Ever since my very cool Torqueedo 401 decided to stay in the Bahamas late 2010 I had in mind to buy a Mercury / Nissan or Tohatsu 3.5hp engine one day. The exact brand was no matter because all three of them are exactly the same and have even build in the same factory. The size of these engines is perfect to have it stowed on Paulinchen‘s limited space and it is known to be quite durable and reliable. in short: They are perfect for a cruise and that is why so many cruisers have them.
On the other hand I really enjoyed to silently cruise into creeks and especially to get way closer to wildlife than it is possible with a noisy outboard. Alone for that reason, being a photographer an electric outboard was always a very tempting option too.
A brand new engine, not only for economical reasons on the other hand, never was an option. For some in my eyes stupid political reasons: Selling new two-stroke engines became illegal in many countries today. Maybe banning them will one day result in a huge leap in environmental protection; I doubt that! I more often think about another side effect for cruiser: reduced safety.
The key problem with four stroke engines is their size. Compared to two strokes they seem to be pretty huge to a certain amount of power where this levels out. – That is around 20hp, pretty much for a dinghy. Until then boaters have to trade safety for weight and size. Remembering the Ladies of Louise for example who carry a Honda Engine sitting on their transom that had almost the size of a 10hp two stroke build in the 90th. As far as I remember it only a 2.5 hp engine. And that was the power my Torqueedo 401. So I know it was barely enough to walk my way up against a three knots tidal current on Hudson River or into some Inlets between Islands in The Bahamas. If you could go for a stronger engine by size and weight you would, but today you have to take the smallest one you can fit on a boat because its heavy and huge for political reasons.
Current models of electric Torqueedo engines are also stronger. But as much as I can not state how great the 401 series was and how much I liked this engine, I honestly do not like them anymore. Simply because of the ugliest change in design I have ever witnessed on a product since Volkswagen introduced the new Beetle. Seeing them instantly Joda‘s voice comes to my mind saying: „Huge they are and close to the design of the Emperors battleship is the appearance.“
But finally looking for an outboard is over! A decision has been made: I just found a Tohatsu 3.5 that was for sale and seems to be in a fairly good condition. Getting it was not a hassle too, I simply rowed to where it was for sale in a marina next to the mooring field I am in.
So after I spend yesterday motoring around, running to other boats, to the dinghy dock, to the super marked and all the way down the sound into the mangroves. I can say: I got so much used in not having a dinghy, I almost forgot how much I locked myself on the boat. Propulsion on an anchorage or in a mooring field is the ultimate freedom!