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Thread: Matching The Ideal Outboard To Your Freighter

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Matching The Ideal Outboard To Your Freighter

    Hello forum members,

    After reading on all of the newer outboard motors available for the freighter canoeist, I decided to put together a buyer's guide of some sort. Although brand preference, older gems, and settling for the "good deal" will alter one's preference to a motor, this thread should be a useful guide to anyone who is considering a freighter.

    I'll first start with the bottom end of the Alaskan sized freighters: The 17 ft.

    1. There are a multitude of 17 ft. freighters available in good numbers out there: The Scott freighter, Esquiff Cargo, Old-town Discovery, Mackenzie Sport 17, and the Osagian 17ft. Freighter. This is the size boat that I've had most experience with. There is quite a gray area regarding outboard motors with this canoe. The weight of the motors in the 100 pound range are out of the question IMO. The max. outboard for these boats would be a safe limit of a 9.9hp outboard. The two best outboard motors available new are the Tohatsu 9.9 and the Two-stroke Yamaha 8 hp. The Tohatsu is the lightest in it's class at about 79 pounds. The two stroke Yamaha is a 60lb. motor! Both are the best in their class. Also......Suzuki will have a new 8hp. and 9.9 hp motor that will be the 2010 models available in the summer. They have redesigned them to be lighter and they will weigh in at 87 pounds. Those two motors would be excellent for the 17ft. freighters. With that said.....I will prob. go for the 9.9 zuk for my second freighter. Running a Suzuki DT-6 (two-stroke 6hp.) on my first freighter, I've found this motor to be a lighweight and reliable little powerhouse. It seems like this twin cylinder 165cc. has the torque of a 9.9 four stroke. It'll be a nice competition to see how the new 9.9 suzuki will compare against my DT-6 when they are both attached to identical boats.

    2. The 18ft. freighters: The only two that are within driving range of AK are the Scott 18ft., and the Mackenzie Sport 18. The max motor for this canoe would prob. be a 15 hp. outboard. The 20 horse motors may be too heavy and too much power. The lightest outboard is the 15 horse Yamaha 2-stroke. This outboard weighs 79 pounds. It would be my first choice. If you had to go four-stroke due to the regs....the Tohatsu and Suzuki 9.9's would be fine.

    3. The 19ft. Grumm: The pioneer of the Alaskan Freighters! This well worn, and nostalgic freighter has prob. clocked more Alaskan river miles than any of the others combined. If you happen to purchase one of these gems...the 15 hp. Yamaha 2-stroke as mentioned above would be a perfect motor. Again...if you had to go four-stroke due to regulations, dropping down to the 9.9 Tohatsu or Suzuki would be the lightest alternative.

    4 The 21ft. Scott. This beast doesn't care so much about the weight of the motor you choose. Any 15 hp. outboard would do. Honda makes the lightest 20hp outboard out there. It weighs about 100lbs. even. It would be what I believe to be the perfect motor for this 250lb. beast of a freighter.

    5. The 22ft. scott.........If you still consider this a "Canoe"......I'm sure it could handle whatever Outboard you decided to bolt to the transom up to a 50 horse!

    I hope this thread will be usefull advice for pointing new freighter canoeists in the right direction.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Hello forum members,


    5. The 22ft. scott.........If you still consider this a "Canoe"......I'm sure it could handle whatever Outboard you decided to bolt to the transom up to a 50 horse!

    I hope this thread will be usefull advice for pointing new freighter canoeists in the right direction.
    I wonder how an 18 hp or 23 hp GoDevil Surface Drive outboard would work on this canoe? It weighs about 220 lbs, but the center of gravity is very low. HMMM... I could stop worrying about dinging the lower unit of the motor and only be concerned about getting so shallow I'd damage the bottom of the canoe. These garden tractor engines burn between one and two GPH so fuel economy would be great. This has interesting possibilities! Thanks for the info.

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    Mainer,

    I think you are on target as long as folks realize that you are talking maximum HP. The 9.9 seems a bit much for 17' square sterns but I think all those models you mention are wide of beam [40-45"]......If I was running a 36" wide 17 footer, I would drop back on the power.

    I can't guess how many miles I've traveled with an 8HP, 2 stroke on a 19' Gruman....even against current on the Yukon. We tend to put a lot of power on our canoes here in Alaska and there are times it may be needed with a moose on board and going upstream. But for most cruising, I prefer to back off on that throttle.

    My 21' Scott Hudson Bay with a 20HP. 4 stroke on it, will get up on top with two guys and camp gear plus fuel. This is not the most efficient way to push a canoe but we felt safe and had plenty of fuel.

    I haven't had an opportunity to run the 23' Scott James Bay but 30-40 HP looks like it would be plenty. For lake cruising, I could be happy with a 20-25 HP on that canoe.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Vern,

    Thanks for your emphasis on the "Upper End" of the Horsepower spectrum for each freighter that I listed. The 8hp Yamaha two-stroke is what I believe to be the ultimate outboard currently available to the freighter canoeist (regardless of canoe) and what we do up here in AK. There have been quite a few times when I've wished that I had the Yamaha when I think..."the Yamaha weighs the same as my Suzuki 6 horse". It also can be frustrating when your underpowered and you decide to venture from "recreational" to a full blown freighter canoeist traveling to places that bush planes are dropping off the float trippers. I really did like the 5 horse single thumper I used to have but......put a couple people in that thing and everything bogged down. The single cylinder 4, 5, and 6 motors just don't have the torque of a twin cylinder motor for the heavy hauling that we do at times. They work, but you can def. feel the difference when you have two cylinders to work with. The twin cylinder yamaha 8hp two stroke rules the roost with a perfect mix of light weight, fuel economy, power, reliability, and versatility. It's the jack of all trades for the freighter guy!

  5. #5

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    Good list. I own the Macsport 18' and it is just not capable of handling 15hp. I use a 2.5hp four stroke and it scoots up river pretty good. I would say 8hp max on the Macsport 18, and you would have to be pretty careful with that.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Alaskans are crazy like that canuckjgc! A forum member on here by the name of Sid ran his 19ft. Grumm. with a 15 horse. For extremely fast current, 1000lb+ loads, and reserve power for getting out of a dangerous hazard around the bend..........we do tend to run a touch bit more ponies than what the manufacturer would recommend A man on the Yukon considered by many to be the most skilled navigator of the river died when trying to manuever a raging early spring tributary of the Yukon after many many years of putting people in awe of his freighter skills. He prob. just got too old and couldn't handle the cold water like he used to and prob. went into shock. His story can be found in this book: A Land Gone Lonesome. I'd love to run your 18ft. Mack with a 9.9 or 15 as mentioned below.......with a thousand pounds of gear and meat up some fast current!

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    You Alaskans -- what would we do without you!

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    Thumbs up

    i can weigh in here... good info below..here are some more things that u need to know... without a 'wide' bottem in the rear of your craft u will not plane.. with bigger hp u will not go -faster -in comparison..to the amount of "draft'' u will get ie; u hit the gas u go a little faster and your boat/craft of choice goes deeper in the water = more drag = higher rpm's = less mpg . Also on 'hp to moter wt'...some of the makers use the same power head , using what i have out in the shed the suz 8 hp the the 15 hp is the same head...over to the merc the 9.9 is the "upper class" the 15hp has the 20+hp head...so watch the wt/ gear box /no gear box/ prop sizes to rpm range/ f&r controls on the FRONT of the cowel is the greatest thing since sliced bread....water cooling is a + too ! (don't need "all that hp ease up on the gas!) my .02 cents
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    Default motor size

    bigger the better, you don't use it all the time but when you need the extra speed /power you got it to spare an that is what it is all about, lots of people think if you got a bigger motor you got more speed an in most cases it is the power you need not the speed but going across any lake the speed is great when you are going up an down rivers there is a safe speed for you, an most of the time it is not max speed of the rig you are in turns,rocks,logs, moose in river,gravel bars, an who knows what else you will run on too, even beaver dams on small rivers

    SID

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc View Post
    Good list. I own the Macsport 18' and it is just not capable of handling 15hp. I use a 2.5hp four stroke and it scoots up river pretty good. I would say 8hp max on the Macsport 18, and you would have to be pretty careful with that.
    Hey canuckjgc, I'm looking to be a first time buyer of a Osage 17ft for use on the Tanana River, and I'm trying to figure out the motor. I'm wondering if you could say more about the work you get out of your 2.5 hp? What kind of loads do you carry, how fast is the current on the rivers you travel, and how fast do you go?

  11. #11

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    I've worked this motor hard and have had no issues. I like it primarily because it only weighs 30 pounds so very easy to move around, store, etc.

    I haven't met a river that I've had any problems with. Rough estimate is about a 500 pound load going up a river with say an 8-10mph current. I do about 3-4mph or so going up-river. This is based on time and distance, not GPS readings, so I could be off a bit.

    My boat is 18ft, kevlar, weighs 80 pounds and is pretty aerodynamic

    The 5hp 2 strokes (like Nissan, Tohatsu) that they used to make weigh just over 40 pounds, but would give you a lot better performance up-river.

    I don't do a lot of rivers, mainly flat water, and the Suzuki is just fine for that as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by martenpine View Post
    Hey canuckjgc, I'm looking to be a first time buyer of a Osage 17ft for use on the Tanana River, and I'm trying to figure out the motor. I'm wondering if you could say more about the work you get out of your 2.5 hp? What kind of loads do you carry, how fast is the current on the rivers you travel, and how fast do you go?

  12. #12

    Default Go-Devils?

    Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with using Go-Devils with freighter canoes like the Osage 17 or Grumman 19? I've been considering their 6.5 horse Intek or 9 horse Honda for an Osage 17 footer, but haven't heard of anyone using such a combo...is it a bad idea? I know even the 6.5 horse Go-Devil is over 100lbs, which gives me pause already.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by RSHawk View Post
    Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with using Go-Devils with freighter canoes like the Osage 17 or Grumman 19? I've been considering their 6.5 horse Intek or 9 horse Honda for an Osage 17 footer, but haven't heard of anyone using such a combo...is it a bad idea? I know even the 6.5 horse Go-Devil is over 100lbs, which gives me pause already.
    Don't those have a pretty high center of gravity? I wouldn't want to put that kind of weight any higher than you put a normal outboard. It also seems like the force pushing from so far away would cause added instability in the boat.

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    Default and turning

    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    Don't those have a pretty high center of gravity? I wouldn't want to put that kind of weight any higher than you put a normal outboard. It also seems like the force pushing from so far away would cause added instability in the boat.
    And especially while turning, the harder the turn the greater the instability?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Basically.....the ONLY motor that could safely be used is the lightest one. scavenger makes a motor that is about 50 or 60 lbs, doesnt produce much power and has been used by their customers on osagians. http://www.scavengerbackwater.com/ Check out photo album # 1 on that website, there is a guy in a small canoe running the smaller one. I don't think this motor would provide enough torque to haul a sizable load of freight up the main current of the yukon or other rivers though. Freighters with outboard lifts go hand and hand. If you want to run a mud motor....get a john boat.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Go-Devils?

    I kinda figured that might be a troublesome combo, so wanted to see what others might think as well. Thanks for the perspective, everyone.

    On the scavenger website they have a few folks using those motors with RiverHawk style "canoes", which appear to be hybrid boats built for added stability. Anyone know if RiverHawks are sold anywhere in Alaska?

  17. #17

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    I picked up a used Pellican 160 square stern and the 6.5 Scavenger. I haven't had the time to try it out but plan to haul it on my jet boat and deploy it where my jet won't go.

  18. #18

    Default Have same Scanoe

    Boud'arc my canoe is like yours and think your motor should be plenty for it. One time I used mine on the little sue for a day. Not loaded alot with to occupants cooler and fishing gear. I had a bit more motor than required(9.8hp) and felt like it was over powered. I think your motor should be just right. One nice thing about the larger horses thou is you mantain a good speed with very little fuel burn.

    I put the motor on a scale and it was under the max required weight for the canoe, so on it went. That boat does weigh 127lbs by itself. I was also planning to use it on my Jet boat but haven't yet.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    I picked up a used Pellican 160 square stern and the 6.5 Scavenger. I haven't had the time to try it out but plan to haul it on my jet boat and deploy it where my jet won't go.
    I'll be curious to hear how that setup works...let us know as you try it out, will ya?

  20. #20

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    I have an old freighter canoe I picked up this winter and repaired enough for it to float. It came with a 4.5 mercury and a lift of sorts. Hopefully the photo is attached.

    This canoe is 18.5 feet long, 42 inches wide and 16 inches deep. It has a "wineglass" stern rather than a square stern so their isn't as much flotation in the stern. I would like to put a larger motor on it. Do you think it will handle a 15 yamaha?
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