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Outboard motor

Jun 18, 2020
Vagabond 17 Lake Sonoma
Looking at outboard motors for my Vagabond 17Ft sailboat. Any ideas on size of motor that works with the vagabond 17.
also I see 15 inch and 20 inch shaft, I’m assuming a 15 inch shaft would work since the motor would be lowered down into the water. When looking at motors on line, what does “sail ready” refer to. Is it refereing to the propeller?
thank you
Last edited:
Mar 2, 2019
Oday 25 Milwaukee
I'd opt for the 20" as you are going to want to keep the cavitation plate as low as possible. A 4 horse would be ideal . The less weight back there the better balanced your boat will be. The transom will thank you by not having to deal with any more weight than absolutely neccessary
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
The cavitation plate should be at least two inches below the underside of the hull. Each boat is different and so are different sailing venues. If you stand by the mast how much does your stern raise up? What is the average height of waves or wakes in the lake.
Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
What is the displacement weight of boat and where sailed? Photo of transom would help but concur from the standpoint as a former dealer a 20 inch shaft which we can verify with a transom photo
Jun 18, 2020
Vagabond 17 Lake Sonoma
I attached a photo of the transom. When attached to the motor mount and the motor lowered into the water would a 15 inch shaft work or would the motor and steering be compromised because it is to far down once once in the water. I’m thinking a 4 horse motor. Mostly sailing on lakes and reservoirs. Occasionally Tomales Bay (salt water) in Sonoma County, Ca.
Thank you. Peter


Mar 2, 2019
Oday 25 Milwaukee
With the type of motor mount you have (one that lowers ) you might get by with a 15" . The outboard wont affect your rudder unless your prop . Often you need to turn both your outboard and rudder .


Jan 22, 2008
Hunter 37-cutter Richmond CA
My experience from my Clipper Marine days is that you can't get that propeller too deep. The real problem is how much that motor mount goes up and down, either heading into a chop or in power boat wakes. The prop coming out the water is maddening. I would buy the longest shaft available. The cost difference is probably next to nothing.


Nov 28, 2010
O day 25 Nyack. New York
No such thing as too deep. As the boat pitches when the wind and waves are up, the prop will stay in the water and keep driving the boat. You can also not have to lower the engine so far, and keep the engine itself a bit higher from the surface when in a bad chop while the propellor stays under water. Go for the longest shaft (20") Also don't over power. Any boat of less than 2500 lbs displacement only needs about 3 HP. My Sonar, 2300 lbs was fine with 3 HP and my Oday 25, 2500 lbs, was fine with a 6 HP (4 cycle) Tohatsu extra long shaft (25")
Feb 19, 2008
Catalina Capri 18 ann arbor
I’ve been looking at outboards for awhile, and there are endless trade offs.

yes, a 3 or 3.5hp is plenty for my boat, but some of them don’t have a reverse gear! To reverse you spin the whole motor around, which means you can’t lock it off, which means trying to steer with one hand on the tiller and the other on the motor, operating the throttle with your teeth I guess.