Motor and Motor Bracket, Part 2, Analysis, Part II

Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust motor with a Garelick Heavy Duty Motor Bracket
Having determined that I would replace the Johnson Sailmaster 7.5 horsepower motor on my Ericson 25 with a new, four-stroke motor, and having determined that it would be good to mount this new motor on a motor bracket, I began to research my options. In this posting, I describe the steps I took that led me to purchase the Yahama 9.9 High Thrust motor and the Garelick heavy duty motor bracket for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.
I began by removing the Johnson 7.5 horse motor that had come with the boat.
This enabled me to get a better picture of the transom and the limited space available to me for the installation of a motor bracket.
You'll recall from the first posting that in my earlier research I had determined that I definitely wanted to mount a swim ladder on the port side of the transom and a motor on a motor bracket on the starboard side. The cutout on the starboard side would allow me easier access to the motor's tiller and throttle. A motor bracket would allow the motor to project far enough aft so as to prevent the motor's prop from interfering with the rudder. The picture below of another Ericson 25 depicts my imagined setup rather well.
One of the problems I saw right away was that there was very little space for a motor bracket, especially one such as the Garelick heavy duty bracket, which was designed specifically for the new four-stroke motors that were much heavier than the older generation two-stroke ones.
A boatyard owner friend of mine stopped by after work one day at my request and offered me some advice. He said that I could indeed mount a four-stroke motor and a heavy duty motor bracket on this part of the transom, but only if I reinforced it with plywood and aluminum plates. He gave me specific instructions on how I should do this. That was good.
Still, though, I needed to determine for myself where exactly I needed to install the bracket and if this specific bracket would even work on this boat. Therefore, I began to look around for examples of other boats with one of these Garelick heavy duty brackets.
A Garelick heavy duty bracket mounted beneath a transom cut-out on a different sailboat
From what I could tell, the bracket would fit on an Ericson 25. There was some question in my mind, however, as to whether I would be able to situate the bracket in such a way as to allow the prop to go down deep enough into the water. The picture below shows what I believe is an Ericson 27 with a Garelick heavy duty bracket. It seemed to me that in this set-up the motor's prop was not low enough in the water. It might have been okay in the placid conditions of this lake, but in the rolling waters of a seaway, where hobby-horsing occurs, it seemed to me that this motor's prop would spin-out whenever the stern of the boat rocked upward over a wave.
The picture below shows a Yahama 9.9 High Thrust on a Garelick heavy duty bracket. This is on the transom of a powerboat. Many powerboat owners have a similar set whereby they use the Yamaha as a "kicker" as it's called - a motor that can kick into action in the event that the primary motor fails. This picture gave me some encouragement, for it appeared that with the Garelick heavy duty bracket I could get the prop low enough into the water to avoid spin-out, especially if I got a motor with a long shaft. Notice here that the arms of the motor's bracket are canted downward, rather than parallel, as in the picture above. I had to rely on these pictures, because it was impossible to tell how much range of motion the Garelick heavy duty bracket possessed simply by handling one at the local chandlery. The heavy springs in this device make it impossible to manipulate it by hand.
You'll also recall from the first posting that I noticed in my research that some Ericson 25 owners had replaced their original two-stroke motors with new four-stroke ones. Below we see a Honda.
Here we see a Yamaha. Ultimately, I decided upon a Yamaha, primarily because of the excellent reviews that many persons on many sailing forums had given to this motor. Many persons also spoke of the easy availability of service and parts for these motors in North America and its environs. It didn't hurt that Yamaha is the most respected motor in the Carolina Lowcountry. All of these things led me to purchase the Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust - a motor designed specifically for pushing heavy displacement hull boats, such as the Ericson 25, through the water. I only wish that the Yamaha (like the Honda) came with an emergency pull start cord on the exterior of the cowl. On the Yamaha, you must remove the cowl on the top of the motor to access the emergency pull start.
Having decided upon a Yamaha, I decided to start putting away a little extra money each month. This would be a big purchase, and I wasn't really up for dropping around $3,000 at a moment's notice. In the interim, I did some research, attempting to find the absolute lowest price out there for this motor. There were some online retailers that had rock bottom prices, but I knew from my research that unless the motor came from an authorized Yamaha dealer I would not get the authorized Yamaha warranty. I found an authorized dealer in Norfolk, Virginia that had prices much lower than those in Charleston, South Carolina where I live. The prices from this dealer were so low that it was worth the time and money to drive up there to buy a motor. Before taking this action, however, I decided to make one last effort in my local area. This time I broadened my search in the Carolina Lowcountry and found Low Country Marine in the small town of Walterboro, South Carolina. This dealer beat the Norfolk dealer's price, so this local dealer got my business. The folks at Low Country Marine were glad, and I was too.
This was right around the time when I used to make an annual trip to Edisto Island for a camping trip with some long-time buddies. It was always less about the camping and more about the swilling of hops and barley (with a little crabbing here and there) more than anything else . . but I digress.
Anyway, Edisto Island is not very far from Walterboro, so I used this trip as a convenient means of picking up my new motor without alerting the Admiral to the fact that I was dropping a small pile of money for the repowering of the boat.
I paid for the motor with cash - a stack of twenties, as I recall. The good gentlemen at Low Country Marine understood that it's sometimes better just to go ahead and buy an outboard motor when you need an outboard motor. Why sit down in advance and talk things over with the wife? She'd be glad I'd gotten the new motor when the day came for her to be sailing in that boat, wouldn't she? That was my thinking at the time, and for all those other men standing around in Low Country Marine on that day I laid down that money, the logic was crystal clear. If only everything always made that much sense.
Back at home it of course only took about ten minutes for the cat to get out of the bag. My eleven year old son was helping me unload my camping stuff from the back of the SUV. Being the perceptive one that he is, he quickly spotted part of the prop poking out from the blanket I'd thrown over the motor after I'd laid it on its side for transport. "Uh . . . Dad . . . What's that?" he said, looking at me with a knowing smile. Playing dumb didn't work for me, and soon my youngster was eagerly helping me haul the bright and shiny treasure out of the vehicle. Next thing you know it was sitting on the rack that I had pre-built before my trip to Edisto. Shortly thereafter - of course - the Admiral caught wind of all the commotion outside. She was, to put it mildly, miffed. Fortunately, however, she was not as miffed as I had expected, and soon this issue was a non-issue and life returned to normal.
In the picture above and below you'll notice that I am running fresh gasoline through the motor. This was something that I did each month from the time of purchase onward.
I also made a point of using these recommended additives to keep the fuel as fresh as possible.
Eventually, I wrote down the measurements on a piece of paper and used a medicine cup to dispense the proper amounts whenever I refueled.
I also always made a point of buying ethanol free gasoline. Fortunately, this is not hard to find around the Carolina Lowcountry.
It costs a little more than regular unleaded gasoline, but it's worth it. The gentlemen at Low Country Marine urged me to avoid ethanol blended gasoline whenever possible, since it has a history of damaging outboard motors, especially if it's allowed to sit for some period of time unused.
The tank itself was a purchase that I had to make separately from the motor.
It was a heavy duty tank, one that would not swell up and become distorted on a warm and sunny day. Specifically, it was a Moeller Ultra 6, 6 Gallon Low Perm Certified Tank, Part #620049LP.
Fuel line . . . fittings . . . these are additional purchases you have to make whenever you buy a new tank for a new motor.
Now back to the subject of the motor bracket. As I said, I had researched the Garelick Heavy Duty bracket. It seemed like the best bracket I could buy for my purposes. Therefore, I broke out the wallet once again and purchased one from the local West Marine. Just for the record, this was the Garelick Heavy Duty Outboard Motor Bracket, Model 71090. This was back when West Marine used to price match Internet competitors. My homework paid off. I saved $130 on this purchase.
As I said before, it was impossible for me to get an accurate sense of the range of motion of the Garelick bracket without having a motor mounted to it. Now that I had both a bracket and a motor, and a place to mount the bracket, at least temporarily, I could make all sorts of precise measurements. Was it a royal pain the behind to install that heavy four-stroke motor on that bracket in the confines of that walk-in closet? Yes it was? Was the Admiral pleased that this was where I temporarily stored this motor during the refitting of this boat? No she wasn't. I'll just leave it at that and go on with my story.
This temporary set-up, as I said, allowed me to get a good sense of where I needed to mount the bracket on the boat. It appeared that the bracket would allow me to drop the prop down deeply in the water. At the same time, it appeared that it would allow me to operate the tiller and throttle through the transom cutout.
One thing that I could not do at this time was to operate the power tilt/trim. This required battery power, something that I could not muster in this walk-in closet. Before moving on to other things, I should mention that this Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust motor was officially classified by Yamaha as follows: T9.9XPHA. This classification indicated that it was an electric start motor with power tilt/trim and an extra long shaft. I had dealt with manual-start, manual-tilt/trim motors in the past. In many ways there are fewer things that can go wrong with these manual features. Nevertheless, these manual features require you to drop what you're doing and use two hands. I didn't want these distractions on this boat - especially since it was a sailboat and especially since it was a heavy boat, a boat that demanded much more attention in its operation than a small powerboat.
Now it was time for me to figure out where exactly I needed to mount the bracket on the transom. I had already decided that I would put it on the starboard side, where the cutout was located. If you look around the Internet at other Ericson 25s, you'll notice that some of them have removable panels in their cutouts. I suppose that these were primarily for that handful of owners who had inboard engines and who thus did not have an outboard motor hanging off the transom. One of the previous owners of my boat had modified this panel to support the old Johnson outboard motor that had been located on this part of the transom.
It appears that this panel never was intended to support a motor. You'll notice below that it was held in place simply by gravity and two strips of aluminum on either side of it.
This is yet another example of the screwy, half-assed work that the previous owner(s) did on this boat. There was very little that kept that Johnson Sailmaster motor from getting torqued off of the transom.
The transom was solid fiberglass. That was good. The protective layer of gelcoat, however, was chipping off of it in the area around the cutout.
You'll notice in the picture below that there is very little space on the transom itself for the mounting of a motor or a motor bracket. I knew from the start that I was going to have to modify the transom in some way to increase its size.
To help me figure all this out, I temporarily reinstalled the panel. Then I made many pencil marks on the transom and the panel attempting to figure out where I should mount the bracket. It couldn't be too low. Otherwise, it would extend beyond the bottom of the transom. It couldn't be too high. Otherwise, I would not be able to drop the prop down as far as it needed to be in the water. It couldn't be exactly centered on the cutout. Otherwise, the offset tiller/throttle of the Yamaha would not have an adequate range of motion in the area of the cutout.
Oh, yes, and also I had to take into account the cockpit sole. Some of the mounting holes for the bracket would need to be above the cockpit sole. Others would need to be beneath it. In other words, some of the nuts for the bolts would be in the cockpit. Others would be down below in the lazarette. The bolts on either side of the sole could not be too close to it. Otherwise, the nuts would not fit on the bolts.
If you click on the pictures above and below, you should be able to read some of the many notes I made to myself about all of these placement issues.
You'll notice that in some of these notes I'm attempting to determine where the motor would be both in its deployed and retracted positions. As I said, I was also concerned about where the motor would be whenever it was tilted/trimmed, both in the deployed and retracted positions. This was difficult to determine.

In the end, I decided that despite my uncertainties about some of these issues, I had to do the best I could with the information I had available to me. That's the way it was with so much of what I did in the refitting of this boat.
This ends this second posting on the work I did to install a new motor and a bracket on Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.