Down One Dinghy Engine

Friday November 8, 2013

Lago Izabal, Guatemala

If I haven’t mentioned it before, or if it’s just been a really long time I’ve talked about it, we left Lake Michigan last year with two outboard engines for our dinghy.  One of them is a 3.3 hp Mercury, and the other is a 9.9 hp Johnson.  Back when we had our boat on a mooring in Muskegon Lake we had no problem getting from Point A to Point B with our little Mercury, but after reading plenty of accounts from other cruisers that once you get to the Bahamas, it’s nice to have an outboard with a little oomph to carry you between the different cays so you’re not always moving your big boat 2-3 miles just to see something new for the day.  Scouring Ebay and Craig’s List for a larger engine, we came across the Johnson, coincidentally being sold by one of the workers at our marina.  It looked a little beat up (which is actually a good thing, makes it less desirable to thieves), but the price was right and it purred like a kitten once you got it going.  We purchased it, and pretty much left it hanging on the stern of the boat until we got to the Bahamas.

We did use it there a few times, but it was always a hassle getting it from the boat to the dink since it was so much heavier, 75 pounds versus the 28 of our Mercury, so we only used it when we knew we’d be traveling longer distances that the Mercury could not handle.  Which, between the Bahamas and Guatemala, is a number I can count on one hand.  I don’t think it was a huge chore to use the Johnson, but using the Mercury was just so much easier.  Sure, we may not get to where we going very quickly, but luckily for us, time is something that we now have plenty of.  And so, with a bit of contemplating and a week of going back and forth, we’ve decided to sell the Johnson outboard.  We figure with all the use it had (not) been getting, we were better off with the money in our pockets after selling it than keeping it around, constantly weighing down our stern and rarely getting use.  Besides, if we decide down the road that we want or need a larger engine again, we can probably find one in the price range we’re selling ours for.

Once the decision was made to sell it, we needed to make sure that it still worked properly.  For the next few days after making the decision to sell, we’ve been using it to travel back and forth from town, and even a few excursions to Lago Izabal.  I have to say, I forgot how much fun it is having that rush of power behind us.  Speeding along from once place to the next with the wind whipping through your hair and showering you with a nice cool breeze instead of putting around with only three horses, feeling the sun scorch you the whole way.  Part of me wants to keep it now, realizing how much I miss it, but we already have a buyer and can no longer back out.  I’m sure it’s for the best though, seeing how well we got along without it before, and soon enough my mind will forget that extra rush of power and be content to put put around once more.

Oh, and Serendipity’s stern is already loving the lighter load.

Lago Izabal, Guatemala

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