It's possible that the 6 bolts was a deliberate plan but I haven't seen any other engines around 115hp with 6 bolts, the E-tec is only supplied with 4 AFAIK. I'll pop some pics on in a couple of weeks once I get home. The tops bolts really are very close to the top of the transom.
The cavitation plate is level with if not a couple of mm below the bottom of the hull at the moment and I seem to be a couple of knots down on what I would expect after reading around online. When on the plane my engine is more if not lower than:
which is what the E-tec guys advise over on the E-tec forum. Apparently you can run an E-tec surprising high if running a decent SS prop and get some good performance/fuel gains.
I'm currently running a NFB cable for steering but was considering upgrading to hydraulic over the winter, sounds like I could run into problems there maybe. TBH I haven't had any issues with the NFB cable helm so far provided I manage the engine trim sensibly so I could stick with it if need be.
Thanks for the input guys!