Up For The Challenge

Meet Mercury Racing Director of Engineering Jeff Broman

Mercury Racing Director of Engineering Jeff Broman is a home-grown talent. Born and raised in Fond du Lac by parents who happened to be Mercury Marine employees, schooled at St. Mary Springs Academy and the University of Wisconsin, Broman was almost destined to return to Mercury with his engineering degree in hand. Now 41 years old and already 20-year veteran at Mercury, Broman is leading a team of elite engineers at Mercury Racing, from an office just down the road from his high school.

“I’ve been involved in a number of challenging projects at Mercury,” said Broman, who accepted his position at Mercury Racing in early 2018. “Here at Racing we face the challenge of deciding what to do next. We have many ideas on the board but need to devote our resources to the best ideas, those that will have the biggest impact with our customers.”

Broman has been a witness to a tremendous shift in technology at Mercury. As a summer student intern he was assigned to a team tearing down two-stroke Mercury OptiMax test engines and after joining the company full-time helped develop the second-generation of OptiMax direct-injection technology for V6 and later L3 motors. He next worked on teams developing the game-changing six-cylinder four-stroke supercharged Verado outboards, and later the four-cylinder Verado models. In 2007 he was assigned to a team working on a advanced engineering project that would apply exhaust catalyst technology to four-stroke outboards to reduce emissions.

“That catalyst project was a joint effort with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and it was a very valuable exercise,” said Broman. “We were able to work collaboratively with regulators, rather than in an adversarial relationship.”

Broman advanced to the role of technical manager for the all-new 2.0-liter outboard family, and next spent four years as a technical manager on the team creating the all-new 4.6-liter V8 and 3.4-liter V6 outboard platforms. In that role, Broman collaborated with the engineering team at Mercury Racing.

“This was part of an effort pushed by David Foulkes, who was then Mercury Chief Technology Officer, that the Mercury Racing product should be developed alongside our mainline outboards,” said Broman. “So Racing was consulted as we were creating the first templates for the 4.6-liter platform, and the supercharged version that became the Mercury Racing 450R was designed right alongside the Mercury Verado 300.”

The move to Mercury Racing has put Broman in a much more intimate working environment.

“The scale at Racing is much tighter,” said Broman. “We’ve got 30 people on the engineering team at Racing, compared to more than 400 down at the main facility, which means we always are working in a very collaborative manner, and that everyone at Racing wears a number of different hats. We all have to have a wide range of expertise, and so this is a staff with a lot of tenure and experience.”

Photo credit – OffshoreOnly.com

Broman arrives as Mercury Racing  aims to meet the elevated expectations of today’s high-performance boating customers.

“Twenty years ago it was ok to sell a 2.5-liter two-stroke outboard that was noisy and smoky and maybe not very reliable, as long as it was fast,” said Broman. “All the customer expected was fast. Today our Racing customers still want fast, but it has to come with the same warranty and reliability Mercury offers its mainline customers. Today’s customers expect a high level of sophistication along with performance, just as they experience with their automobiles. Mercury Racing is to Mercury Marine as AMG is to Mercedes, taking a premium base product to a higher level of performance demanded by a very select customer.”

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Mercury Racing/Pro Marine Team USA Crowned King of the Beach

Mercury Racing 450R outboards power a big King Mackerel tournament win

The Mercury Racing/Pro Marine USA fishing team led by Capt. Jim Naset won the prestigious Old Salt Fall King of the Beach kingfish tournament on Nov. 9 in Madeira Beach, Fla., with a 40.67-pound King Mackerel. The open tournament attracted 488 entries in five divisions. The four-person Mercury Racing/Pro Marine USA team (co-captain Kevin Hannon and crew Brain Brandano and Rick Cook) won a total of $94,578, including the $60,000 prize for first place in the Open Class and additional winnings in side tournaments.

Capt. Naset runs a 2010 Yellowfin 36 boat recently re-powered with triple Mercury Racing 450R outboards.

The team faced rough conditions on tournament day, with rain falling and five-foot seas offshore fueled by an approaching cold front.

“We cast off at 4:15 a.m. and planned to run about 85 miles offshore, but the seas were big and building and we realized we’d be running four or five hours just to our spot, which would leave us very little time to fish and get back,” recounts Capt. Naset. “So we changed plans and ran to an inshore spot on Tampa Bay, where we had one bite all day long, at 9 a.m. That fish was the winner.”

Like freshwater bass and walleye anglers, competitors in kingfishing tournaments operate under tight time constraints. For the Old Salt Fall King of the Beach event, there was no check-out time but anglers could not drop lines to the water until 6 a.m., and had to be in line for the weigh-in at R.O.C. Park in Madeira Beach at 5 p.m. That weigh-in deadline can make boat speed a critical factor simply because less time spent running to and from the fishing grounds gives the anglers more time to fish, and more opportunity to catch the winning fish.

“We often run 100 miles to the fishing grounds in five-to-seven foot seas, which may take three to four hours,” says Capt. Naset, who has been tournament fishing for 20 years. “This leaves us just about 90 minutes to fish before we need to start the run back. With these new Mercury Racing 450R outboards on our transom, nobody can out-run us in flat water. We’ve got a top speed of about 82 miles an hour loaded. Some of the bigger boats might be faster in rough water, but they are running quads and use a lot more fuel, and sometimes have to load fuel bladders on deck to have enough range. We average about 0.9 mpg in a tournament, compared to 0.6 mpg for the quad boats. This boat with the Mercury Racing 450R motors gets its best fuel economy at around 4500 rpm and 60 mph, which is pretty amazing.”

Capt. Naset previously powered this Yellowfin 36 with triple Mercury Racing 400R outboards, and has realized a dramatic upgrade in performance after installing the triple Mercury Racing 450R package.

“Mercury Racing says the 450R produces 40 percent more torque than the 400R outboard, and we can really feel that power,” says Capt. Naset. “Over the course of a day our boat weight can change by 5,000 pounds. With less torque and a narrower powerband, we’d have to prop the  400R outboards for our heaviest load of fuel, ice and gear. But we can prop the 450R motors for top speed with a light load and still get the loaded boat on plane effortlessly and have the mid-range punch we need to throttle wave-to-wave when it’s rough. We are running 2.5 inches more prop pitch with the 450R motors, which has improved our fuel economy from 0.7 mpg to 0.9 mpg (29 percent).”

The Mercury Racing/Pro Marine USA boat is currently running 25-pitch Mercury Racing Revolution 4® XP props, “but we are still playing with the props as we’ve got about 400 rpm left in the motors,” says Capt. Naset. A set of Shaun Torrente Racing manual jackplate brackets lets Capt. Naset run the motors a little higher than standard transom height.

Capt. Naset also counts on the reliability of Mercury Racing outboards.

“This is really rough duty for any outboard,” says Naset. “We can run 100 miles at 70 mph and then slow troll for hours, running one, two or three motors and constantly shifting them in and out of gear to follow the fish. Many days the motors are never shut down until we get to weigh-in. We rig our boat like a race boat and maintain it like a race boat, and the Mercury motors have never disappointed us.”

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Prop School Part 7: Barrel Length

The obvious function of the barrel, or outer hub, of a propeller is to be the attachment point for the propeller blades. What is often overlooked, however, is that the length, diameter and shape a propeller barrel can have a direct effect on boat performance.

Mercury Racing propellers currently have three barrel sizes. The smallest-diameter barrel is found on solid-hub props with broached splines like the Mercury Racing CNC Cleaver model. Barrels also come in different lengths and some have a flared trailing edge.

Mercury Racing offers different barrel lengths and shapes on the Bravo I, Maximus, and MAX5 propeller families. The longer and wider the barrel, the more stern lift the propeller will generate. Adding flare to the aft end of the barrel also generates stern lift; a long barrel with a flare acts as a miniature trim tab, providing lift and improving hole shot. This is why, for example, the Mercury Racing Bravo I XC has a longer barrel with a flared trailing edge – both features help fishing boats used in the Texas Gulf Coast market plane off quickly in very shallow water, and hold plane at lower speeds as anglers sight fish.

Maximux ST versus LT barrel length

The different barrel length options for the Lab Finished Maximus LT and ST propellers have been a used for years to fine tune stern lift on boats powered by twin sterndrive engine.

A long propeller barrel can negatively impact top-speed performance in many fast boat applications when stern lift created by the barrel causes the boat to run too flat. The Mercury Racing Bravo I FS, Bravo I XS, Bravo I OC, MAX5, MAX5 ST, and Maximus ST all feature shortened and tuned barrels to dial back stern lift. The Bravo I OC and MAX5 ST represent the most extreme versions of this treatment, featuring very short barrels that perform especially well when an ultra-lightweight boat is paired with high-horsepower outboard power.

If you are up to speed on our previous Prop School Blogs, you will know that the barrel is not the only part of the propeller that provides lift. But if a propeller is generating too much lift due to diameter or blade count, the barrel is often the first part of the propeller to “hit the chopping block.”

MAX5STThe MAX5 ST is suitable for lightweight bass boats and catamarans featuring the 250R, 300R, and 450R outboards.

The Bravo I OC is specifically designed for twin engine two stroke powered catamarans.

 

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Builders take hurricane relief to new levels

When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, its impact was felt throughout the industry. On a mission to help, Mercury Marine created Hurricane Dorian t-shirts with 100% of proceeds going to the relief efforts in the Bahamas. Our friends at Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats took it a step further and challenged other boat builders to purchase shirts and share photos of their employees supporting the cause.

Team Nor-Tech / Hurricane Dorian Relief

“We’re based in Florida and we’re familiar with persevering through devastating storms like Hurricane Dorian,” explained Trond Schou, president and owner of Nor-Tech. “We know what it’s like and we felt it was important to show our solidarity and support our friends, clients and the Bahamian community affected by this storm.”

Team MTI / Hurricane Dorian Relief
Team Cigarette / Hurricane Dorian Relief

While the Nor-Tech team initiated the effort, there were many other builders who participated including MTI – Marine Technology IncDCB Performance BoatsOuterlimits Powerboats, Fountain Powerboats , Cigarette Racing Team, and our friends at SpeedontheWater.com .

Team Fountain / Hurricane Dorian Relief

Mercury Racing is proud to work with boat-builder partners who step up and help out in times of hardship for their communities. If you’re interested in joining the cause, you can purchase Hurricane Dorian relief shirts at the Dockstore.

Team DCB / Hurricane Dorian Relief
Team speedonthewater.com / Hurricane Dorian Relief
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