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Old 03-03-2019, 08:45 AM   #1
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mncruiser's Avatar
City: Minneapolis
Vessel Name: NoFunAllowed
Vessel Model: Monterey 302 Cruiser (2006) SOLD! And searching for the next boat!
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 85
Dinghy power thoughts

Hey all, hoping to get your thoughts on what to power a dinghy with.

A little background - I'm "practicing" up north on the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers up in MN/WI. Currently have a 30 foot cruiser. We are generally weekend cruisers (2 small kids) with several long weekends and 1-2 week long trips per year.

I'd love to get a Highfield 310 Classic PVC dink. Tiller steer only. Part of the appeal is backwater exploring, fishing, just general messing around. 15 to 20 mile trips to neighboring towns for fun a possibility too. Not sure how I'd move it with the boat yet, towing is easy (slow), and haven't thought a lot about the davit thing yet. Anyway, really after opinions on powering a dinghy.

The Highfield 310 is rated for 20HP max. I've got an old mid 80's Mariner 8HP, and while I may start with that, not sure long term that will suffice.

Dinghy dealer (that's all he sells, 2-3 brands) says most guys put on 9.9 Merc's.

9.9 Merc - 84lbs.
15 Merc EFI - 99lbs.
20 Merc EFI - 99lbs.

The 15/20 Merc EFI's are brand new, and the same engine, same weight. Magical pixie dust makes the 20HP a 20 somehow...don't care really.

Is it nuts to get the 20HP? I'm pretending price isn't a concern. Will the dink be a death trap, and sketchy to run at WOT? Or will I be happy with the extra oomph (I'm not a small dude) and top end speed for those longer fun runs? Another concern is youth handling of it, right now my son is 6, I can see another 6 he'd want to take it out on his own. Should I be sticking to the lower HP to build in a safety factor?

Thanks for your awesome opinions. I'm a trawler wanna-be. Like I said, currently practicing via cruiser.

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