Attention of Terry
Further to our telephone conversations, I have written a short report on your product, which I teamed with a Tohatsu 9.8 2 stroke outboard.
I decided it was time to upgrade my 2.2 Plastimo slatted bottom inflatable, along with the 1989 Evinrude 2 stroke twin cylinder engine with foils, as this buckled when on the plane after 30 yards.
After looking at the November issue of Boat Magazine, I saw a half page advert from Excel (good advert by the way, colours, the set out, prices and max h.p.). I had been looking at all types of inflatable new / second hand etc. when my wife and I went to the Excel Boat Show in January, we looked at every inflatable and engine stand comparing notes. However, I had it in my head that I wanted a 2.60 Excel inflatable with a maximum 10 h.p. engine and thought that the Tohatsu 9.9h.p. fitted the bill for the outboard (after wading through reams of literature).
I ordered the Excel 2.60 and a Tohatsu 9.8 h.p. outboard which were received separately within 24 hours of each other. I unpacked the inflatable and accessories and took them straight to the river. The comprehensive instruction booklet was excellent. The five compartments inflated quickly and easily with a decent stirrup pump (not the hard work bellow type). The wrap around sheet – style bag for the boat is excellent and so much easier than an actual bag. I loved the bright blue. I have found one slight fault so far – although by no means a problem – and that is the inflatable tube air filler cap is approximately one and a half inches off-centre of the hole in the inflatable floor. (Keel tube is dead centre so is the hole in the inflatable floor, which means that the inflatable cap to the rib tube is at 11 o/clock and not 12 o/clock.
The inflatable is now on the water with the engine attached. I kitted up in a life jacket and on the first pull she fired straight away – no choke – she ticked over for 15 minutes to warm up and start running-in (1.25 petrol to 2 stroke for first 10 hours). I put her into gear and made my way out of the marina and then opened her up. Just past the cold start point the front rises and she is raring to go. After about an hour of pottering, I blipped it up on the plane amazingly quick. The engine is so quiet and agile. Even though I weigh only 94lb, I find I can just about handle the craft by myself and also lift the engine when out of the water.
Having spent some hours getting used to this outfit, it makes you feel 100% safe with it. It is quick, very responsive and at no time did the engine feel the strain. It cruises silently on the plane and from approximately 7mph to 18mph at three quarter throttle, the extra quarter does not appear to make much difference. I would think that it is designed around this speed. However, two on board is not a lot slower. Even going into a head wind at high speed was not a problem and did not cause an upstand or overflip.
Putting the inflatable into a tight u-turn at high speed sometimes caused cavitation around the prop. Not a problem when you understand this whole set-up.
This rig is amazing fun on its own, even though it was bought as a tender to our Viking 22.
The engine is superb, it is light, economical on fuel and very well made, it is also extremely quiet, the fuel line circular connectors tank to engine are the best I have used. Very simple clean and neat.
I only have one tiny reservation about the engine and that is the black petrol pipe. When wet, this does stain the floor of the inflatable (and it doesn’t come out). I have now put this into a draw string bag so it doesn’t touch the floor!
Tohatsu and Excel are both excellent products, equal to the best, and most of all superb value, they make a good team.
I think it might be interesting to try your 2 meter inflatable with a 3.5 Tohatsu 2 stroke. I know the engine is oversized but I feel it would work.
I am enclosing photos taken recently, with notes on the rear of each. The pictures do not do these products justice, so suggest you buy an Excel inflatable and Tohatsu engine and find out for yourself!