Category Archives: Racing Propellers

Bravo I FS Prop Dials In Multi-Species Boat Performance

Squeezing more speed and better handling from the Mercury Pro XS 300 outboard.

Anglers out to maximize the performance of the new Mercury V8 Pro XS outboards are turning to Mercury Racing for propeller expertise. We have documented prop test results for many bass and multi-species boats running the 2.6-liter L6 Mercury Verado models and the previous V6 Mercury Optimax Pro XS outboards, but are just starting to test these boats with the new 4.6-liter V8 motors. We recently executed a detailed propeller test with Mercury Pro Staff fisherman Matt Kirsammer, who is running a new Lund 208 Tyee GL powered by a V8 Mercury Pro XS 300 outboard. After testing five Mercury and Mercury Racing props, it was the Mercury Racing Bravo I® FS that not only delivered the best top speed, but also improved hole shot and fuel economy over the baseline prop in this application. Here’s how we conducted the test.

This 20-foot-8-inch fiberglass Lund model has a beam of 8 feet. This was a real-world test – the  prop evaluations were conducted with two people aboard, a full 55-gallon fuel tank and Kirsammer’s typical load of tournament gear. Baseline performance was established using a 19-pitch Mercury Tempest® Plus prop Kirsammer has been running on the boat. We then tested a 20-pitch Mercury Revolution 4®, a 21-pitch Mercury Racing Revolution 4® XP, a 22-pitch Mercury Racing Bravo I® LT, and a 22-pitch Mercury Racing Bravo I® FS. Two engine heights were also tested —  the factory position that was the second hole from the top on his engine bracket, or 1 inch above boat bottom, and the fourth hole from the top, or 2.5 inches above boat bottom. Matt preferred the lower engine height for overall boat control.  Check out our data chart to see all of the results.

The best overall performance was delivered by the 22-pitch Mercury Racing Bravo I® FS at the stock engine height; gaining 1.3 mph on top end speed, improved fuel economy, quicker hole shot, and much better handling at speed. One of the great attributes of switching from a three-blade to a four-blade propeller is the improved boat stability on top end and in rough water, which can give the driver much more confidence. The tuned barrel of the Mercury Racing Bravo I® FS also generated the perfect amount of lift for this application. The Bravo I LT, which has a longer, flared barrel, had slightly too much stern lift for this boat-and-motor combination. Both Mercury Racing Bravo prop models, however, performed better than the Revolution 4 models, with quicker hole shot and the ability to hold the boat on plane at lower speeds, an important attribute for a pro angler who is often out in rough conditions.

Want to download the test data? Click here.

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600-HP-CNC_Cleaver_Sterndrive

Introducing the 600HP-Rated CNC Sterndrive Propeller

600-HP-CNC_Cleaver_Sterndrive

With all the buzz surrounding the latest and greatest outboard power, it is easy to overlook the great sterndrive packages that boat builders are producing. The West Coast continues to be a stronghold for lightning fast sterndrive-powered catamarans and vee bottoms, typically equipped with 502-cubic inch based power plants.  These diehard customers demand superior handling and top speed from their propellers.

Mercury Racing is pleased to introduce the 600HP-Rated CNC Cleaver propeller rated for up to 600 horsepower. Featuring 1.25 inch broached splines, it is designed for Bravo XR Sport and Sport Master drives with Mercury Racing 520, 525, 540, 565, and 600 SCi power. For high-speed applications, this new development gives Bravo XR users the opportunity to run our most advanced propeller technology, which was previously only available for M6 and M8 drives. 

Designed, developed and manufactured by Mercury Racing in-house, the 600HP-Rated CNC Cleaver is produced on the same state-of-the-art CNC machines used to mill Mercury Racing’s M6 and M8 drive Cleavers.

The first two boats to feature these propellers are a DCB F29 equipped with twin Mercury Racing 525, and an Outerlimits SV29 equipped with a single Mercury Racing 600 SCi. Both applications have reported significant improvements in mid-range acceleration and top speed gains of 5 mph above standard cast propellers.

DCB F29
Outerlimits SV29

All 600HP-Rated CNC Cleavers are to be custom ordered through Mercury Racing Sales via a registered Mercury dealer. Available dimensions are 14.75- to 15.50-inch diameter, 26 to 40 pitch, 15- and 18-degree rake. Every CNC propeller is delivered in a Mercury Racing Propeller Case.

For more information, visit https://www.mercuryracing.com/boat-propellers/sterndrive/600hp-rated-cnc-cleaver/.

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Prop School Part 8: Propeller Finishes

The “finish” on a high-performance propeller refers to how the raw propeller casting is transformed into a ready-to-use propeller. The finish description can be confusing as different propeller shops and manufacturers apply them differently; some shops offer “blue printing” or “lab finishing” with the promise of increasing speed.

Mercury Marine produces a broad selection of Standard Finish propellers that deliver outstanding performance for recreational boating. To serve high-performance and racing customers, Mercury Racing offers its 20 propeller lines in two finish levels: Pro Finish and Lab Finish. The most popular Mercury Racing propeller models, the Bravo I and Revolution 4, are offered in both Pro and Lab Finishes. The Bravo I FS, LT, XS, XC, and Revolution 4 XP are all Pro Finish propellers.

Mercury Racing Rev 4 XP Pro Finish

Mercury Racing Pro Finish propellers retain the durability of a Standard Finish prop and the corrosion resistance of a highly polished surface while offering the benefit of a hand-finishing process. Mercury Racing propeller artisans start with a raw stainless steel propeller casting and finish and fine tune the propeller by hand. The end result is a blue-printed propeller that has perfectly matching cup heights across every blade and a custom blade thickness profile. The propeller is perfectly balanced, there will be consistency in RPM when running on a multi-engine setup, and in most applications the Pro Finish propeller will deliver higher top-end speed than a Standard Finish propeller. In most applications switching from a Standard to Pro Finish propeller will permit stepping up one inch of pitch due to the ability of the Pro Finish to generate higher RPM. The opportunity to run a propeller with more pitch can produce a 2- to 5-mph increase in top end-speed – simply from bolting on the propeller.

Mercury Racing Lab Finish Sterndrive CNC Cleaver

Mercury Racing Lab Finish propellers follow a similar journey but are taken to the next level with additional blade thinning, which creates a sharper wedge that cuts through the water with less power-robbing drag and, once again, an increase in top-end RPM and a step up in pitch by about one inch with a corresponding gain in top speed, compared to a Pro Finish model. Mercury Racing Lab Finish props are especially effective on lighter-weight high-performance boats capable of running above 80 mph. Lab Finish props are durable but the ultra-crisp blade edges must be maintained to retain peak performance.

Mercury Racing offers a diverse line of propellers that are continually tested and improved in the most demanding environments. Mercury Racing backs its props with a one-year factory warranty, which also covers any and all damage done to the engine upon propeller failure.

The Bravo I FS has taken the bass, walleye, and multi species market by storm, in part because of the top end speed gains from its Pro Finish.

The only propeller not built exclusively by hand is the CNC Cleaver, which features our Lab Finish specifications for maximum top end speed.

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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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Lightning E.T. Propeller – Don’t Fix What Isn’t Broken

We live in a world of fast-paced technological innovation; many consumer products are being replaced or updated quarterly or even monthly. Mercury Racing® embraces wide-open innovation and the concept of constant product development, but we also believe in the old axiom “don’t fix what’s not broken.” Which is why, 25 years after its introduction, the Mercury Racing Lightning E.T.® propeller remains in our product line. The Lightning E.T. is no legacy product. It is still running strong as one of the most-efficient propellers for lightweight, two-stroke outboard-powered applications.

There’s been a surging interest in outboard drag racing and for competitors running our lightweight, high-revving Mercury Racing 2.5 liter motors, the Lightning E.T. continues to dominate, offering outstanding acceleration and top-end speed performance. What makes the Lightning E.T. so efficient? Its over-the-hub design, limited blade area and ample tip cupping combine to produce a propeller that spins up quickly and stays hooked up at high engine heights. The Lightning E.T. produces natural bow lift, thus requiring less trim for maximum speed – less horsepower is used to lift the boat and more is devoted to top-end speed and acceleration. With the Flo-Torq II Delrin® Hub System, the Lightning E.T. accepts both 1.0- and 1.25-inch solid hub kits for legacy CLE, 2.5 liter Sport Master, and 3.0 liter Sport Master gear cases.

In recreational applications, the Lightning E.T. shines on river runs and performance bass, flats and modified vee bottom boats. The Lightning E.T. provides a confidence-inspiring ride for hulls that generate lift at speed, on boats from Allison to STV and everything between. The Lightning E.T. has done it for 25 years and is still leading the way. What is your favorite Lightning E.T. equipped setup?

Lightning E.T.® Specifications

  • Diameter: 14.5 inches
  • Pitch: 26-, 28-, 30- and 32-inches
  • Rotation: RH Only

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A New Era for High-Performance Bass Boats

MAX5ST
Launched at the 2019 Miami International Boat Show, the Mercury Racing MAX5 ST the hottest new propeller for lightweight, single-engine bass boat capable of exceeding 85 mph.

The recent design evolution by leading builders of high-performance bass boats will leverage the performance of new four-stroke outboard motors offered by Mercury Marine and Mercury Racing. These boats are faster than ever, easier to fish, and better for the environment.

For anglers seeking more velocity on their way to the perfect fishing spot, the 4.6-liter V8 Mercury Racing 300R outboard and new propeller offerings from Mercury Racing have been a game-changer during the 2019 season. The all-new five-blade Mercury Racing MAX5 ST propeller paired with the Mercury Racing 300R has proven to be the perfect match for many high-performance bass boats. The five-blade MAX5 ST offers great hole shot and low slip percentages throughout the RPM range to deliver optimal fuel economy and top end speed on many bass boat models. Here are a few examples.

 

Allison Boats

The company perhaps most-synonymous with ultra-fast fishing rigs is Allison Boats of Louisville, Tenn., and its XB-21 BasSport models are a great platform for both the Mercury Racing 250R and Mercury Racing 300R outboard models. The highly efficient XB-21 hull is packed with high end fishing technology and Mercury Marine’s advanced range of controls. After extensive propeller testing, we’ve determined that both the four-blade Mercury Racing Pro Max and 15-inch diameter Mercury Racing MAX5 are great propeller options for this setup. The 15.25-inch Mercury Racing MAX5 ST is a great match for the Allison XB-21 BasSport 2+2 models rigged with Mercury Racing 300R power.

Bullet Boats

Bullet Boats offers several models of 20-foot to 21-foot 10-inch length that may be equipped with a Mercury Racing 250R or Mercury Racing 300R outboard. In our testing with this Knoxville-based builder the Mercury Racing Bravo I FS propeller is a great choice, but to squeeze the most performance from either outboard model on a Bullet bass boat there really is no comparison to the MAX5 ST. The MAX5 ST provides lightning-fast hole shot and less than 10 percent slip, which improves fuel economy and top-end speed. Both the Mercury Racing Bravo I FS and MAX5 ST props feature tuned, shortened barrels for reduced stern lift and have pushed lightly loaded Bullet Boat models rigged with a Mercury Racing 300R outboard beyond 100 mph.

Ballistic Boats

Ballistic Boats of Fruitland, Idaho, is a relatively new entrant into the high-performance bass category. Its single model, the 22-foot 3-inch Ballistic .223, features an all-glass helm display and vacuum-infused construction, and has topped 90 mph with a legitimate tournament load and a single person aboard when running the Mercury Racing 300R and MAX5 ST prop. According to Ballistic owner Jim Wells, some owners prefer the Mercury Racing Bravo I FS for its outstanding hole shot and mid-range performance, and top speeds in the mid-80 mph range. We look forward to seeing more Ballistics on the water with Mercury Racing 250R and Mercury Racing 300R outboard power!

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