1982 Catalina 27, outboard well model

Aug 2, 2016
Hunter 23.5 Olympia Washington
Hello all,

I would like to pick the brains of any Catalina 27, outboard well model, owners out there that is willing to respond.

I am very seriously considering purchasing a 1982 C27, OB well version. My first, hopefully of many, questions is what specific outboard are you running? Manufacturer, horsepower and shaft length?

I had the current owner remove his non working Nissan 9.8 because it didn't run. I mounted my little Tohatsu 6 HP Saildrive, 25" shaft for a short sea trial. I immediately noticed if hanging straight down the lower unit hit the rudder. I changed the pin position on the mounting bracket to create enough space between the lower unit and the rudder but then the angle of the outboard doesn't seem "optimal".

How do all of you avoid this problem?

I am looking forward to hearing from you all. Please?


Jun 1, 2004
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
The C27's rudder is swept back. I use a long shaft tohatsu 15 hp. but a 9.9 is fine too. The shaft clears, but it is not perfectly vertical. I have seen a few other owner's modify their rudders with a notch... so they can be exactly vertical. But I have never felt compelled to do that. Sometimes the boat will squat when pushing into some waves and I'm trying to go too fast.... So, I'll either slow down a bit or take them at an angle..'

Your 8hp will work for flat water.... but I'd consider more hp if you motor in stronger currents or waves. \
For the shaft length and position issue there is another solution. Replace the rudder with a different design. It's expensive, but certainly a problem solver. Judy B has this to offer: Catalina 27 Rudder Replacement

BUT.... here's the deal. The hole in the transom is too small for modern 9.9 or larger OB's.. the cowlings are too large. If you can find an old Johnson or Evinrude sailmaster....I'm talking vintage .. it will fit perfectly. My boat came with a Johnson 15 hp... that tilted right up.. unfortunately.. it was a POS. I was lucky to find this 9.9 Tohatsu 2 stroke, circa 1994, that is wonderful. and........... it is remote control, electric start. How do I tilt it up... I remove the cowling, slip on the canvas cover and it tilts up right inside the motor bay,, I leave it down when I'm sailing... so it's like having an inboard motor.

I have had dreams of a brand new Tohatsu 9.9 or 15hp, electric start, remote, with powertilt... There is no room, and that's a lot of weight hanging off the stern if you modify the motor mount too much. But if I were going to do some coastal cruising I'd figure out a way to get it to fit. You might research for Cat 27 modifications. You'll find some interesting solutions. A dock mate of mine modified his by simply chopping an inch or so off the bottom of the mount.... it works but water will come into the well... not good. Most mods will see them cutting off the top... that's what I'd do... but them you have to modify the lazarette hatch to accommodate the top/back corner of the cowling when the motor is tilted up. Other's have simply closed the opening off and put a regular OB motor mount on the transom.... again... now the motor is further back so you need the 25" shaft for that.
But of all these solutions... . no matter what you do ... if you get a new engine... make sure you get electric start, remote control. It is so worth the extra money ..... don't worry about finding a motor to fit the opening.... just wait till you're anchored for the night, and pull the cowling off to tilt it up. Good luck,
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Aug 2, 2016
Hunter 23.5 Olympia Washington

I cannot thank you enough for your well thought out reply. I am kind of leaning towards a brand new 9.8 or 9.9 Tatsu with electric start and remote throttle. I guess my biggest concern was the “non-vertical“ positioning of the shaft and how well it would work. Do you find it cavitates at all? I think the old adage of every boat is a compromise comes in the play.