Features September 2007 Issue

Practical Sailor Tests Manual and Electric Outboard Engine Brackets

Outboard motor mounts come in an array of sizes, designs, and prices. Practical Sailor’s test of eight outboard brackets narrows the choices. Standing out in the crowd is the Garelick 71095, a well-built outboard bracket that uses a manual hydraulic pump to make raising and lowering the engine a breeze.

We used a four-stroke Honda BFP 9.9 horsepower outboard (92 pounds) and a Mercury ME 9.9 (84 pounds) four-stroke to test eight engine brackets that can be used on sailboats. Testers figured the 9.9 engines to be the middle road between the commonly used 5 horsepower and 25 horsepower. Five manufacturers responded—Fulton, Garelick, Marine Tech (Panther), JR Marine, and Garhauer—with eight different brackets, four manual and four electric, all rated for four-stroke 9.9 engines. The main test criteria were ruggedness, quality of materials and workmanship, ease of assembly and mounting bracket on a boat, clarity of instructions, ease of mounting an engine on the bracket, ease of operation, and price. For the purpose of comparison, brackets can be divided into three categories: fixed or stationary outboard mounts, retractable manual lift engine mounts, and electric trim and lift/tilt mounts. Choosing the mounting bracket that’s best for a certain sailboat will depend on the horsepower and weight of the outboard to be used, the length of its shaft, and where it is to be mounted. Among testers’ top picks were the Garelick pump-action 71092 for best manual engine bracket and the pricey Garelick 71095 for the best electric bracket. For the budget-minded sailors, we recommend the inexpensive Fulton MB1820 or Panther 40.

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