”The Ultimate Auxiliary?”

There is one sound that guarantees your heart returning to its normal rate when you are out at sea.

It doesn’t have to be in a storm, it doesn’t have to be a life-threatening situation. But I reckon there is not one boater alive that doesn’t secretly breathe a sigh of relief when the outboard engine fires up. I have done plenty of fishing from rental boats where maintenance was not perhaps the highest priority.Breakdowns.Tow-ins.Flat batteries, poor terminals and of course any number of electrical problems in the circuitry that lies beneath the cowling. You want that “Turnkey reliability”, and that is just what Yamaha is famous for. Reliability.

                          Being the proud owner of a brand new 60hp Yam on “Hi Sea Drifter” for just one year, I had to make the decision of whether I wanted to carry an auxiliary or not. A couple of anglers told me the extra weight was not worth carrying; that they had never lost their main engine in ten years or more. Yet however good you think your engine is, I still get that niggling feeling about the electrical side of any rig. Machinery and moving parts I can sort of visualise, but electronics, however simple, can put you in a real pickle at sea. Having dragged my 17-footer over 2000 miles in just a few months of shark tagging and fish chasing (new clutch just fitted at over £900) I had reached a crossroads in decisions. Did I want to pay £2000+ a season in mooring fees and get stuck in one port? Or risk another clutch from hauling my rig all over the country? I decided variety was the spice of fishing and opted to continue towing, and that means fishing waters I had never visited before, which equated to a new auxiliary engine….just in case !

                     With reliability being a key factor(I sometimes fish alone),I had to wait until 2010 to get one, as Jeff Turner of Yamaha had already tipped me off that a new model was about to be unveiled. Now I have finally bought one, and a smart cookie it is too. Not that the new series of F4B/F5A and F6C 4 strokes are just pretty faces. I had already checked with Britain’s leading small boat writer Phil Williams to see what size he was running as a backup on his new Warrior rig, and it turned out that it was a 4hp. So I opted for the F4B, a size ideal as backup to my 60, yet light enough that I could use it as a main engine on a smaller bass boat, should I buy one. I have to tell you that this new Yamaha series really does have some great features, almost as though they were designed by an angler!

               So let’s look at the features. Weight-? 28kg with prop. Comparable to others of that size. But here are the bullet points you will really want to note down. Yamahas don’t just marinise an existing automotive engine; they design and build a 4 stroke outboard specific for the marine environment. The F4B is easy to move as it now has an enlarged carrying handle which lets you get a good grip for transporting. No more finger pinching against the engine case. At either end of the cowling are two more helpful points. A large grab handle for the manual starting, and an oversize rear cowling clamp. All three models are manual start with a tiller handle, and depending on boat type come in two shaft lengths.Short-15 inch, and Long-20 inch. Now here is a real plus. It is fitted with an easy start decompression device fitted to the camshaft that makes it easier on the shoulder and elbow of us veterans to crank over. A great help after a long day on the water. The tiller handle has a large grip area, and the gear lever is oversized to make it easier to operate. The steering angle on the tiller is up to 90 degrees right and left, which makes for easier docking on smaller boats. The trim can also be adjusted to 5-steps, depending on boat load and water conditions, and it has 3-steps for shallow water operation.

                        Now here is my personal purchase point. Phil told me to get an auxiliary that had the capability to run from my existing main fuel tanks, as although the F4 has a 1.1 litre integral tank, it would not get me home from a long run out in a choppy sea without the need for constant refilling. Not to be recommended when the boat is pitching about. Suffice it to say this model does have a fuel joint, cover and fuel circuit switching valve enabling me to go from the integral to my main fuel tank with a fuel pipe. In addition to this, the F4 has a small, auxiliary prime pump fitted under the cowling, next to the carburettor. This ensures that even after long term storage, the engine can still be fired up smoothly.

                   There may also be some out there who have pulled the engine out from the back of their car only to find a dribble of oil on the carpet. Now Yamaha have fitted this range with an oil leak prevention system. The engine can be laid on either side, or its front, without risk of leakage. To check your oil level under the cowling there is an inspection window on the port side of the power head. So you can see this new generation of outboards really were worth waiting for. Other items can include a 12v-6 amp alternator with rectifier, which is enough for the class, that can be optionally fitted to provide electricity if required. The ignition system is fitted with CDI for that easy start reliability for which Yamaha are famous. Two props sizes are available, depending on your boat and its usage. A tiller handle damper and quiet running that only the two strokes can produce.

                        Finally, the exhaust gas emissions of all three models not only meet the 2010 US EPA regs,but also the 2008 carb regs and 2006 EU RCD marine regs with the use of their blow-by fuel reburning system that separates and returns only unburned fuel to the carb, rather than burn any excess unwantables that cause air pollution. The models are sure to be a success with boaters either wanting a good auxiliary with main fuel feed, or an inshore angler wanting a main engine for their dinghy. At a little over £1000 for the long shaft version, check the internet for more details and whereabouts of your nearest Yamaha dealer. For more specs on the options and other accessories visit –www.yamaha-motor.co.uk  or Yamaha Ltd,Sopwith Drive,Brooklands,Weybridsge,Surrey.KT13 OUZ.