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25-40 #/hp
Posted by Paul H on Mar 30 2005
The boating industry recomends your gross loading to be ideally 25#'s per hp, with a max rating of 40#'s per hp.  What this means is a 25#/hp lets the engine plane the hull with ease, when you hit a 40# rating, the engine is being worked hard.  So a 90 can ideally push 2250 #'s of boat, it's own weight, crew, gear and fuel, and you'll max it out at 3600 #'s.  With a 115, your ideal load is 2925 #'s and you're maxed out at 4600#.  I dont' know what a hughes 18 weighs, but I'll guess 1000#, add 400# for the main, a 20 gallon tank is another 100#, so your up to 1500, or 1600 if you add a kicker.  Two adults and gear get up to an easy 2000#, add a cooler with ice and some fish, and you're at the ideal 2250 rating of a 90.  It's when you add more people or gear or fuel that you'll easily top the 3600#'s.  A 115 is ~$1000 more than a 90, but you can carry an extra 1000# for that $, which effectively doubles the load your boat can carry.  Boats also have a way of getting heavier over the years, more stuff gets bolted on and stashed aboard.

I'm dealing with the exact same issue in powering my Tolman skiff.  It is a larger boat at 22 1/2 feet, but not much more weight than your 18', due to the lighter materials.  I know a 90 will be fine for a day trip with family, but I also know I want to take longer trips, and an occasional friend or two, in which case, the 90 isn't enough.  My problem now is one of too many choices, of current offerings, it's between the yammy 115 and suzuki 140, but both Evinrude and Tohatsu are coming out with 135 horse direct inject 2 strokes, which are both more fuel efficient than the 4 strokes, and lighter.  I can't say I need a 135 or 140, but at the same price and fuel efficiency, why not have more motor, that won't be worked as hard.  My goal is an 18-20 knot cruise with the motor purring at 4,000-4,500 rpm, and sippin fuel.

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