Outboard Onboard!

After a lot of research and much debate about how much of the overall restoration budget should be spent on an outboard motor, we finally made a purchase. We ended up spending well below our targeted price of $600 and picked up this little Johnson for $240.

There are some old salts that will tell you a sailor doesn't need a motor at all. After all, sailing is about coming to balance with the forces of nature (wind, currents, waves, etc.) through a sailboat. However, we feel having auxillary power will be a huge blessing on those days when the wind doesn't blow. We also anticipate using the motor to move to and from our mooring as well as helping us navigate through busy channels and marinas without having to use our sails. And of course there's an argument that a motor on a sailboat can provide a bit of safety if your rigging gets damaged. Whatever the ultimate reason, we're happy to have an outboard.

We spoke with several other Helms 25 owners as well as owners of similar size/displacement sailboats. The concensus was that a longshaft outboard from 8 to 15 horsepower would do the job. Considering that we'll be sailing on the Great Lakes and won't have to deal with strong currents or tides and will try to avoid conditions with large waves, the 9.5 horsepower our choosen outboard should be sufficient.

Our Johnson is a 1973 9.5 horsepower 2-stroke outboard. I've read that this particular model was produced from the mid-1960's through 1974. They are said to be very reliable and very repairable. Many parts are still readily available. Another benefit is that the motor only weighs 60 pounds, which is lighter than most comparable 9-10hp motors and is more similar to the weight of many 6hp models.

Our particular motor seems to run and start very well. Cosmetically, it could use some work. The previous owner had the engine cowling fly off when he was towing his boat down the highway. So the cowling has several scrapes and a few holes in the fiberglass. I'll post another blog entry detailing the cosmetic repairs that I'm doing.

Johnson Outboard
Johnson Outboard_front


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