Latest News: Forums Cruising Outboard motor

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  • #4507

    I am looking at buying a new or near new 4 stroke outboard for my Wayfarer.
    I am new to Wayfarer cruising and have just bought “Wotnot again”, a coposite 73′ mk.1a rigged for racing. My first purchase was a 5lb cqr, a 7lb grapnel, 10 meters of 8mm chain and 100meters of 10mm 3 strand nylon rope.
    The Macnamara main has been sent for 2 reefing points and i still need a working and storm jib.
    I have a Seagull outboard bracket bracket and the big questions i have are-: Do i need a long, short or standard shaft length and what hp. would be sufficiant? I can imagine that if i needed it, i would NEED IT and so want it to start first crack. I like the honda 2.3 hp’s price but is it big enough to stem Morcambe bay’s 4knot tides?
    Any help would be great, thanks,

    Dave Barker

    Hi Kilda – welcome to the forum! Another composite boat.

    I like the low weight of the Honda and the air cooling appeals to me, in principle anyway. The only part I’m not sure about is the throttle/centrifugal clutch. I’m used to a Yamaha with conventional throttle and separate gear selection (F or N) and often run it at or just above idling speed, which is really quiet and surprisingly fast in low wind speeds (which is when you tend to use your engine). But I know that many W owners use the Honda very successfully, in fact I would say that it’s probably the most common 4-stroke engine amongst the people that I have sailed with, and would be very high on my list if I needed a replacement.

    You’ll find quite a lot of discussion of outboards if you search around the forum, and generally I think it’s accepted that 2 to 2.5 hp is about right for a Wayfarer. You shouldn’t need a long shaft. It depends on your bracket too, but the anti-ventilation plate should be level with or just below the bottom of the transom to keep the prop well under water without being too deep.


    Hi Kilda, you mention tides. Please note that a motor is a sailing aid not a navigation aid.

    Let me explain. Assuming no sensible size motor will push a Wayfarer in to a plane, it’s hull speed is your speed limit. A Wayfarer’s hull speed is approximately 5 knots. That is 5 knots relative to the water that surrounds you, hence it is a sailing aid. Obviously, if you are faced with tidal currents you have a navigation issue if these currents are stronger then your hull speed. In that case you have to plan another route or wait until the tide turns.

    My guess is you would need 10 to 15 HP to push a Wayfarer in to a plane but I would not want such a heavy engine on my transom, let alone what the the forces of such a bugger would do to my poor transom. The sensible choice is around 2 HP. Such an engine weighs between 11 and 14 kg. (A 4 HP weighs double that). A 2HP is perfectly capable of getting your Wayfarer up to hull speed, even in a chop. IMHO anything over 2 HP you buy for others (as in towing).

    A long shaft is better in a chop but a short shaft is nice to explore shallow waters.Though a short shaft is known to sometimes push air in strong waves, it will still get you home. Shaft length is about personal preference or maybe your sailing area dictates your choice? Oh, one more thing,when tilted up on the transom, a long shaft drags through the water more often then a short tail.

    I have a short Honda 2.2 with an automatic clutch but Suzuki has recently introduced a 2.5 HP 4-stroke that has a manual clutch. I would certainly consider that one too. Clutch-less engines would not be high on my list for they keep pushing even at idle. (Swimmers, rudder or propeller damage, docking problems).


    Thank you both for your positive input,
    I will look again at the Suzuki with my fresh attitude to it’s intended use.
    Thanks again,


    I have a Suzuki 2.5hp short shaft 4 stroke with Forward and Neutral. At idle rpm, I find it will push the boat along in current-less water at about 3.5mph and will give 6mphish flat out. At idle, the 1 litre fuel tank will last at least an hour. At 6mph, it drinks fuel. Mine is mounted directly to the transom rather than on an extended bracket and the short shaft tends to come out of the water in a chop unless you sit right back at the buoyancy tank but in flat water it’s great. It’s quiet at idle and doesn’t really impinge on conversation. It would be nice if it was a little lighter (14kg) and had a larger fuel tank but I’m quite pleased with it. Regards, Dave Doran.

    Dave Bevan

    I’ve also got the Suzuki 2.5hp. The f/n gear was a selling point for me vs. the Honda, and I think it came out well in a comparative review in one of the sailing mags. Only comes out once a year for annual holidays, so far no issues since we bought it in 2008 for a trip to Chichester (apart from a lost shear-pin šŸ˜³ ). Mounted it direct to the transom on our MKII, but we’ve got a standoff bracket on our MKIV, which means it doesn’t foul either the mainsheet or the rudder šŸ’”


    Thanks again for your input, after learning that two hp was sufficiant i told my friend who reminded me that he had an old 2hp mariner of mine in his shed! I bought it what must be over 20 years ago when it was attached to an inflatable tender that has long since perished.

    We evicted the spiders and replaced the fuel and yes, it started first crack and ran a treat!

    Maiden voyage for ‘Wotnot Again’ was saturday, we launched from fleetwood, slipping away with the last two hours of the ebbing tide with our naked mariner with rope start attached to the transom….
    Now i know, with retrospect that all of you Wayfarer old hands will have already realised that what i have is potentially the fastest automatic sheeting system in the north west and seeng the main sheet flayling lazily over the racing flywheel rapidly brought me to a simillar level of wisdom. Decapitation was narrowly avoided however and we have since fitted a Seagull outboard bracket along with placing a bid on a pull start and some plastics for the old motor on Ebay.

    We had a good day in Morcambe Bay despite the potential for drama and returned up the wyre channel on a reach with the mid flood tide, she must have been a majestic site and to then luff up perfectly to Knott End ferry slip without the motor….dream come true.

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