It's a special day in any girl's life when she buys her first outboard motor. I had my opportunity a few weeks ago while Dominic was making his final trip to China. Dominic had an idea of the style we needed (manual ignition, four stroke, short shaft, powerful enough to get over surf, light enough to get on and off the boat) and sent a few vendors my way. I did the comparison shopping and made a few attempts at negotiation. Then, during one of the first major down pours this winter, I drove up to San Rafael to pick up the newest motor in the growing Dolci flotilla.
We ended up purchasing from Kaplan's Marine, a vendor that services mostly commercial clients. All the sources we consulted advised getting a Yamaha motor. They have the reputation of being the most rugged, they have a relatively simple construction, and their parts are well supplied internationally.
We were in a little bit of a quandary over how much horsepower we needed. Our current dinghy recommends an 8 horsepower engine. But, since we're going to upgrade our dinghy as soon as this one gives out, and since we're generally people who favor more power over less, we went for the 9.9.
You may be concerned about the .1 of a horse that seems to be excluded from this equation. The 9.9 horsepower model is the result of a common restriction on US lakes requiring motors to be fewer than 10 horsepower.
Looking forward to our next stretch of sunshine, so we can inflate the dinghy and give her a whirl!