Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Engine Upgrade

Serenity came with an old, regular shaft, 6 HP Mercury outboard. It could push the boat well enough, but it wasn't reliable. Several times, while idled down for docking, the engine would cut out. This left me with no propulsion just when I need it most. One time, while entering the marina, it gave out, and I was barely able to use the rudder to skull my way to an open floating dock.

Also, with it being so short, even when the mounting bracket was all the way down, the propeller would come out of the water if I went up the the bow, without sufficient weight in the cockpit. The local Mercury dealer wanted more than the outboard was worth to me to attempt to repair it, so the engine would have to be replaced.

I wanted a Honda, but they are expensive. Checking around, I found a 9.9 HP long-shaft Johnson. It was new, but had sat on a showroom floor for a couple of years, and the store wanted it gone. They gave me a very good price on it, such that an 8 HP Honda was about $300 more expensive. I was getting more for less with the Johnson, so this was what I bought.

Having done some research on which propeller to use with a sailboat, I went with a 4-blade, low pitch model. That would give me a lot of low end torque and pushing power. I only need it to move the boat at 5 knots. With inboard engines, you have to worry about the drag introduced by a large area of blades, but since my outboard could be lifted clear of the the water, this was not an issue.

One thing that is an issue with going from a 2-stroke 6 HP to a 4-stroke 9.9 HP is weight. the new engine weighed nearly twice as much, and the outboard bracket struggled with it. This was another item that had to be upgraded. Funny how things snowball.

On the evening of August 18, we took the boat out in the harbour to start the break-in procedure. Cheri was along, as usual, as was our son. A rather large sailboat from the US was in port, so we went by for a closer look. Here are some photos.

Parker and I. New engine by my left arm.

Parker and Cheri

Chris and Greg

Under sail in a light breeze

A large visitor

Heading back to the marina

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