Features June 2007 Issue

9.9-horsepower Outboard Engines Put to the Test

With little difference in performance numbers, the best choice for a large, short-shaft dinghy engine really comes down to features and what fits your needs. We tested the 15-inch shaft Mercury 9.9, Tohatsu 9.8, and Honda 9.9, each of which could also be used as a sailboat auxiliary engine. We’re waiting for Yahama to release its re-designed 9.9 h.p. outboard engine to test it along with the Suzuki 9.9 for an update to this 9.9 outboard engine shootout.

Today’s 9.9-horsepower four strokes pack just the right amount of punch for a portable dinghy engine. The downside, as you may have guessed, is their hefty weight. The three Practical Sailor tested range in weight from 82 to 92 pounds. All are two-cylinder, water-cooled engines that take about a quart of oil, and all are pull-start models, with chokes that need to be used only when the engine is cold. All come with a standard 3.1-gallon plastic fuel tank, a fuel hose, and an aluminum propeller. In terms of propulsion, none of these portable outboard engines has it all. So after evaluating how easy each was to operate, transport, store, and maintain, we based our recommendations on weighing each engine’s pluses and minuses.

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