2 stroke vs 4


Super Anarchist
Port Townsend, WA
Location: PNW (mostly small, rocky cove anchorages).

Panope's oddball rig (mast waaay forward) and layout has the unexpected consequence of her having exceptional dinghy carrying ability. It means we can bring along multiple shore boats of pretty much any type or size. With the following boats on hand, and no prejudices, here is what gets used when we are out and about:

-The polyethylene 8' hard dinghy (with oars) gets used about 60% of the time. It's main benefit is the ability to land on, tie up to, or drag across jagged rocks, barnacles and oysters. Nice that it bounces off the mother ship without a trace. It is kid, dog and lubber crew proof. Launches from davit in seconds. Can live on the cabin trunk when the wind is up. I can drag it aboard without mechanical advantage or damage. Oh, almost forgot about the sail rig - fun.

-The 10' air floor with 6hp 4 stroke gets used about 20% of the time. It's fast, so we can go long distances, or it will carry huge loads at slow speed. Lubber wife loves the stability. Can Hip Tow the mother ship. Stores on cabin trunk, or deflated under the Pullman berth. Motor goes on a transom bracket. We use about 1 gallon of gasoline per 2 weeks of gunk holeing.

-A 10' inflatable kayak gets used 10% of the time. Nicest thing we have for just paddling around and looking at stuff (face forward).

-Inflatable SUP gets used 10% of the time. Also nice for sight seeing. A great shore boat for the (small) dogs as they load/unload themselves. Sand (from feet) washes off simply by turning over.

We could leave any one (or 2) of these behind, but there is just no reason as we are never overloaded (I have added/subtracted more than 1000 pounds and cannot discern a change in sailing performance).

But, if we could only bring one boat, it would be the, maintenance free, soul-less, plastic row dink.



New member
Didn't read it all, but weight is a huge one in favor of 2 stroke.
Often repeated (but outdated) perspective, as there are lightweight 4s for (almost) every weight bracket being discussed here:
Honda 2hp, Suzuki 2.5hp- 29lbs, Suzuki/Tohatsu 6- 57lbs, & Suzuki/Tohatsu/Yamaha 20hp- 96lbs. Perhaps tohatsu 9.8hp- 81lbs

Sure, one could make the argument for 2s as a slightly better power to weight option in the mid range (top 2s contenders: yamaha/tohatsu 8hp, tohatsu 9.8, omc 15hp, tohatsu 18hp) but 2s are 20 years old now so corrosion etc make it harder to find a good one.

Anything over say 40-60lbs is generally not fun to lift on off anyway.... so that leaves the 8hp's & 'rare' 9.8hp Tohatsu 2s - 4s has everything else covered

Have those of y'all who complain about finicky carbs & constant issues on small 4s heard of fuel stabilizer? Real question. I've NEVER really had unexpected carb issues myself but I fix (clean) carbs for other people all the time.

Even the best small 2s (3.5hp tohatsu & 2hp Suzuki) can plug the carb low speed jet quickly on ethanol fuel. These little 2s make other compromises though- lacking a decent tiller handle & flimsy plastic side covers vs real cowl.

Shutting off the petcock & running your small 4s out of gas before storage might just have to become part of the routine. I'd mention this for the Suzuki 2.5hp,(4hp?), (&6hp?) specifically--good overall -possibly frequent offenders. but all 2-5hp can be finicky with bad fuel. Although not everyone's favorite as 'buzzy' singe cylinder/s, the small 4s tohatsu (3.5 & 6hp) - get some points for simplicity, cost of parts, and durability.
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Max Rockatansky

purvisgs, a 2hp is not enough if you are travelling further than coastal. Read the thread to see why.

And have we all lost our traditional greetings? Shame


New member
Some others talked about their 2hp 2s dinghy motors in this thread, no idea why but I read the whole thing. I'm fully aware that's not for everyone. Agree that while the 2hp honda has it's place, it's limiting. But the 4s 2.5 zuk / 3.5 tohatsu (41lb) can almost/fully plane the right 7-8ft rib 2-up at say 8-12mph = maybe a good option for some folks. Everything is a compromise-- I've encountered many world cruisers who for whatever reason are making due w/ a smaller dinghy- not every "world cruising boat" has crane or davits...

But if you're set up for say 15hp on a 10-11ft RIB--- and want to cover distance, the ~96lb 20hp 4s (fuel injected= no carb issues as a bonus) or 80lb tohatsu 9.8h 4s would be options worth strong consideration vs that 75-80lb 15hp yamaha or merc 15 2s. 4s will burn 60% of the fuel a 2s uses, so for example w/ a 6gal tank - you'd have to carry 15lbs+ more fuel to have the same range. Not insignificant over the lifetime of the outboard.

In nasty weather manhandling 75bs vs 80 or 95lbs off a dinghy transom isn't really going to happen either way. Unless your dinghy is rated for 8hp or you already have a 60lb yamaha 8hp 2s - where is the big 2s advantage?


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