comes out of the water in waves, and I start it when the mount is up so I get a straight pull at it.   If I pull up on it, the cover comes off.   Front of the cover doesn't like to stay on.   Had to replace the recoil when a gorilla broke it pulling it at an up angle.   Integrated gas is nice, one less thing attached, so just unclamp it and hand it below.   Get about 5 miles to the tank, good for a couple races, but I top it off as a part of my pre-race dock routine.    I've refilled it  running underway, although I'm sure that's dangerous.   

I bought the honda new because I was tired of dinking with old outboards.    Probably less dinking, but not zero like one would expect with a new thing.   The crew can start it and feels more comfortable with it, I had become notorious for my sketchy outboards.  Stupid club even made a stupid rule about "have to have a working motor at the start".      I've also got a 60's extra long johnson 2hp that I'm considering whether it could be as reliable as the honda or not.    New hoses, new carb, new ignition can be had for a  couple hundo, and beyond that, what would make it less reliable than the plasticy honda?

 

 

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^^ I have a 2006 honda 2hp that lives on its side except for the few times a year that I actually use it. Doesn't seem to be a problem provided the side with the "feet" is the side it lays on. The throttle handle side must be up.

My only issue with the motor is it is impossible, for me anyway, to change the oil without making a mess. Some oil always spills into the case in places you cannot clean, and the first few times you lay it down after an oil change, a bit of oil will leak out. 

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So for USA-spec new outboards here are your choices.

Lightweight motors ~30#

The air-cooled 2.3 hp Honda gives you less maintenance since there is no water pump impeller to change and no cooling passages to flush.  It is louder and has a short useful life (some reports say around 500-1000 hours) after which it is beyond economic repair. 

Suzuki is the only major manufacturer that currently makes a lightweight (30#) water-cooled outboard.  This is the 2.5 mentioned upthread.  It is now available in either short or long shaft, with the long shaft version being a relatively recent introduction.

Tohatsu and Yamaha don't have a lightweight offering.  Yamaha has a 2.5hp that weighs 37# and I have no idea why anyone buys it.  Tohatsu has a 3.5 that weighs 41# and is also available detuned to 2.5 hp.  I guess the 3.5 might make sense in the rare case where that's just the right amount of power but otherwise the extra weight makes it a poor choice.  I have no idea why anyone buys the Tohatsu 2.5hp.

Bigger - 60# motors

All the major makes have 4-5-6 hp outboards that weigh 55-60 #.  Of these Honda makes a 5hp only last I looked and the others make 6 hp blocks that are detuned to produce 4 and 5 hp motors if ordered that way.  Tohatsu and possibly other makers have high-torque versions of these motors suitable for sailboats.  These sizes generally have built-in fuel tanks but can also accept fuel from a remote tank though depending on maker these may be separate options.

9.9 hp +/-

All the major makes use the same motor for 8 hp and 9.9 hp with the 8 hp being detuned.  All have high-torque versions for sailboats.  All makes are remote fuel only in this size range.  This is the smallest size where electric start and power tilt show up.  I believe it is also the smallest size where remote throttle/shift controls are available.

----

I think the rational choices for small sailboats (if buying new in the USA) are either:

* The Suzuki 2.5.

* 6 hp from any maker that produces them, in most cases with the high-torque lower unit or at least a shallow pitched prop

9.9 hp from any maker, again with a high-torque lower unit or at a minimum a shallow-pitch prop.

Availability may be a factor.  I bought a Honda 9.9 two weeks ago because none of the Yamaha dealers could get them in the configuration I needed.  At 6 hp and up they're all good motors.  I like Yamaha because it is easier for me to get parts and because I have one in my other boat.

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On 1/29/2021 at 10:17 PM, Senator Seditious Maximus said:

Looking for what the cool kids are using to push their little one designs around nowadays.  Tired of fiddling with the aging Torqueedo and the over weight water cooled Mercury needs to retire.  So what do I get to push around my J22 and Melges 24?

 

Late to the party Amigo, but another vote for the Honda 2.x. 1/2 the cost 2x the autonomous range, the slight weight difference will only matter in world class programs, which neither of us have to worry about!

While slightly fiddly, I like the gradual slip into brokenness OBs have, unlike the dual 'works great or dead' modes of the Torqueedo that weirds me out.

 

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Have a Torqeedo and a Honda air-cooled outboard.  The Torqeedo is an older one—I’ve probably put 2k into it in addition to the purchase price, but when it works it’s a good flat-water motor for in and out of the slip.  No guts—can’t push my 26’ sailboat upwind in anything over 15 knots of breeze.  I love that it has reverse, however.

The Honda is noisy, and the centrifugal clutch is finicky—it doesn’t have a very specific rpm range for dropping in / out, so a bit of a lottery at lower RPMs.  But the Honda has much more push than the Torqeedo. No reverse, which is a pain.

Had a Tohatsu 3.5 2 stroke—survived a long time without much help from me.  Again, no reverse, but pushed the boat well in reasonable conditions.

What I’d like is an electric outboard with about twice the thrust of the Torqeedo and the motor at the top of the shaft instead of under water.  And reverse.

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/28/2021 at 1:35 AM, The great unwashed said:

Have a Torqeedo and a Honda air-cooled outboard.  The Torqeedo is an older one—I’ve probably put 2k into it in addition to the purchase price, but when it works it’s a good flat-water motor for in and out of the slip.  No guts—can’t push my 26’ sailboat upwind in anything over 15 knots of breeze.  I love that it has reverse, however.

The Honda is noisy, and the centrifugal clutch is finicky—it doesn’t have a very specific rpm range for dropping in / out, so a bit of a lottery at lower RPMs.  But the Honda has much more push than the Torqeedo. No reverse, which is a pain.

Had a Tohatsu 3.5 2 stroke—survived a long time without much help from me.  Again, no reverse, but pushed the boat well in reasonable conditions.

What I’d like is an electric outboard with about twice the thrust of the Torqeedo and the motor at the top of the shaft instead of under water.  And reverse.

@The great unwashed  I have a very similar story. I had a Honda 2 HP (2007) on my J22, and then kept it for my H-Boat (27' 3200 lbs.). In 2017, I switched to a Torqeedo (no smell, quiet, F-N-R, remote throttle). I have some extra batteries for range anxiety. I've been very happy with the Torqeedo, however, I am in the process of switching to an ePropulsion Pod Drive.

It will address a few issues:

  • I could use more HP, as Unwashed suggests
  • H-Boats have a long afterdeck, and maneuvering with an OB 5' behind the rudder is challenging
  • I keep the Torqeedo in the cabin, and I'm tired of schlepping the OB in and out, and
  • I'm tired of crawling back to tilt it in and out of the water
  • I long to have a transom without an ugly OB and bracket
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