How to choose the right outboard motor for your yacht
Denis Korablev
  • 31.08.2020
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How to choose the right outboard motor for your yacht

The outboard motor on the ship can play the role of the only possible (for most small boats) or auxiliary power unit (on sailing yachts - for moving at low speed in the absence of wind or for maneuvering in port). The modern powerboat market can offer a wide variety of reliable and durable branded outboard motors. Let's take a look at some tips and tricks to follow in order to choose the right motor for your yacht.

Before purchasing an outboard motor for a yacht, you should compare the capabilities of the purchased motor with the purposes for which it is purchased. Engine selection should be based on comparison of purchase objectives, cost, power and quality. Some of the most important factors in choosing an outboard motor are fuel consumption, which affects the cost of operation and the weight that will affect the ease of installation.

Outboard motors (PLM) weighing over 50 kg are not recommended by specialists 2yachts, because, for example , if you are seriously worried, installing it can take a lot of effort. One of the first questions to be answered when choosing an outboard motor is that a 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine would be an acceptable option to meet all the expectations of a yachtsman.

Two-stroke or four-stroke?

A feature of the operation of 2-stroke outboard motors is, first of all, their low demands on fuel quality, as well as simplicity of the device, ergonomics and high maintainability. Two-stroke outboard motors are more common due to the longer history of 2-stroke production. One of the main disadvantages of 2-stroke engines is the gradual clogging of the spark plugs, leading to unstable operation and an increase in fuel consumption, which is already 1.5-2 times higher than that of four-stroke models.

Four-stroke motors are more economical, more stable in operation, less noisy and more environmentally friendly. Their weak point is their higher (by about a third) cost than their two-stroke counterparts of the same power. Also, it can be difficult to find spare parts for a "4-stroke" and they are much more expensive, as well as service. The four-stroke engine provides less fuel and oil consumption, lower operating noise levels, and excellent ride comfort, which allows driving at minimum speed. The high cost of 4-stroke engines is eventually compensated for by saving fuel and oil; on average, the payback occurs after 3-4 years of active operation.

At this time, 4-stroke and 2-stroke are close in performance as never before, thanks to the use of modern fuel injection systems that provide (theoretically) the combustion of all fuel entering the combustion chamber. One of the most common myths about two-stroke engines is that they are too noisy, smoke a lot, and have low fuel efficiency. This is not the case today. And the choice between the two types of engine now depends only on the preferences of the particular owner of the vessel, since the technical differences in engines of both types are minimal and both options can be acceptable when all factors are taken into account.

Selecting the required power

The power of the outboard motor must be selected to provide sufficient boat speed. An acceptable power rating is at the rate of 1 horsepower per 20-25 kg mass of a fully loaded and fueled vessel. This power should provide the ability to plan, gain maximum speed and fuel economy.

And a completely different principle of selecting the power of the outboard motor for catamarans and small sailing yachts. Then the power is selected based on the total displacement of the vessel, it should be sufficient for the vessel to gain the required speed. Due to the design features, such vessels do not have the possibility of switching to the planing mode. In the arsenal of some manufacturers there are special models of PLM with low engine power and with a special cargo gearbox that provides a given force on the propeller shaft for inflatable catamarans and sailboats.

In order for the yacht to pick up the required speed, the motor must develop a certain power, the value of which will depend on the load and the lines of the yacht. You can find out the required maximum and minimum power value of the installed outboard motors from the instructions from the manufacturer. However, when using an outboard motor as an auxiliary power unit, a number of problems can arise that become very difficult to solve. Since outboard motors have a large number of rotor rpm (from 2000 rpm), it can be difficult to select them. For vessels with the required power up to 12 HP such motors are still applicable, but at a given 15 hp. and more about purchasing and installing PLM is better to forget. The propeller speed becomes excessive, an overload occurs and the motor does not even pick up the rated speed.

When choosing the power of the outboard motor, safety comes to the fore, since if the power is exceeded, for example, a light boat can easily capsize during a sharp turn. You cannot exceed the maximum permissible engine power, besides, increased power leads to increased fuel consumption and with different power of the two engines, the distance covered by a more powerful engine at a higher speed will be significantly less than the distance covered by a boat with a motor less power.

Another important point when choosing an outboard motor is the engine start system. Today, most outboard motors ranging from 5 hp either manual or electric (with battery) starting system is installed. If you plan to use a remote control system for the outboard motor, choose models with an electric starting system. Otherwise, you can get by with a manual start outboard motor, the price of which will be noticeably lower.

Among the manufacturers, it is worth highlighting the American and Japanese brands Mercury, Yamaha, Honda, Johnson, Suzuki and Tohatsu, which account for the lion's share of the outboard motor market. If you want to save on the purchase of an outboard motor, you should pay attention to Chinese manufacturers (the cost of their outboard motors is 30-40% lower). However, the build quality and reliability of many Chinese models may not be satisfactory. Also, before choosing a manufacturer, you should find out information about the nearest service centers and the availability of spare parts for equipment of a particular brand.

If you are interested in offers on yacht rental - you can always contact the specialists of the 2yachts company. We can offer competitive prices, minimum terms and professional support at all stages of the transaction.


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