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 Catalina/Capri 25/250 Sailor's Forums
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 Best dinghy motor
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WK 727
1st Mate

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USA
53 Posts

Initially Posted - 03/23/2020 :  12:26:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't decide on a dinghy motor. I have the 250 wing keel with the diesel. The thought is to also use the dinghy motor as a backup if something happens and I need to maneuver in and out of the marina. Not for windy conditions, waves etc. I am not looking for a second motor for all conditions.

The choices I am looking at are:
2.3hp Honda at 30 pounds (360 reverse)
4.0hp "pick the brand" at 60 pounds (FNR)

The second criteria is length. They both are offered in a 15" or 20"
I can either mount a 20" on the factory engine mount or use a 15" on a lowering mount that I already have.

What should I choose? I really like the though of light weight, but can it maneuver the wing keel in and out of a marina in a pinch? Twice the horsepower for twice the weight? Can't imagine a 15" backup for a sailboat and I can't image a 20" on a dinghy. Maybe get the 2.3hp in the 20" configuration. Too many options.


Regards, John
04 Catalina 250 WK
Standard rig w/wheel steering
Yanmar 9hp diesel

Edited by - WK 727 on 03/23/2020 14:02:27

TakeFive
Master Marine Consultant

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2230 Posts

Response Posted - 03/23/2020 :  12:45:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not a fan of the Honda. It's air cooled, and loud enough to wake the dead. Look at the Suzuki 2.5 hp if you're interested in light weight. 28 lb, water cooled, and has a real neutral gear for safe starting. I have one on my dinghy.

You should never have to have a backup for your diesel. I'd pick the motor based on your needs for a dinghy (i.e., 15" length). In the unlikely event your diesel flakes out, tow it with your dinghy. Get a dinghy harness for rope tow (waterski harness should work fine), and also learn how to rig a hip tow for maneuvering in close spaces.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
PO of Take Five, 1998 Catalina 250WK #348 (relocated to Baltimore's Inner Harbor)
New owner of 2001 Catalina 34MkII #1535 Breakin' Away (at Rock Hall Landing Marina)
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zeil
Master Marine Consultant

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Canada
1084 Posts

Response Posted - 03/23/2020 :  17:32:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Seems you're a lake sailor so salt flushing is not a problem. Make sure the motor is used in "zebra mussel", free waters.

If the motor is to be used as back-up for your C250WK... consider getting a 20" long shaft. The air cooled Honda, apart from being a little noisy, is a sweet little outboard. It will push your C250WK with no wind or current at an impressive 4.5kn. In a pinch it'll bring you home. Like all 4 cycle outboard it seems to run on air.

Having an inboard diesel you will have no problem to use and store the little one where most of us have to main outboard engine.


Henk & Johanna
Mariah '96 C250WB #191
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8444 Posts

Response Posted - 03/23/2020 :  21:37:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had the little Honda... A friend bought the little Suzi, and then replaced it with the Honda for reasons I don't recall. (He's the most mechanically inclined DIY'er I know.) The air-cooled Honda is a little noisier, but will never need a new impeller because it doesn't have one. (In fresh water, that's less of an advantage than it was for me.) It has a centrifugal clutch instead of a shifter, which just takes a little getting used to. You want to start it at just barely above idle speed--I've rarely had to pull the rope more than once except when I've previously run it dry, and sometimes not then.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-USCG-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 03/23/2020 21:42:06
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HappyNow
1st Mate

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USA
83 Posts

Response Posted - 03/23/2020 :  22:14:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with TakeFive. Choose the motor for the dinghy. And learn the hip tow, which is really more of a push. I had the starter fail on a 54 foot charter in St. Lucia a few years ago. Sailed to the harbor, and one of the boat boys tried to pull me with his dinghy and probably a 7 or 10 horse motor. Impossible. The marina chief came out and tied up to our side, and pushed us no problem. So if you were to have to go any distance, that would be the way to do it.
Second reason is that you probably have some type of towing insurance, either through Boat US or your liability insurance. Mine is on my Nationwide policy. So if you were anywhere not close to a marina, that would be a lot easier than trying to tow or push with your dinghy.

Michael Levin
Sailin' on Sunshine
C250 #402 WK
Lake Tahoe
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WK 727
1st Mate

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USA
53 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  08:52:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the great input. I lost focus. Get a dinghy motor for a dinghy. Pretty simple.

I have read quite a few reviews on the small outboards available; Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Mercury and Tohatsu all in the 2.5hp range. They seem finicky and none seem to rise to the top. It appears that moving up to 60 pounds and 4hp is viable. I would rather manhandle an additional 30 pounds every now and then but rely on it running well every time. So the search continues.

Regards, John
04 Catalina 250 WK
Standard rig w/wheel steering
Yanmar 9hp diesel
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HappyNow
1st Mate

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USA
83 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  09:04:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And donít forget, Lehr now makes a propane motor in 2.5 and 5 hp. Iíve never read any reviews but they seem pretty interesting.

Michael Levin
Sailin' on Sunshine
C250 #402 WK
Lake Tahoe
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8444 Posts

Response Posted - 03/31/2020 :  21:08:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by HappyNow

...And learn the hip tow, which is really more of a push...

Hip tow.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-USCG-OUPV
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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