565: How’d We Do That – Part 1?

Mercury Racing’s 565 – with digital throttle and shift (DTS), better fuel economy and more grunt – prompted more than a few questions. Mostly variations of: “How’d you do that?” We agreed to blog and provide some answers. In Part 1, I’ll discuss about torque and power. Part 2, fuel and DTS.

Torque. How big are the bombs and where do they push?

The 565’s all new cylinder head flows about as much as is possible with a 2-valve.

As I said in discussing our QC4v 1350, “The Valve Train That Could,” bigger bombs make more power.  We pack more air because we designed the heads and inlet valves to flow better. Admittedly, they’re still two valve heads and not as free flowing as our four valve engines, but they’re better than our previous two valve designs. With more air, more fuel is added for combustion and makes a bigger bomb. Yet, fuel economy is better! How? Improved and more precise fuel delivery to each combustion event makes less wasted (unburned) fuel. Easy to say; hard to do – but we did it. (More about that in Part 2.) Read more

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99 Psycho Clowns Sweep Round 1 of Australian Water Ski Championship

The 99 Psycho Clowns on their way to sweeping Round 1 of the 2012 Australian Water Ski Racing Championship. Photo credit: Derek Mounty
99 Psycho Clowns driver Danial McMahon and observer Ian Baker. Photo credit: Vanessa Eyles Photo/Cyclonic Images.

I think of Stealers Wheel’s song, “Stuck in the Middle With You”, whenever I come across news regarding Australia’s 99 Psycho Clowns water ski racing team. The Mercury 1350 powered team dominated Round 1 of the 2012 Australian Water Ski Championships, Sunday, September 16. The race was held on Bramble Bay, North of Brisbane.

In seeing some of the photos regarding the event, I’m thinking 99 Psycho Clowns skier, Wayne Mawer, had his own version of the epic tune going through his head. “Clowns in front of me, racers to my right – here I am….” You truly have to respect these guys for what they’ve accomplished.

Two time world champion skier, Wayne Mawer, suits up for another race. Photo credit: Vanessa Eyles Photo/Cyclonic Images.
Imagine being in the boat under these conditions. And the skier? Forget about it! Photo credit: 99 Psycho Clowns.

Imagine racing a 21-foot boat in which our potent quad cam, four valve 1350 sterndrive takes up half of the interior! That’s gotta be a rush on its own. Now think about strapping a board under your feet and hanging on as the twin turbocharged engine, producing 1300 lb. ft. of torque, pulls you across the water at speeds never before seen from a production sterndrive. Then, throw a bunch of competitors into the mix! It takes a lot of courage and talent to race on smooth water. Now, add some messy weather. Water ski racing in the rough requires a whole new skill set. Read more

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OptiMax JP

An animation showing the fuel combustion cycle in a direct fuel injected 2-stroke Mercury OptiMax engine.
The OptiMax JP outboard runs on JP5, JP8 and commercial Jet A aviation fuels.

One of my posts in our Virtual Tour series focused on consumer outboards. For the government, we build a “stealth” outboard that is rarely seen:  the OptiMax JP.  Developed for the U.S. Department of Defense, this multi-fuel engine runs on JP5, JP8, kerosene and Commercial Jet A aviation fuels — the same “heavy” fuels used in helicopters and jets (which DoD already stockpiles all over the place). The 3.0 Liter V-6 OptiMax JP produces 185 horsepower. These unique engines are 40% more fuel efficient than the gasoline engine they are derived from.  And, with 95% shared components, there are no unique training requirements necessary. Mercury JPs have been deployed around the world for some time now.  Tony Nahitchevansky is our Government Accounts Manager. I called Tony to get some background information regarding the development of this multiple fuel engine for our armed services.

“A Navy ship crash in 1995 which resulted in a explosive gasoline fire spawned a DoD directive for all gasoline powered engines and gasoline fuel tanks be removed from Naval ships by 2010,” Tony said. The mandate called for engines to be developed to operate on fuels that meet the following criteria:


JP OptiMax engines prepared to ship.

1) Improve ship safety by minimizing fire hazards

2) More economical and more efficient

3) Readily available as a single battle space fuel

Tony said every ship carries JP 5 fuel. Ports have JP8 and Commercial Jet A available. The common denominator with all three fuels is  availability. “An unlimited fuel supply enhances our ability to protect assets on the water,” said Tony.  It also greatly increases crew safety. Tony said, “There was another ship fire since the 2010 DoD mandate. The fact that the ship only had JP aviation fuels on board provided the crew enough time to react and save the ship in a safe and efficient manner,” said Tony. Read more

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Rinker Romps OPC Nationals…Again!

Photos: Paul Kemiel Photographics

Terry celebrates his winning the SST 200 National Championship.

Terry Rinker swept three of 10 classes at the 27th annual Outboard Performance Craft (OPC) National Championships. The event, held on the Kankakee River, is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association (APBA).

Terry repeated his 2011 performance by claiming both SST 120 and F1 OPC National Championships. He also claimed the new SST 200 OPC National Championship. The defending Mod U champ surrendered that title to Chris Fairchild.

SST 120

Team AMSOIL’s Terry Rinker (#10) and son Ashton finished 1st and 5th respectively in SST 120 competition.

A total 10 boats lined up for start of the SST 120 30-lap final on Sunday. Terry Rinker dominated the event, finishing an impressive 36 seconds ahead of Brent Dillard for the championship.  Lee Daniel, Mark Jakob and Terry’s son Ashton rounded out 3-5. All were powered by Mercury SST 120 race outboards.


Merv Bjork qualified for pole position in Heat 2 of F1 qualifying with OptiMax power.
Chris’s wild spin after losing steering at 115 mph!

Chris Fairchild earned the pole for the F1 20-lap final. Unfortunately, mechanical gremlins took him out of the race about mid way through. “A steering cable broke at the drum at 115 mph. The boat took a hard left to the infield. The G-forces were so great, the tail cone was sucked inside the combing board,” Chris said. Thankfully, Chris was unscathed. Terry Rinker went on to romp this class too, finishing 34 seconds ahead of Mark Welch for his second consecutive F1 National Championship.  Jeff Shepherd finished third. OptiMax 200XS SST powered Merv Bjork and Donny Lick rounded out 4-5 in a class featuring purpose built Mercury race outboards of much greater power. Read more

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