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Author Topic:   Advice for a 13'
Backwater posted 11-14-2002 11:31 AM ET (US)   Profile for Backwater   Send Email to Backwater  
Thanks to all of you for your willingness to help Whaler neophytes like myself. I have been reading the forum for about 6 months and have greatly ejoyed and benefited from your discussions.

After seeing my Brother-in-Law's Classic Whaler(he is known to many of you as Chesapeake), this past summer I purchased my own 1966 13' Sport for $1,000. It came with a 1972 Evinrude 50 hp that has electric push button shift. The boat needs a little TLC(i.e., a few nicks in the gelcoat,polish, new rub rail, and refinish the wood), but is generally in very good condition.

As with most things that seem to good to be true, a problem has arisen. We had a blast the few times we took the boat out this summer, but then had an outboard problem. Thanks to all of you for your willingness to help Whaler neophytes like myself. I have been reading the forum for about 6 months and have greatly enjoyed and benefited from your discussions.

After seeing my Brother-in-Law's Classic Whaler (he is known to many of you as Chesapeake), I purchased my own 1966 13' Sport this past summer. It has great rails around it and came with a 1972 Evinrude 50 hp that has the old electric push button shift. The boat needs a little TLC this winter (i.e., a few nicks in the gelcoat, polish, new rub rail, and refinish the wood), but is generally in good condition.

Most of our boating is on the Upper Mississippi river as it passes through Southwest Wisconsin/Northeast Iowa. We have a 1986 19 ft Larson boat that is very comfortable for cruising the main channel, water skiing, etc. that we keep in Wisconsin. The purpose of the Sport is mainly for fishing and bird watching in the shallow backwaters, lakes, and sloughs of the Mississippi. In many of these areas, the water is only a couple of feet deep and you need to negotiate through sandbars and fallen trees. However, we also tow the Sport about 100 miles back to our home in Iowa City where we like to take the kids tubing and fishing on a reservoir near our home.

The Sport was wonderful the few times we had it on the water this summer, but our last time out the Evinrude would not start. My mechanic identified the problem as a faulty ignition part for which he could not find a new replacement. The repair would cost a couple hundred dollars if he could locate a used part, but he strongly recommended my buying a new or late model outboard because he considered my old electric shift model an unreliable sinkhole for cash. The unreliable part is a big concern since I plan to take the boat into pretty remote locations with my family. The mechanic is trustworthy and is not trying to sell me a new engine, so I am inclined to replacing the Evinrude. Although I have no intention of selling the boat, the resell value of a clean 13’ Sport with a late model engine would seem to support the investment – at least that is the justification I plan to use with my wife!

Although I enjoyed the “rocket” type performance with the high hp Evinrude, we place a higher priority on having a reasonably quite engine that performs well in shallow. Nonetheless, obtaining a plane with a couple adults in the boat and tube behind us is important when we are back home and don’t have access to our larger boat. In past threads on powering a 13’ Sport, most members adopted the reasonable perspective of trying to optimize a single applications (i.e., power or fishing) rather than a compromise. My interest is in finding an economical compromise that will work across our applications even if it is not optimal for one application.

So, here is where I need your good advice. First, the mechanic who recommended changing the motor is an honest guy, but do you agree with his opinion about my current Evinrude? My preference is to put off upgrading the outboard for a couple years, but getting stranded next summer in a remote setting on the river would definitely make this an unacceptable option. Second, a different dealer has a 1998 Evinrude, 25 hp, 2-stroke, short-shaft that he will install on the boat with new remote controls for $1,700. The motor has low hours on it and the shallow water drive option, which should be helpful in the backwaters. This sounds like a good solution for our shallow water needs, but will it be enough power to achieve a plane with four adults or pull some kids around the lake on skis or in tubes? Is $1,700 a fair price?

Thanks for your advice.


russellbailey posted 11-14-2002 11:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
I learned to ski, slalom ski, and kneeboard behind a 1976 13' with a same-year 25 Evinrude. The 1998 25 Evinrude is more powerful since it is rated at the propeller vs. the powerhead like our old one, and the 1967 boat weighs less than the 1976 one also.

It will do fine pulling kids or adults on two skis or a kneeboard, or kids on a slalom ski (though they'll have to drop a ski - it won't pull them up). Adults on a slalom may be ok depending on the weight of the skier, size of the ski and load in the boat.

We regularly went out in ours with Mom, Dad (300 lb total) plus my two siblings and me (200-250) lb total and two 6-gallon gas tanks and never had a problem getting on plane.

I think you are on the right track replacing the motor.

Backwater posted 11-14-2002 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backwater  Send Email to Backwater     
Sorry, my first post and I screw it up with a cut and past problem! Please bear with the confusing beginning to my note.
Bigshot posted 11-14-2002 11:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I can't understand how a keyswitch can cost $200 but I do understand that if the neutral safety or something in the controls goes bad it could be hard to get parts for, especially cheap. Being I do not know exactly what is wrong, hard to diagnose. You can fetch probably $500 or so for it on e-Bay.

The 25 will not be enough for 4 adults. I had 2 13's with 25's and 3 adults is about max. With one person it screams but it will not handle the weight very well. Look for a used 40hp if skiing and big loads is the usual fair. I personally think a 30hp 4 stroke is the ultimate engine on one but I would also never ski behind it or carry more than 2 or 3 people.

DaveNJ posted 11-14-2002 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for DaveNJ  Send Email to DaveNJ     
John -
I have a '68 13 footer and replaced the 1967 Johnson 33hp with a 1996 25HP Evinrude with controls that I bought from another forum member for $1600. I would say $1700 is a very good price if the hours are low and the condition is excellent. Make sure though. I have not tried the motor yet on the boat but it seems like a 25hp 2 stroke will do fine for me. It will be very economical to operate as well.


msullivan006 posted 11-14-2002 10:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for msullivan006  Send Email to msullivan006     
I have a 1987 13 with '87 Johnson 40 that has been a great package for skiing, touring with 4-5 adults, and everything in between. The only thing mine is missing is tilt and trim, as it is quite sensitive to the angle the motor is trimmed to. The prop choice makes a very big difference on balance between pulling a skier up and top end, but with so much power, the goal is to choose a prop more aligned with skiing than top speed for most use. In my experience, a more powerful motor is nothing but positive, assuming it doesn't add too much weight (and the 40 doesn't). In particular, it is never being pushed as hard for the same amount of performance, so it is running easier and getting probably at least as good fuel usage as pushing a smaller motor to the same performance. In the background, you always have the extra power whenever you want to use it. I can plane with six adults without taking much more time to get to plane than with four (on a quiet lake) although we usually don't put that many in the boat. With five, it planes very well, and top end is still well up there so the 10 mile run to our favorite beach on a lake in Maine takes about the same tme regardless of how many people want to come along. If you run with only yourself, the 40 is almost over the top at WOT for most people - starts to get pretty light but still stable.

Best of luck,

JBCornwell posted 11-14-2002 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Howdy, Backwater.

I think a 25 is adequate for a 13. You might want a "short" prop for times it is heavy.

I also think $1700 is a good price.

I had a Johnny 25 on my 13 and did lots of stuff with it. I never felt underpowered.

Red sky at night. . .

LMJHB posted 11-15-2002 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for LMJHB  Send Email to LMJHB     
Backwater, I have a Nissan 25/30HP, 1999, 75 Hrs, manual w/controls for sale for $1400, located in Calif.
Backwater posted 11-16-2002 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backwater  Send Email to Backwater     
Thanks for the advice. In general, my take on your comments is that the 25 hp is a versatile size, but will be pretty taxed with 4 adults or maybe pulling a slalom skier. Other than the purchase price and fuel, are there any serious disadvantages to going with a 40 hp?

Thanks again for you help.


captbone posted 11-16-2002 06:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
Check out the 40 hp yamaha enduro they are light, cheap and built like a brick%$#& house!
PSW posted 11-17-2002 10:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for PSW  Send Email to PSW     
The first whaler I ever had was a 1981 13 that was my dad's. I graduated from the zodiac to that at age 13. What a great boat. We had a Merc 50 on ours and that was a powerful combo. Proped down it was a good and safe setup. 35 horsepower in my mind is a minimum. Weight is something to look at. The 50 was a tad heavy. If you can find a light 35-40 horse that would be the ticket.


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