Number One Outboard Advice

My old buddy Craig came out fishing with me yesterday. Sorry about a lack of pictures – I’d like to show off some of the stripers and blues we caught in the Chesapeake, near Thomas Point, but a steady rain kept my camera stowed the entire time – but the morning led to a conversation many fishboat shoppers might be interested: buying a used 19′ to 20′ center console. Craig’s been shopping them for a few months now, and when we talked over the half-dozen or so candidates he was serious about, a common thread emerged: all of the boats ...

28th September 2009.
By Lenny Rudow

My old buddy Craig came out fishing with me yesterday. Sorry about a lack of pictures – I’d like to show off some of the stripers and blues we caught in the Chesapeake, near Thomas Point, but a steady rain kept my camera stowed the entire time – but the morning led to a conversation many fishboat shoppers might be interested: buying a used 19′ to 20′ center console. Craig’s been shopping them for a few months now, and when we talked over the half-dozen or so candidates he was serious about, a common thread emerged: all of the boats had old-tech two-strokes on the transom.

He’s trying to keep the cost down to 15K, and as a result, is looking mostly at early 00′ models with two-stroke outboards. That’s just fine boat-wise, since most boats built in this time frame will show wear and tear that’s easily fixable. But I had to give him my honest opinion about those powerplants - when it comes to a carbureted or EFI two-strokes, you’ll have more problems and a less enjoyable experience onboard. Non-DFI two strokes are loud and smelly, period. Get an old-tech two-stroke guy onto a boat with four-strokes, and his reaction is completely predictable. ”Wow, that motor sure is quiet,” he’ll say. “Boy, it sure is nice not to have smoke blowing all over the place…”

I gave Craig the bottom line, and I’ll repeat it here, for you: put 80% of your purchasing power into a more modern powerplant and just 20% into the boat itself, even if that means looking at older boats with more hours on them – in Craig’s case, late 90’s vintage models instead of early 00’s. As long as you have a sound hull under your feet, you’ll be a lot happier in the long run.


About the author:

Lenny Rudow

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Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including boats.com and YachtWorld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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