A number of boat manufacturers have responded to angler requests for larger and more stable hulls. The changes have resulted with the consoles moving forward, changing the center of gravity and weight distribution. The mounting of trolling motor batteries in the front of the boat affects planing performance and bow lift as well. The new hull designs, while user friendly in terms of fish ability come with a price in terms of overall engine performance.
It didn’t take long before I started getting calls from customers asking for help in enhancing the performance of their single engine outboard powered bay boats and multi-species hulls under heavy loads. Our trusty Bravo I FS was no longer the viable option for these applications.
Our solution? The all new Pro Finish Bravo I LT (Long Tube). This hand-crafted, stainless steel prop is designed to improve planing and trim response throughout the engine operating rpm range. The result? An increase in top-end speed by 1 to 1.5 mph!
I worked with our Product Integration Manager Mike Griffiths to test the Bravo I LT. Mike secured a representative test hull locally from a friend. The subject boat was a multi-species Nitro 21 ZV with a 300 Pro Verado. Mike tested a 22″ pitch Bravo I LT against a 22″ pitch Bravo I FS and a 21″ pitch stainless steel 3-blade prop.
It was obvious the 3-blade doesn’t compare to the 4-blades when running in rough water. The 3-blade fails to hold the bow up, resulting in a rough, unsettled ride. Performance of the Bravo I FS and LT was close – but the overall top speed winner was the LT. Where the LT really shined was acceleration. The LT also maintains engine rpm better through the turns when compared to the FS.
Pro Angler Chase Parsons
Many times I’ll work with people in the field to get real-world application testing of prototype props to ensure we are addressing all of the issues we set out to resolve. One person I worked closely with when developing the Bravo I LT was Pro Angler Chase Parsons. Ironically, Chase also runs a 21-foot Nitro ZV like our test vessel. Chase opted for a 350 Verado to power his rig.
“I ran the Bravo I LT for the first time in my last tournament under smooth conditions. The LT is very impressive,” said Chase.
“I was seeing 62 mph under a full load with a big co angler and 63.7 mph on the way in after burning 25 gallons of fuel and filling the live well. The engine was turning 6190-6280 rpm at both speeds. “I feel confident I will see over 65 mph easy with the right conditions,” Chase said.
Chase recently has had some rough water experience with the LT.
“When comparing it to my 3-blade, the 4-blade Bravo I LT definitely is better with keeping the bow from hopping, improving the overall ride and handling. So for me, the LT provides the best results in both smooth and rough water,” said Chase.
Pro Angler Tom Bauer
Our Blog has proven to be a valuable resource for our customers and for us. Believe me, we learn tons in responding to the various questions that come through. Tom Bauer had recently written me asking for help in dialing in his 2016 Ranger 620FS. Tom was very specific with the engine speed and boat speed he was seeing with the prop the boat came with as well as test data collected from aother prop he had tested. I think Tom was surprised when I contacted him. Seeing he lived in the area, I offered to spend a day to test props with him. A prototype Bravo I LT was in the mix of props provided for Tom to test.
“During my prefishing for the Cabelas National Walleye Tour Lake Winnebago, I provided Scott feedback and he stopped out one morning at the landing to drop off additional prototype props based off of my feedback. My experience with Scott and Mercury Racing will not be forgotten, the commitment to service and research and development, teaming with Mercury Pro Team members really makes me feel like I am part of a family of an excellent company who is “Number One on the Water,” Tom said.
The prototype Bravo I LT created more bow lift which in turn enhanced engine RPM for greater top-end speed and improved boat handling. All this without sacrificing hole shot or load caring capabilities.
- 2016 Ranger 620FS
- Mercury 250 ProXS with hydraulic Atlas jack plate
- Bottom of cavitation to floor is 17.50 inches
- Bottom of hull to floor is 14.25 inches
- Cavitation plate is 3.25 inches above boat bottom
- Mercury 9.9 ProKicker (Remote)
- 4 – AGM weight (80lbs each)
- MotorGuide Xi5
- Full tank of fuel
- 2 guys over 200 lbs. each
- Full Tournament Load
Bravo I FS VS LT Test Results
- 21″ pitch Bravo FS: 55 MPH @ 5700 RPM (Difficult to steer – bow heavy)
- 21″ pitch Bravo I LT 59.9 MPH @ 6190 RPM (Bow lift was amazing and the boat handled well at speed)
- 22″ pitch Bravo I LT 58.6 MPH @ 5960 RPM (Bow lift was amazing and the boat handled well at speed)
The Bravo I LT features the Mercury® patented Performance Vent System® (PVS). PVS enables operators to dial-in their propeller for peak planing performance. The PVS® system works in concert with the LT’s robust blades that are hand blended and balanced by our propeller lab artisans.
A majority of Mercury Verado® and Mercury Pro FourStroke applications will use the Bravo I LT with all four vent holes plugged with solid PVS fittings. OptiMax 2-stroke applications require all four vent holes to be open. Upgrades from the Bravo I FS to the Bravo I LT require no change in pitch size when matching engine rpm.
The Bravo I LT is a available in a total of 15 pitch offerings, ranging from 20” to 27.5” in one-half inch increments for precision matched performance for both 2-stroke and 4-stroke outboards.