One of the decisions that must be made is the type of outboard engine for a dinghy.  There are a lot of options to consider.  How much horsepower?  15, 20, 25?  Which manufacturer?  Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Evinrude?  2-stroke or 4-stroke?

For marine use, Yamaha has a very strong reputation, and in short order I eliminated the other manufacturers.

Why does stroke matter?  Shouldn't this be easy?  The answer is 'It depends'.  For one it is almost impossible to purchase a 2-stroke outboard in the US.  Something to do with the EPA, pollution and Greenpeace (grin).  So based on this - I decided on the 2-stroke!

There were two key factors that moved our decision to a 2-stroke Yamaha engine: 
  • Serviceability.  2-Stroke engines require less service.  When you need service it is relatively easy to find parts and do it yourself.  Traveling to remote islands and needing computer chips and electronic diagnostics for the newer 4-stroke engines was not something that excited me.
  • Weight to Power Ratio.  You simply cannot beat the power to weight ratio of a 2-stroke.  Weight as I mentioned in a previous blog is a critical consideration for catamarans.  Specifically there are 2lbs difference between the 2-stroke Yamaha 20hp and 25hp engine.  A 25hp Yamaha 4-stroke weighs in at a hefty 170lbs!  WOW,  70lbs heavier for same horsepower!
Below is a more detailed comparison provided by a marine supplier of outboard engines.

 So...the final question is why in the heck would I want a 25hp engine on our 11ft dinghy??

Why not?  :-)


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