From: "Dennis J. Figley"
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 08:03:40 -0500
Subject: Wayfarers & motors

Good morning Cassy,

I read the advice given to you by Dick and it sounds like he covered about everything. (I don't know what the rest of us would do without Dick and Uncle Al, they're a blessing). I have a few other things I would like to offer that might be of benefit.

I have a 1984 Wayfarer (Abbot) that I have had a 2 hp Johnson 2 stroke on for all most as long as I've had the boat. The engine is circa 1972 and I had the good fortune to buy it off a dear customer of mine probably in about 1985. He used it to power a canoe when he made fishing trips in Canada. He got too old for that and sold me the motor at a very good price.

I have a fixed motor bracket on my boat that came from the factory. The motor is clamped to a tapered piece of mahogany that is about 2 feet long and this board slips into two vertical aluminum tracks that are bolted to the transom. To remove the motor from the boat, you just pull the motor up and it and the board come off the transom for stowage inside the boat. There, unfortunately, is no provision to raise or lower the motor when it is in use. I have a short shaft, and I can not leave the helm position for more than a few seconds because the prop comes out of the water and enough of that can cause the motor to overheat and is probably a little hard on the water pump impeller. I have never changed the water pump impeller in all the years that I've had the boat, I'm probably skating on thin ice. I don't even know if I could get one for that motor.

I know the kind of motor bracket that Dick talked about but have never seen one on a Wayfarer although I have given it some thought. I have one like he talks about on a 21 foot sail boat that my brother and I built back in the mid seventies. It works well. It is spring loaded and gives you some assist when raising the motor. On that boat I have a 7.5 hp 4 stroke Honda of about 1977 vintage and it is somewhat heavier that a comparable 2 stroke. If I were to put that kind of mount on my fiberglass boat, I would probably think about some reinforcement in the way of a good plywood pad glassed to the inside of the transom since the bracket would likely put a little more stress on the transom. I have my other boat reinforced that way and have never had any problems with it.

The one advantage of my 4 stroke is gas economy. My 21 foot boat will go about 10 miles @ 6 mph on a gallon of gas. The Wayfarer will also go about 10 miles @ 4 mph on a gallon of gas. Old 2 strokes might consume up to three times the amount of gas as a 4 stroke. I believe the newer 2 strokes are more fuel efficient and don't pollute as bad as the old ones. At least they are more user friendly.

One advantage of the 2 stroke aside from its lighter weight, is that they are almost bullet proof. They are simple in their mechanism and very reliable. But reliability is also the key word on my Honda 4 stroke. The only thing the Honda has required in all the years that I've owned it was a new fuel pump. Of course, my Johnson does not have one of those. However, and I've done this a couple of times, if you should dump a 2 stroke in the water instead of tearing it down and dewatering it you simply pull the spark plug give it a few pulls on the starter rope to remove the water from the combustion chamber put the plug back in and go home. I saw two fisherman in Canada some how loose a 10 hp Mercury overboard, fish it off the bottom of the river with their landing net ( I don't know how they managed that considering the state of inebriation that they both were in.) and put in back on the boat and after a few pulls, it started and they went on their merry way. I think in that case, the 4 stroke might require a tear down and clean up. I, fortunately, don't have any first hand experience like this with the Honda.

The hp requirements for a Wayfarer are pretty meager. My 2 hp does a pretty good job for the most part. But the truth is, it could use at least a 3 hp. It is like Dick says, you would not want to try to motor my boat up wind in anything more than a light breeze and the same goes for water current. I've been in situation where I was motoring out of a narrow channel into a bay that had a really good breeze blowing over it and if I wouldn't been able to get the main up and get underway, I would have been on a very nasty rock islet. When I make the mouth of the Vermilion River here in Ohio on a breezy summer afternoon with the mast up I could actually swim as fast. Once I'm inside the river life is good again. That is precisely the reason I use the o.b., I have a mile or so to go up that river to the launch ramp and I think with the volume of motor boat traffic that is present there on a sunny summer afternoon I would not be very popular rowing up it at 2 mph. I do have a pair of 8 foot rowing oars though, just in case.

Cost is another consideration. A four stroke of the same hp will cost quite a bit more than the 2 stroke and the difference could buy a lot of gas for the 2 stroke depending on your motoring requirements. Last autumn at the Cedar Point Ohio boat show, a dealer had a 3 hp long shaft Mercury for sale for $600.00 and I came within an inch of buying it. If I'd had some extra bucks I would have walked out of there with it. It's probably still not too late to regret that decision. I think the motor was discounted quite a bit though I've never checked into prices very much. I don't know if you can get a 4 stroke in less than 4 or 5 hp.

Dick is also correct in what he said about the rudder on the boat hitting the prop. I've done it numerous times but only if my rudder is kicked up a little bit. My rudder is of the newer configuration that has its leading edge vertical when fully down. In that position the two have never met. I must say this though, the fiberglass rudder that came from Abbot on my boat shows no signs of damage at all and never has. When the rudder and the prop come together it sounds as if the rudder is going to be chewed unmercifully but there is not a scratch on it. With a little wet sanding and buffing, the rudder would look like new. That's pretty good after eighteen y ears of abuse.

Sailing with the motor on the transom and the mainsheet in its normal position is really asking for trouble. I would only do it in the very lightest of airs when attempting to motorsail and hopefully the tacking is nil otherwise, it is an exercise in total frustration. Of course the solution is to have a secondary position for the mainsheet when the motor is on the transom but I've not went that far yet though I've thought about it many times.

Well, I hope this advice will be of some benefit to you. I probably told you more that you care to know. Sorry. Let me know how your decision on motoring turns out. They are truly great boats if you're new to the Wayfarer.

Have fun,
Dennis J. Figley