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Forums / Restoration / Outboard compartment  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 03 Sep 2012 at 6:37pm
I have a Dolphin 24 with an engine compartment at the rear of the cockpit. It is fitted with an 9.9hp outboard. The compartment has a round cutout about 4" in diameter perfect for pulling the pullcord to start the engine.

I was thinking about cutting the fiberglass to create a rectangular opening about 4" by 30" to 36" so I can have the throtle handle and shift lever accessible with the cover down.

Any suggestions ?

Posted: 05 Sep 2012 at 10:16am
Hi Michael

Interesting. There are some OB system setups in the Technical Section of the website but none like you describe.

Do you have fan powered vents so you can run with the hatch closed?

Not sure what the structural strength impact of the long cutout would be.

Whatever you do keep your camera handy - this would be a good addition to the OB motor part of our Technical Section

Ron Breault, webmaster

Posted: 05 Sep 2012 at 10:40pm
Thanks for the pointers. I still need to review some measurements to make sure I will be able to insert and remove the motor with this configuration.

The compartment has two intake/exhaust vents but not equiped with a fan - that may be a good addition. The opening I will be creating will open some circulation and I could leave the hatch partially open when operating the motor.

On a similar issue, I'm trying to find an easier way to insert and remove the motor since the salt water is beating the motor up with barnacles.

Vessel is on the roster under my name, Michael Lang, as (Sailing) Solace #280 in Dunedin, Florida


Posted: 05 Sep 2012 at 11:14pm
I went to the techical link as you suggested. It appears this has been done before as seen on Robin Lee: http://dolphin24.org/robin_lee.html

Posted: 06 Sep 2012 at 1:00am
But be aware that is apparently not a perfect solution as Robin Lee reports elsewhere. April 5, 2010 entry.

David Williams

Posted: 09 Sep 2012 at 12:02pm
Hi Michael

Sorry to be slow in responding to your question. Robin Lee is my boat. I believe that her motor well detailing is standard Yankee configuration for the era, circa 1969.

As you noted, there is an open slot in the cockpit bulkhead at the forward end of the transom locker. When my motor, a Tohatsu 6, is installed in the well, the handle aligns nicely with the slot and projects an inch or so through it. I can run the engine with the hatch closed, and control the throttle through the slot. I can also reach into the slot to access the choke, engine cutoff, and the gear shifter. I do this all the time, no problem. The slot, as well as the two vents in the deck either side of the hatch, seem to provide adequate ventilation.

I do not turn the motor in the well when I use it. I keep it fixed on centerline and use the boat's rudder for all steering. The reason is that with the handle sticking through the slot, the motor will not rotate fully to port - it binds on the side of the slot opening.

This is not a problem since I prefer to use the rudder anyway. It's simpler, and as long as you get used to the turning radii and limitations of manouvering a full-keel boat, it works fine.

Hope this explanation helps.
Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 09 Sep 2012 at 9:05pm
hank you so much for the details. I am now very tempted to venture into this project.

One question remains, how difficult is it to install and remove the motor on a regular basis. I have noticed that if I do not remove the motor after each use, the barnacle build up is excessve in the waters I have the boat.
I will keep you and the forum updated.

Thank you,

Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 12:38am
I remove the motor every time I am at my home dock. I lift it from the motor well and secure it to a motor mount on the stern pulpit. (see the section on the website for outboard motors - you can see a photo of my setup.) It's really pretty easy. My motor weighs about 60 lbs. I hook a hose up to it to flush with fresh water after a sail.

If I'm cruising and away from home port, I leave it in the well. Have done so for as much as a week at mooring while on a cruise.

Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 6:47am
Erik forgot to tell you he is 6'5", can bench press 400lbs, does 100 sit ups and push ups every morning....
Marionette, #12

Posted: 10 Sep 2012 at 7:46am
All true, except that I'm only 6'-3".

Seriously, lifting the motor out of the well and putting it onto the mount on the pulpit is quite manageable.
Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 11 Sep 2012 at 3:32am
Michael the answer to your question in my opinion is no. A 9.9 will not turn in the transom well and if it does at all then it is very little.

I had a 9.9 Honda in Windswept too #245 and it took two of us to lift it out of the well and turning it in the well was out of ther question. In my opinion and I think Ron and Erik will agree a 4-6 horse long/extra long shaft OB is all you need. Placing a 40# ob on the stern pulpit is one thing but a 90# ob is another.

Posted: 11 Sep 2012 at 1:32pm
I do agree.

My 6 hp Tohatsu X-iong shaft has power to spare, and will push Robin Lee at excess of 6 kts. at full throttle in still water. I can't imagine needing more power unless you have to buck one hell of a current.

The Tohatsu weighs about 60 lbs. that's about the limit of what I'd want to have to remove from the motor well regularly. It's pretty easy for me, but I wouldn't want to lift anything heavier. I stand in the aft part of the cockpit, open the hatch, lift out the motor, and balance it on the shaft end on the sole of the cockpit, then i close the hatch, lift the motor up, step out onto the aft deck and set it down on the pulpit motor mount. Easy peasy! Erik Evens
Los Angeles, CA
"Robin Lee", Yankee Dolphin #118

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 at 2:21pm
Check out Steve Ludwigs unique pushpit - one function is to help lift out his motor (bottom of page)


Marionette, #12

Posted: 16 Sep 2012 at 12:48pm
I thought about a cutout similar to the one Steve is considering but more of notch as opposed to enlarging the currently existing rectangle. Modern 4-6 4-stroke OB's are dimensionally similar and can turn within the well as designed but not without some limitations.

But is such a modification necessary and this would in my view depend on what the intended purpose of the auxillary power is to be used for.
My conventional view is that the OB shaft does not lend itself to sailing performance, as opposed to the plug being in place, in whatever aspect one wants to look at it; manuvering into and out of slips and moorings yes but nothing more. Does this make sense? Dolphins are after all by their very nature day and coastal cruisers that are trailerable as an added benefit.

I have a question regarding the frame of the pushpit and whether or not it is structurally sound enough under less than ideal conditions to accomplish one of its purposes which is the removal of a heavy OB. And my second thought where does one store a large and heavy OB within a Dolphin?

Posted: 20 Sep 2012 at 7:50pm
This is a reply from Steve Ludwig (staff is working on a technical problem that prevents his posting this reply himself)

I just read Windswept too's Forum response. I now understand his dilemma. I keep my OB lowered when sailing. As we do not race El Huachinango but cruise her, it is not a problem for us and she regularly gets up to hull speed even with the motor lowered. But if I were him I would get a small a motor as possible. And yes the "pushpit" is very structurally sound and easily hoists 100lbs. It's mounted through the deck with stainless steel plate backing. -Steve


re storage - check out:

Posted: 21 Sep 2012 at 9:22pm
My company just finished a full refit on a Dolphin. We installed a Tohatsu 9.8 Got the remote shift/throttle assembly [works like a dream, your engine can likely be retro-fit]. Though eng can be operated on this boat without acces thru cockpit wall,we cut a large opening anyway to improve ventilation and access front of eng and mounting bracket. Made a simple rectangular cover that is held in with a few screws. We added some reinforcement under the mainsheet track to compensate for the larger opening. Tohatsu,I think most all new OBs ,too big to pivot much in the well..but esp. with remote shift and large prop this boat manuevers very well and [easily does 6.5 kts]

Posted: 22 Sep 2012 at 7:49am
George is talking about the restoration of Equinox:

where is a picture of the top of the engine


Posted: 23 Sep 2012 at 2:12pm
Hi Steve, the next time El Huachinango is hauled inspect where the OB mounting structure meets the inside of the hull; I did and found small stress cracks running the full length of the sides of the box where it meets the hull. This is an easy fix and should be reenforced for the use of the heavier and higher performance OB's in my opinion.

Part of my earlier reply was prompted in-part pondering over just how large an OB the designers had in mind for our Dolphins, does anyone know?

Posted: 24 Sep 2012 at 12:47pm
Windswept too,
Thanks for the heads up. I did exactly what you suggested at her original haul out. I beefed up the motor mount with a piece of 3/16th stainless steel plate that runs the entire length of the original mount and is bolted through. The original mount had already been modified with additional glass added that flanged out to the hull. The Tohatsu 6hp Sailpro I purchased sat a little higher in the engine well than the previous motor (a 9.9 2 stroke) so I had to redo the mount anyway and beefed it up in the process. I did not discover any stress fractures anywhere in the engine well but I can see the potential on a 45 year old boat.

She is very stout though and I am very impressed with her construction. The fiberglass on her is excessively thick...and that's good!
I believe the engine well was originally designed to handle a 9.9 2 stroke ob. Personally I prefer a smaller motor (lighter and more fuel efficient), besides she's a sailboat. How often is one going to use the motor? The answer to that question will help one decide what size motor to use. In my opinion, the smaller the better.

Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 1:29am
Yanqui has a 6 HP Suzuki that will hardly turn more than 10 degrees in one direction, and not at all in the other. It's made maneuvering on the swift Columbia River extremely difficult.

Although I leave it down in the fresh water, on one occasion when I had to pull it out while suffering a back injury, I used the boom as a hoist. Tie up a simple cradle around the motor, then tie it to the mainsheet. Shackle the main halyard to the end of the boom and winch the motor right out. Takes some maneuvering, but no heavy lifting. If I had a much heavier motor, I'd probably do it that way every time just because its so easy.

Yanqui, Yankee Dolphin 197

Posted: 17 May 2013 at 10:46pm
I have a 4 hp Johnson on Prodigal (204). This engine is extremely light weight and is easily removed when hull speed is needed for racing. It does a great job of moving us in and out of the marina onto Oneida Lake. I have a heavy 8 hp Evinrude to use if we take it on Lake Ontario.
Ventilation of the OB compartment is a real problem with the lazerette hatch closed and the engine tends to choke due to lack of oxygen and build up of fumes. Has anyone sealed off the OB compartment from the cabin to prevent fumes from entering the cabin while the engine is running? A bilge fan could definitely be mounted to the underside of one of the ventilation hoods to force air out or in, but I am also concerned about battery draw.

Posted: 18 May 2013 at 11:50am
Hi Scot
Marionette has a completely sealed transom well - no fumes can enter the cabin.

I have to run my 4hp Johnson with the hatch doors open and my cockpit panel removed.

There's a lot of stuff at


Ron, #12

Posted: 18 May 2013 at 1:21pm
I'm trying to visualize why exhaust gases can access the transom well and I'm thinking thru the opening for the ob in the transom. I'm thinking exhaust gases can access the hull thru the opening for the ob when idling, but underway as well?

Posted: 19 May 2013 at 7:57am
The outboard exhaust for the Johnson is above the water, not underwater as in larger motors, so the exhaust can get fairly thick in the rear compartment. Ron--Did you seal that off or was the boat built that way? Any ideas as to creating a seal or at least a baffle to stop fumes from getting into the cabin?

Posted: 19 May 2013 at 9:35am
Marionette was built that way.

The exhaust and exit cooling water is the same system and exits from a 'hole' (port) under the head. I have thought about a removable rubber tube from that port connected to a male fitting on the inside of the transom. A good project - Water 'wells' up the well effectively blocking exhaust air, and the exhaust water needs an exit. I wonder about exhaust back pressure if it is confined in a tube. And I wonder if there is enough fresh air intake if the hatch and cockpit panel are closed. I did not want to cut another hole in the deck for an intake vent.

Posted: 19 May 2013 at 1:21pm
My 4 hp Tohatsu has thru hub exhaust, and the cool water check port exits under the cylinder head.
I would experiment with what Ron is contemplating doing which is to connect a simple discharge tube to the port and then observe the discharge. If the discharge temperatures and volumes appear similar then that's probably the answer to Prodigal's problem. Note of caution though I would test in a 50 gal drum at 1/2 and 3/4 throttle.
Is it be possible to isolate the exhaust from the water port? My concern is the same as Ron's relative to exhaust gases building up inside the tube. If this were to happen it would certainly increase cylinder head temperature.

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 at 4:11pm
Hi, I am now the new owner of the Pacific Dolphin Michael was talking about here. I wouldnt say I was 6'5" (unless you were dyslexic and said 5'6") so the 88lb 9.9 hp Evinrude is less than fun to deal with on a boat that rocks in the water.

I think I'm going to attempt a bulkhead modification as suggested because with he hatch up, its loud. I keep the motor centered also, and use the tiller, and I found I could maneuver in the marina easy enough.

The only downside I can see is if I leave the motor in the well, I might need to do some antifouling paint on it. So if anyone has tips about that...feel free to send my way.

1977 Pacific Dolphin Hull # 280

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 at 2:12pm
A good spray anti-fouling that I have used on my outboard is Interlux Trilux propeller and drive spray. Easy to prep and apply. It does recommend a primer to help with adhesion. Prop and shaft cleaned up at season's end with water spray. Bought mine at West Marine. I have a 4 hp Johnson that I use for most of the time. Light wieght and can easily be lifted out of the well to reduce drag.

Great if you are racing, because you can eliminate drag with the use of the hull plug, which you hopefully have.

Posted: 15 Aug 2014 at 11:34am
Thanks for the anti-fouling info. I just pulled the OB out of the well after about 2 and a half weeks in the water, and it looks like the creature form the black lagoon. Lots of barnacles and a thick coating of green hair algae. I'm now considering a transom mount kicker to raise and lower the engine. I only use it to get in and out of the marina and along the intercoastal channels, and at 88lbs, its too much to take in and out of the well. The main consideration so far is whether or not its too uncomfortable to work the tiller throttle in the down position or if a remote throttle would be necessary.

1977 Pacific Dolphin Hull # 280

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