Mercury Racing congratulates Adam Leland, winner of our Brand Passion Essay contest. We received several quality stories, and Adam’s winning essay is presented below. We will also share others in future blog posts.
Adam and his dad Fred are lifelong boaters and Mercury owners. You can sense by reading Adam’s essay that he and his dad Fred bleed black.
My love for fast boats and Mercury engines came from my dad. I have fond memories of his 115hp short shaft “tower of power” he bought new and ran for many years on a little Glaspar G3. When I was a small child he gave me a little 10-foot hydro with an old Merc. We called the boat “hiccup” because of the sound that old little motor made.
As I grew so did my love for fast boats. Around the age of 12 I got a 1969 10’ GW Invader with a 1984 Merc 25.
I loved that little boat but I needed to make it go faster. My friend and I decided one day to “borrow” my uncle’s 50hp Merc and throw it on the back. Boy, that was a fun run.
As I got older so did the size and power of my boats. When I was in high school my dad handed down our family 16-foot Checkmate Predictor to me and my brothers. We swapped the 115 Merc for a nice healthy V-6 Merc with a jack plate and a 26-inch pitch prop. That was the boat that truly taught me how to drive.
My dad stepped up and got himself a 19-foot Eliminator Daytona with a potent V-6 Merc. It was highly modified and had a nitrous oxide system installed. That engine was built for raw power – nothing else. We eventually upgraded to our dream motor; a 1997 Mercury Racing 260hp 2.5 EFI outboard. In my opinion, that was the best motor of all time.
We continued to run fast boats every summer up and down the small lake in Maine where we have a cottage. Now a father myself, I look forward to passing down our boating passion to the next generation of Mercury Racing junkies.
Well done, Adam. Enjoy your time on the water with your family.
Check out the latest Project 1080 video. Stu and Performance Marine Trading owner Pat Sullivan discuss the advantages of our Integrated Transom System, an option for the Bravo One XR sterndrive that works well with the Cigarette Top Gun.
The boat was moved from the rigging shop to an aluminum fabrication shop where a custom swim platform will be rigged and built from scratch. While there, the cabin upholstery will be installed as well.
Project 1080 will be on static display in the Cigarette booth at the Key West Poker Run village. The Cigarette booth is adjacent to our Mercury Racing Experience Truck display.
The boat will be flanked with display panels featuring a timeline of the restoration project as well as FPC’s 25-year history along with the history of the legendary Cigarette brand.
Our Experience Truck will be packed with exciting product displays and our factory reps will be eager to talk about them. Be sure to stock up on Official Mercury Racing merchandise – available for purchase at the truck Thursday through Saturday, November 8-10.
We are looking forward to seeing the Resto Mod 1080 Cigarette in Key West.
Our hot new 4.6L V-8 300R has a new fan. Liberator Boats of Florida owner Randy Corson received his first 300R in June. Randy has extensive experience with our legacy V-6 300XS two-stroke. He anxiously rigged his first 300R in anticipation of its performance and he was not disappointed.
The 300R, which is 44% larger in displacement compared with the 300XS, produces 40% more bottom-end torque and provides 25% quicker acceleration.
“The V-8 four-stroke produces so much torque that it demands a larger diameter prop,” said Randy.
“We saw 1-1/2 to 2 mph faster top-end speeds with the 300R compared to the 300XS with comparable props. The boat topped out at 106 mph; 5-6 mph faster than the 300XS when running a 15-1/4-inch diameter – 34-inch pitch Mercury Racing 5-blade CNC outboard cleaver,” Randy said.
The popular MAX5, a Mercury Racing sterndrive prop that is finding success in select outboard cat and vee applications, also ran well with low (9.7%) slip and a top-end speed of 103 mph at 6200 rpm.
Liberator Boats of Florida sales have soared with the release of the 300R.
“The engine has an awesome sound from outside of boat, yet is uncommonly quiet inside. It’s really the best of both worlds for the modern-day outboard performance boater,” said Randy.
Randy has extensively documented his 300R experience on screamandfly.com, a popular on-line forum for performance outboard enthusiasts. Screamandfly.com owner Gregg Terzian will be documenting the performance of his latest 300R Liberator in a video shoot later this month.
Continuing from Prop School….Part 1 . Here, I will explain basic propeller terminology and fitment.
Propellers are available in both right-hand and left-hand rotation. Most single engine outboard and sterndrive powered boats use right-hand rotation propellers. A right-hand rotation propeller will spin clockwise when pushing the boat forward, while a left-hand propeller will spin counter-clockwise.
Number of Blades
The most popular propellers used for recreational boating have three or four blades. Three-blade props are efficient and do a good job of minimizing vibration. Four blade props are popular for suppressing vibrations even further while improving acceleration by putting more blades in the water.
In “prop speak,” diameter is the distance across a circle made by the blade tips as a propeller rotates. The proper diameter is determined by the power that is delivered to it and the resulting propeller rpm.
Type of application is also a factor. The amount of propeller in the water (partially surfaced vs fully submerged) plays a role in determining diameter. The more a propeller is surfacing above the water, the larger the diameter needs to be (so what’s left under water can still push). On rare occasions, diameter may be physically limited by drive type or in close, staggered engine installations where tips can touch.
Within a specific propeller style, diameter is usually larger on slower boats and smaller on faster boats. Similarly, for engines with a lower maximum engine speed (or with more gear reduction), diameter will tend to be larger. Also, diameter typically decreases as propeller blade surface areas increase (for the same engine power and rpm). A four bladed prop replacing a three blade of the same pitch will typically be smaller in diameter.
Mercury Racing engines fitted with the Bravo One XR or Bravo Three XRdrives are designed for props up to 16-inches in diameter. Bravo One XR drives fitted with the short Sport Master gearcase accepts props up to 15-1/4 inch in diameter. Sterndrive engines with surface piercing M6 or M8 sterndrives run cleaver props up to 18-inches in diameter. Our 4.6L V-8 250R and 300R FourStroke outboards as well as the 400R Verado accept props up to 16-inches in diameter.
Pitch is the distance a propeller would move in one revolution if it were moving through a soft solid, like a screw in wood. When we list an outboard four-blade Pro Max prop as a 14-1/2 X 32, we are saying it is 14-1/2 inches in diameter with 32-inches of pitch.
Pitch is measured across the face of a propeller blade. Actual pitch can vary from the pitch number stamped on the prop. Modifications made by propeller shops may alter the pitch. Undetected damage from a submerged object may result with a bent blade, altering the pitch as well.
There are two common types of pitch; constant and progressive. Constant pitch means the blade pitch is the same – from the leading edge to trailing edge. Progressive pitch, referred to as blade camber, starts low at the leading edge and progressively increases toward the trailing edge. The pitch number, “32” in the Pro Max example, is the average pitch over the entire blade.
Pitch is like another set of gears. Since an engine needs to run within its recommended maximum rpm range, proper pitch selection achieves that rpm. The lower the pitch, the higher the engine rpm. Mercury Racing propellers are designed so that a one-inch change in pitch results in a 150 rpm change in engine speed.
A lower pitch propeller may provide greater acceleration for water sports activities, but your top speed and fuel efficiency may suffer. If you run at full throttle with a prop selected for acceleration and not top-end speed, your engine rpm may be too high, placing an undesirable stress on the engine. If you select too high of a pitch, your engine may lug at a lower rpm – which can also cause damage. Acceleration will be slower as well. It will be reduced further with a full load of fuel and maximum capacity of people on board.
Proper pitch selection allows the engine to operate near the top of its recommended rpm range at light load (1/2 fuel tank and two people). Using this pitch selection method, the engine usually operates near the low end of the recommended engine operating range when the boat is fully loaded (full fuel tank, boating gear, full live wells, and maximum capacity). Full load engine speed is usually reduced 200 to 300 rpm. The power output of naturally aspirated engines can be affected by high heat and humidity which is another factor that can reduce engine speed by 200 to 300 rpm.
Smart, pressure charged engines like the supercharged 400R outboard and our turbocharged QC4 sterndrives will auto-regulate power output for heat and humidity. Adaptive Speed Control, a standard feature on our 250R and 300R outboards, is another factor to consider when dialing in your boat for maximum power and top-end speed.
In my next Prop School post, I will discuss blade rake.