Don’t skimp on out­board

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By JON HUIE

SMALL alu­minium dinghies in the 3.5m to 3.75m range are an af­ford­able way to get into boat fish­ing, hence their Aus­tralia-wide pop­u­lar­ity.

In­deed, th­ese light­weight, ver­sa­tile, durable out­fits of­fer a mul­ti­tude of lo­cal angling op­por­tu­ni­ties.

But there are some es­sen­tial fac­tors that prospec­tive buy­ers should con­sider be­fore a pur­chase.

First, alu­minium dinghies are de­signed as plan­ing hulls and in an ef­fort to save a few ex­tra dollars, some buy­ers make the mis­take of choos­ing an out­board mo­tor that is far too small.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers of 3.6m out­fits rec­om­mend out­boards in the 9.9-15hp range for the ex­press pur­pose of pro­vid­ing scope for op­er­a­tors to scoot wide of the launch site and get back quickly if, for ex­am­ple, the wind springs up.

By com­par­i­son, a 6hp engine will gen­er­ally re­strict op­er­a­tions to a slow dis­place­ment mode.

Since small alu­minium dinghies are ex­tremely sen­si­tive to weight dis­tri­bu­tion, a 9.9hp may be suit­able for lone ac­tiv­i­ties, but found want­ing with more than one per­son on board.

The same fac­tors ap­ply to beamier, deeper and heav­ier 3.75m dinghies, where min­i­mum 15hp out­boards are rec­om­mended.

If in doubt, opt for max­i­mum power. Depth, weight and beam di­men­sions dif­fer be­tween brands, so be sure to check spec­i­fi­ca­tions care­fully on the in­ter­net to get max­i­mum space for dollars.

Most com­pa­nies of­fer prac­ti­cal op­tions such as a fuel tank rack, bow stor­age shelf, side and bow grab rails.

In­ex­pen­sive ac­ces­sories such as rod hold­ers and a gun­wale rail-mounted bait board can trans­form out­fits into com­pact, tidy fish­ing plat­forms.

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