A Repower and an End to Tallulah’s Topless Days…

In one of my previous posts I mentioned some of the struggles that came along with Tallulah’s 1976 Evinrude. Well after countless attempts to fix that old motor I finally decided it was time to let it go and upgrade to something newer. I figured jumping up to something thirty years newer aught to do the trick!

Out with the old and in with the new-er…

A fellow employee at the marina I worked at had a 2006 15hp 4 stroke Honda long shaft that had been sitting in his garage for a couple years posted for sale, so I decided it was worth a look. After a test run of the engine and settling on a very reasonable price of $750 I was happy to replace the old Evinrude with the much quieter Honda. Though I went from the luxury of electric start to a pull start engine, the reliability of an engine that idled without stalling was well worth it.

After a quick test drive with the new engine I realized something wasn’t quite functioning properly, as it would only throttle up to full speed if I pulled the choke part way out. After talking with a few of the mechanics I worked with at the marina and some researching of my own I decided to run some power tune spray through the engine and change the spark plugs. After another test run the engine was still having the same issue, so I decided to dig a bit deeper to try and resolve the problem. Since the carburetor, is easily accessible on the Honda I tried my hand at pulling it off and cleaning it.

I pulled the carburetor off (quite easily actually), opened it up and removed the rubber gaskets. Then I sprayed the bowl with carb cleaner and set the jets into a little container of it as well. When I was satisfied that I had done something productive, I put it all back together and reattached it to the engine. Lugged the giant long shaft outboard back down the dock and onto the boat (with some much needed assistance) and left the dock for another test drive. Success, the engine worked like a charm and throttled up to full speed without a problem; gotta love when a plan works out! After some more research and chatting with some coworkers, I decided that it was most likely the high speed jet was clogged which was restricting the engine from getting the fuel it needed to run at full speed. Whether that was correct or not, I was happy to have a reliable engine on the back of the boat.

I will admit by the end of last season I was finding the Honda to be extremely difficult to get started and I noticed it had a broken stopper reel (which I temporarily fixed last season with a paperclip). From what I can tell the main function of the stopper reel is to prevent the engine from being started while its in forward or reverse. I have already ordered and received the new part, along with a new fuel filter and I am hoping that a simple adjustment to the idle speed screw will solve the starting problem for this coming season (stayed tuned for a video of those repairs coming relatively soon assuming the temperature warms up enough for me to work in the shed).  As always any advice you have for me on this engine work is greatly appreciated!

As I promised in the last post I am going to list as many things as I can remember that I have acquired for Tallulah in a “non-traditional” way. One of my favourites is this bimini top and dodger you can see tied to the roof of the little car I drove at the time. This “score” was left in an old marina workshop for many years with a cracked dodger window and was about to incur a fate of being tossed into the dumpster during a clean up. So for the very agreeable price of free if removed from the property, I figured I would see if I could make it fit on Tallulah.


After cutting the aluminum bars down, and raising the boom up I was able to make the bimini fit quite well under the boom. The dodger was about as perfect a fit as you could ask for width wise, and after building a wooden cross bar over the companion way hatch (not seen in these photos) it worked great. And with that Tallulah became quite festive, sporting some Christmas colours, with a green sail cover and red bimini and dodger.

Dry fitting the dodger…


A top for Tallulah and shade for the captain and crew 🙂

The bimini top and dodger fit is still a work in progress but it is nice to get out of the sun while sailing on those super hot days. I even made some “redneck” side curtains out of an old tarp that I put up when its raining hard and we want to sit in the back cockpit. I am hoping to eventually use the tarps as a pattern to make something more permanent to be used to keep both rain and bugs away from the back deck when at anchor.

Finally as promised, here is the list of some of the things I have found, bought or been given to help keep the costs of refitting Tallulah as reasonable as possible:

  1. Bimini Top and Dodger – Free
  2. Used Jib- bought off of Kijiji for $50 (after I ripped the old Genoa during the final sail of the season two years ago)
  3. Canvas Winter Cover- Free, pulled from a dumpster at a marina
  4. Dual Pro Marine Battery Charger- bought off Kijiji $40
  5.  Rocna Vulcan 12- bought off Kijiji $200
  6. Dingy- given to me by a fellow boater
  7. Dingy motor and tank- bought from a friend of a friend $150
  8. Autohelm 800- bought off kijiji $100
  9. Box of sailing parts and Grampian 26 Blueprints- donated by fellow boater
  10. Bulkhead Compass- $10 scrapyard

Honestly, I am probably missing many things, and this list doesn’t include items that have been given to me as gifts from my family and friends for various occasions. I wanted to point this out to people not for bragging rights, but to show that it can be affordable to boat if your willing to put in the effort to track down used items!

Sailing Lesson #6: Take the time to find the parts you need from various sources to make boating more affordable.

2 thoughts on “A Repower and an End to Tallulah’s Topless Days…

  1. Brian Hollingworth

    I’ve a 1974 Grampian 26, the love of my life. I’m fascinated by your skill at finding stuff; I don’t have the time unfortunately, but it all sounds like a fun part of your boating experience. I had 15HP Honda 4 stroke with the same issue a couple a couple years ago (came with the boat) and wish I’d done what you did, but then again time is an issue with me (shouldn’t have a boat then, should I? Oh well). Anyway, I find your site very useful and an interesting read, so thanks for your time in maintaining it.

    Liked by 1 person

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