FAQ: What Type Of Outboard Motor Should I Buy For My Sailboat?


Staff member
Outboard Motor Options for the Capri 14.2

There are several factors in considering which is the best motor. These are power, weight, cost, shaft length, integral or external fuel tank, gear shift, and 2 or 4 stroke.

Power - In my opinion, 2 hp is more than enough for a 327 lb. Capri 14.2. I once owned a 22’ keel boat, weighing in at 2500 lbs, and my 4 hp motor was fine for that. So lets say 2 hp is OK for the Capri.

Weight - Anything under 30 pounds should be easy to mount and unmount.

Cost - For discussion puposes, lets shoot for $800 or less.

Shaft Length - If you want to mount the motor on top of the transom (see more on this below), then a long shaft (25”) is essential. (Shaft length is measured from the top of the bracket to the tip of the shaft.)

Fuel Tank - My choice for simplicity is one with an integral tank, mainly because there’s no good place to put an external tank in the Capri 14.2 cockpit.

Gear Shift - Although a shifter is useful, I don’t think it’s really needed for just a simple, get-me-home motor. This is not a keel boat, where you sometimes must throw a powerful engine in reverse just before crunching a dock. So I say no shifter. Just come up slowly, kill the power, and drift up to the dock. This ain’t the Titantic, dude.

Two Stroke or Four Stroke - Definitely four stroke. Have you used one? They’re wonderfully smooth, more fuel efficient, quiet, and much less polluting than 2 strokes. And you don’t have to mix the fuel.

Da Bottom Line - So let’s open the envelope and see which motor meets these criteria. Okay...ta da...the only one is the Honda! (Model BF2) It has 2 hp, four cycles, weighs 27 lbs., has a shaft length of 20” or 25”, costs $809, has no shifter, and has an integral tank.

Motor Mount - What to use? Catalina will sell you a fancy mount, but I don’t think it’s needed. You can mount the motor on top of the transom, on either the port or starboard side. (Steer with the tiller.) Make sure it’s far enough to one side so the rudder can’t touch the prop. Only don’t clamp the motor right to the fiberglass transom. I’d glue and/or screw a pair of thin (say 3/8” or 1/2” thick) oak pieces to the transom on each side of where the clamps would go. This gives a more secure grip for the clamps and doesn’t screw up the fiberglass. The width and height of the oak pieces depends on the motor and clamp configuration, but they will probably end up measuring about 5” x 10”.
One reader sent this: “I use a Fulton 380321 adjustable bracket with a Fulton transom adapter. The bracket slips out of the adapter when not in use. I drilled two new holes in the adapter just below the top two so that I could through bolt through the Capri's internally reinforced area on the Port side of the boat. The adjustable bracket lets me skim shallow in low water areas and place the motor deep into the water when waves are running high (though I seldom need a motor when waves are high). Cheapest source is C-ME marine but they often run low on supply (they have an 800 number and a website - ship UPS from Buffalo).”