Category Archives: Products


Introducing the 600HP-Rated CNC Sterndrive Propeller


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.

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

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In The Dyno Cell

“Trust but verify.”

Mercury Racing trusts technology and believes in the accuracy of all the cutting-edge computer-driven design tools at its disposal. The computer predicts the power potential of a new engine or an updated design. But that digital prediction is verified in the real world using a dynamometer, one of the most important tools in the Mercury Racing shop.

A dynamometer, or dyno, is a tool used to simultaneously measure torque against rotation and rotational speed (rpm), which is then used to calculate horsepower. The dyno can be used to generate a map of horsepower and torque curves, either through a transient sweep through the rpm range or through discrete steady-state points. For power development, Mercury Racing relies on steady-state, point-by-point power curves where the engine is held at wide-open throttle to saturate oil, air, and water temperatures. 

The Mercury Racing engineering department has six dyno cells. Two Schenck eddy-current dynamometers are dedicated to outboard engines.

Dynos at Mercury Racing are almost always in use. Mercury Racing technicians will often build the engine, instrument it, rig it on the dyno, run the dyno, and calibrate or develop the engine. The dyno is a primary development tool for Mercury Racing engine programs.

“Performance predictions, analysis in GT-Power, and computer simulations are qualified and refined by dyno data so that future predictions are more accurate,” said Mercury Racing Development Engineering Manager Chris Jenks. “A moderately instrumented engine for calibration will have about 40 thermocouples in air, exhaust, and water, and 20 pressure transducers reading everything from air-intake pressure at multiple points to exhaust back pressure to water pressures in the block and cylinder heads. Air, fuel, water, and blow-by flow rates are all measured. There are eight in-cylinder combustion pressure transducers that can be used for real-time monitoring of cylinder pressure in .10-degree increments, a useful tool for balancing cylinders and working to the edge of normal combustion. Typically, there are more than 400 raw or calculated channels of data are being recorded, reviewed, or monitored as shutdown limits as we work through development or are optimizing the calibration for an engine. The dyno allows us to run the engine consistently, week after week, at every operating point at which a customer can run the engine, and at some they can’t.”

Jenks explains that calibrating an engine is a circular process that is similar to painting a car, in which each layer of paint is followed by wet sanding and buffing to make the entire surface smoother. It’s a complex, time-consuming process. For example, there are 916 maps or required control inputs that build the calibration in the ECU (engine control unit) that operates the Mercury Racing 450R outboard. Sixty-three of those are considered base maps, whose foundation is relied on for the rest of the calibration. Those base maps contain 18,207 cells that represent roughly 7,000 discrete running conditions (rpm, load, engine temperature, ambient conditions), which are run on the dyno to rough map, check, and re-check for errors and interactions. Final calibration checks before production will go through each of those 18,000 cells point by point. 

In addition to engine development, the dynos are sometimes used for outboard exhaust emissions or power audits before they leave for customers. Warranty returns, although rare, are run on the dyno to re-create the complaint and diagnose the root cause. All sterndrive engines are run on the dynos for break-in and a power-verification run before shipping. 

Dyno development allows Mercury Racing to run an engine in a laboratory setting that captures all the extremes our customers are likely to dole out on the water. The result is a high-performance marine engine product that is powerful, reliable and refined.  

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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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Vote 450R Now: Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin

You know what’s cool? Going fast. 
You know what’s cooler? Being the fastest. 
You know what’s the coolest? Being named The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin. 

Mercury Racing’s 450R 4.6-liter V-8 FourStroke outboard has been nominated for the “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. The 450R is one of 150 products nominated and wants to earn the top honor. But first, Mercury Racing needyour help to make it to the Top 16!  

First-round voting lasts until September 15 and individuals can vote once every 24 hours. VOTE HERE: 

The Top 16 products will be announced on September 16 and will face off in a weekly bracket-style voting challenge. The Top 8 will be announced on September 23the Top 4 Finalists revealed on September 30, and the winner announced on October 8 at the WMC Foundation’s Business and Industry Luncheon at State Fair Park in Milwaukee.  

We’ll need your help each week to make it to the next round.  

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A New Era for High-Performance Bass Boats

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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Hi-Performance Boat Operation – Part 2: Rigging Fit & Function

The 4.6L V8 300R FourStroke is very popular for single and multiple engine applications.

Spring is a great time for newbie and veteran performance boaters alike to get familiar with their craft. For starters, you should review your owners manuals — really, you should — and review the key components of your new boat.

The 300Rs on this MTI 340X catamaran feature the 20-inch Heavy Duty Midsection with rear tie-bar and side steer. The rear tie-bar and optional hydraulic steering cylinders provide enhanced engine stability for high speed applications. Surface piercing Sport Master gearcases are designed for use on boats capable of speeds in excess of 85 mph.

Performance boats vary widely in propulsion and size. Outboards come in 20, 25 and 30-inch drive shaft lengths to accommodate a variety of applications. Mercury (and other brand) outboards are fitted with a standard gearcase for most applications. Hulls that can take advantage of the high power-to-weight ratio of a 300R may benefit from its wide range of gearcase options. Similarly, Mercury Racing offers a variety of sterndrives for differing power capacities and hull types.

Mechanical control:  performance outboards such as the 60 EFI Formula Race, 250R and selected 300R models are rigged with a shift cable, throttle cable and fuel line.  Sterndrives, such as our 600 SCi throttle and shift is accomplished with cables, but steering is hydraulic.

Digital Zero Effort Controls.

Digital control: Selected 300R models and the 400R are Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) Compatible.  We also have a full suite of DTS compatible sterndrives; 520, 540, 565, 860, 1100,  Dual Calibration 1350/1100, 1350, Dual Calibration 1550/1350, Class 1 Competition, 1100 Competition1650 Competition and 1750 Competition.  Here – mechanical throttle and shift cables are replaced with a single electronic cable.

Application Specific: Selected 300R models feature a heavy-duty swivel/clamp bracket and trim cylinder to endure the rigors of extended use in rough seas. The trim cylinder is actuated via a remotely mounted pump. A majority of today’s outboards feature trim systems mounted within the swivel clamp bracket assembly. Verado outboards come equipped with integral power trim and steering.  250R and 300R outboards come standard with mechanical steering.

Rear tie-bar 300R models feature the heavy duty midsection with a factory installed tie-bar mounting plate.

Two steering system types are available: Full Feedback and No Feedback. With Full Feedback, steering loads from an outboard or sterndrive are continually transmitted to the steering wheel. This is the preferred system used by tunnel boat drivers for “feel” of their craft while driving at the limit. One disadvantage: steering forces increase as engine or drive height or trim is increased. The steering wheel must be secured at all times to maintain control.

Mercury Racing sterndrive packages are equipped with power steering. The system requires actuation of external hydraulic steering cylinders.  Our Integrated Transom System (ITS) provides external power steering for Bravo One XR, Bravo One XR Sport Master and Bravo Three XR drive engine packages.  Power trim and steering cylinders are integrated in the M-series transom plate that comes standard with all engine packages featuring  M6 and M8 sterndrives.

A close up view of a 300R cat ready model featuring factory installed rear tie-bar mounting bracket and optional side steering cylinders. The tie-bar and side steering kit work together to enhance engine stability.

Performance boats with two or more outboards or sterndrives are rigged with both external power steering cylinders and tie bars. These components work together to minimize steering backlash and enhance drive stability.

The units tied together (outboards or sterndrives) should be adjusted parallel to each other, at rest, where play in the steering can be adjusted to zero. Always be sure to have a qualified professional check to ensure your outboards or sterndrives and all related components are mounted securely.























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Prop School – Part 6: Slip

Response to my Prop School series has been gratifying. It has generated a lot of good discussion (online and off) regarding propeller design, function and application. One of the most common questions is about prop slip. It is the most misunderstood of all propeller terms.

A wing moving through air produces a pressure differential: low pressure above the wing, with high pressure below it, creates lift.

Propeller blades work like wings on an airplane. Wings carry the weight of the plane by providing lift; marine propeller blades provide thrust as they rotate through water. If an airplane wing were symmetrical (air moves across the top and bottom of the wing equally), the pressure from above and below the wing would be equal, resulting in zero lift.   The curvature of a wing reduces static pressure above the wing — the Bernoulli effect — so that the pressure below the wing is greater. The net of these two forces pushes the wing upward. With a positive angle of attack, even higher pressure below the wing creates still more lift.

Marine propeller blades need to move through water with an angle of attack to create thrust.

Similarly, marine propeller blades operating at a zero angle of attack produce nearly equal positive and negative pressures, resulting in zero thrust. Blades operating with an angle of attack create a negative (lower or pulling) pressure on one side and a positive (higher or pushing) pressure on the opposite side.  The pressure difference, like the airplane wing, causes lift at right angles to the blade surface. Lift can be divided into a thrust component in the direction of travel and a torque component in the opposite direction of prop rotation.

Prop Slip 

Slip is the difference between actual and theoretical travel through the water. For example, if a 10-inch pitch prop actually advances 8-1/2 inches per revolution through water, it is said to have 15-percent slip (8-1/2 inches is 85% of 10-inches). Similar to the airplane wing, some angle of attack is needed for a propeller blade to create thrust. Our objective to achieve the most efficient angle of attack.  We do this by matching the propeller diameter and blade area to the engine horsepower and propeller shaft RPM. Too much diameter and or blade area will reduce slip, but at a consequence of lower overall efficiency and performance.

Calculating Rotational Speed, Blade Tip Speed and Slip

Our propeller engineers study props at the 7/10 radius (70% of the distance from the center of the prop hub to the blade tip). The 7/10 radius rotational speed in MPH can be calculated as follows:

And can be shown by a vector arrow.

Rotational speed.

Blade tip speed can be calculated using the following equation:

Forward speed is shown by an arrow in the direction of travel. The length of the arrows reflect speed in MPH for both the measured speed and the theoretical (no slip) forward speed.

Forward speed.


The original Quicksilver prop slip slide rule calculator.

Prop Slip Calculator 

Back in the day when the Everything You Need to Know About Propellers book was published, the Internet didn’t exist and you had to actually use these cumbersome formulas or rely on the Quicksilver Propeller Slip Calculator.

We Have an App for That

Today, you can get all of your prop information with our Prop Slip Calculator App. Download it for free from Google Play Store or Apple iTunes.

The Mercury Racing Prop Slip Calculator App is available for free download from Google Play Store or Apple iTunes.

Click here to see some real world examples on how I use the app.

I hope you have found my Prop School blog series both educational and useful. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you.


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Project 1080: Smooth Operator


Stu runs Project 1080 Wide Open at the FPC Winter Poker Run in the Florida Keys.

Florida Powerboat Club founder Stu Jones is ecstatic with the results of Project 1080 – the restoration and re-power of an epic Cigarette 38 Top Gun powered by twin Mercury Racing 540 sterndrive engine packages. 

The classic hull is updated from helm to stern with modern hardware. Mechanical throttle and shift cables were replaced with Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS). The digital cables transmit real-time data from the engines to the helm and is then displayed on the Mercury VesselView 703 touchscreen monitor. The Mercury Racing Digital Zero Effort Control transmits data back to the 540 sterndrives – signaling driver intent with effortless shifting and instant throttle response. 

Project 1080 is the official pace boat of the Florida Powerboat Club.

Stu is now focused on dialing in props. He is starting with a selection of Mercury Racing Bravo I props. He will follow up with our performance propeller specialists, Scott Reichow and Nick Petersen, to ensure he gets maximum performance for the boat’s primary application as FPC’s official pace boat. Stu loads the boat with performance-boating enthusiasts who get to enjoy a first-hand experience of the best poker runs on the water.

Look for follow-up Project 1080 posts regarding props as well as the fit and function of K-Plane trim tabs

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Prop School – Part 5: Blade Efficiency

For this, the fifth installment of my Prop School series I will review the various propeller blade designs and how they – along with rotation – affect propeller efficiency and overall boat performance.

Rotation. Propellers come in both right and left-hand rotation. Standard rotation for both outboards and sterndrives is right-hand: the prop spins clockwise when in forward gear.  Left-hand props spin counter clockwise.  Left-hand props are typically used with multi-engine applications. The counter-rotation prop works to balance (or reduce) the torque effects from the right-hand prop. Most twin engine applications are setup with the props “turning in”; the port engine spinning right-hand and the starboard engine spinning counter clockwise.

Hull types and designs respond differently to prop rotations. Some need additional stern lift to reach maximum efficiency and performance. To obtain this, the rotation of both propellers is set up, so they rotate away from each other. We call this turning the props out.  The left-hand rotation prop is on the port side and the right-hand rotation is on the starboard side.

For example, a high-speed catamaran loaded with gear and passengers often runs best with 5-blade cleaver props with 15-degree rake. Turning the props in pulls the stern down, enabling the boat to float over chop. With lighter loads and ideal conditions, the same cat can gain 6 to 8 mph when using 18-degree rake, 5 blade cleavers “turned-out.”

Performance combo pack. Racing’s 4-blade Bravo I FS and Pro Max propellers.

Number of Blades

In theory, two blade props are most efficient since they have the least amount of surface dragging through the water.  Two blade props are commonly used on lower horsepower outboards and trolling motors. Three -blade and four-blade props are the most common designs used today. The added blades reduce vibration while maintaining most of the efficiency of a two-blade design at a convenient size and reasonable cost.

The Pro Finish 5-Blade CNC Sterndrive Cleaver propeller.

Racers and performance boaters raise sterndrive mounting heights (x-dimensions) on ventilated, stepped hulls. The steps create air bubbles, raising the hull off the water on a drag-reducing cushion. This, combined with reduced drag from the higher drive heights, improves hull efficiency. This trend has spawned an evolution of prop designs featuring four, five and even six blades.  The additional blade surface helps offset slip induced by air bubbles flowing from the ventilation steps toward the props.

Cross section showing the thickness of a common prop blade.

Blade Thickness

For efficiency, blades should be as thin as possible to reliably handle a particular power range. A cross section of a typical constant pitch prop blade reveals a flat section on the positive (pressure) side and an arc surface on the negative (suction side) of the blade. Edges are usually 0.06″ to 0.08″ (1.5 mm to 2.0 mm) thick for aluminum props, thinner for stainless steel.

The cross section of a cleaver style prop blade is shaped like a wedge.

The blade cross section on surfacing props such as our T.E. Cleaver  and Pro Finish CNC Cleavers is wedge shaped. The thick trailing edge adds strength. Surface air ventilates a low-pressure cavitation pockets behind the trailing edge, enhancing efficiency.  The contour or shape of most propeller blade tips (other than cleaver) are round.

I will discuss propeller slip more thoroughly in Prop School – Part 6.



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Prop School – Part 4: Blade Cup

Continuing from Prop School…Part 3. Here I will explain everything you need to know about Blade Cup.

An illustration of cup added to the trailing edge of a typical through hub exhaust prop.

Cup is a curl formed or cast into the trailing edge of a propeller blade.  When done correctly, the face of a cupped prop blade is completely concave.

The first three-blade aluminum props for MerCruiser powered boats featured flat blades, with 15-degree rake. The heavy, deep-vee hull ran best with the drive trimmed up (raising the bow, reducing the wetted surface, and increasing hull efficiency). We got our first experience with cupped, 3-blade aluminum props in the mid ’70s. We immediately realized greater top-end speeds. We also noticed the engine didn’t work as hard. The cupped props were more efficient. Our measurement? The paint was still on the blades at the end the season. Cavitation burns, mostly from abusive teenage kids over trimming dad’s boat, would burn away the paint. The cupped prop definitely made  a difference.

Location. Location. Location.

Originally, cupping was done to gain similar benefits as you get from progressive pitch or higher blade rake. In fact, cupping reduces full-throttle engine speed 150-300 RPM below the same pitch prop with no cup. The location of cup on the blade determines the affect it has on performance. When the cupped area intersects pitch lines, pitch increases. Cupping in this area will reduce engine RPM.  Cupping can also prevent prop cavitation or blow out.   Blade rake can be increased when the cup intersects the rake lines. Slip is a measurement of propeller efficiency as it turns through the water, the normal range is 10-15%. Most racing and performance boats slip can be as low as 5-7% where as performance vee and step vee bottom boats with high X dimension (outboard engines or sterndrives mounted high) can see slip as high as 20-22% at WOT

Cleaver Cup.

All Mercury Racing propellers spend time on the grinding wheel.

Adjusting cup on cleaver-style propellers is more difficult. The trailing edge is very thick and runs straight out on the rake line. Pitch can be altered some by grinding away some of the cup. Rake may also be altered slightly.  The rake can be reduced by decreasing the cup near the tip of the blade. Rake can be increased by reducing the cup near the prop hub. Remember that any change in cup affects engine RPM. The Bravo I propeller family is a good example of how cup changes RPM and the attitude of the boat I will discuss blade configurations and factors that effect propeller efficiency in Prop School – Part 5.


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Prop School – Part 3: Blade Rake

Ventilation occurs when blades break and re-enter the water’s surface.

Continuing from Prop School….Part 2 .   Here, I will explain the science behind blade rake.

Rake is the angle of a propeller blade face relative to its hub. If the blade face is perpendicular to the hub, the prop has zero-degree rake. As a blade face slants back toward the rear of the prop, blade rake increases. Rake is either flat (straight) or curved (progressive). Most lower horsepower (“lower” by Mercury Racing’s reckoning)  propellers, like Black Max aluminum and Vengeance, have 15-degree rake and are designed to operate fully submerged to push a boat across the water. Typically, higher horsepower outboard and sterndrive propellers have a higher flat or progressive rake.

Rake is the angle of a propeller blade face relative to its hub. If the blade face is perpendicular to the hub, the prop has zero-degree rake. As a blade face slants back toward the rear of the prop, blade rake increases.

A greater rake angle generally improves the ability of the propeller to operate in a ventilating situation. Ventilation occurs when blades break and re-enter the water’s surface — such as occurs with 1) a Bravo sterndrive (XR, XR Sport Master or XR Sport) installed with a high “X” dimension, 2) a surfacing drive (M6 or M8) or 3) an outboard installed or jacked high on a transom. In surfacing operation, higher rake can hold the water better as it’s being thrown into the air — deflecting it aft and creating more thrust.

In surfacing operation, higher rake can hold the water better as it’s being thrown into the air — deflecting it aft and creating more thrust.

On lighter, faster boats with a high prop shaft, increased rake often will improve performance by holding the bow higher. This results in higher speeds due to less hydrodynamic hull drag. However, on some very light boats, more rake can cause too much bow lift. That will often make a boat less stable. Then, a lower rake propeller (or a cleaver style for outboard) is a better choice.

Looking at examples:

  • A runabout with Alpha sterndrive usually performs best with a lower rake Black Max or Vengeance pushing the boat. The aim is broad capability and utility for many recreational activities.
  • A lighter weight runabout with Alpha drive may increase performance with higher rake Enertia propellers lifting the bow offering less wet running surface (lower drag).
  • Bass boats can vary widely because of the design differences among hulls in the market. Mercury offers high rake propellers such as the Tempest Plus and Fury for these applications. Mercury Racing specialty props for the bass market include the Lightning E.T., Bravo I FS, Bravo I XS and Pro Max.
  • The Bravo XR drive, used with higher horsepower multi-length and weight applications, typically use props with high rake and large blade area — such as the Bravo I and Maximus.

Our Pro Finish 5-blade CNC Cleaver prop is available with 15, 18, or 21-degree rake.

The Pro Finish 5-blade CNC cleaver propeller shown on the M8 surface sterndrive.

Performance applications using Mercury Racing’s CNC Pro Finished Cleavers with  M6 or M8 drives have three rake choices: 15, 18 or 21 degree. Most “V” and step “V” bottom boats utilize a 15 degree rake — unless the center of gravity is forward of the helm; then, 18 degree rake works best. The higher rake helps lift the bow — positioning the boat to ride appropriately on the steps. Air entrapment hulls (catamarans and tunnel hulls) pack air and lift during forward motion; they typically use props with 15 to 18 degree rake — since air pressure does most of the lifting.

The Pro Finish 5-blade CNC cleaver propeller.

The 15-degree and 18-degree rake Pro Finish CNC Outboard Cleaver is being used in a variety of applications including bass boats, performance center consoles and catamarans.

Your head probably hurts by now, so I will discuss blade cup in Prop School – Part 4.

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Let it Snow!

This 1975 Mercury Sno-Twister PDC (Professional Drivers Circuit) factory team snowmobile  – sled #5 – was hand built by Team Mercury driver  Doug Hayes. The machine is in safe keeping here at Mercury Racing. Photo of this classic on frozen Lake Winnebago courtesy of Charles Plueddeman.

For some reason the colder weather and recent snow flurries has me reminiscing about Mercury Snowmobiles. Remember those?

The first round of Mercury snowmobiles were appropriately named “lead sleds” for being under powered and over weight.

The infamous “lead sleds” (Mercury’s early and very heavy snowmobile) and the legendary Sno-Twisters (when Mercury got it light and right).  Snowmobile historian Charles Plueddeman  wrote a detailed article on the history of the Sno-Twister and the infamous sled #5.

Mercury Racing Service Manager Bob Krupp restored this 1974 Mercury 440 S/R snowmobile to better than new condition.

I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie – on the Eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The “Soo” as it is often called, gets bombarded with lake effect snow from Lake Superior. If you’re into it, the U.P. offers hundreds of miles of scenic trails for the snowmobile enthusiast. It’s a great family sport – if you respect the machine and ride safely.

Team Mercury qualified 13th and ultimately won the 1976 International 500 snowmobile race in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Photo credit:

The Soo is home to the International 500 snowmobile race. I was there – from start-to-finish when brothers Stan  and Doug Hayes won it in 1976 riding a 440 Sno-Twister for Team Mercury. The Sno-Twisters and Trail Twisters were way ahead of their time – an evolutionary leap from the early Mercury sleds. These machines are still very popular today. They continue to dominate vintage snowmobile races and grass drags.

Winner of the 1976 I-500 endurance snowmobile race. The Sno-Twister continues to dominate vintage races and grass drags. Photo credit:

There you have it. A quick ride down the snowmobile memory trial. For those of you that get out and ride, please respect your machine, fellow riders, skiers and land owners. Enjoy your time on the snow. Before you know it, the snow will melt, and you’ll be back on the water – boating. Where we all belong. It’s only right.

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Prop School – Part 2: Terminology

Continuing from Prop School….Part 1 .   Here, I will explain basic propeller terminology and fitment.


On right-hand rotation propellers, the blades slant from lower left to upper right when looking at the blade face. A left-hand propeller, however, has the opposite slant; from lower right to upper left.

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

Four blade props are popular for suppressing vibrations even further while improving acceleration by putting more blades in the water.

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.

The more a propeller is surfacing above the water, the larger the diameter needs to be.

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.

Physical limits

The Mercury Racing M8 sterndrive fitted with our 18-inch diameter 5-blade CNC propeller.

Mercury Racing engines fitted with the Bravo One XR or Bravo Three XR drives 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.





In this example, the propeller moves forward 21-inches in one revolution.

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.

The Mercury Racing Prop Slip Calculator App is very helpful in determining the proper pitch for your application.

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.


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Project 1080

A restored 38-foot Cigarette Top Gun featuring Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives will be the official pace boat for the Florida Powerboat Club.

We are anxiously awaiting Florida Powerboat Club’s (FPC) restoration of a year 2000 Cigarette 38 Top Gun into a modern pace boat.

A rendering of the Resto-Mod Cigarette 38 Top Gun. The actual graphics package will include additional Mercury Racing signage on the deck and engine hatch area. The engine compartment will feature mirrors under the hatch to showcase the color matched 540 sterndrives.

Deemed Project 1080, the restoration with fresh Racing propulsion formalizes our long standing marketing partnership with FPC.

The 540 engines will be coupled to Bravo One XR drives with the optional Integrated Transom System.

FPC founder Stu Jones is restoring the classic Cigarette from bow to stern with a refreshed cockpit, cabin, flooring and paint.

“I watch some of the custom car shows and auctions on TV, and the term Resto-Mod really stuck out in my head. I just felt like there would be nothing cooler than a classic, straight-bottom Cigarette, with brand new 2018 state-of-the-art hardware and power from bow to stern. This project is so exciting, I feel like a kid again!,” said Stu.

The Integrated Transom System (ITS) features integrated steering cylinders, eliminating the need to mount external steering to the transom. A built-in seven inch set-back enhances performance on selected applications, including the 38 Top Gun.

The original 540 Bulldog engines are being replaced with our all-new 540 sterndrives featuring digital throttle and shift (DTS). The engines are coupled to Bravo One XR drives with optional Integrated Transom Systems (ITS).  Mercury Racing Bravo I FS propellers will set the pace for all to follow.

The original K-Plane trim tabs are being replaced with all-new tabs with digital trim senders.

Mercury Racing dealer Performance Marine Trading in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is performing the installation and rigging of the engines, drives and accessories.Mercury Racing digital Zero Effort Controls will offer smooth throttle and shift response to the 540 sterndrives. A Mercury VesselView 502 monitor will provide vital engine and vessel data. the revised helm will be complemented with an array of digital analog gauges as well.

Stu’s Resto-Mod dream is becoming a reality as the first coat of paint is applied. Project 1080 is set to make its public debut at FPC’s Emerald Coast Poker Run event, August 15-19 in Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

Mercury Racing dealer Performance Marine Trading in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is performing the installation and rigging of the engines, drives and accessories.

We are excited to feature Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives in FPC’s o­fficial pace boat. We’ve been with Stu and Jackie throughout their 25-year run. We continue to back FPC for their emphasis on providing safe, organized events for our customers.

Project 1080 is set to make its public debut at FPC’s Emerald Coast Poker Run event, August 15-19 in Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.



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Prop School – Part 1: Introduction

Working in performance boating is exciting: It’s fast-paced. Propulsion systems and hull designs are in continual evolution. Our customers are generally astute, technically oriented and often quite colorful characters. We’re all performance freaks! We’re all continually learning. That’s what makes my job so much fun!

The fifth edition of the iconic propeller guidebook which was first published in the 1980s.

If you are like me, your first boating experiences were in lower horsepower boats used primarily for family recreation, fishing, skiing, wakeboarding, or general cruising. And like me, your boating experiences and knowledge have evolved over time.

When working with high-end performance boats and experienced customers, one tends to assume people have basic product knowledge. However, a propeller is complicated. Because our backgrounds vary widely, our levels of understanding vary widely, too. So, we’ll revisit the basics and then dive deeper on propeller form, fit and function. Read more

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No Sweat with Digital Zero Effort Controls

Our Digital Zero Effort Controls provide an intuitive experience for performance  boaters and competitors alike.

Digital Zero Effort Controls provide an intuitive experience for performance boaters and competitors alike.

Mercury’s exclusive Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) technology takes the sweat out of boating by replacing the lag and hesitation of traditional throttle and shift cables with digital precision, resulting in smooth shifting and instant throttle response. Digital Zero Effort Controls are enabled to provide automatic throttle synchronization and shadow mode for up to four engines (where two levers operate four engines) and go hand-in-hand with engines equipped with Mercury’s exclusive Joystick Piloting technology.

Form Follows Function 

Short throw levers, made of stainless steel, provide effortless shifting and ultra-fast throttle response.

The high styled  controls are tough as nails – and ergonomically friendly as well. We build them utilizing stainless steel for lever, mechanism and hardware strength. The housing material is corrosion-resistant, marine-grade aluminum specially coated for enhanced protection in the extreme saltwater environment. Short throw levers, made of stainless steel,  provide effortless shifting and ultra-fast throttle response. Shift and throttle handles are made of an anodized aluminum for enhanced corrosion resistance.

Optional silver handles compliment virtually any helm.

An integrated throttle handle trim switch enables trim adjustment while maintaining hands-on throttle control. Black and red shift/throttle handles comply with American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards. Optional silver handles compliment virtually any helm.

The all-new 300R FourStroke accepts both mechanical and Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) controls. Mercury Controls & Rigging offers a variety of DTS controls for single engine bass boats and sport boats where a digital panel mount control or foot throttle are a more feasible solution.

Digital Zero Effort controls are backed by a one-year factory warranty and supported by a Mercury Marine’s global dealer network.

Key Features

  • A variety of shift and throttle lever configurations available
  • Ergonomic design features short throw levers for effortless shifting and ultra-fast throttle response.
  • Robust stainless steel levers for unmatched durability in the offshore environment.
  • Variable friction adjustment provides custom tactile feel and resists throttle creep.
  • Integrated throttle trim switch for hands-on trim control.
  • Automatic throttle synchronization and shadow mode for up to four engines (where two levers operate four engines).
  • Handle color options include silver, red and black.

Mercury Controls & Rigging offers a variety of DTS controls for single engine bass boats and sport boats where a digital panel mount control or foot throttle are a more feasible solution.

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Application Dependent: Which Racing V-8 is Right for You?

I thought it would be helpful to share with you  details regarding the two midsection and three gearcase options available for our new  V-8 Four-Stroke outboards.

The Tri-ram midsection features triple trim rams and a trim pump integrated within the die-cast clamp bracket assembly.

The Tri-ram midsection is featured on the 250R and selected 300R models.  Triple power trim rams along with the power trim pump are integrated within the die-cast clamp bracket assembly. A stiffer, high-durometer elastomer upper mount and solid lower mounts are used for enhanced handling at higher speeds. The 250R comes with the Sport Master gearcase. Sport Master and Torque Master gearcases are both options for selected 300R Tri-ram models. The Tri-ram midsection is designed for use on lighter weight hulls on protected waters.

The Heavy duty midsection with ultra robust, forged clamp brackets and a large, single ram trim cylinder.

Heavy duty midsection 300Rs come with solid mounts and robust, forged transom brackets with single ram power trim and a remote trim pump designed to endure the harsh offshore environment. These models are available with the Sport Master and 5.44″ HD gearcases.

Rear tie-bar 300R models feature the heavy duty midsection with a factory installed tie-bar mounting plate.

Rear tie-bar models feature a factory installed tie-bar mount plate. The tie-bar, not included but available from after market suppliers,  provides enhanced engine stability for high speed catamarans and vee bottoms.


The Sport Master gearcase features a crescent leading edge and low water pickups.

Gearcase Options 

The surface piercing Sport Master, designed for boats capable of speeds in excess of 85 mph, features low-water pick-ups and a crescent leading-edge for maximized efficiency and speed.

The Torque Master gearcase features dual water pickups.

The Torque Master, designed to run partially surfaced, carries the load of heavier tournament bass boats and multi-species hulls while maximizing top speed and drivability.

The 5.44″ HD gearcase, featuring dual water pickups, is designed for applications which require a more submerged gearcase.

The 5.44” HD is designed for use on bay boats and multi engine performance center consoles where the application requires a more submerged gearcase.






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Mile Marker 50!

Mercury Racing has had a working relationship with Steve for nearly 20 years.

Happy 50th Birthday to Captain Steve Lamp, owner of Dream Catcher Charters. Captain Steve relies on Mercury products to earn a living. His office space is the beautiful waters off Key West.

Mercury Racing’s 400R outboard is Steve’s power of choice for his Yellow Fin bay boat.

Mercury Racing has had a working relationship with Steve for nearly 20 years. He has been intimately involved in the development of a number of our key consumer performance outboards including the OptiMax 200XS, 2.5XS, 250XS, 300XS and 400R.

He has also been our go to person for real world feedback regarding Mercury Racing Propeller performance. Steve also provides field testing data on a number of Mercury Marine engines, control systems and props.

Steve driving his OptiMax 200XS outboard powered flats boat as featured on the inside cover of the 2001 Mercury Racing outboard catalog.

Steve and I first met at Lake X for a 200XS photo mission. His passion for boating in general and Mercury Racing was obvious the instant I met him.  It’s rare to have a personal relationship with an individual who not only earns a living with our product but one who is such a passionate brand ambassador.

The Mercury Racing team just prior to the opening of the 2018 Miami International Boat Show. (L-R) Scott Reichow, Kevin Skiba, Steve Lamp, Steve Miller, Bob Krupp and former Racing GM, Erik Christiansen.

To this day Steve represents Mercury Marine at the Miami International Boat Show. It is in the show environment where Steve’s experiences and extensive product knowledge truly shine. He has a knack for conveying information in layman terms to the public, highlighting product features that are important for their specific needs. In an instant – he can switch gears and carry on a conversation with members of the media regarding a variety of topics and not miss a beat.

Steve’s offshore fishing boat is a 36-foot Yellow Fin center console powered by triple Mercury Verado 350s.

When he’s not in the Mercury booth you will find him on the water providing product demos for Mercury as well as Yellow Fin, the builder of his bay  boat and offshore center console.

Steve’s 400R powered Yellow Fin bay boat.

Steve, we are blessed to have you as a friend and a member of our team. We wish you all the best as you continue your adventures from Mile Marker 50. Throttles down…. The Race Never Stops!





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Bold New Look for Proven Performers!

Bold new graphics adorn the classic 250 XS and 300 XS outboards. The model shown here is the popular 20-inch 300 XS Sport Master with integral power trim.
Bold new graphics adorn the classic 250 XS and 300 XS outboards. The model shown here is the popular 20-inch 300 XS Sport Master with integral power trim.

Bold new Mercury Racing graphics, emphasizing the horsepower rating and the latest Racing word mark, provide a powerful new look for our classic 250 XS and 300 XS outboards. They continue to show steady demand amongst performance enthusiasts from performance bass to catamaran hulls.  In addition, their combination of high power and torque with ultra-light weight make them excellent for repowering older performance boats. Both models are well proven with documented success as performance leaders in their respective categories.

Record Breaking Speed

250 XS models come exclusively with the legendary Sport Master gearcase.


The 250 XS holds a colorful past. The low-emissions 2-stroke was a game changer the moment it was released. It outperformed competitive 250 horsepower engines in a variety of categories including fuel economy, mid-range acceleration and top speed. The 250 XS also holds an APBA Pro Stock Bass World Kilo Speed Record.

250 XS models come exclusively with the legendary Sport Master gearcase. Designed for lighter weight hulls capable of speeds in excess of 85 mph, the Sport Master features a crescent leading edge housing with low water pickups. This enables the 250 XS to run at elevated transom heights for maximum engine rpm, hydrodynamic efficiency and top-end speeds.

Versatile Performer 

a 300XS model featuring the heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly ansd trim cylinder on a 20-inch mid section fitted with the Sport Master gearcase.
A 300 XS model featuring the heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly and trim cylinder on a 20-inch mid section fitted with the Sport Master gearcase.

The 300 XS is our most successful 2-stroke consumer performance outboard. Not only does it outperform all competitors at the same horsepower node – it does it no matter what the application.

Models are available in 20-inch, 25-inch and 30-inch mid sections. A custom designed exhaust adapter plate with built-in appendages for mounting after-market steering wing plates enable the 300 XS to be used safely on high-speed multi-engine catamaran and vee-bottom boats. Offshore models come standard with a heavy-duty swivel/clamp bracket assembly and trim cylinder. The race-proven remote mounted trim pump provides a quicker trim-out speed and enhanced durability.

Gearcase Options

The 300 XS fitted with the Torque Master II is designed for use on heavier loads that rely on power trim to carry the bow.
The 300 XS fitted with the Torque Master II gearcase is designed for use on heavier hulls that rely on power trim to generate extra lift.

A multitude of gearcase options are available for virtually any application. Models fitted with the 20-inch mid-section are available with the Torque Master II and Sport Master gearcases. Both feature purpose-built housings packed with race-proven heavy-duty components. Applications include single-engine bass, flats and bay boats as well as catamaran and vee-bottom sport boats. The Torque Master II is designed for use on heavier hulls that rely on power trim to generate extra lift.

300 XS Offshore models come with 25-inch and 30-inch mid sections fitted with the 1.75:1 - 4.8 Verado gearcase.
300 XS HD Offshore models, designed to withstand the rigors of the tough salt water environment, come standard with a heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly and the 1.75:1 Verado 4.8 gearcase.

The Torque Master II and Sport Master gearcases are available with 1.62:1 or 1.75:1 gear ratios. The Torque Master II, designed for single engine applications, is available in right-hand rotation only.

New for the 2017 program year is the adaptation of the 1.75:1, Verado 4.8 gearcase. The gearcase, standard on 25” and 30” offshore models, is designed to withstand the rigors of the tough salt water environment and is ideal for performance center consoles. 300 XS models fitted with Verado gearcases are available in right-hand and left-hand rotation.

Performance Propellers

The 250 XS fitted with a Mercury Racing Lightning E.T. propeller.
The 250 XS fitted with a Mercury Racing Lightning E.T. propeller.

Performance Propeller Manager Scott Reichow has a variety of propellers designed specifically for 250 XS and 300 XS applications. Popular performance props include the Pro MaxLightning E.T.Bravo I XSBravo I OC.

The low emissions 2-stroke 250 XS and 300 XS outboards continue to prove their durability and reliability. Both are backed with a two-year standard factory warranty with three years of optional MPP (Mercury Product Protection) coverage available.




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Multi-Species Bravo!

The Pro Finish Bravo I LT propeller is designed specifically for higher horsepower, single engine outboard powered bay boats and multi-species hulls under heavy loads.

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. Read more

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Jay Leno Experiences Mercury Racing Power

Jay Leno has the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the most powerful and exotic cars money can buy in his show “Jay Leno’s Garage”, causing feelings of envy and desire among his viewers.  The former “Tonight Show” host has turned his passion for cars into the popular web series, which gives a detailed look at the newest European supercars to great American classics.

One of the classics recently featured was a 1970 Dodge Charger, built by our friends at SpeedKore in Port Washington, Wisconsin.  The “Tantrum” Charger is the first automotive application of Mercury Racing’s QC4 platform and based on its performance, it surely won’t be the last.


Mercury Racing launched the QC4 platform in 2010 as a high-performance offshore marine engine capable of exceeding the demands of the grueling racing environment.  This modern powerplant features dual overhead cam (DOHC) 32-valve heads on top of a 9.0 liter aluminum block.  The massive air flow of the heads is increased even further by two 94-mm turbo chargers, delivering upwards of 1650 horsepower on race fuel.  After years of success as both a marine racing and pleasure engine, the team at Mercury Racing decided it was time to develop something car guys would crave.


At the SEMA Show in 2013, we featured the QC4 shoehorned into an Ultima GTR kit car that was used internally as a development vehicle.  The Ultima allowed us to perform calibration changes required to transition from water to pavement.  These changes included delayed turbo activation to make the car more drivable at lower speeds.


001-jay-lenos-garageWhile showing the automotive world our engineering prowess at SEMA, we also laid the foundation for the Tantrum by meeting Dave Salvaggio, builder of the Charger. After nearly two years of working together, the completed Charger was first displayed at SEMA 2015.  After winning a Grand Turismo design award at SEMA, the Charger headed further west so the comedian could climb behind the wheel.
Leno was rightfully blown away at the beauty and performance of the QC4 engine, and perhaps a bit humbled by its full potential (It’s not often he relinquishes the key for the show’s customary burnout).  The QC4 hits all the right notes for a modern crate engine for high end car builders.  It is unique, modern, reliable, attractive and most importantly it provides an answer to every car guy’s visceral desire for more power.

Watch the Jay Leno’s Garage episode below to learn more about the QC4 powered Tantrum and see the QC4 in action on the California roadways.

For more information on automotive crate engines visit

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QC4v Jet King

Spencer King Photos Courtesy of MT Actions Photography 

Eight time World Jet Boat Champion Spencer King.
Eight time World Jet Boat Champion Spencer King.

Our Product Integration Manager Mike Griffiths recently returned from the Thunder on The Snake jet boat races in Lewiston, Idaho. Mike was there to support a project he had been involved with for a year now; the fitment of a QC4v 1350 in a jet boat. Say what? Yes. Mike and our associates at Mercury Canada successfully installed the first QC4v 1350 coupled to a jet pump.

Spencer is all smiles after testing his new QC4v 1350 jet drive.
Spencer is all smiles after testing his new QC4v 1350 jet drive.

Spencer King, of Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada is an eight time World Jet Boat Champion.  In recent times – turbine powered competitors have taken the upper hand against his 20-foot jet boat powered by a custom built 900 h.p. Ford engine. We’ve experienced a similar trend in offshore powerboat racing. The teams that could afford turbines converted – and were the ones to beat until the QC4v arrived on the scene. I will never forget Key West – I believe it was 2011 – when Bob Bull spanked a well known turbine competitor at the SBI Offshore World  Championships. He passed them like they were standing still. We had a 1650 Competition on display in the poker run village. People lined up to sneak a peek and snap a photo. They couldn’t stop talking about it. 

The QC4v 1350 nestled neatly between the stringers of the 22-foot Outlaw Performance hull.
The QC4v 1350 nestled neatly between the stringers of the 22-foot boat.

Spencer is co-owner of Kingland Ford – an automotive and Mercury Outboards dealer. He knew he needed to update his power.  He also felt compelled to go with something with factory support. He contacted his resources at Mercury Canada for suggestions. That’s when Mike got the call. He didn’t hesitate to suggest QC4v 1350 power.

The 9.0 liter 1350 cranks out 1300 lb. ft. of torque from 2500 rpm to 5500 rpm on 91-octane pump fuel!
The 9.0 liter 1350 cranks out 1300 lb. ft. of torque from 2500 rpm to 5500 rpm on 91-octane pump fuel!

The 9.0 liter engine, running on 91-octane pump fuel, cranks out massive torque (1300 lb. ft. from 2500 to 5500 rpm!) The 1350 and its competition siblings have earned a reputation for both performance and durability in recreational and competitive applications.

Australian water ski racing features 21-foot boats powered by a 1350 sterndrive.
99 Psycho Clowns, powered by a Mercury Racing 1350 sterndrive, is a strong competitor in Australian F1 Men’s water ski racing. Photo courtesy Vanessa Eyles Photography.

The closest 1350 application to Spencer’s is water ski racing in Australia. There – a driver and an observer pilot a 21-foot boat, powered by a single 1350 sterndrive, to 130 mph … with skier in tow! So – in that respect – the install if a 1350 in a 20-foot boat wasn’t a stretch.

A good view of the engine installation.
A good view of the QC4v 1350 jet installation.

Mike committed to the project after discussing it with Spencer and Mercury Canada. Mercury Racing technicians spent the winter converting the engine for jet propulsion.  “We took things off the engine that jet boats don’t need. The transmission was one of them,” Mike said.

Spencer fabricated a couple for fitment of the American Eagle jet pump.
Spencer fabricated a couple for fitment of the American Turbine jet pump.

Spencer purchased a new 22-foot Outlaw Eagle Performance Boat to make room for the 1350.  He named it Sunset Shaker. Mike traveled to Outlaw Eagle in the spring to assist with the rigging.

“I went through the process of wiring the boat for the engine, water and fuel,” said Mike. Spencer fabricated a coupler to enable the 1350 to be coupled to an American Turbine jet pump.

The father and son team of Russell and Spencer King.
The father and son team of Russell and Spencer King.

Jet boats are piloted by a driver and navigator. Spencer’s navigator is his father Russell King. After testing and dialing-in the rig – Spencer and Russell were ready to race. They selected the  2015 World Jet Boat Championships as their first event. A total of 60 teams, representing the U.S., Canada, Mexico and New Zealand compete for 10 days – racing 550 miles through the rivers of Western Canada.

The Jet Boat World Championships consists of 1- days of competition travelling 550 miles through the rivers of Western Canada.
The Jet Boat World Championships consists of 10 days of competition travelling 550 miles through the rivers of Western Canada.

Out of the box, the 1350 powered Sunset Shaker  approached 130+ mph speeds. Not bad for its inaugural competition. Still – it wasn’t quite enough to squelch 1,800 h.p. turbine powered competitors capable of speeds in excess of 140 mph. Even with the power gap – they finished an impressive fourth overall.

“It’s a new boat, the engine is new to us, and just finishing these marathons is a feat,” said Spencer.

“He ran for ten days without an issue and a lot of racers took note. We’ve received a lot of inquiries regarding the 1350 following this year’s World Jet Boat Championship,” Mike said.

Mercury Racing technicians  will work their magic converting Spencer's 1350 to a 1550 h.p. competition model.
Mercury Racing technicians will work their magic converting Spencer’s 1350 to a 1550 h.p. competition model.

Spencer’s engine is coming back to Racing where our technicians will work their magic, converting it to a 1550 competition model. While that is being done – Spencer plans to make modifications to the hull – in hopes to reduce weight while enhancing the drive line in preparation for increased power.

I’m looking forward to seeing how he does at the 2016 Worlds. My guess is he’ll have people lined up to sneak a peek of the engine that beat the turbines. 🙂









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First launch of the Skater 318 with twin Verado 400R outboards.
First launch of the Skater 318 with twin Verado 400R outboards.

I recently experienced Skater’s new 318 catamaran. What a sweet ride! It is the first new Skater to be factory rigged with our hot new Verado 400R ouboards.

Mike Griffiths stops for a pose prior to testing.
Mike Griffiths stops for a pose prior to testing.

Our Product Integration Manager Mike Griffiths invited Skater to bring the boat to Fond du Lac to have it dialed in. The engines are one of the first to be equipped with our factory installed rear tie bar mounting kits. Read more

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Cat Nip!

The very first Skater catamaran powered by Verado 400R outboards.
The very first Skater catamaran powered by Verado 400R outboards. Photo credit:

The Verado 400R has fueled the resurgence of the outboard performance boat market. Multiple outboard (two or more) installations capable of speeds in excess of 85 mph require the use of an external rear tie bar assembly to keep the motors parallel and equalize loading. 

Factory Installed Tie Bar Kit

Verado 400Rs destined for go fast cats come with a factory installed rear tie bar mounting kit.
Verado 400Rs destined for go fast cats come with a factory installed rear tie bar mounting kit.

400Rs destined for go fast duty on catamaran hulls are equipped with a custom Mercury Racing designed rear tie bar kit. The factory installed kit includes custom rear engine mounts and a heavy duty, stainless steel tie bar wing plate.  The engine mounts feature an addendum for the mounting of the wing plate. A tie bar is not included.

A view of a port rear engine mount.
A view of a port rear engine mount.

The custom rear mounts are critical for safe and secure installation of the wing plate. They serve a function and –  at the same time – maintain the integrity, form and function of the 400Rs’ Advanced MidSection. Most people mount aftermarket rear tie bar wing plates via the powerhead studs. This places a great amount of stress on the studs, engine mounts and the powerhead which could lead to cylinder distortion and possible engine failure.

A view of the starboard engine mount.
A view of the starboard engine mount.

Verado 400Rs with factory installed tie bar kits are backed with a full warranty.  The Mercury product warranty does not cover any damaged related to the use of tie bar kits or other accessories not manufactured by Mercury Marine.

Sport Master

The 400R is the first Verado available with the race proven Sport Master gearcase.
The 400R is the first Verado available with the race proven Sport Master gearcase.

One of the features which differentiates the Verado 400R from all other four stroke outboards is the availability of the Sport Master gearcase. Designed  for boats capable of speeds in excess of 85 mph, Sport Master 400Rs deliver fresh adrenaline pumping excitement to the go fast cat world.

The factory installation process includes cutting custom slots into the AMS covers to allow room for the tie bar wing plate.
The factory installation process includes cutting custom slots into the AMS covers to allow room for the tie bar wing plate.

We are excited to see our high performance boat builders embrace the 400R. The response thus far has been phenomenal. The biggest kick I get is people seem to be as awestruck by the pure power and torque of the engine as they are its  drivability and and overall  quietness. People are as excited to be able to carry on a conversation at 80 mph as they are going for the big number. These are exciting times for sure.

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Dialed-In to the XS!

The popular Bravo I XS  with dual exhaust vent holes and fine tuning with PVS.
The popular Bravo I XS with dual exhaust vent holes and fine tuning with PVS.

The hot news from Hot Springs, Arkansas is our release of five new half-inch pitch offerings for the popular Bravo I® XS propeller.  The new offerings debuted this morning at the 2015 FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) tournament.

The new half-inch pitch offerings greatly enhance the application of the XS for single engine outboard applications. The addition of half-inch pitch offerings enable bass boat and center console bay boat owners to Dial-In their engine RPM for maximum power and efficiency.  The new models include 22.5″, 24.5″, 26.5″, 28.5″ and 30.5″ pitch sizes – complimenting the expansive 22 inch to  to 31.5 inch pitch range.

Get Dialed in to the XS for the maximum in outboard performance.
Get Dialed in to the XS for the maximum in outboard performance. Photo courtesy of Bass Cat Boats.

The Bravo I XS has proven to be one of our most versatile props. It’s a natural for 2-stroke applications and now – with the Mercury patented Performance Vent System®, it is delivering unprecedented performance on single engine four stroke applications as well.

Bravo I XS Part Numbers:

Dia/Rotation/Pitch Part Number
15.25”/RH/22” 831910L60
15.25”/RH/22.5″ 8M0111147
15.25”/RH/23” 831910L80
15.25”/RH/23.5” 8M0100104
15.25”/RH/24” 831912L60
15.25”/RH/24.5″ 8M0111148
15.25”/RH/25” 831912L80
15.25”/RH/25.5” 8M0100105
15.25”/RH/26” 831914L60
15.25”/RH/26.5″ 8M0111149
15.25”/RH/27” 831914L80
15.25”/RH/27.5” 8M0100106
15.25”/RH/28” 831916L60
15.25”/RH/28.5” 8M0111150
15.25”/RH/29” 831916L80
15.25”/RH/29.5” 8M0100107
15.25”/RH/29.5” 8M0100107
15.25”/RH/30” 831918L60
15.25”/RH/30.5” 8M0111151
15.25”/RH/31” 831918L80
15.25”/RH/31.5” 8M0100109

Get your rig Dialed in the XS. See you authorized Mercury dealer today!






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FS Miller

Steve's boat is similar to this Lund Pro-V 2075.
Steve’s boat is similar to this Lund Pro-V 2075.

Steve's Verado 300 Pro Fourstroke.
Steve’s Verado 300 Pro Fourstroke.

My good friend Steve Miller recently bought a 2014 Lund Pro-V 2075. Steve is the Senior Category Manager for Mercury Marine. He was heavily involved with the Verado from day one and also on the ground floor of the 150 Fourstroke launch as well as the launch of its 75-115 siblings. He knows the products – inside and out. Its only natural his 2075 Lund features Verado 300 Pro Fourstroke power. Steve uses the boat for both fishing and family time on the water.  Read more

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Runway 9-27 : The Road to SEMA

The 1650 Ultima GTR at rest on runway 9-27. Photo Credit: John Erlien - Mercury Marine.
The 1650 Ultima GTR at rest on runway 9-27. Photo Credit: Jon Erlien – Mercury Marine.

We’re back in Las Vegas for the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we unveiled our QC4v automotive crate engine here.  Since then – we’ve received a lot of interest in the product and its capabilities. Various applications have been suggested – off road racing, drag racing and high performance street rods to name a few.   Read more

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No Sweat with Zero Effort!

Mechanical and DTS Zero Effort Controls feature a stackable design combining any number of throttle and shift levers for multi-engine applications.
Mechanical Zero Effort Controls feature a stackable design combining any number of throttle and shift levers for multi-engine applications.

Here's a good view of the short throw levers.
Here’s a good view of the short throw levers.

Our new Zero Effort Digital Controls are the latest generation of an innovative, modular design first introduced by Kiekhaefer Aeromarine in the the 1980s. Kiekhaefer developed them to withstand the harsh environment of offshore racing. Often imitated, the versatile design has evolved through time with advancements in engine propulsion technology. The new controls provide an intuitive experience for recreational boaters and racers alike. Mercury’s exclusive Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) technology takes the sweat out of boating by replacing the lag and hesitation of traditional throttle and shift cables with digital precision, resulting in smooth shifting and instant throttle response.

Form Follows Function 

Zero Effort Digital controls deliver driver intent to the revolutionary QC4v sterndrive.
Zero Effort Digital controls deliver driver intent to the revolutionary QC4v sterndrive.

Taming the 350 is no sweat with Zero Efforts.The high styled controls are tough as nails – and ergonomically friendly as well. We build them utilizing stainless steel for lever, mechanism and hardware strength. The housing material is corrosion-resistant, marine-grade aluminum specially coated for enhanced protection in the extreme saltwater environment. Short throw levers, made of stainless steel,  provide effortless shifting and ultra-fast throttle response. Shift and throttle handles are made of an anodized aluminum for enhanced corrosion resistance.  The modular design enables the controls to be offered in either two or four lever configurations. Throttles and shifters can be grouped separately or combined into a single unit for maximum control and comfort. An integrated throttle handle trim switch enables trim adjustment while maintaining hands-on throttle control. Black and red shift/throttle handles comply with American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards. Optional clear handles compliment virtually any helm.

Our new Zero Effort Digital controls go hand-in-hand with Mercury Joystick Piloting technology.
Our new Zero Effort Digital controls go hand-in-hand with Mercury Joystick Piloting technology.

System Engineered

Zero Effort Digital Controls and Axius Joystick Piloting technology deliver driver intent on this 520 sterndrive powered Formula 400FX Sport Cruiser.
Zero Effort Digital Controls and Axius Joystick Piloting technology deliver driver intent on this 520 sterndrive powered Formula.

Zero Effort Digital controls are designed specifically for Mercury & Mercury Racing outboards and sterndrives equipped with SmartCraft DTS technology. They are enabled to provide automatic throttle synchronization and shadow mode for up to four engines (where two levers operate four engines) and go hand-in-hand with engines equipped with Mercury’s exclusive Axius Joystick Piloting technology. Read more

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Hush the Magic 520!

The 520 sterndrive comes with cast iron manifolds with stainless steel exhaust elbows.
The 520 sterndrive comes with cast iron manifolds with stainless steel exhaust elbows.

Mercury Racing 520s with Axius Joystick Piloting technology is a popular option for their 400FX Sport Cruiser.
The 520 with Axius Joystick Piloting technology is a popular option for Formula’s 400FX Sport Cruiser.

Our new 520 sterndrive has been a resounding success since it was introduced one year ago at  the LOTO (Lake of the Ozarks) Shootout. It’s become even more popular since the release of a  Joystick Piloting for Sterndrives – Axius option for selected models fitted with the Bravo Three XR sterndrive. Formula boats have been early adopters of the engine package. They are also the first OEM boat builder to install the potent engines with joystick control. A Formula 400FX used to demonstrate joystick 520 maneuvers at the Miami Boat Show had standard through transom exhaust fitted with aftermarket mufflers. For our traditional sport boat crowd – they had a nice exhaust note. For those looking for enhanced performance without all the rumble – it might have been a bit much.

Alpha maleness without all the barking!
Alpha maleness without all the barking!

This CAD drawing shows the the port and starboard exhaust connected by a custom y-pipe.
This CAD drawing shows a 520 engine fitted with the starboard X-haust Noise Reducer System – Stage 1.

We took note, no pun intended, and went to work to create an X-haust Noise Reduction system designed specifically for the 520.  The system will appease our friends at Formula and a variety of our OEM boat builder partners, dealers and consumers looking to take advantage of the 520’s performance value.  It will also be adopted in European Union countries where the engine is certified in meeting the stringent RCD (Recreational Craft Directive) exhaust emissions standards. Read more

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New Props for Summer!

The official start of Summer is June 21. If the volume of blog comments, voice mails and prop orders are any indication, the summer boating season has been under way for a good month already. I, like you, am ready to get some boating in and enjoy the warm summer weather.  And – just in time for the season, I’m pleased to announce the official release of two new props that expand the versatility of our popular Mercury Racing Bravo and Maximus propeller lines.

Bravo for Outboard Cats! 

The Bravo I OC is designed for outboard catmarans like this 30 foot Motion. Photo Credit: NaplesImage. Click photo to enlarge.
The Bravo I OC is designed for outboard catamarans like this 30 foot Motion. Photo Credit: NaplesImage. Click photo to enlarge.

The new Bravo I OC features a total of eight PVS vent holes for fine-tuned performance in outboard catamarans.
The new Bravo I OC features a total of eight PVS vent holes for fine-tuned performance in outboard catamarans.

Newly released this week is our all-new Bravo I OC (Outboard Catamaran) prop.  The Pro Finish Bravo I OC was designed specifically for high powered outboard catamaran hulls. The new Mercury Racing Bravo features a total of eight PVS vent holes for fine-tuned performance.

The Bravo I OC diameter is cut down to 14.75″ and features a pitch range of 28″ to 35″ (even and odd) sizes and left and right hand rotation. A shortened exhaust barrel settles the stern to minimize drag while reshaping the blade maximizes performance with the new diameter. The prop has been tested on 28-foot to 32-foot Skaters, Talon, DCB, Spectre and Doug Wright hulls. It outperformed three and four blade cleavers in both acceleration and top-end speed (medium to heavy loads).

Bravo I OC part numbers and MSRP pricing:

Pro Finish Bravo I OC – 14.75” Diameter
Pitch/DIA Right-Hand Left-Hand MSRP
28”/14.75” 48-8M0092002 48-8M0092003 $1229.50
29”/14.75” 48-8M0092004 48-8M0092005 $1229.50
30”/14.75” 48-8M0092006 48-8M0092007 $1229.50
31”/14.75” 48-8M0092008 48-8M0092009 $1229.50
32”/14.75” 48-8M0092010 48-8M0092011 $1229.50
33”/14.75” 48-8M0092012 48-8M0092013 $1229.50
34”/14.75” 48-8M0092014 48-8M0092015 $1229.50
35”/14.75” 48-8M0092016 48-8M0092017 $1229.50

Maximus ST

The all-new Maximus ST propeller features a shortened exhaust tube and Mercury's Performance Vent System (PVS).
The Maximus ST features a shortened exhaust tube and Mercury’s Performance Vent System (PVS). 15.3″ and 15.6″ diameters are available. Click image to enlarge.

Terry and Sandy Everson's Beautiful M-29 DCB.
Terry and Sandy Everson’s Beautiful M29 DCB. Photo courtesy of DCB.

Designed for sterndrives and big horsepower outboards, the Pro Finish Maximus ST (short tube) propeller is available in 24″ to 34″ (even) pitch sizes in both left and right-hand rotation. It too features a cut-down diameter (15.6” to  15.3”) and a shortened exhaust tube for enhanced performance. The Maximus ST is rated for up to 600 h.p. Dave’s Custom Boats of El Cajon, California helped validate this latest generation of our high performance Maximus line. DCB’s Dave Hemmingson and Tony Charimonte liked the STs so much they asked if they could use them for the Desert Storm Poker Run Shoot Out. They installed 32″ STs on Terry and Sandy Everson’s beautiful M29. The boat is  powered by twin 565s coupled to 1.35:1 Bravo One XR Short Sport Master drives with Integrated Transom Systems (ITS). Terry and Sandy won their class in the shootout; bumping the rev limiter at 115 mph! Tony said, “the 565s pull so hard – we could have used 34″ pitch STs.” “We really like what Mercury Racing has done with the latest generation Maximus props,” Tony said. DCB is building a new M31 which will again feature the stout 565 sterndrives and Maximus ST props. We’re anxious to get the numbers on that one as well.

Maximus ST part numbers and MSRP pricing:

Maximus ST Propeller – 15.30” Diameter
Pitch/DIA Right-Hand Left-Hand MSRP
24”/15.30” 48-8M0091978 48-8M0091979 $1505.55
26”/15.30” 48-8M0091980 48-8M0091981 $1505.55
28”/15.30” 48-8M0091982 48-8M0091983 $1505.55
30”/15.30” 48-8M0091984 48-8M0091985 $1505.55
32”/15.30” 48-8M0091986 48-8M0091987 $1505.55
34”/15.30” 48-8M0091988 48-8M0091989 $1505.55
Maximus ST Propeller – 15.60” Diameter
24”/15.60” 48-8M0091990 48-8M0091991 $1430.55
26”/15.60” 48-8M0091992 48-8M0091993 $1430.55
28”/15.60” 48-8M0091994 48-8M0091995 $1430.55
30”/15.60” 48-8M0091996 48-8M0091997 $1430.55
32”/15.60” 48-8M0091998 48-8M0091999 $1430.55
34”/15.60” 48-8M0092000 48-8M0092001 $1430.55

We’re very excited to offer these two new props. I’ve received a number inquires regarding both. Outboard cat owners are excited to bring new life to their performance hulls powered by our classic 2.5 EFIs or the epic OptiMax 300XS. The Maximus is waking up both four stroke outboards and sterndrives on a variety of applications. I look forward to hearing from you regarding these or any of our Mercury Racing props. Be safe and have a great summer!

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Outerlimits Sets Vee Bottom Kilo Speed Records

Worlds fastest vee-bottom strolling down the Pamlico.
Worlds fastest vee-bottom strolling down the Pamlico. Photo Credit: David Clark.

Congratulations to Mike Fiore, Brian Forehand, Joe Sgro and Dr. Michael Janssen in establishing all new Unlimited Vee Bottom and SV Single kilo speed records. The American Power Boat Association sanctioned the special event records for Outerlimits Powerboats. I first learned of the initial record via a Speed on the Water post early Monday. Brian (Forehand) drove and throttled the SV 43 Outerlimits, powered by twin 1650 RACE sterndrives, to a two-way average speed of 174.938 mph. The former vee bottom kilo record of 171.88 mph was set by Reggie Fountain and Ben Robertson in 2004. Fountain and Robertson drove a 42-foot Fountain on the same course as used today.

The many talents behind the  historic event.
The many talents behind the historic event.

Early this morning my phone lit up with multiple messages – the first being from Mike (Fiore); post this on Facebook right away. I was ecstatic to learn Brian (Forehand) and and Joe (Sgro) made back-to-back passes of 179.500 mph and 181.422 in the SV 43 for a new APBA Unlimited Vee-Bottom kilo speed record of 180.47 mph! Reggie Fountain was top of  mind since Monday. His record of 10 years is broken and not by a Fountain. His former employee was behind the wheel for multiple records and all of the action took place in front of his house. I had to call him. Read more

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Bravo I FS Performance Update

The Bravo I FS propeller features Mercury's patented Performance Vent System (PVS).
The Bravo I FS propeller features Mercury’s patented Performance Vent System (PVS).

I just received this fantastic video from professional Musky angler Jim Saric – the Musky Hunter.  My friend Steve Miller followed up with Jim a year after first loaning him a 22″ Bravo I FS for his Verado Pro 250 powered Ranger 620VS. We could not have asked for better testimonial. Others have shared similar results with the FS in a variety of outboard applications, including bass, flats, cat flats, bay boats, offshore center consoles as well as sterndrive deck boats and vee bottoms under medium to heavy load. We’ve recently  added 20″ and 21″ pitch sizes and the patented Mercury Performance Vent System (PVS) across the Bravo I FS prop line.

Video courtesy of Jim Saric – The Musky Hunter Television Show.

Good stuff, Jim. Enjoy the prop!









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New Look – New Products

Our bold new look.
Our bold new look.

Our new M-icon floats on a pool of brilliant Mercury Racing blue.

Here we go! Another Miami Boat Show is underway and like always, we have tons of news to share. As we celebrate Mercury’s 75th anniversary we have released our new Mercury Racing logo. The new branding celebrates our rich Racing heritage while promoting our technological leadership in high performance propulsion. All Mercury Racing sterndrive engines on display in the Mercury booth feature the new branding. As usual, we have a number of exciting new products at the show.

540 Sterndrive

Detailed photo of the dual water pickups on the new Bravo One XR Sport gearcase.
A detailed view of the dual water pickups on the Bravo One XR Sport gearcase.

The all new 540 sterndrive.
The all new 540 sterndrive.

Our all-new 8.6L 540 sterndrive replaces the 8.2L 525 EFI.  It outperforms it’s sibling in a variety of fronts. A 21 cubic inch displacement advantage enables the 540 to provide 13 percent more torque for enhanced hole shot and an additional 50 ft-lb of peak torque. It also  delivers superior fuel efficiency and range compared to its 525 sibling. All this power and efficiency comes from 87 posted octane (R+M)/2, or 91 RON (global) pump gas. Digital throttle & shift replace mechanical cables – providing the operator with an intuitive control experience. The 540 complies with both EPA and CARB emissions requirements.

Also being debuted is the new Bravo One XR Sport sterndrive. The new Sport gearcase is two inches shorter than a standard Bravo or Sport Master. The gearcase shape provides enhanced hydrodynamics compared to the standard length Sport Master. Dual water pickups increase water flow for enhanced cooling in a variety of applications. The 540 on display in the Mercury booth features the new drive coupled with an integrated transom sytem (ITS). Cigarette Racing has a pair of 540s in their gorgeous 38 Top Gun VIP edition. Read more

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The Glorious Story of Little Red

 Bill Seebold drives the Little Red to victory in Eufaula, Alabama.
Bill Seebold drives Little Red to an APBA outboard speed record in Miami, Florida.

Happy Birthday Mercury Marine!
2014 marks Mercury Marine’s 75th anniversary.

Happy New Year! 2014 is Mercury Marine’s 75th Anniversary. The year will be filled with a variety of exciting events to celebrate our company’s rich history. Mike Butler’s restoration of “Little Red,” a historic Mercury Twistercraft tunnel race boat, is the first in a series of stories I’ll be posting throughout the year in celebration of Mercury’s rich performance heritage.

You will not find a greater authority on Mercury’s outboard racing history than Mike. In fact, Mike is a former outboard tunnel boat racer himself. It was 39 years ago when he  brought his Twister race outboard to Mercury Hi-Performance to repair damage resulting from a racing accident over the weekend. It was on this visit that Mike saw Little Red. He had asked the late Mike Goerlitz, Mercury Hi-Perf Sales Manager at the time, if he could buy it. Mr. Goerlitz turned him down. It was not for sale. Mr. Goerlitz did offer Mike a position with Hi-Perf from which he quickly accepted.

A view from Mike's hangar during the 2013 Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure event. Mike proudly displays the Little Red as it looked prior to the restoration along with Mercury's outboard speed record setting hydro.
Little Red and Mercury’s record setting outboard hydro.

From a distance the boat looked great. Once upon close inspection, Mike knew he had his work cut out for him.
Upon close inspection, Mike knew he had his work cut out for him.

Mike is also an active pilot and long-time member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He has restored a number of historic bi-planes and his Piper Cub that he flies year round. His passion for Mercury and craftsmanship skills would meld to bring back the glory of a rare gem in the history of outboard powerboat racing. Read more

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Got Wheels?

An electronic file of the SEMA brochure.
An electronic file of the SEMA brochure.

The QC4v crate engine shares attributes of its marine cousins.
The QC4v crate engine shares attributes of its marine cousins.

We are excited to unveil our concept QC4v crate engine this week at the 50th annual SEMA show. The A multitude of configurations are possible, fom basic long block form to ready to run engines.  The project has to be one of our best kept secrets ever.

QC4v in the tightly confined engine bay a mid-engine two-seater.
QC4v in the tightly confined engine bay a mid-engine two-seater.

This is our first  SEMA show and there is a lot to see. We brought  an exotic supercar fitted with a turbocharged QC4v 1650 crate engine. The car is complimented with an equally exotic DCB M41-Wide Body catamaran sport boat powered by twin 1350 sterndrives.

The brilliant  QC4v crate engine cutaway.
The brilliant QC4v crate engine cutaway.

An  immaculate cutaway crate engine display shows the brilliantly engineered inner workings of the QC4v engine design. That is flanked by a complete QC4v 1350 and 8.2 Liter 520 sterndrive engine displays. A complete QC4v crate engine is featured in SEMA’s New Products Showcase. Read more

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FS Deck Boat

The Bravo I FS - now for both outboards and sterndrives.
The Pro Finish Bravo I FS propeller.

The Bravo I FS prop turned on this 565 powered Nordic Deck Boat
Mercury Racing’s Bravo I FS prop turned on this 565 powered Nordic Deck Boat.

I just got some great news from Mike Griffiths – our resident product integration expert. Mike has been helping me dial-in an assortment of props for various applications. Mike and I tested props with anglers during Mercury’s National Walleye Tournament in Fond du Lac earlier this summer. Mike claims he is not an outboard guy, but you would never know it. It didn’t take him long to transfer his sterndrive performance boat knowledge to enhance the set-up of an average outboard walleye rig.

A number of anglers were smiling after reaping the benefits of Mike’s work on their boats. Mike provided input on weight distribution, engine height, trim tab positions and of course, props. The Bravo One XS was the star wheel for Optis; the Pro Finish Bravo I FS was more often than not the wheel of choice for Pro Verado folks. Read more

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Aussie Assault!

Wayne Mawer cinches the 2013 Mens Open World Championship.
Wayne Mawer cinches the 2013 Men’s Open World Championship. Photo credit: Bill Lacroix Pictures.

When I posted this on our Facebook page the first comment was, where's the skier?
When I posted this on our Facebook page the first comment was, where’s the skier? Photo Credit: Vanessa Eyles – Cyclonic Images.

Give it up for the Australians and their total domination of the 2013 Water Ski Racing World Championships! The event, held in Tenerife, Spain, concluded Sunday after four rounds of racing. Mercury Racing propulsion was the power in front of all six class world champions. As you can see, conditions were more ideal for an offshore race than ski racing.

To me – running a 21 foot boat with a QC4v 1350 stuffed between the stringers would be a handful. Racing it would another thing all together.

Trudi Stout's 1350 powered boat was hullin the mail! Photo credit: Billy LaCroix Pictures.
Trudi Stout’s 1075 SCi powered boat was haulin’ the mail! Photo credit: Billy Lacroix Pictures.

Women's Open World Champ Trudi Stout.  Photo credit: Billy LaCroix Pictures.
Women’s Open World Champ Trudi Stout. Photo credit: Billy Lacroix Pictures.

But to ski behind that? No thanks. I can’t imagine going as fast as they do on calm water. Ski racing in big water where your tow boat is periodically airborne? Forget about it! That takes some serious skill, stamina and pure guts!

Guy Williamson, our Service Director in Australia sent me an e-mail with the outstanding results. Read more

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LOTO 520!

The 520 sterndrive was a crowd pleaser at its public debut at LOTO.
The 520 sterndrive was a crowd pleaser at its LOTO public debut.

Playcraft Pontoon owner Jim Dorris checks out the 520.
Playcraft Pontoon owner Jim Dorris checks out the 520.

It’s been a busy summer. Last week we introduced our new 520 sterndrive and our our new mobile marketing truck at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri.  It was developed to provide recreational boaters a low-cost option for gaining access to Mercury Racing’s exclusive group of high-performance sterndrive propulsion systems. By the response we’ve received thus far, the engine package is destined to be the power behind a variety of recreational boating applications including runabouts, sport boats and cruisers. Did I mention pontoons?

Larger displacement results in enhanced power and torque.
Larger displacement results in enhanced power and torque.

Based on the 8.2L cylinder block – the 520’s cylinder bores are punched out to 4.560″ for a total of 8.6L of displacement.  The larger displacement, combined with Mercury Racing cylinder heads, multiport fuel injection and an electronic throttle body results with more torque than the 525 EFI and nearly 100 additional horsepower over MerCruiser’s 430 h.p. 8.2L MAG HO. All from 87 posted octane (R+M)/2 or (91 RON) (global) pump gas!

A user friendly maintance decal with interacitve QR code sits atop the coolant resevoir.
A user friendly maintenance decal with interactive QR code sits atop the coolant reservoir.

The 520 is available with a variety of Bravo drive options.
The 520 is available with a variety of Bravo drive options.

Two-Year Warranty

The 520 is our first sterndrive to be backed by a two year limited factory warranty. Robust valve train components including a hardened camshaft are used for enhanced durability. Performance cam profiles, combined with larger valves, pack more air through the engine for greater power and torque. Greater displacement, combined with enhanced airflow, results in unprecedented mid-range punch and consistent pull through the engine rpm operating range. Read more

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Huron Heroes

Marc Granet exclaims victory in Port Huron.
Marc Granet exclaims victory in Port Huron. Photo credit: Marc Granet.

OPA bracket racing is all about accleration out of the turns! Photo credit: Chris Kosin.
OPA bracket racing is all about acceleration out of the turns! Photo credit: Chris Kosin.

“M for Mercury! M for Miss GEICO! M for Magnificent!” Those were the first words from Gary Goodell upon my congratulatory call to him Monday morning regarding Miss GEICO’s convincing win last weekend in Port Huron. OPA’s bracket race rule, with a speed cap of 135 mph, puts a spotlight on driving skill and acceleration. Miss GEICO’s  QC4v 1650’s are unparaled when it comes to acceleration. Time in and out of the turns were the deciding factor in this bracket race.

Bracket racing accentuates the 1650's rapid acceleration. Photo credit: Naplesimage.
Bracket racing accentuates the 1650’s massive torque and acceleration.

Team GEICO. Front row. Mike Griffiths (L) Johnny Bauer (R). Second row (L-R). Marc Granet, ??, ??, Louis Stray, Scotty Begovich, ??, Gart Stray, ??, ??. Missing. Gary goodell, Scott Coltan.
Team GEICO. Front row (L-R): Mike Griffiths and Johnny “Boost” Bauer. Second row (L-R): Marc Granet, Patrick Cleavland, Bruce Tobison, Mary Manke, Scotty Begovich, Dave DiPatrilo, Gary Stray, Craig Wilson, Macah Paul. Photo Credit: Louise Stray.

“The 1650s ran flawlessly. They respond and pull like no other. They are a blast to drive,” said Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet. “We enjoyed having  Mike Griffiths (Mercury Racing Product Integration Manager) and (Mercury Racing Engineering Tech) Johnny Bauer with us for the weekend,”

Marc said. “It was an insightful weekend. We learned alot. The team is continuing to gel.  The 1650s continue to impress us  – and our competitors,” Marc exclaimed. Marc said there was one moment when they were concerned about the engines. “We we slowing down upon completing the race and I started to hear an odd rumble sound. Scotty [Begovich] heard it too. It was a few seconds later before we realized it was the roar of hundreds of fans along the Sarnia, Ontario side of the St. Clair river. The response was overwhelming!,” said Marc. Read more

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Bravo I FS Performance Update

The Boat Doc is a full line Mercury and Triton Boats dealer.
The Boat Doc is a full line Mercury and Triton Boats dealer.

Man – I love this time of year. Things are humming here at Mercury Racing. In fact – I’m so jammed – I really shouldn’t be taking the time to write this. I just couldn’t wait to share the latest news regarding our Bravo I FS propeller.

I recently provided  22-24″ pitch FS wheels to Josh Wiesner who owns The Boat Doc, a local Mercury dealership in Lomira, Wisconsin. Josh agreed to conduct a performance test, comparing the 4-blade Bravo I FS with the 3-blade Tempest Plus. The test boat was a 2013 Triton 216 Fishunter powered by a Verado 300 Pro Fourstroke.

Power to the Water

The all new Pro Finish Bravo I FS.
The Pro Finish Bravo I FS.

Josh couldn’t have picked a worse time to test. It was a week-long stretch of 85 degree temps and unusually high humidity. Thanks to electronic boost control, the supercharged 300 Pro Fourstroke didn’t miss a beat.

The 300 Pro Fourstroke was first rigged with a 22″ pitch Tempest Plus. The boat ran 62 mph @ 6150 rpm with full fuel, two guys and a boat load of gear. Josh then switched to the 24″ pitch FS and began his run. Over time – he was able to raise the engine by one-half inch.  At that setting the boat ran 64.9 mph at 6050 rpm. The engine height, (measured from bottom of the cavitation plate to boat bottom) was 4-7/8 inches.

Whats Up Doc?
The Triton likes the Bravo I FS.  Although hole shots were similar, the FS provided enhanced bow lift, faster acceleration and nearly three mile per hour gain in top-end speed. A big change – particularly when under heavy loads as Josh has demonstrated.

Thanks, Josh for taking the time out your busy schedule – and literally sweating the details in your Bravo I FS test session. We appreciate it and I know our readers will find your results useful as well.

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Thunder in Paradise!

Boyne City Marina was transformed to Thunder Boat Row June 12-13!

A lull in activity at the Mercury truck later in the evening on Friday..
A lull in activity at the Mercury truck Friday evening.

Kevin Skiba and I just returned from the 10th annual Boyne Thunder poker run. It is rare to come off of any travel feeling refreshed. But this event was refreshing – in many ways. As I had mentioned in my previous post, Boyne City is very close to my home town of Sault Ste. Marie. Driving across Michigan’s Upper Penninsula and over the mighty Mackinac bridge brought back many memories as we made our trek to paradise. I had forgotten how beautiful the area truly is.

All hands on deck for the drivers meeting Saturday morning.
All hands on deck for the drivers meeting Saturday morning.

OptiMax 250XS and 300XS powered cats were part of the mix.
OptiMax 250XS and 300XS powered cats were part of the mix.

We were impressed by the amount of people roaming about the waterfront upon our arrival Friday afternoon. Tad Whitten said our display truck was busy from the moment he arrived. Main street was jammed with people checking out the classic cars and performance boats.  It was great to see the community support an event in such a grand way. The incredible weather didn’t hurt either. Read more

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Boyne Thunder

Photos: Naplesimage

Boyne Thunder is on par with Desert Storm when it comes to street parties.
Boyne Thunder is on par with Desert Storm when it comes to street parties.

The 140 mile run across the waters of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan includes stops in North Port,...
The 140 mile run across the waters of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan includes card stops in Northport, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and a lunch stop in Charlevoix.

National Sales Manager Kevin Skiba and I are traveling to Michigan later this week to attend the 10th Annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run. Tad Whitten will meet us there with the Marketing display truck.

Having grown up in Sault Ste. Marie, a few hours North of Boyne City, I have fond memories of our family ski trips to Boyne Mountain. I’m looking forward to heading back to my old stomping grounds to witness this popular run. I spoke to event promoter Mike Knoblock recently. He said the event has a maximum capacity for 85 boats, and they’ve reached that limit. He is ecstatic with the growth they have experienced over the past nine years.

Mercury Racing will be the thrust behind the majority of 85 boats registered for Boyne Thunder - 2013.
Mercury Racing will be the thrust behind the majority of 85 boats registered for Boyne Thunder – 2013.

The docks at the Boyne City Marina will again be jammed with go fast performance boats.
The docks at the Boyne City Marina will again be jammed with go fast performance boats.

Event organizer and Main Street director Hugh Conklin said, “What has made Boyne Thunder special is its relationship with Camp Quality, a nonprofit organization that provides special experiences and support for children with cancer. Since it began, Boyne Thunder has raised more than $220,000 for Camp Quality, and it has become an important part of the camp’s success.”

A new Boyne Thunder partner this year is Challenge Mountain, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching and improving lives for the mentally and physically challenged through outdoor recreation. All donated dollars to Challenge Mountain go directly to support winter and summer programs including skiing, biking, canoeing, kayaking and sailing. Mercury Racing is honored to be associated with events such as this, whose main goal is to give back to the community and enrich the lives of those in need.

Twin Mercury Racing 1100s make this beauty skate!
Twin Mercury Racing 1100s make this beauty skate!

Michigan based Sunsation will be well represented at Boyne Thunder.
Michigan based Sunsation will be well represented at Boyne Thunder.

Boyne Thunder kicks off Friday evening with a street party. The poker runs starts 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The 140 mile run over the waters of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan includes card stops in Northport, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, and a lunch stop in downtown Charlevoix.

Quite a few of our industry friends are attending. Jay Nichols, who provided the wonderful 2012 Boyne Thunder pics featured here, is coming after much pleading and prodding from me and buddy Ron Szolack. Matt Trulio will be on hand to provide Speed on the Water readers his first had account of event highlights. Nor-Tech sales rep Terry Sobo will be making a return trip as will Michigan natives Wayne and Joe Schaldenbrand. They are bringing a fleet of Sunsation boats. Michigan is also home to Douglas Marine. There will be plenty of Skaters to wow spectators, I’m sure. We hope to catch up with Peter Hledin while we’re there.

We look forward to seeing old friends and making new friends in our neighboring state.



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In with the Outlaws!

Artwork for the official Mercury Racing event T-shirt.
Everything’s Big in Texas – including the artwork on the official Mercury Racing event T-shirts.

Endeaver Marina on Clear Lake transform into the poker run village for the weekend.
Endeaver Marina on Clear Lake transforms into the poker run village for the weekend. Photo courtesy Paul Robinson.

We’re getting stoked to head south tomorrow for the 6th Annual Texas Outlaw Challenge poker run. We’re excited to check out this unique venue. Traveling with me is our National Sales Manager Kevin Skiba and prop guru Scott Reichow.  Tad Whitten is delivering our poker run village displays featuring our 1650 RACE and 565 sterndrives, an OptiMax 300XS outboard, Mercury Racing Propellers and Accessories. If you’re attending, stop by and check out our horsepower stable:) Be sure to pick up an assortment of Mercury Racing Sportswear, including the official Everything’s Big in Texas event T-shirts. Boat attendance last year was 127. They are anticipating 200 boats this year!

Event promoter Paul Robinson is excited to have our support. “Mercury Racing has been an original Outlaw Sponsor since our first event 6 years ago, Paul said. “This year they are on-site in a centerpiece display featuring their new 1650 HP engine that debuted at the Miami Boat Show. We are proud to have it make its Texas debut at our event,” said Paul.

Run to Kenny’s

The docks at Endeaver Marina host some of the baddest, fastest boats on the planet during Challenge weekend.
The docks at Endeaver Marina host some of the baddest, fastest boats on the planet during Challenge weekend. Photo courtesy Paul Robnison.

Mercury Racing and MTI customer Kenny Armstrong hosts poker runners at his residence on Clear Lake.
Mercury Racing and MTI customer Kenny Armstrong hosts poker runners at his residence on Clear Lake. Photo courtesy Paul Robinson.

Johnny O’Loughlin, driving his 1350 powered 48′ MTI, was crowned King of the Hudson after his 167 mph run last weekend in New York City.  Any bets on who will be the fastest in Texas? We’ll have a good idea when the 100+ MPH Club Extreme Shootout is completed Friday morning. The first leg of the Gunslinger Poker Run & GPS Shootout takes place Friday afternoon. Apparently, the one and only stop on this short run is MTI and Mercury Racing customer Kenny Armstrong’s residence.

The main event takes place Saturday when boaters will have a choice of 11 card stops throughout Galveston Bay and Clear Lake.

MTI will debut Mario William's new 446 cat sporting 1350 power! Photo credit. Speed on the Water.
MTI will debut Mario William’s new 446 cat sporting 1350 power! Photo credit. Speed on the Water.

Dave Hemmingson's new M41 Wide Body looks fast sitting still!
Dave Hemmingson’s new M41 Wide Body looks fast sitting still!

Club QC4v

Some of the Mercury powered boats registered for the event include:

  • Kenny Armstrong’s 1350 powered 48′ MTI Phantom
  • The beautiful 52′ MTI Black Diamond
  • Mario Williams’ new 1350 powered 446  MTI, Big Bad Wolf.
  • Dave’s Custom Boats will showcase a number of exotic catamarans, including their 1350 powered 41 Wide Body.

Can’t wait to get in with the outlaws! Check out the event photo album on our Facebook page.















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Rinker Wins Maple City Grand Prix

Photos: Paul Kemiel Photographics

LaPorte action-867
Terry Rinker was again dialed-in and the one to beat.

Maple City Grand Prix race organizers (L-R): Jason Miller,  Blair Milo, Mayor of LaPorte, Jack Arnette, President of LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Maple City Grand Prix race organizers (L-R): Jason Miller, Blair Milo, Mayor of LaPorte, Jack Arnette, President of LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Defending 2012 F1 High Points Champion Terry Rinker won the inaugural Maple City Grand Prix Sunday, June 2, in LaPorte, Indiana. The race was round two of the 2013 US Formula 1 Powerboat Tour.

“It was great to win a race in my home state,” said Terry Rinker. “I had family, friends and even former classmates cheering me on,” Terry said. Contributing Mercury Racing photographer Paul Kemiel, who lives in Michigan City, Indiana, was instrumental in bringing the excitement of outboard tunnel boat racing to LaPorte. “I’ve been involved with promoting the SBI Great Lakes Grand Prix since its inception,” said Paul. “Jason Miller, Sports Development Manager for the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, asked for my input regarding other types of powerboat racing they could bring to the area. I told them Stone Lake was a natural for F1 tunnel boats,” Paul said.

LaPorte action-548
Laporte was Tammy Wolf’s first F1 race. She went to the event to get more seat time in her new OptiMax 200XS SST powered F2 boat.

LaPorte portraits-50
Drivers resorted to signing Mercury Racing decals after running out of autograph cards.

US Formula 1 Powerboat Tour President Jose Mendana worked with race organizer Jason Miller to put on the event. “The community was very excited.  The amount of people who showed up for the boat parade and street party was incredible,” said Jose.

“LaPorte was phenomenal. Crowds of people were constantly by the boats asking for autographs,” said Tammy Wolf.  “It was the most phenomenal North American race I’ve been to in some time,” Tammy said.

Tammy went to LaPorte to continue testing of her new Mercury OptiMax 200 XS SST race outboard powered F2 ride. She knew she wouldn’t be competitive with the higher horsepower F1 boats. “I thought I was fast until the first F1 boat blew past me! I still have my training wheels on, I’m giving the boys headaches,” said Tammy. “I don’t think they are used to girl drivers. I thought I would be one of the guys…they don’t seem to quite know what to do with me,” Tammy said. “Chris Fairchild took me under his wing and let me pit with him for the weekend,”said Tammy. “Tammy is doing great. She is still learning the differences between SST60 and F2. I thought she adapted well to the right-hand turn in LaPorte,” said Chris. Read more

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“Fluke” Encouter

WS Holland, Johnny Cash's one and only drummer.
WS Holland, Johnny Cash’s one and only drummer. Photo credit:

WS in his Johnny Cash  tunnel race boat.
WS in his Johnny Cash tunnel race boat. Photo courtesy Krista Holland.

I began my career with Mercury Racing in 1988 as a Product Support Specialist. I traveled throughout the country supporting stock outboard and  Formula 1 tunnel boat racing.

St. Louis was the Indy 500 of outboard tunnel boat racing. Racers and fans from around the world would converge on George Winter Park to watch hometown favorites, the Seebold’s, defend their turf. I was working the parts truck one year when Mike Butler (Race Sales Manager at the time) was talking with an older gentleman about tunnel boat races from days gone by and variety of other topics. Mike then introduced me to the gentleman. He was WS Holland, Johnny Cash’s drummer. I had to step back and process who I had just met. I couldn’t believe it! I’m a music lover and drummer as well. The chance of meeting someone like WS at a boat race was very cool and as I would find out later, more than a fluke encounter.

WS checking out the competition during time trials in Portsmouth, Ohio.
WS checking out the competition while waiting his turn to qualify for a race. Photo courtesy Krista Holland.

Boat racing was a family affair for the Holland's. Photo courtesy Krista Holland.
Boat racing was a family affair for the Holland’s.

I was impressed at how humble and down to earth this man was. It’s been over 20 years since WS and I have spoken in depth.  My impression hasn’t changed. Read more

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Vital Fluids

Dyno technician, Dave Dins, running a 1350 for DCB.
Dyno technician, Dave Dins, puts a 1350 through its paces.

OptiMax 300XS powerheads await their turn on the dyno.
OptiMax 300XS powerheads await their turn on the dyno.

We spend a lot of time validating our products. This is because we are responsible for entire propulsion systems – not just independent components. Everything (engines, transmissions, drives and propellers) must work together and be tolerant of each other. This includes oils and lubes. They are the system’s lifeblood.

We validate our engines using specific oil types and weights. Same goes for the drives and  lubes. Over the years, our two-stroke outboards have evolved from carbs to electronic fuel injection to OptiMax low-emissions direct fuel injected technology. Similarly, our higher horsepower sterndrives have evolved from traditional 2-valve, push rod engines to a quad cam, four valve engine of our own design. Oil and lube requirements have evolved along with the products. Read more

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This is the 5th in a series on design features of Mercury Racing’s  Quad Cam, four valve sterndrive engine.

The heart of our turbo compressor: hot gas expands through turbine blades, while at the other end of the shaft, compressor blades pack air into the inlet plenum.

Imagine the pulse rate in this triple 1350 powered Cigarette Marauder!

As I mentioned in The Valve Train That Could, valves exist to get air in and exhaust out. Well, the exhaust isn’t finished just because it’s past the intake valves. It’s got work to do: It’s time to “Peg the fun-o-meter” for some lucky boater! Exhaust heat remains from combustion. All turbocharged engines use that “waste” energy to spin a turbine, compressing incoming air to higher density. QC4v does that – and more.

It’s less commonly known (except by header designers and a few other social deviants), the exhaust flow also has pressure waves racing down and back up the exhaust system. When an exhaust valve opens to expel spent combustion gases, the rapid pressure rise sends a pulse down the pipe at the speed of sound. Read more

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Clean Power for the European Union

The 1100 is the most powerful EU compliant gasoline sterndrive available.
The 1100 is the most powerful EU compliant gasoline sterndrive available.

The EU compliant 565 models bring Digital Throttle & Shift technology to the European sport boat market.

The 1650 RACE was the talk of the Miami Boat Show. Equally newsworthy was our release of 565 and 1100 sterndrives certified for use in the European Union (EU). The popular engines, packed with Mercury Racing exclusive components, meet the emissions requirements as set forth in the EU Recreational Craft Directive (RCD).

The certification expands the availability of the 565, 600 SCi, 662 SCi and 1100 sterndrive engine packages to all countries that fall under the EU’s RCD. EU certified models are identified with the CE mark. OEM boat builders must certify that their boats conform to the RCD noise requirements.

Nor-Tech is going to keep busy keeping up with demand for their versatile 420 Monte Carlo.
Nor-Tech’s gorgeous 420 Monte Carlo equipped with twin 565s.

Nor-Tech's 477 Super Vee with twin 1350s.
Nor-Tech’s 477 Super Vee is a natural for EU 1100 power.

I first met go owner Andy Groeber back in 2004 when we first came out with the 1075 SCi. I would catch up with him over the following years on his annual trek to the Miami Boat Show. Andy is an exclusive Nor-Tech dealer just South of Munich. He has had a lot of success with the 662 SCis. He is excited to have the EU certified 565 and 1100. Andy sees the 565s being popular for the Nor-Tech Monte Carlo and 39-foot sportboats.

“No hassle boating is a key message for both the 565s and 1100s. The 1100s are wonderfully efficient. They have a very good reputation in the field with fewer breakdowns and less maintenance required than anything else in the past,” said Andy. They will open doors to sell high-end cats and vee-bottoms to customers who may not have bought them in the past due to maintenance needs, Andy said.  “Customers in this power range would have previously had triple diesels with sub par performance. The big power and torque capabilities of the 1100 will be a natural for big family cruisers as well,” Andy concluded. Read more

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Bravo for Go Fast Charters

Captain Sam (L) and his son Joe.
(L-R) Go Fast Fishing Charters Captains Joe and Sam Maisano.

It’s been a year since we introduced the Bravo I FS outboard propeller. It was originally developed for single engine four stroke outboard applications. We’ll, it didn’t take long for the word to spread regarding the prop’s performance. Folks running multiple four stroke outboard rigs started asking for right and left-hand rotation sets of the popular prop.

Bravo I FS test boat: 32-foot Donzi ZF center console.
Twin Verado 300s with 1.75: HD gearcases.

Being the conservative person I am, I opted to first work with a handful of people running various hull types to prove the concept before releasing the counter rotation Bravo I FS models. It took longer than I thought to get feedback from the field.

I  grew frustrated because I wasn’t getting any details regarding performance results. All I would get was, “They’re great! Thanks. ” or more often than not – no news at all. It was like pulling teeth. I found out over time the props worked so well that they wanted to keep their performance secret to themselves. Eventually, I got the detailed information I was looking for and I am happy to share it with you here. Read more

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Pro Max Prop

Erik Christiansen (R) and I unveil the coveted 1650 RACE sterndrive.
Erik Christiansen (R) and I unveil the coveted 1650 RACE sterndrive.

ProMaxI just got back from the Miami Boat Show where, in addition to our unveiling of the awesome 1650 RACE sterndrive, we debuted the all-new Pro Max outboard propeller. Some of you may be familiar with the high performance 150/200/225 h.p. Pro Max outboards we produced back in the mid 1990s. I thought the Pro Max name was perfect for our new prop and it’s intended applications.

We needed a prop to help lighter weight hulls get up on plane faster and improve top end speeds. The Bravo I XS is the solution for 2-strokes carrying heavier loads. The Bravo I FS is the prop for four strokes with heavy assignments (single and multiple engine rigs) as well.  The new Pro Max fills the gap for  OptiMax ProXS and 300XS and Verado Pro FourStroke outboard applications on hulls with natural bow lift.

An Allison XS-2003 GrandSport was used to validate the Pro Max for sport boat applications.
An Allison XS-2003 GrandSport was used to validate the Pro Max for sport boat applications.

Outboard drag racing veteran Glenn Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Racing and Marine, helped validate the prop for us. Glenn ran it on an Allison XS-2003 GrandSport with the new Mercury 150 Four Stroke. He also provided an OptiMax 250 ProXS powered Bullet 21XD bass boat. Glenn and his team are ecstatic with the Pro Max. “We experienced jacket rabbit acceleration. Both boats were on plane in 1-1/2 seconds!,” exclaimed Glenn. The Allison didn’t realize any change in top-end speed due to the engine height restriction with water pickup location on the stock 150 gearcase.

“The Bullet, benefiting with a high performance Torque Master gearcase, improved on both hole shot and top-end speeds,” said Glenn. “We did back-to-back tests comparing the Pro Max with like size Pro E.T.s as well as a variety of other props. The Pro Max outperformed everything on the ramp. We love it!,” Glenn concluded. Read more

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Erik’s Reality

The all-new 1650 RACE features closed cooled turbochagers.
The all-new 1650 RACE features closed cooled turbochagers.

The 1350 is no longer the fastest or strongest in Racing's H.P. stable.
The 1350 is no longer the fastest or strongest in Racing’s H.P. stable.

It’s hard to believe a year has passed and the 2013 Miami Boat Show is underway. We’ve experienced some major events since our last visit to South Beach. Fred Kiekhaefer has moved on after 22 years of service. With Fred’s departure, Erik Christiansen has been named General Manager. Fred will continue to represent Mercury Racing over the next two years. In fact, he’s at the show. If your there, be sure to stop by the Mercury booth and say hello. Erik and our staff of sales, service and engineering personnel are there to support the brand as well.

I decided to forgo the show this year to be with my son. I’ll miss seeing everyone and the exciting new products being unveiled. Jay Nichols has ensured me he will keep me abreast of the action via his acclaimed photography.

Rumor Mill

The 1650 RACE features reversed colors from the std. 1350 offering.
The 1650 RACE features reversed colors from the std. 1350 offering.

Some of you may be aware of the rumor mill started a while back when Powerboat Nation posted a story speculating we were going to release a 1700 h.p. engine. The story featured a dated 1350 model shot. Erik squashed all rumors when he unveiled the all-new 1650 RACE sterndrive. Based on our exclusive quad cam, four valve 1350, this monster features new pistons, larger turbos and requires 112 AKI race fuel.

So there, PB Nation. You were correct in that – yes – we did release a higher power engine based on our exclusive quad cam, four valve engine platform. You were off on the power and color, however. And no, this is not your father’s poker run engine. It is a race engine that is sold, without warranty, to qualified powerboat racing professionals. I’ll make sure you get a press kit:) Read more

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Fast Mercs – From Toronto to Miami

This OptiMax 200XS tunnel race boat is front and center in the Mercury Marine booth at the Toronto International Boat Show.

Canadian driver Tammy Wolf and her female teammates finished a respectable 4th in Class 2 and 9th overall at the 2102 24 Hours of Rouen endurance race.

It’s show time! The Toronto International Boat Show opened last night and runs for the next nine days. The Mercury booth features a beautiful OptiMax 200XS SST powered tunnel race boat that is sure to draw people into the booth. Tammy Wolf, a driver with the all female team who competed at the 2012 24 Hours of Rouen endurance race, will be on hand to meet and greet fans.

Meanwhile, in the frozen tundra of Fond du Lac, people at Racing and Mercury headquarters are busy preparing for the upcoming Miami International Boat Show. Mercury has a vast array of exciting products to show and talk about. True to our Miami history, Racing will again have a few new things to share as well 🙂 Read more

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Sound Bites from Paradise – Part 2

Video highlights from the 2012 Key West Poker Run Presented by Mercury Racing.

Nor-Tech’s 477 Super Vee with twin 1350s.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Mercury Racing. I hope you had a joyous Christmas with family and friends. For those of who may have missed our Facebook Holiday Countdown, Check it out! MercFan has to have the coolest Christmas tree on the planet!

It’s hard to believe 2013 is a only few days away.  I’m looking forward to a fresh start. We have some exciting things to share again in Miami and we’ll be sporting some new wheels in time for the Lake Havasu Boat Show and Desert Storm Poker Run. Lot’s of exciting things planned for the new year. In the mean time, I thought you might enjoy some more visuals from Key West.

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Sound Bites from Paradise

The 1350 stands guard in Mercury Racing’s Poker Run Village exhibit. Photo courtesy Stu Jones – Florida Powerboat Club.

Video highlights from the 2012 Key West Poker Run Presented by Mercury Racing.

It’s been just over a month since the running of the 20th annual Key West Poker Run. Kevin Skiba did a nice job of summarizing the activities in his November 16 post.  American Performance Television (APTV) captured on board excitement of participants enjoying the run in their Mercury powered boats.

Dealers, boat builders, owners and racers alike share their thoughts regarding Mercury Racing propulsion products. Enjoy!

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Musky Hunter

The all new Pro Finish Bravo I FS.

The power behind Jim Saric’s 620VS Fisherman Series. Photo credit: Jim Saric.

At Mercury Racing we’re really pumped with the performance of our new Bravo I FS props. With some help from my angling friends, the application of the Bravo sterndrive prop on four stroke outboards was an instant success. We first focused on the single engine applications.

Long time friend and coworker Steve Miller, Senior Category Manager for Mercury, recently fished with Professional Musky angler Jim Saric. We gave Steve a 22″ pitch Bravo I FS for Jim to try on his Verado Pro 250 powered Ranger 620VS.

Video courtesy of Jim Saric – The Musky Hunter Television Show.

Read more

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Refreshed to the Core!

A 1100 dressed in optional Mercury Racing Blue Metallic goes for a run on the dynamometer.

Doug Peterson (front) and Mike Critchley work their magic refreshing quad cam, four valve 1100s and 1350s.

Our high performance QC4v (1100/1350) sterndrive engine packages have been a stellar success. Both models are game changers and have lived up to the promise: Faster. Stronger. Farther. Longer. But as stout and trouble free as they’ve been, even these Torque Monsters will need attention eventually.

Racing’s all-new Factory Fresh QC4v program features a complete engine inspection and refresh by the skilled craftsmen who built them originally. Unique to the QC4v refresh program is the option to purchase either a new long block assembly or a certified refreshed core long block. The long-block core exchange program reduces the amount of time an engine is in for service. Engines receive a complete dynamometer run prior to being sealed and released as Certified Factory Fresh. Refreshed QC4v engines enjoy a limited warranty on all refresh parts purchased by a customer – including the long block assembly.  The refresh warranty is the same as Mercury Racing’s one year Parts and Accessories Warranty. Factory Fresh QC4v warranties can be transferred to a new owner if the boat is sold.

Rejuvenated Spirit

Mike preps a 1350 long block for the Factory Fresh QC4v core exchange program.

The sea pump is rebuilt as part of the refresh process.

The refresh process begins with an inspection of the condition of the engine long-block. This  determines the core-exchange value. Once the core value is assessed, the rest of the engine is inspected to determine what is needed.  A refreshed long-block is a solid foundation from which our craftsmen work their magic. Every aspect of the upper engine – from fasteners to critical components (fuel, electrical systems and closed cooling systems) – are inspected and updated as needed. The refresh process includes rebuilding of the sea pump, replacing all belts, exhaust gaskets, seals, hoses, spark plugs, fuel filters, oil & oil filter, and other miscellaneous hardware.

Additional parts may be replaced due to corrosion or other factors. These may include exhaust manifolds and turbocharger assemblies.  If any of these conditions exist, the customer is informed and provided an estimate of related charges. Read more

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Key West Poker Run Recap

The QC4v 1350 sterndrive always draws a crowd.

Mercury Racing was recognized for our title sponsorship at the Friday Night sponsor party.

Whew! I’m just getting back to a “normal” schedule after last week’s Key West Poker Run. It was a great event. We had people at the Mercury Racing truck from the moment we unloaded our 1350 and 565 display engines through the 10:00 p.m. closing time. It was non-stop action Thursday through Saturday. It’s always fun to meet and greet folks who enjoy our products. It is equally enjoyable to establish new relationships with future customers.

This year was the 20th anniversary of the event. Stu Jones and the Florida Powerboat Club staff didn’t disappoint. This has to be the largest gathering of performance boats on earth. It is also the largest gathering of performance boat builders and dealers. Industry movers and shakers included Reggie Fountain, Randy Scism (MTI), Peter Hledin (Skater), Chad Braver (Cigarette), Todd Warner (Statement), Nils Johnson and Trond Schou (Nor-Tech), Paul Loguidice (Hustler), David Woods and Scott Shogren (Pier 57). Read more

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20 Years of Poker Run Fun!

The 20th annual Key West Poker Run Presented by Mercury Racing.

The official 2012 Mercury Racing Key West Poker Run T-shirt is available in black or white and mens and womens sizes.

It’s hard to believe the 20th Annual Key West Poker Run is upon us. We are proud to return as Presenting Sponsor of this historic performance boating event. Dave Vehrs (whose full-time job is building high performance NXT1, NXT6 and M8 drives) just texted me to let me know he has arrived safe and sound after his three-day drive from Fond du Lac to Key West in the Mercury Racing big rig. The truck will be in the Poker Run Village with exciting product displays including 1350 and 565 sterndrives and Mercury Racing Propellers and Accessories. Our poker run prizes include a set of Mercury Racing Prop Covers for the top five hands with Mercury Racing (NXT1, #6, M8) surface drive propulsion. The two best hands with outboard or Bravo sterndrive propulsion and Mercury or Mercury Racing propellers will earn a Mercury Racing Propeller Lab Finishing certificate. This will enable the winners to have a set of  props blueprinted or repaired at the factory by our highly skilled craftsmen.

Officially licensed Mercury Racing merchandise will be available for purchase on-site as well.  Here’s your chance to play Santa with Mercury Racing Holiday gifts. Read more

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2013 Mercury Racing Wall Calendars!

Another year is quickly approaching the finish line. It’s hard to believe two years have passed since we launched this blog and our Facebook,Twitter pages and YouTube channel. Thank you for your participation, “friend”ship, tweetness, videos and feedback.

Watermarks: The Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show marks the start of 2013 boat show season in the USA. The Performance Dock will be stocked with a variety of go-fast gems.  Cigarette Racing will again be the epicenter, with Nor-Tech, Formula and Statement Marine among the performance builders featuring their latest wares. Douglas Marine is displaying in Ft. Lauderdale for the first time. They will be showing their beautiful 412 catamaran with twin 1100s. The show will also feature the return of Baja with their debut of the all-new 30 Outlaw GT. Stu Jones and the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) will ensure all are entertained and catered to Friday eventing in their annual Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show Bash.

Speaking of FPC, We are busing preparing for the 20th Annual Key West Poker Run. We are again title sponsor and look forward to being on-site at the Poker Run Village with our mobile marketing truck and crew. Mercury Racing sportswear will be available for folks wanting to get a jump start on their Christmas shopping for both naughty… and nice :).  Mercury Racing engines will again be the power to beat at the Key West Offshore World Championships,  happening at the same time as the poker run. And, before you know it, the Miami International Boat Show will be upon us; seems we always have something exciting there! Read more

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565: How’d We Do That – Part 2?

Mercury Racing’s dynos enable precise calibration by our exceptionally talented engineering techs, like Johnny Bauer. They also validate that every production 565 meets its targets.

Mercury Racing’s 565 – with digital throttle and shift (DTS), better fuel economy and more grunt – prompted questions. Part 1 answered “How’d you do that?” by reviewing the 565’s torque and power. Part 2 continues to answer: We’ll discuss 565 fuel and DTS.

In this early development engine, one can see the two computer modules stacked behind the second throttle body. Also visible is the digitally controlled shift actuator – mounted on the transom for this test mule.

Fuel Economy. Miserly fuel consumption is a hidden benefit of digital instrumentation. Not just in the boat, but in our laboratory. Since we designed the 525EFI and 600SCi, we have substantially upgraded our dynamometers and engineering analysis tools. In large part, this was done for exhaust emissions, both design feasibility studies and product development, so that we could remain compliant with regulations. As a side benefit: we gained a capability to look at each individual cylinder’s behavior in much finer detail than ever before. Plus, our incredible technicians have the talent to do so.

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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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Mercury Racing puts up Big Numbers at LOTO

Bob Bull’s 48 MTI with twin 1350s was clocked at 186 mph to earn the Manufacturer Cat Top Gun award. Photo credit: Speed on the Water.

Mike Fiore sets a 99 mph single engine production vee bottom speed record in the 565 powered SV29 Outerlimits. Photo credit: Naples Image.

Outerlimits’ Mike Fiore was the first person I called upon seeing the Lake of the Ozarks (LOTO) Shootout results.  Mercury powered Outerlimits won four classes. Mike won the NV2F1 (single engine production vee bottom) class with a top speed of 99 mph in Mike Everson’s 565 powered SV29. A Bravo One XR Sport Master coupled to a 32″ Lab Finished Maximus propeller put the power to the water.

“It’s really impressive if you think about it. The new 565 provides the same performance as the 600 SCi, Mike said. Mike continued, “We were 15 mph faster than the next boat in our class. That is huge – particularly given the 565 is naturally aspirated”

Outerlimits was well represented at LOTO. Photo credit: Speed on the Water.

Joel Begin and Mike Fiore flying through the traps in Joel’s 1350 powered SV52 Outerlimits. Photo credit: Naples Image.

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OptiMax Powers Johnsson to UIM Offshore 3C Championships

Race and lifestyle photos courtesy of Lauri Lampén.

An OptiMax 200XS ROS powers Marcus Johnsson to the 2012 UIM Offshore 3C European Championship.

UIM Offshore 3C European and World Champion Marcus Johnsson.

Union International Motonautique (UIM) crowns an Offshore 3C Champion for 2012: it’s Marcus Johnsson – again! Lauri Lampén sent us a message recently regarding his friend Marcus, winner of the UIM Offshore 3C European Championship: “Marcus is the king of the 3C class. He’s won…three UIM world championships and now got his fourth European title. All of them he’s won with Mercury Racing engines.” Hats off for Marcus: winning multiple Offshore 3C European and World Championships is no simple task! Read more

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565 Fuel Economy: Impressive. Most impressive!

Now here’s something noteworthy: 3.2 MPG on 89 octane pump gas! This is real-world, family boating experience in a new 29 Outerlimits vee bottom with Mercury Racing’s 565.

The business end: Bravo One XR Sport Master with Maximus Short Tube prop.

Mike Everson warms up his new OL’s 565 prior to testing.

Mike Everson is the proud, new owner of this beautiful rig. And he lives near us! So, we invited Mike to Fond du Lac for some data collection on his Outerlimits. Mike Griffiths, one of our field techs, gathered some fuel consumption data on Lake Winnebago; however, Mike Everson shared his following weekend experience, too. He covered 124 miles with his family on the Mississippi River. (Hey, it’s his new boat, you would too!) He averaged 3.2 MPG over those 124 miles. Impressive.

Here is Mike Griffiths’ drier, more clinical data:

Prop: Maximus 15.625 x 32 five blade propeller.

Test load: Three, pizza and cola fueled, adult males (maturity level, indeterminate) and a full 89 octane fuel load.

Weather: clear, 90 degrees F, wind 4 MPH, gusting to 10 MPH

Engine RPM, boat speed and fuel mileage:

Two Mikes and a Jason head out for data. Yea, right – data.

Carbon fiber, carbon fiber and more carbon fiber… all pushed around by 8.7 liters worth of ponies.

3000 RPM = 46 MPH = 2.76 MPG

3500 RPM = 55 MPH = 3.20 MPG

4000 RPM = 66 MPH = 3.26 MPG

4500 RPM = 75 MPH = 2.97 MPG

5000 RPM = 84 MPH = 2.71 MPG

5250 RPM = 93 MPH = 2.67 MPG


Sweet! Lake conditions limited our ability to extract the 29’s absolute top performance. (Outerlimits’ builder, Mike Fiore, noted 98 MPH top end back at the factory.) However, 93 MPH with three people and a full fuel load is respectable — especially attaining 2.7 MPG with the digital throttle held wide open! [In Darth Vader’s raspy, measured delivery…] “Impressive. Most impressive.”


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“We took MONSTER TORQUE with us!”

Stuart Hayim and John Tomlinson on their way to setting a new Around Long Island speed record. Photo credit: National Powerboat Association.

Mike Critchley putting the finishing touches on Stuart Hayim’s 1350 before sending to the dyno.

It was 5:12 am when my first email of the morning arrived: “Leaving the dock now. We took MONSTER TORQUE w us.” It was Stuart Hayim signaling the start of his around Long Island record run. Stuart’s brand new 42 MTI was powered with Mercury Racing 1350’s, M8 drives and 5-blade CNC Cleaver props. And he was pumped up! (He borrowed “Monster Torque” from our blog post headline of October 2010.) A couple hours later, at 8:37 am, I received another: “Record now back in hands. Of MHP, [Mercury Hi-Performance (now Racing)] thanks to the whole team.  2 hours 11 min. Sent from my iPhone”

It took a minute for the message to sink in — 2:11. 2:11!  That’s almost an hour off last year’s time — and Stuart’s previous record! The time is also about half of the record Bill Sirois and I had set back in 1968. John Tomlinson and Stuart Hayim didn’t just break the record. They smashed it! As Stuart says, “Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run!” I guess so.

“Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run!”

Stuart is all smiles as he and John prepare to embark on their historic run. Photo courtesy of Stuart Hayim.

I called Stuart to congratulate him. In classic Stuart speak, he said, “I can’t believe we left 11 minutes on the table. We could have run faster….When it got rough, Johnny kept asking if I was all right. I said, ‘At 65 years of age, I’m an old man, not a baby!’ …We could have shaved 11 minutes easily.” Read more

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Virtual Tour – Part 7: Cleaver Revolution

CNC machines produce our perfectly matched 5-blade or 6-blade cleaver propellers.

Skilled craftsmen hand-finish each CNC prop.

Continuing from Virtual Tour –  Part 6: Propellers…we’ll review the evolution of surface piercing propellers, culminating with our amazing CNC Sterndrive Cleavers.

I first reviewed my classic literature collection for information regarding the evolution of surface piercing propellers. Copy from the propeller section of  a 1972 Hi-Performance Mercury/MerCruiser Accessories catalog references our change from bronze to stainless steel that year. I sent Dick Snyder an e-mail to get his input regarding racing propeller history.

Dick Snyder

Three-blade “elephant ear” props on a quad 1250BP rig ready for testing at Lake X.

A 2-blade stainless prop on a merCruiser III drive. This drive was packaged with a 475 h.p. engine.

Dick Snyder was in charge of Mercury’s propeller engineering in the early ’60s.  “When I took over prop engineering in the early ’60s, I had inherited nothing but low rake (6 degree), 2-bladed props. We had no racing or hi-performance props. “There soon came a time when I fell in love with 15 degrees of rake and 3-bladed props for the added smoothness and a little better acceleration. You typically would lose a small amount of top-end going from a 2-blade to 3-blade prop. The higher 15-degree rake allowed the props to “hold” at greater trim angles for enhanced bow lift and greater hull efficiency. This resulted with even greater top-end speeds than the lower rake 2-blade props,” Dick explained. In 1984, Dick was promoted to Director of Mercury Hi-Performance. So he promoted Bob Hetzel to run Mercury’s racing prop and gearcase shop. “We had quite an interesting development of stainless steel props for racing, followed by replacing bronze for stainless steel on our recreational props,” said Dick. Read more

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Virtual Tour – Part 6: Propellers

A technician puts finishing touches on a 5-blade CNC Cleaver sterndrive propeller.

Checking blade thickness on a classic 3-blade outboard cleaver.

Continuing from Virtual Tour Part 5: Sterndrives, Transoms & Accessories…we will visit the Mercury Racing Propeller Department’s finishing area.

People are fascinated with propellers. The response to Scott Reichow’s Prop School blog series proves people are craving to learn more. Our visitors are a bit surprised when they enter Racing’s propeller finishing area. I think they are expecting to see a number of robotic machines pumping out finished propellers. Nope. What they do see is highly skilled craftsmen creating precision tuned works of art. Each puts their finishing touch on every propeller Racing makes – including our CNC machined Sterndrive Cleavers.

Lab Finished props gave Team Mercury a competitive edge in the outboard factory war days of tunnel boat competition.

Have props, will travel. A classic photo of Mercury’s mobile prop lab during the golden era of outboard factory tunnel boat racing.

The trademark, “Lab Finished,” was created by Mercury Racing back in 1970s – when factory outboard racing required a dedicated Engineering Lab to create specialized props. We have proven through the years that hand-working a prop enhances performance. This is particularly true for props run at elevated transom heights (surface piercing) and higher RPMs where impact-induced vibrations and other nuances are amplified.

Only a small percentage of our propeller line is designed specifically for racing. Our most popular propeller is mostly used for recreation: the Bravo I. We first enhanced performance of this MerCruiser sterndrive propeller by lab finishing them for racing. Read more

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Virtual Tour – Part 5: Sterndrives, Transoms & Accessories

Continuing from Virtual Tour – Part 4: Horsepower Highway…we will follow the assembly of Mercury Racing sterndrives, transoms and accessories.


Mike Riedi inserts the drive shaft on a Bravo One XR Sport Master gearcase.

Mike lowers the Bravo One XR upper housing on the Sport Master gearcase.

Mercury Racing offers a variety of sterndrives fit for virtually any application. Bravo One XRs are enhancements of existing designs while NXT1, NXT6 and M8 drives were designed and developed in-house for Mercury Racing sterndrive packages. The Bravo One XR is a beefed up version of MerCruiser’s Bravo One drive. It was developed to withstand the rigors of offshore racing and performance boating. Our Bravo One XR Sport Master drive targets surface piercing applications. Bravo One XR and Bravo One XR Sport Masters are popular options for boats fitted with 525 EFI, 565 and 600 SCi engine packages. Mike Riedi, who has over 30 years experience building high performance outboard gearcases, also builds Bravo Sport Masters.


Joe Backhaus building a M series transom plate.

Dave Vehrs preparing a NXT6 drive for the installation of the dry-sump oil pump.

Joe Backhaus builds Integrated Transom Systems (ITS) for Bravo One XR and Bravo Three XR drives. He also assembles M-Series transoms used with Mercury Racing  NXT1, NXT6 and M8 drives.

Next door to Joe, Dave Vehrs (when not man-handling our 18-wheel Marketing big rig in the Arizona Desert or Florida Keys) builds the drives to go with Joe’s transoms.

When I first started working here, I attended outboard and sterndrive service schools. Drive building was the sterndrive school’s main focus. A beginner quickly learns the challenge of building a drive – over and over – to get the shimming right for correct gear tolerances. It was with this experience that I gained an appreciation for what Mike and Dave do every day. I’m still a rookie; these fellas are top-shelf pros. Read more

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Virtual Tour – Part 4: Horsepower Highway

Continuing from Virtual Tour – Part 3: Outboard Production…we will follow the assembly of Mercury Racing big blocks – those based on GM’s 502 c.i. platform.

Horsepower Highway

Jon VanDenBogart prepares to install a crankshaft in a CNC machined 502 cylinder block.

Pre-assembled pistons and connecting rods are matched to a designated cylinder block to ensure proper fit and function.

“Horsepower Highway” is where our 525 EFI, 565, 600 SCi , 662 SCi and 700 SCi sterndrive engine family is built. One technician hand builds each engine from a bare cylinder block to a “long block” (with all the rotating and reciprocating bits fitted inside). Sub-assembly work prior to an engine build includes the rotating assembly: balancing a crankshaft,  matching it with a camshaft, pistons, rings, and connecting rods for later fitment into the block.

Horsepower Highway was conceived, engineered and built in-house. It features a unique rail system and assembly fixtures used to transport cylinder blocks along the line. At each station, all the required tools and components are located for assembly. Each technician controls the speed of his build, moving the block along at their own pace. If something doesn’t look right, it is his discretion to stop right then and there. The build begins with installation of a camshaft. Next is the installation of a crankshaft, timing chain and matched piston and connecting rod sets. The bottom end is sealed with the installation of the oil pan.

The engine is rotated on its assembly fixture to enable work on the top end: The cylinder heads are installed; then push rods and rocker arms. Temporary valve covers mask the valve train prior to paint. An intake is the last component installed before the long bock goes to our paint line. Upon return from paint, it goes back on The Highway for installation of a bell housing.  Color matched valve covers replace the temporaries to complete valve train assembly. Transmissions for NXT1 or NXT6 drive models are installed at this point as well.

Jon rolls a 700 SCi long block along Horsepower Highway.

It’s not everyday one sees a Nanna Yeller 565 rolling along The Highway. Mike Rebedew puts finishing touches on the 8.7 Liter long block.

Long blocks for various engine models look similar. One noticeable difference is the intake (long blocks with naturally aspirated intakes are destined to become 525 EFIs or 565s; those with pressure charged intakes will become 600/662 or 700 SCi’s). Custom color long blocks stand out, too. The “dress line” is where an engine get its true personality. Read more

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OptiMax Roars in Bay City; Rinker Wins F1

Photos: Paul Kemiel Photographics

Opti Early Adopter David McCormick proudly waves the checkered flag to the spectators.

Donny Lick captures his first Bay City victory in this OptiMax powered Lee hull.

Mercury OptiMax powered boats swept the Formula 2 competition at the 25th annual Dow Bay City River Roar Sunday, June 24. A total of 13 boats lined up for the 30-lap final on the Saginaw River in Bay City, Michigan. The race was round two of the 2012 Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour.

David McCormick, crew chief for F2 winner Donny Lick gave me a play-by-play of their victorious weekend. “Chris Fairchild won the first of two qualifying heats, with Donny in second. We changed props and it was all Donny – flag-to-flag- in heat 2,” exclaimed David. Fellow OptiMax competitors Jimmie Merleau and Chris Fairchild rounded out 2-3. Donny got the pole position for Sunday’s 30-lap final – with Chris, Jimmie, Dan Orchard and Merv Bjork rounding out the top five- all with OptiMax 200s,” said David. Ruban Ascencio was the lone OptiMax driver in the remaining field along with four traditional Mercury SST 120 outboard powered boats and two F1 Sport entries (featuring carburetted 2.5 Liter Mercury outboards).

A total of six OptiMax powered boats competed in the 30-lap F2 final.

2012 Dow Bay City River Roar F2 Champion Donny Lick.

Donny lead the 30-lap final from the start with Chris Fairchild in hot pursuit. As the race wore on, traffic began to build. Donny got blocked by traffic on lap 28. Chris made a move and was successful in getting around Donny for the lead. His lead was brief, as by lap 29, he too was blocked and Donny regained the lead to capture the checkered flag. Chris, Jimmie, Merv and Dan rounded out 2-5. Chris summed up the event by saying,  “Donny ran a good race. It was great to see the Optis finish strong.”

“It was just a fantastic weekend. This was my first major series win since I got into tunnel boat racing in 2000. And I just realized it was Donny’s first major F2 victory since he started back in 2006,” said David.

I had asked Donny if he had ever run in Bay City before. He rattled off the different years and blown powerheads or broken equipment that went along with them. “Thank you Mercury Racing for developing such an awesome motor. This thing just keeps running and running – we don’t really have to do anything to it. It’s much easier to run and maintain than the 120s. It’s certainly more economical; in both fuel usage and cost of ownership,” Donny said.

David McCormick was one of the early adopters of the OptiMax race engine. “We first ran the Optis three years ago. It’s been a learning curve for us. It’s taken this long for the racing community to accept it. I think the results here prove it is a viable engine. We’re excited for our next major race, the Three Rivers Regatta, July 3-4, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” David concluded.

 F1 in Black& White

Terry Rinker airs it out over Saginaw to capture his fourth Bay City victory.

Terry Rinker clinches his fourth Bay City River Roar victory.

Terry Rinker of Tampa, Florida dusted off his 2005 Lee tunnel boat to win the F1 competition. The field of 12 had a surprise entry with the return of veteran tunnel boat ace Tim Seebold. This was Tim’s first powerboat race in almost two years. I believe this was the first time in history a Seebold qualified for a race in an engine other than black in color and a boat that was not of their own design. Tim qualified in a V-6 Johnson powered DAC hull. A blown powerhead forced him to start last on the dock in a backup Johnson powered Seebold for the 50-lap final. His father Bill Seebold was on the radios.

Lynn Simburger #72 running with Tim Seebold in the 50-lap F1 final.

I asked Terry what it was like to see Tim compete with Johnson power. “It was good to see Tim back. He’s a tough competitor, no matter what he’s driving. Chris [Fairchild] is always tough to beat as well.” Chris had similar words to say. “Terry ran a great race. I finished seven seconds behind him and 12 seconds ahead of Tim in his 3.0 Liter Johnson. I’m happy with that – given I run stock 2.5 Liter Mercury power,” Chris said. Seebold, Brian Venton and Steve Lee rounded out 3-5. All, with the exception of Seebold, were powered by Mercury 2.5 EFI race outboards.

This was Terry’s fourth Bay City victory – the last was back in 2006. “Bay City is always tough. Its just a rough race – you never know what the next lap will bring,” Terry said.

The next round for the Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour is the Roar on the River, July 20-22, Trenton Michigan.
















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Virtual Tour – Part 3: Outboard Production

Continuing from Virtual Tour – Part 2: Quality, Paint, and Quad Cam Production…we will follow the assembly of a Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS outboard.

2-Cycle Outboards

Gary Aman lowers a 300XS powerhead into position for final engine assembly.

Mike Riedi has over 30 years experience handcrafting high performance gearcases.

Consumer, government and race outboards, featuring Mercury’s low-emissions, direct fuel injected 2-stroke OptiMax powerheads, are assembled at Mercury Racing’s factory in Taycheedah, Wisconsin. Consumer models include the 3.0 Liter OptiMax 250 SportXS and the 3.2 Liter OptiMax 300XS outboards. Watch for a future post on the OptiMax JP, an outboard we build for the government.

The competition outboards produced in Mercury Racing’s factory include our 2.5 Liter OptiMax 200XS SST (Super Stock Tunnel) and 2.5 Liter OptiMax 200XS ROS (Race Offshore). However, Racing’s four strokes — the 60 EFI FormulaRace and the Verado 350 SCi — while designed and validated here, are built off-site at other Mercury facilities in order to share common (and expensive to replicate) production processes.

OptiMax 300XS powerheads await their turn on the dyno.

Mike Hammer inspects each cylinder with a bore scope camera.

OptiMax powerheads are manufactured complete, to Racing’s specifications, at Mercury Marine’s headquarters campus — home to Mercury OptiMax outboard production in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Upon their arrival at Mercury Racing, a powerhead’s first stop is one of our 2-cycle dynamometers. Upon completing a power run, they move to Racing’s 2-cycle department. There, technicians inspect the cylinders, to ensure proper wear patterns, prior to final outboard assembly. Meanwhile, another technician is working his magic: handcrafting a gearcase that will efficiently transfer 300 h.p. to the water. Read more

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Virtual Tour – Part 2: QC, Paint & QC4v

Continuing from Virtual Tour – Part 1: Intro.… we will visit Mercury Racing’s Quality Control and Paint Line.  We’ll end up in the 4-Cycle Race Shop where technicians build our exclusive quad-cam, four valve sterndrive engine family. Lets go!

Quality Control

Quality Control plays a critical support role in Racing's manufacturing processes.

The automated Coordinate Measurement Machine is the newest addition to our Quality Control room.

Wherever we can, quality control (the discipline) is built into our production processes. Got to build it in; can’t inspect it in. Quality Control (the department) supports these quality processes (trust but verify) — and measures tolerance’s on everything from machined castings, gears, cylinder bores, pistons, crankshafts and anything else used in the production of Mercury Racing products. QC also plays a critical role in the in-house prototype development of new products. This place was buzzing with activity during the development of the QC4v sterndrive engine platform because so much was new — suppliers, parts and processes. Read more

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Three Months Out: a 565 Update!

It’s been a few months since the Miami introduction of Mercury Racing’s 565 horsepower, 8.7 liter engine. I thought I’d check in with the “early adopters” for their impressions. I suspected I would be pleased; I was right.

The universal highlights:

Hustler 344 Cheetah "burns nothin!" with 565's. Photo courtesy of Hustler Powerboats.

Mercury Racing ZeroEffort Digital controls perfectly compliment this very tasteful helm. Photo courtesy of Cigarette Racing.

1)   exceptional top end performance,

2)   unexpectedly good fuel economy!

3)   seductively smooth shift and throttle and

4)   amazing time-to-plane and mid-range acceleration!



Nordic's 24SX catamaran tops 100 mph with a single Mercury Racing 565. Photo by Robert Brown, courtesy of Sportboat Magazine.

Top End. Nordic’s new 24SX catamaran, with a single 565, is routinely “over the 100 mph mark,” according to Nordic GM, Kevin Doane. Cigarette’s 38 Top Gun 90+ MPH runs, well… 90+! “Really, it’s 90++!” says Skip Braver. “It shifts like it has 1350’s,” he continued. Nor-Tech’s 420 Monte Carlo “tops 86 mph” in the words of Scott Conrad. Formula’s Miami show boat, 400 FX Super Sport, is running 63 mph for its owner (2 people, full of fuel and water). Whatever your boating preference, that is excellent performance from these engines in a wide range of boat types.

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Mercury Sweeps Rouen!

A Mercury S3000 race outboard powers Team Pegase-Humanis to win Rouen.

The 49th annual 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race concluded 4 p.m. Rouen, France time Monday, May 28. This year, Mercury dominated the event — powering the top nine finishers: Mercury powered the top five in Class 3 (mostly Mercury S3000 race engines with a sprinkling of Evinrudes). Merc owned all of Class 2 (OptiMax 200XS SST or SST 120 power). The fourstroke Mercury’s swept the top four in Class 1 competition (Mercury, Honda and Yamaha brands).

The international all-female entry Olympic Team Rouennais finished a respectable 4th in Class 2 -- just a few laps short of the podium.

Rouen 2012 was historic on many fronts:

1) This was the first time in recent history the race start date was changed from April 30. It was the second consecutive year the race was not run continuously for 24 hours. This year the race was stretched out to three days, with six hours of racing on Saturday, May 26; 12 hours of racing on Sunday, May 27; and the final six hours run on Monday, May 28. Racing began 3:30 p.m. local time Saturday, May 26 and ran until 9:30 p.m. Racing convened at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 27 and ran until 9:30 p.m. Racing convened again 10:00 a.m. Monday with a 4 pm finish.

2) This year also marked the first time in history an International All-Female team (Olympic Team Rouennais #24) competed in the event.

3) 2012 was the first time a Mercury fourstroke won Class 1 which has historically favored 2-stroke Yamahas.

Class 3 and Top Five 

Team Pegase is always a strong competitor in Rouen.

Team Pegase completed 730 laps to win Class 3 and the race overall.

Team Pegase Humanis #8, a Mercury S3000 race outboard-powered Moore hull won the race overall and Class 3 competition. Drivers Christophe Boyard, Xavier Savin and R. Avenel completed 730 laps, 30 laps ahead of Drakkar #2. Force Inshore #18, Neptune Inshore #14, and Tech Motor Racing-Matm #16 rounded out the top five overall and in Class 3 competition. All were powered by Mercury S3000 race outboards. Read more

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Women Attack Rouen!

OptiMax 200XS SST race outboards dominated the 2000 24 Hours of Rouen.

The OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard powered boat Tammy Wolf and Team OTR will be racing in Rouen.

An International, all-female team will compete for the first time in the 48th annual 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race, May 26-28.  Olympic Team Rouennais (OTR) drivers include Bimba Sjoholm of Sweden, Marie-Line Hericher of France, Norwegian Mette Bjerknaes and Canadian Tammy Wolf.  The ladies’ attack vessel will use a Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST outboard to race against competitors with like power — those with Mercury SST 120 race outboards in Class 2. They’ll also be up against more powerful Mercury S3000 race outboard powered entries in Class 3. With OptiMax’s fuel economy advantage, Team OTR has a real shot at an overall win.

Veteran female F1 driver Marit Stromoy of Norway, who is also competing in Rouen for the first time, will campaign a Mercury S3000 powered boat in Class 3 competition.

Tammy Wolf

Tammy Wolf has over 17 years of power boat racing experience. Photo courtesy Tamy Wolf.

The girls gave their boat new paint to reflect their historic team. Photo courtesy Tammy Wolf.

This is Tammy’s first Rouen experience. “It is a dream come true to attend such a legendary and historical event. I never thought I would have the opportunity to compete in the toughest and most challenging tunnel boat race in the world,” said Tammy. No new comer, she’s been racing boats for over 17 years.

I asked Tammy how the team came about. “The team was chosen by Team Manager Albert Hericher (Marie’s husband) and Operations Manager Carl Kinder. They reviewed the top female tunnel boat drivers in the world and I am honored to be one who was hand-picked for this team,” Tammy said.  Two-time Rouen champion Chris Fairchild has been giving her guidance over the past couple of months. “Chris taught me Rouen is not won on the first lap. The race will equally be about survival and speed. I believe a constant strong performance is needed to be successful,” said Tammy. “Driving in Rouen is an honor; finishing in Rouen is a great achievement; a podium finish will be a dream. The most incredible part of this journey is the amazing support I have had from Mercury, Peters and May, my family, friends and fans,” Tammy said. Read more

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Virtual Tour – Part 1: Introduction

Mercury Racing World Headquarters - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

The author - Senior Tour Guide and Marketing guy.

“Welcome to  Mercury Racing.  Nice to Have You Here!” is the first thing most visitors hear upon entering the reception area of our Fond du Lac, Wisconsin headquarters. For over 15 years, I’ve welcomed visitors from all parts of the globe who come for a personal tour of our operations. It’s fun to meet people who enjoy our products. I love to see their expressions and hear their comments. All leave with a better understanding of what we do as a business, the services we provide and products we produce. One of the big things people leave with:  an appreciation for the “sweat equity” that goes into all facets of production. Visitors are amazed at the hand-craftsmanship and palpable pride that our people put into our products.

This is the first in a series of posts featuring a virtual tour of Mercury Racing. Text and still photos will be complimented with high definition video shot by John Potts of American Performance Television. Before we begin, we need to review a bit of history. Read more

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Aussie Optis

Guy Williamson from our Australian office sent me exciting news recently regarding our OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard. The latest generation of  the low emissions 2-stroke made a big impact at its Australian Formula Powerboat GP debut. The second round of the national series was held April 28-30 on the Clarence River in Grafton, Australia.

Mercury OptiMax changes the game for Australian Formula Poweboat GP racing. Photo credit:

Low-e OptiMax outboards place 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in F1 competition. Mercury F-1 outboards were 1st and 4th. Photo credit:

In a David vs Goliath performance, The three OptiMax entries finished 2-3 and 5th in Formula 1 competition. Apparently the Australian powerboat racing governing body has not yet finished its technical inspection and rule book for the 200 h.p. engine designed for Formula 2 competition. Those wishing to race were forced to move up into the Formula 1 class and compete against 300 h.p. Mercury 2.5 EFI race outboard powered hulls. Any way you look at it, it’s an all Mercury victory.

Reigning 2011 Australian F1 champion Damien Mackenzie continued his winning streak in Grafton. Although Damien was able to fend off the pesty F2 Opti entries – three of his fellow F1 competitors weren’t so lucky. Mercury OptiMax, driven by Michael Page, finished second, just ahead of fellow Opti competitor Grant Trask in My Home Now. Gavin Simmons finished behind the two OptiMax powered entries in his Mercury 2.5 EFI race outboard powered hull. Page and Trask are now 4th and 5th in the F1 points chase – despite their running F2 class engines and missing the 2012 season opener.

Read more

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Boiling Water in the Desert

Gary Williams’ M31 DCB challenges the “big power” and full race boats. Dave Hemmingson enjoys being the first boat brand to the card stop.

I had a blast at Desert Storm this year. (Or should I say “once again this year!”?) The first West Coast showing of our new 565 was at the Havasu Boat Show just last week — and we had one on display at Desert Storm’s street party and another in a 24 Nordic!  And in even greater numbers than last year, Mercury Racing QC4v engines were back.

Frisini 43 Catania, with Dr. Jasper at the helm, running Lake Havasu.

Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB) had four customers’ boats with QC4v power. Marine Technology Inc‘s (MTI) 1350 powered “Phantom” 48 was pounding out tunes as well as boat speed — its twin 1350s performing dual roles of power and musical accompaniment. (I tagged along with owner, Ken Armstrong, and his crew for the poker run — and the party that seems to spring up wherever he goes. Wow! I think “Phantom” could idle on its sub-woofers alone.) And there’s more! Dr. Gabe Jasper’s brand new, bright red and silver Frisini 43 Catania catamaran with 1350’s made its desert debut as well.

Ken Armstrong’s Phantom themed MTI is a real crowd pleaser — unless you’re among the crowd left in his wake.

Dave Hemmingson enjoys turning heads with Mercury Racing QC4v’s. At Desert Storm last year, DCB was ripping up Lake Havasu with Mike Stevenson’s stunning orange and black, 2,700 horsepower M35 Wide Body. In 2010, Gary Williams’ 1350 powered M31 recorded 176.4 mph. This year, with the same 1350s coupled to a new pair of Mercury Racing Pro-Finish CNC props, the metallic green rocket ship ran over 180 mph  — on pump gas! The official speed record for a single engine boat this year? Troy Rapp’s DCB F29. Sporting a single Mercury 1350, the 29-foot cat clocked an astounding 129 mph in Saturday’s shootout!  Read more

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Rendezvous in Havasu

The Mercury truck in position at the Lake Havasu Boat Show. Photo credit: Bob Brown.

Mercury Racing M8 drives on the transom of a 1350 powered DCB M-35 Wide Body. Photo credit: Bob Brown.

I just got off the phone with our National Sales Manager, Kevin Skiba. Kevin is on his way back from Arizona after the Lake Havasu Boat Show.  It sounds like the show was a resounding success. Kevin and drive technician Dave Vehrs represented Mercury Racing at the show. Other Mercury reps included Brad Hammel from Mecury Repower  and West Coast Technical Area Manager Michael Scott.

Lake Havasu is a Mecca for performance boating. It’s only natural to have a boat show and the upcoming Desert Storm Poker Run there. Performance boat exhibitors for the boat show included Advantage, Conquest/Group 1, DCB, HallettEliminator, Howard, E-Ticket, Doug Wright and MTI.

New boats making their Havasu debut included Nordic’s sporty new 24-foot catamaran powered by a single 565 sterndrive and Frisini Motorsports’ new SCX 43 cat with twin 1350s. Read more

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Bravo on the Bayou

Mercury Marine reps celebrate another BASS Classic victory. (L-R) Scott Reichow, Kevin "KB" Brown, Mike Shedivy, Randy Qualls (Legend Boats), Chris Lane (2012 Classic Winner), Michelle Kilburn, Steve Miller

The Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard propeller features a tuned exhaust tube with large one-inch vent holes for enhanced 2-stroke outboard performance.

I’m fortunate to annually represent Mercury Racing at the Bass Master Classic in the Mercury booth. This year, a fisherman named Rick asked me if there was a Mercury prop that would work for him. He had recently purchased a 2012 Triton 19XS powered by an OptiMax Pro XS 200. Rick was frustrated with the performance. The sharp turns and switchbacks on the Bayou where he runs were causing his propeller to break loose. This forced him to back off the throttle, causing the boat to lose speed and drop off plane. Rick had contacted his Triton representative regarding the issue. Although they discussed various options, the rep suggested Rick continue using a three blade prop.

The performance facts that I gathered in our conversation pointed me to a Bravo I XS. I told Rick the prop is designed specifically for low-emissions 2-stroke OptiMax outboards. Rick responded, “Isn’t Bravo I a sterndrive prop?” Read more

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Hi-Performance Boat Operation – Part 3: Prep & Drive

Pre-run inspection of a 700 SCi powered DCB catamaran. Photo credit: Tres Martin's Performance Boat School.

Twin OptiMax 300XS outboards rigged on a 30-foot Spectre catamaran.

In my previous post (Part 2) regarding high performance boat operation, I reviewed basic information on rigging fit and function. Now its time to head to the ramp.

While the boat is still on the trailer, walk around for a visual inspection of the hull.  Next, climb aboard for a visual inspection of the interior and engine compartment (motor well for outboards): ensure everything is in place and secure. Don’t forget the drain plug(s)!  Check your other safety accessories: aboard? In secure locations?

Helm of a DCB M35 catamaran powered by twin 700 SCi sterndrives.

Helm of 50-foot Cigarette Marauder with twin 1350 sterndrives.

Once your boat is launched,  review the helm to familiarize yourself with the location and function of all instruments and controls. Make sure the steering wheel, throttle and shift controls are well within your reach and that you are comfortable with their operation.

If your boat is fitted with K-Plane trim tabs, be comfortable with the location and operation of the tab trim switches. The driver needs to know the location and function of accessory switches such as bilge blower, bilge pump, running lights, horn, courtesy lights and related fuses, or circuit breakers. Read more

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Protect Your Investment

The New Mercury Racing CNC Cleaver Propeller Cover.

As you prepare for the upcoming boating season, remember to check the condition of your props to ensure they are in good condition and ready to go.

Mercury Racing 6-blade CNC Cleaver propeller.

To keep them in good shape, use propeller covers. We’ve developed an all-new cover specifically for Mercury Racing CNC Cleaver propellers. The 18-inch diameter cover features a tough, tear resistant and waterproof nylon shell. Red webbing highlights the outer edge. The silk screened Mercury Racing logo resists absorption of oil, grease and other contaminants.

The interior is lined with a tough ballistics material. The puncture resistant lining encases a marine grade padding to help protect the prop from impact. Read more

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Islamorada Poker Run Fun!


Verados almost everywhere!

Florida Powerboat Club’s (FPC) Miami to Islamorada poker run follows the world’s best boat show. It’s unusually interesting because of that timing: Many of the Miami Show boats make their first outings with Stu Jones’ club. I counted eight show boats on Thursday’s wave.

OK, poker runs are about the fun, relationships and a common interest in performance boating. But my focus is mostly on our customers and their hardware (my job!)…

This year, I hitched a ride on Thursday with Derek Wachob, his family and friends. Their new 42 Cigarette Huntress is powered with five of the Mercury Racing designed 350SCi Verados! What a ride! And the sound system: young Madison sure can “shake that groove thing”! (So can Abby – and probably anyone else within about two miles.) Derek reloaded and made the trek again on Friday in his sinister black ZR 48 MTI.

Read more

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Fred’s Window on the Miami Show

Cigarette 38 Top Gun 90+ MPH: Update of a classic and first installation of 565’s.

Demonstrating the 565 in Nor-Tech's 420 Monte Carlo, the author with a prospect, Rex.
Demonstrating the 565 in Nor-Tech’s 420 Monte Carlo, the author with a prospect — my personal friend, Rex.

What a couple of weeks! For me, the Miami Show is about the best activity one can still call work. We rolled out Racing’s new, 8.7 liter, digital throttle and shift, 565 hp propulsion package. That gave me plenty of excuses to hang out with customers of Mercury, Cigarette, Dave’s Custom Boats, Formula and Nor-Tech.

The abundance of new boats powered with 1350, 1100, 700SCi, 525EFI or 350SCi’s didn’t spoil my attitude, either.

What better way to cap off a successful Miami International Boat Show than a poker run with Stu Jones and his Florida Powerboat Club to Islamorada? That’s some great folks with whom to share time!

Read more

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Breakout Show!

Fred with the all-new 565 sterndrive. Photo courtesy of Charles Plueddeman -

Even competitors came by to check out our new products.

My first indication this was going to be a breakout Miami show was first thing Thursday. We had a huge gathering of media and trade professionals  for our 10:05 a.m. press conference.

Kevin Grodzki was first up to unveil the Mercury 150 Fourstroke outboard for its debut appearance at the world’s largest boat show. Fred Kiekhaefer followed with his unveiling of our all-new 565 sterndrive. Both engine’s were very well received. From that point on – the show was a non-stop-go.

We had two free-standing static 565 engine displays at the show – one in the Mercury booth and one in Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB) booth.

Read more

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Lovin’ Up Our Classic Big Block

These are some of our people who made the 565 happen.

Color optioned Super Silver valve cover caps Racing's exclusive aluminum 2-valve cylinder head.

New for the 2012 Miami International Boat Show — and enthusiastic performance boaters!

Mercury Racing has updated its core, big block sterndrive! Now, the venerable 525EFI has a digital sibling — 565!

We’ve stroked the block to 8.7 liters (or 533 cubic inches), redesigned the cylinder heads, added a second throttle body to the inlet, broadened the torque curve and increased output to 565 horsepower at 5,000-5400 rpm.


Zero Effort digital throttle: the ideal way to control this powerhouse!

Top mounted PCM, TCM and electrical connections makes installation easier.

Mercury Racing’s new 565 runs strong on 89 octane pump gas (RON+MON)/2. It employs dual throttle bodies and electronic fuel injection flowing through a new cylinder head which we designed with improved valve angles for better flow and more precise air and fuel distribution.

Managing operations is a new controller for this engine – the same Propulsion Control Module used on our 1350.

Read more

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Bravo I FS

Big four strokes are back as a viable power option for bass boats.

The new Pro Finish Bravo I FS prop was developed for four stroke outboard applications.

I can’t wait for the 2012 Miami Boat Show. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and talking props with boaters, boat builders, dealers, consumers and racers. We’re geared up to have another big show. Fred Kiekhaefer has another exciting new product to unveil and I have a couple of new things to show as well. In fact, I just couldn’t wait any longer to talk about our new outboard prop.

You may recall my post regarding the Bravo I XS. We took the proven Bravo One sterndrive prop, added big one-inch vent holes in the hub and did some other tweaks to make it a big performer on low-emissions OptiMax outboards. Read more

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Team Mercury – Part 3: Earl Bentz

Earl in the "Big Bore T-4" powered Seebold. Photo credit:

Photo from 1980 Popular Performance boat magazine feature on Earl.

“My racing days hold many fond memories for me. Being part of the Mercury Racing Team made it possible for a young country boy from South Carolina to go places, do things, and meet people from all over the world that would have otherwise never happened.” wrote Earl Bentz, regarding his time driving for Team Mercury.

Earl credits his uncle, D.F. Jenkins [Jenkin Outboard, Charleston, SC]. for getting him into racing. He ran his first race at age 16 on Lake Murray, South Carolina. “Blue Goose” was the name of the boat, a 100 h.p. Mercury-powered deep-vee.

“My uncle bought me my first tunnel boat over the Winter of 1968-69. It was a Galaxie tunnel boat powered by a stock V-4 Johnson that qualified me for Sport J class. One of my all-time favorites was the ‘Wild Geechee’. It was a kneel-down tunnel with a ‘crash’ throttle. We probably won 80% of the races we entered. One year in particular, we won 20 consecutive races in classes from Sport J all the way to U and S class [unlimited single engine outboard],” said Earl.


Read more

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Clean Power for Future Champions

The low-emissions Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard is featured in UIM F-4S racing. Photo credit: Hartmut Knape.

Mercury made history with the 1997 debut of low-emissions engines at the 24 Hours of Rouen endurance race.

We are pleased to have been awarded the 2011 Environmental Award for Economic Feasibility and Sustainability by the Union International Motonautique (UIM). The award nominations were announced January 21 during the UIM press conference at the Dusseldorf Boat Show. We were one of four companies recognized for our proactive efforts in protecting the marine environment. Mercury Racing received a special mention for our development and production of low-emissions engines for the greening of outboard powerboat racing worldwide.

Mercury customers, myself included, want to boat on clean water and in a healthy environment. Mercury Racing showcases our environmentally responsible technologies through powerboat racing and performance boating,” said Mercury Racing President, Fred Kiekhaefer.

Nico Bauduin addresses the media during the UIM press conference in Dusseldorf. Photo credit: Arek Rejs.

The GT30 class boat features a low-emissions Mercury four stroke outboard. Photo credit: Arek Rejs.

Nico Bauduin, responsible for Mercury outboard sales in Europe and the Middle East, represented us in Dusseldorf. “Mercury has worked hard over the past few years to bring industry leading emissions compliant technology to outboard powerboat racing. We’re proud of our racing heritage. We are equally excited to be working with the UIM in the development of low-emissions entry level classes for the next generation of racing champions.”

Nico was referring to the UIM’s new Youth Development Program.  The powerboat racing training program is designed to encourage youth, starting at the age of 10, to get involved in the sport of powerboat racing. The program features two classes; GT15 and GT30. Both feature a 12-1/2 foot vee-bottom hull powered by a low-emissions Mercury four stroke outboard. The GT30 boats are capable of reaching speeds up to 62 mph.

UIM President - Dr. Raffaele Chiulli (L) discusses the future of powerboat racing with Nico Bauduin. Photo credit: Arek Rejs.

Nico poses for the camera while future GT30 racer Tobias Komm takes the wheel. Photo credit: Arek Rejs.

UIM president Dr. Raffaele Chiulli said, “There are lots of talented young drivers and we want to provide an opportunity for them to participate in the sport by sponsoring these boats. Also, safety took top priority when the boats were being built.”

The UIM plans to take the boats to various races and power boating events around the world for a multicultural exchange with children from every member nation of the UIM. Tobias Komm is one of the drivers to sign up for the program. The 20-year old from Dinslaken, Germany will enter his first GT30 race in April.

We admire the UIM for their commitment in the future of powerboat racing. We’re proud to be the power behind the Youth Development Program and future UIM champions.










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Team Mercury – Part 2: Reggie Fountain

Reggie in a Team Mercury Seebold hull during the 1978 season. Photo Credit: Fountain 25th Anniversary book.

Reggie checks the rigging on this Mercury Twister II powered hull. Photo Credit: Fountain 25th Anniversary book.

“That boat was a rocket sled!” said Reggie Fountain about his first boat with Team Mercury.

Reggie began racing in 1954. He was 14. He started in B class hydros and runabouts. When I asked about engines, “I’ve always used nothing but Mercury’s….My first race engine was a Super 10 Hurricane with Quincy straight pipes. They were very loud. The hydro ran 60-70 mph which was pretty fast back then,” said Reggie.

Reggie claims the first thing he wanted after law school was to race. He bought a tunnel boat in 1968. “It was a twin-engine, 21-foot Glastron…I did pretty well at local races. You could tell the difference between independent boats like mine and the ones from the factories,” said Reggie. “My boat weighed 775-780 lbs, less driver. Joe Felder [on Glastron’s factory team] had an identical rig – but much lighter at 515 lbs.”  Reggie saw the advantage of factory support and the need to build a factory network. Read more

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Team Mercury – Part 1: Bill Seebold

Team Mercury core drivers (L-R): Reggie Fountain, Bill Seebold, Earl Bentz.

TEAM Mercury tunnel boats featured in the cover of the 1978 Mercury Hi-Performance product catalog.

A recent discovery of classic photos of the Team Mercury outboard tunnel boat race team rekindled my curiosity of the outboard factory war era when Mercury and OMC (Outboard Marine Corporation – parent company of the Johnson and Evinrude brands at the time) battled for bragging rights (and sales) across the globe.

I thought it would be interesting to interview the team drivers to hear first hand what it was like racing for Team Mercury. Read more

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Our Colors Are Your Colors!

Mercury Racing’s color options provide unique combinations for your boat’s theme. Seeing what others have chosen for color options or customization can be inspiration for your Mercury Racing engine application. You can go mild; you can go wild. It’s your canvas! It’s your taste.

Your choices from our palate include:

Standard QC4v (1350 & 1100) colors — Super Silver metallic over Raven Black non-metallic

Standard big block (700SCi – 525EFi) colors — Racing Blue metallic over Raven Black non-metallic

Cigarette AMG with standard 1350 colors: Super Silver over Bling-Bling Black. The finished boat was tasteful and rich looking.


Raven Black non-metallic


Bling Bling Black metallic

DCB added a splash of custom orange to our carbon covers. The engines are custom colored in Raven Black inlet and exhaust over a Raven Black block.


Dandy Candy Red metallic

This Skater customer chose Dandy Candy Red over a Super Silver block.


Mercury Racing Blue metallic

Nor-Tech’s customer chose Mercury Racing Blue metallic for his blocks. Engine room LEDs in blue really finished off the effect!

Being assembled is Racing Blue over Raven Black I’m betting this DCB has some blue going on.


Super Silver metallic

Nordic chose a conservative double Super Silver to power its new 43 Enforcer.


Devil Red Eye non-metallic

Devil Red Eye 1350s installed in a Skater which was displayed in Key West’s Poker Run Village in November.

Skater Nation chose double Devil Red Eye non-metallic.


Fire Orange Pearl metallic

An owner’s Fire Orange Pearl on his 850SCi engines — returned to Racing for refresh.


Slate Grey metallic

Slate 700SCi engines look classy with this orange and grey theme.


Hulkin’ Green Pearl metallic

This is a research engine going together in Super Silver over a Hulkin’ Green block.


Beefy M8s in Nanna Pearl! I can hardly wait to see this boat!

Nanna Yellow Pearl metallic. (We have Nanna engines in the pipeline, but not built yet. So, there are the M8 upper housings.)


Joyze Poypole metallic. A pair went out the door and nobody snapped a photo! UPDATE: I found this EU662 in Shipping on Jan 17, 2012, before heading to Europe!

And the winner is…

Nanna and “we don’t do white” research engine.

Here’s an EU662 in “Joyze Poypole” metalic.



For John Woodruff, MTI painted boat colors over his 1350 top and front covers for a truly custom touch to our standard colors.



Mike and Dave put the finishing dress on this outrageous 1100. This power is wearing Hulkin’ Green and Fire Orange! Yeow!

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Racing’s Elves Are Humming!

Crankin' out the Quad Cams before Racing's brief Holiday plant closure.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around Mercury Racing. All our elves are racing to beat the year end clock. There is so much hardware in progress that you can hardly see the little Christmas tree! (Here’s last year’s.) A mix of 1,100 and 1,350 horsepower QC4v packages and other big blocks are scheduled to ship before December 28, 2011 when we close for the New Year Holiday. (Yes, we take a short break for Christmas, too.)

Four Mercury Racing big blocks await crates and boxing.


It has been a while since I’ve seen Zeus drives, Sport Jets, 300XS outboards, NXT and M8 sterndrives, 1350s and big blocks all queued in our Shipping Department at the same time!

Between boat builder demand for the 2012 boat show season and immediate needs for consumer boats in production, Racing is Rockin’.

The only blues singing out at Racing will be this guy and its partner -- wailing in dyno cell #5 at 6,500 rpm!

No Holiday blues ringing out here — at least until these blue 1350s light up! A QC4v’s song will lift spirits almost anywhere, whether it’s the Holidays or not. It’s a downright giddy tune when you hear these bad boys in a boat like John Rosatti’s 50 Cigarette Marauder.

Of course, while it’s Winter here, it’s Summer down under… And the “99 Psycho Clowns” ski racing team is putting its single, 1350 powered ski boat through its paces. Their video of testing earlier this year in Australia is surreal. Click the link if you haven’t seen this clip already.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Mercury Racing! Enjoy the season — and your next boating season, too! You can bet that I’m going to. Ho, ho, ho!

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The 1959 Glass Craft Aero Dynamic Citation as it looked prior to the restoration.

A custom graphic adorns the top of the replica "alien" engine cowling.

Chris Fairchild is a busy guy. His passion is powerboat racing. He’s been racing tunnel boats for over 20 years.  He not only races his own boats in F1 and SST 120 classes, he also builds and repairs race engines and gearcases. He manages to do this in addition to his “real job” of building custom homes with his father, Jim. So, when he sent me pictures of his latest project, I wasn’t surprised. But it still impresses me that he accomplishes what he does with all of the things going on in his life.

A neurosurgeon approached Chris with the idea of restoring the family boat he grew up with.  The boat started life as a 1959 Glass Craft Aero Dynamic Citation outboard runabout.  The doctor wanted to restore the Glass Craft so he could have something to run on the river during the limited time he is “off-duty.” The challenge was the water levels are too low for traditional outboard propulsion. The doctor asked Chris if the boat could be converted to a jet boat. Chris, always up for a challenge and a journey into the unknown, said, “why not?” Read more

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On Their Own Plane

The cover of the original K-Plane Trim Tabs brochure.

K-Planes continue to prove themselves in offshore powerboat races around the globe. Photo credit: Paul Kemiel Photographics.

I was going through my literature archives the other day and came across a copy of the original Kiekhaefer Aeromarine, Inc., K-Plane Trim Tabs sales brochure. I’ve always respected the quality and functionality of Kiekhaefer’s literature.  I  thought a blog post regarding the history of K-Plane trim tabs would be of interest. More importantly, it will serve as a refresher regarding the fit, form and function of the world’s most durable trim tabs.

Kiekhaefer Aeromarine Motors first introduced K-Plane Trim Tabs in 1970.  They were designed to keep the fastest, hardest running racing boats on an even keel in just about any water condition. US (APBA) and World Offshore (UIM) champions, Doc Magoon and Carlo Bonomi ran nothing else. In the mid 70s, Fred Kiekhaefer upgraded the product for recreational use. Read more

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Now What?

Steve and Charlie are up to more good!

There’s another monster quad cam four valve platform motor going together in the engineering lab at Mercury Racing. Engineering tech, Charlie Reiter is getting a pointer from R&D engineer, Steve Wynveen.  These guys, and the rest of the engineering team, are always up to something interesting!

Could they be discussing another variant of Mercury Racing’s QC4v? Maybe a global emissions compliant model? Ethanol? (Naw, that stuff is poison in a marine engine.) Sure is GREEN, though!

Maybe it’s a racing engine? Just imagine if we really turned up the wick. What if we ran it on race gas? Sure a lot of speculation about that. But why? Bob Bull’s 1350 powered 48 MTI turned in the fastest lap time of all the boats in Key West — including the turbine.

Perhaps they’re just testing components. Or paint (maybe we have too much “Hulkin’ Green” in inventory). Another endurance engine? Not glamorous, but we do a lot of that kind of testing around here, too.

I guess I’ll have to ask our Engineering Director, Erik Christiansen. Wait, at the Lake of the Ozarks shoot-out and again at the Key West races, he already told interviewers, “We don’t discuss new developments.(Sounds like something I’ve said.) Mum’s the word.” (Sounds like something my dad would have said.)

So, speculate. First, we’re flattered. Second, maybe you’re right. Maybe not. Third, maybe you will plant a seed. Fourth, the Miami Boat Show is just around the corner (February16); Mercury Racing often presents new products in Miami. This year will be no exception. Anyway, we will not say what’s next until we are ready. So please, don’t expect an answer before February 16, 2012.

What the heck is a mum, besides a flower?

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Calm Before the Storm

Here we go. The Holidays are upon us. I’ll be busy in the coming weeks wrapping up projects including the 2012 Mercury Racing Wall Calendars (shipments are set for next week), finalizing 2012 marketing plans and attending to other unfinished business.

Enjoying some time with work associates and friends in Key West. (L-R: Fred Kiekhaefer, Jeff Krueger, Larry Goldman, Gino Gargiulo, Erik Christiansen and me). Photo taken by our dear friend Marilyn DeMartini.

For me, the Holidays are the calm before the storm. I try to enjoy time with family and friends. One of my favorite parts of this time of year is catching up with dealers, boat builders, racers and consumers. I’m thankful for the many wonderful people I’ve met and become friends with over the years.

Kevin Skiba selling at the 2007 Los Angeles Boat Show. Photo credit: Bob Brown - Media Direction.

This is also my busiest and most stressful time of year. For over 20 years, the months of December and January are etched in my brain as “boat show prep time.”  The Miami Int’l Boat Show is our a largest show. It serves us well in terms of connecting with our customers from around the globe. The Los Angeles show enables us to connect with our West Coast customers. Read more

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Fred’s Key West Adventure!

John Rosatti and crew as we prepare to depart Miami. (Photo courtesy of Intercept Boats.)

What started as a spectacular week in the Florida keys was clouded by tragedy: the deaths of Bob Morgan, Jeff Tillman and Joey Gratton because of individual boat blow-overs while racing in SBI’s Key West World Championships. Very sad and they will be missed. Heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these gentlemen from all of us at Mercury Racing.

It is a beautiful day. With a full load of fuel aboard, we made way at 118 mph in the 50 foot Cigarette Marauder.

In contrast, the Florida Powerboat Club poker run from Miami to Key West was both safe and fun! Stu Jones’ event attracted over 175 entrants with more than 160 boats making the trek in four waves; one each day, Tuesday through Friday. I had the opportunity to meet many new friends and catch up with some I haven’t seen for a while. Read more

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Destination: Key West

Artwork featured on the official Mercury Racing event T-shirt.

I’m excited about our title sponsorship of this week’s Key West Poker Run. Over 160 boats are registered for the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) event. The poker run features four flights of  boats running from Miami to Key West. Departures begin Tuesday and run through Friday.  This year is proving to be one of the largest turnouts ever.

By Truck:

The Mercury Racing mobile marketing truck is packed with exciting product displays.

Dave Vhers (see On The Road Again) left Fond du Lac Saturday for Key West in the Mercury Racing mobile marketing truck. The truck will be set-up in the Poker Run Village with exciting product displays including a  1100 sterndrive, a 525 EFI with the Stage 1 X-haust Noise Reducer system and a Mercury Racing Propeller/Accessories display. We will debut our new Power & Propulsion full-line product catalog at the event as well. Poker run participants will receive a variety Mercury Racing branded items in the official event “goody bag.”  Read more

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Fort Lauderdale 2011

Nor-Tech’s custom paint looks great on Mercury 300 Verados.

Cigarette’s new 39 Top Gun Open: great seating all over the boat.

Fort Lauderdale boat show: where to start? First, I spent more time in conversations than taking pictures.

My friend and 1350 customer, Derek Wachob (Black “Z48 Corvette” MTI), was on the performance dock when I arrived. Pier 57’s David Woods was working the Cigarette display. PR maven, Marilyn DeMartini, had Skip Braver engaged in a video interview with Wealth Magazine aboard Cigarette’s new, 39 center console fishing boat.

Cigarette’s European dealer, Marcel, always the gentleman, was politely grilling me about 1350 emissions and noise. “When may I have [QC4v] for the European Union market?” Easy questions; difficult answers: “It is difficult meeting low CO emissions of the European Recreational Craft Directive…blah, blah… But we’re working…blah, blah…” Seriously, we are working to comply with the EU RCD with the QC4v platform, but that’s all I will say for now.

Center consoles seemed to appear everywhere. The trend looks more intended for catching a good time than a big fish. Susan Patterson was eager to show off her new 44 Concept center console fish boat. Concept had (arguably) the most fishable of the new center consoles.

Beautiful detail and lounging comfort aboard a Nor-Tech center console (I can’t bring myself to say “fish boat!”)

While both Cigarette and Concept center consoles’ lounge areas were comfortable, none had more relaxing ones than Trond Schou’s new Nor-Tech. With a 10 foot beam, the foredeck lounge area can accommodate two people taking a nap — and seven people watching them sleep.

Sunsation upped the “dazzle factor” with detail-painted pulleys and even trim pumps on 700 SCi that were already custom colored in “Devil Red” from Mercury Racing.

Sunsation’s new 36 vee bottom displayed one of the most beautifully detailed engine rooms – brimming with twin 700 SCi power — whether the hatch was open or closed (through plexiglas hatch ports).

It was a good, fun boat show! Then the sky opened for two days.

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Hello Handsome! Part 3: Details.














































































The induction system on the 1973 “Champion Maker” needed no styling. Function (here in Doc Magoon’s US-1 Cigarette) was in your face!

































Communicating the technology within. Some technology is simply beautiful on its face. The induction and air balance system of the QC4v platform required only minor refinement to “style” it. It’s just cool – like the 1970s Kiekhaefer fuel injection trumpets from my dad’s “Champion Maker” Class 1 offshore race engines. With QC4v, some minor shaping and angularity masked the required hoses and clamps, but the inlet runners whisper, “You know why we’re here.” Big air!

Both function and movement are suggested in the exhaust manifold styling.

Cast exhaust manifolds, in a world previously occupied by gleaming polished stainless, was a bigger challenge. We opted to communicate the pulse tuning of the exhaust system through subtle relief in the casting surfaces – indicating the pairing of ports and the side-to-side differences. This also helped function: maintaining a high scrubbing speed of the manifold cooling water. Read more

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Hello Handsome! Part 2: Methods.

Inspiration from my “wall”: a great looking engine, necessarily buried in frame rails and fenders, is a Ferrari 4.3L V8.


















One of my favorite details: side cooling ducts on a McLaren. Flowing elegance, if a bit too busy.
















Inspiration. There are a multitude of tools in a stylists arsenal. Before any of them can be used, we have to agree to the physical design constraints which define the canvas. Brainstorming basic design alternatives is a prerequisite to an elegant styling execution (not to mention, functionality). It also requires “the eye.” Stylists see things in many places and contexts where most of us don’t. Inspiration can happen at any time. I keep a photo file of appealing details. Inspiration is everywhere: parking lots, race tracks, concourse events, collector displays, air shows, plumbing show rooms – everywhere. My file becomes a wall during a project like QC4v, but settles in a direction, often reinforcing a theme consistent with product history – the DNA. Choosing one design approach sets many things – including the execution journey and styling constraints. Read more

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Hello Handsome! Part 1: How?

1350 on the dyno at Mercury Racing. With the air boxes and covers removed, one can view some of its inner beauty.

Two years ago, I received a call from Skip Braver, owner of Cigarette Racing. He had just received the first 1350 for his AMG Cigarette: “I don’t want your head to explode, but that is one, handsome engine. Just gorgeous!” Thanks, Skip. Flattering. But how did “handsome” happen?

AMG Cigarette: Form follows function. Beautifully. (Photo courtesy of Cigarette Racing)

Function. First, beauty is deep in the soul of Mercury Racing’s QC4v platform, as well as on the surface: it works as intended; it fulfills the needs and desires of its owners better than any engine offered before. In short, it functions as it should (and better than most customers expected). Function defined the structure.

Form. Second, form followed function. I’ve become somewhat infamous for a comment I made back in the 1980s: “Where is it written, that because it is strong, it must be ugly?” This was a discussion with my manufacturing guy at that time, the late Bill Hackbarth. Bill, a stubborn pragmatist, didn’t like the form of the Kiekhaefer sterndrive (now #6) because he couldn’t figure out how to hold the curvacious upper gear housing in a machining fixture. We changed the form, adding a big lug, so he could clamp it tight. When machining was done, we ground that part back off. Propulsion should look good, but… Form follows function. Read more

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Rinkers’ Romp!

Terry and Rob Rinker celebrate Rob’s SST 60 National Championship.

Photos: Paul Kemiel Photographics

Terry and Rob Rinker enjoyed a historic Labor Day weekend in Kankakee, Ill. The father/son outboard tunnel boat racers claimed four out of ten titles at the 26th annual Outboard Performance Craft (OPC) National Championships. The event, held on the Kankakee River, is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association (APBA). Kankakee is prerequisite for any driver hoping for induction into the APBA’s Hall of Champions. Success here puts you in the record books forever.

Terry Rinker captures the 2011 SST 120 National Championship.

Terry won SST 120, F1 and Mod U National Championships. I believe he is the first to capture three OPC National titles in one year. And to make the holiday weekend even sweeter, Terry’s son Robbie was crowned SST 60 National Champ. SST 120, Champ and Mod U classes feature Mercury V-6 race outboards. Outboard Marine Corporation Johnson and Evinrude race outboards are featured in SST 60 racing.

The Rinker’s record setting four class sweep is historic. The weather was as well. I’ve been to Kankakee a few times during my race support days. It was usually hot and muggy. Mother Nature brought a wild mix of weather this year. Extreme wind gusts were the greatest challenge for the lightweight tunnel race boats. Read more

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Pump Gas Rules at LOTO!

First, the shootout format (for those who are unaware): Enter the one mile course at 40 mph. At the drop of a green flag, accelerate as fast as possible to the highest speed you can reach by the radar gun one mile away. Sounds simple.

Hats off to Canadian, William Tomlinson, and his 6,000 hp 50 ft Mystic turbine powered catamaran – with the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout top speed of 208 mph! Whew!!! William wins the patience contest, too, with two very clean runs…that did not trip the radar guns. That had to be frustrating. Chip Romer performed flawlessly in his 388 Skater at 191 mph. Nice driving!

Port 1350 engine in Bob’s pleasure 48 MTI.

Bob Bull’s 48 MTI exits at 175 mph. Top gun – if there were a class for pump gas!

However, the pump gas shootout was between American, Bob Bull, and Norwegian, Tor Staubo. Both ran 48 MTI cats (Bob had two at the event!) with twin 1350 hp Mercury Racing turbocharged engines. And both came fully armed with professionals along side: Bob carried Randy Scism, owner of MTI. Tor enlisted another world champion, Johny Tomlinson, for the sticks. Read more

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Who Knows What Evil Lurks…?

Skater logo adorns a 1350 front cover: a gift for Pete’s nice purchase.

Skater soon will. This monster 1350 – lurking in the darkened, after-hours hallway of Racing’s dyno lab – is one of the second “official” pair going Pete’s way this week.

Evil 1350 lurking outside a dyno cell at Mercury Racing: Silver and Dandy Candy 1350 with dyno blessing!

Peter Hleden’s technicians have successfully completed Mercury Racing training and are now T.E.A.M. (Total Engine Application Management) accredited to install 1100 and 1350 packages at the Skater factory in Douglas, Michigan. Two prior Skaters have been rigged at a T.E.A.M. accredited dealer for two of Pete’s enthusiastic customers.

Menacing in carbon and Devil Red, this 1350 and its evil twin are in route to Douglas, MI.

A pair of “Devil Red” and carbon fiber 1350 rockets left Racing for Douglas earlier this week. Next and just off the dyno is this interesting first-time color combination of “Super Silver” and “Dandy Candy Red” 1350’s. This somewhat unusual color pairing will complement a spectacular Skater catamaran paint scheme. I can’t wait to see it – and the look on the new owner’s face when he feels the incredible torque!

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Walleye Prop

Mercury Racing Lab Finished Bravo I Outboard Propeller.

Mercury Racing Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard propeller.

You may wonder how we go about testing props. We have a number of our own outboard and sterndrive boats that we use for initial testing. Nevertheless, I’m a firm believer of getting feedback from those who use the product everyday in the real world. Recently, I wanted feedback on performance differences between our Lab Finished Bravo I and Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard props. My target applications were Walleye and bass anglers.

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Oddities & Rarities – Part 3: Race Power

How many outboards can you lay down in a boat?

Maybe this should be “Part 3 through # n” — since few things are odder or rarer than “one-offs” tried in pursuit of a speed record or race victory. Still, some stand tall above others in sheer audacity. Here are some outboards with an identity crisis.

While it ran, it was fast! Count ’em – six sets of exhaust pipes!

Because of the high power to weight ratio of a Merc 2-stroke powerhead, it was inevitable that Mercury Racing’s Fred Hauenstein would lay some outboard engines down on their sides in his Arcadian Unlimted U-86 and go after inboard hydroplane competitors. Read more

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OptiMax Powers Kris Shepard to Bay City F2 Victory

Photo Credits: Paul Kemiel Photographics

Kris Shephard’s boat suffered a gaping hole in the starboard sponson after colliding with Jeff Reno in turn one. A roll of duct tape and two restarts later, Kris captured the F2 checkered flag.

Kris Shepard of Antioch, Illinois, driving his Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard Hoffchild hull, won the 30-lap Dow Bay City River Roar Formula 2 race Sunday, June 26.  The race was round two of the 2011 Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour tunnel boat racing series. See my blog, Shaun Torrente Wins Bay City River Roar for coverage on the Formula 1 race.

Kris started from the pole in a rough race.  He and Jeff Reno collided going into in turn one. Neither flipped – but the incident created a gaping three foot hole on the starboard sponson of Kris’s boat.

Kris Shepard takes a victory lap in his Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard powered Hoffchild hull.

“It was filling up with water in the turns,” said Kris. As luck would have it, the race was stopped shortly after when another competitor flipped. Chris Fairchild and 20 fellow racers and crew members worked feverishly in the pits – cover the hole with duct tape and whatever else they could find. Kris said he would have never been able to finish the race – let alone win – without their help.  Read more

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Shaun Torrente Wins Bay City River Roar

Photo Credits: Paul Kemiel Photographics

The 24th annual Dow Bay City River Roar tunnel boat race, round two of the 2011 Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour, concluded Sunday, June 26. And like the past 23 years – this year didn’t disappoint.  Bay City, Michigan  was one of my favorite stops when I followed the series’ with our outboard race support truck back in the 1990s. The Saginaw River, contained with sea walls, is always full of surprises. I’ve witnessed more blow overs and wicked barrel rolls at this race than I care to remember. Ask any driver who has experienced it and they will tell you Bay City is one of the most challenging tunnel boat races in the world.

Weather conditions this year were near perfect. It was sunny all weekend- with temps in the mid 60s during testing on Friday, warming up to a comfortable mid 70s on Saturday for qualify and low 80s for the final races on Sunday. The winds picked up at race time, creating a rough chop against the current.

Shaun Torrente won the Bay City River Roar Formula 1 race. He led the 11 boat field from start-to-finish.

Miami, Florida native Shaun Torrente has always been an exciting driver to watch. At 32, he is a young, skillful driver who isn’t afraid to take chances. That personality trait can make the difference between winning and second place. it can also mean the difference between winning and not finishing. Shaun has matured as a driver since I last saw him race. He is now competing on the UIM F1H2O Formula 1 circuit for Peters & May Racing, with race experiences throughout Europe as well as Qatar and Portugal. Read more

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Oddities & Rarities – Part 2: Bass Boat Power

The experimental Scorpion 377 Stroker bass boat testing at Lake X — before engine box styling.

In Part 1, Rick explored “odd power” for the good guys of our military. Here, I’ll share some odd power experiments for peace-time fish hunters.

377 Super Scorpion. A unique boat featured on the water at Mercury’s 2001 Orlando dealer meeting was a Super Scorpion 377 bass boat.  The joint project between Mercury Racing and Chub Bryant, owner of Stroker Boats, was intended to show the world an alternative to outboards for bass boats. It was a great way to showcase our compact, stroked, 377 horsepower, 6.2 liter ski engine and promote the Super Scorpion 377 small block sterndrive. The performance was very good in the Stroker bass boat. However, we just couldn’t change the minds of the “clamp-on” outboard motor fishermen. And that’s ok. Mercury has plenty of options for them (see the blog,  Application Dependant – Part 1).

The engine had a successful run, but not in bass boats. It proved to be potent power in smaller single and twin engine offshore sport boats. (I ran one for a season in a Baja H2X and had a blast!) Unfortunately, the more exotic and expensive small block never could compete with the better value of a basic big block in this price sensitive sport boat market. The 377 Super Scorpion morphed, through cost (and power) reduction, into the successful 320 hp merCruiser 377 Mag. Read more

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Oddities & Rarities – Part 1: Military

Fred Kiekhaefer and I were talking about some of the unique projects Mercury Racing has been involved with over the years.  I thought you would find our odd projects and rare products interesting as well.

The experimental Mercury turbine outboard was developed in alliance with Marine Turbine Technologies, LLC.

The Mercury turbine outboard featured a Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine engine. The engine was mounted on a Mercury 2.5 EFI Offshore mid section and either a Sport Master (shown here) or Torque Master gearcase.

Turbine. The experimental Mercury turbine outboard was built in alliance with Marine Turbine Technology (MTT) , LLC of Franklin, LA. The engine featured a Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine (helicopter) engine mounted to a 2.5 EFI Offshore mid section and a Sport Master or Torque Master gearcase.

The 320 h.p. engine was developed in the late 1990s in response to the then pending Department of Defense mandate that all gasoline be removed from ships by 2010. The turbine was light – weighing in at 200 pounds – about the weight of a 2-stroke 50 h.p. outboard. And it was multi-fuel compatible – with the ability to run on diesel, kerosene and JP4 jet fuel.  MTT founder Ted McIntyre brought a turbine outboard powered landing craft to the 2001 Mercury Dealer Conference in Orlando, Fla.  The  boat stopped traffic every time the turbine spooled up to 51,000 RPM as it hauled awe-struck media and dealers around the lake. I went for a ride.  I remember it was loud and I distinctly remember the fumes.  Read more

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The Little Engine That Does!

The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard.

I am excited about the growing popularity of Mercury’s 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard.  The engine, which is built at Mercury’s outboard manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China, was originally designed for the Mercury FormulaFour outboard tunnel boat racing series:  That Scandinavian series, featuring one-design 14-foot tunnel race boats powered by a production Mercury 60 h.p. four stroke, was  originated by Brunswick Marine Sweden and their dealer, Mikael Frode’.

Team Vallee de Seine #77 completed 154 laps for a Class 1 podium finish at the 2011 24 Hours of Rouen race. Photo credit: Gregoire Auger.

The 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard features a production 60 h.p. four stroke powerhead mounted on a 15″ (381 mm) mid section with solid engine mounts. Power is transferred to the water via a 1.83:1 gearcase and Mercury Racing Lab Finished T.E. Cleaver prop.

The engine first earned its stripes (and hot graphics ) racing at the legendary 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race where it competes in Class 1. Historically, Yamaha wins Class 1 racing because their 2-stroke engines are closest in spec with the class maximum 850 CC displacement rule. However, the four stroke Mercury has been moving up in position since it’s 2004 Rouen debut, with a podium finish this year (see the blog Half-Rouen!). Read more

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1350s in Nordic 43 Enforcer!

The Nordic 43 Enforcer catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 sterndrives.

Randy Davis, owner of Nordic Boats, idles by Card Stop #2 during the 2011 Desert Storm Poker Run. This was the maiden voyage of Randy’s new Nordic 43 Enforcer catamaran – and, clearly, he was both impressed and delighted. It is powered with Mercury Racing’s 1350 engine and M8 drive packages. As nice as this boat runs and accelerates, I can’t help but be amazed by the idle quality of its quad cam, four valve engines.

As Randy’s crew glided by for their card, I wanted to capture the engines’ sound. Everybody else aboard just wanted to banter. I guess some people are normal, but I’m an unapologetic engine geek. Nevertheless, I caught some of the idle sound. Johnny B did a great job on the engine calibration! It just purred. Randy’s team did a very tidy installation! The 43 Enforcer’s beauty belies its intense performance.

For wide open engine sound, see and hear the pass by video footage on DCB’s M31 (Gary’s green one) and M35 (Mike’s orange one) and the fleet of 48 MTI’s (Derek’s black one; Bob’s more-or-less orange one and Albert’s uh, very colorful one)! I love the desert colors!

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Alpha Male-Ness Without All The Barking

Mercury wants (and is required) to have exhaust and noise emissions compliant propulsion. By being responsible citizens (you and us), our freedom on the water can continue. Global regulations have caused larger marine engine manufacturers to invest millions of dollars in research and development. In that work, Mercury developed an on-board microprocessor that controls all aspects of engine operating performance – including fuel management and exhaust emissions.  The combination of advanced engine components (hardware), fuel calibration development (software) and extensive testing (more hardware and software) led us to a full line of sterndrives that meet U.S. California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) and Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.  But, as we have learned with experience, emissions regulations are ever evolving.

X-haust Noise Reducer logo: noise in, X, quiet out.

Baja 35 Outlaw with twin 662 SCi’s and X-haust.

Just when we thought our job was done, by meeting the CARB and EPA regulations in place at that time, more stringent ones were being implemented by the European Union (EU) Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). We had to do additional work to create “global” engines that would meet stringent EU RCD exhaust emissions and noise regulations.

We tackled exhaust gas emissions first. The EU662 SCi is he highest horsepower we could attain and still meet the EU RCD exhaust emissions regulation. Also, we were able to adjust fuel calibration on the 600 SCi to make it RCD exhaust emissions compliant.

Then, noise.  Engines, as rigged with a typical through transom exhaust system, didn’t pass RCD noise requirements. Aftermarket mufflers didn’t help. Running exhaust through the prop isn’t an option with our engines: too restrictive. Read more

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Photos Compliments of Gregoire Auger

Race winner Tech Motor Racing Matmut #16 and Class 2 champion Team Dailly Inshore Passion #36.

24 “Half-Hours” of Rouen is in books. The race concluded 4 p.m. Rouen, France time Sunday, May 1. Mercury dominated the 48th annual event, winning overall, as well as Class 3 and Class 2. (See Same Planet, Another 24 Hours) for class designations. Mercury powered boats swept the top 12 positions and powered 22 out of 28 competitors.

Rouen 2011 was historic in that it was the first time the race was not started with the intention of running a continuous 24 hours. Race officials changed the format this year, running the race for a total of 12 hours over two days to avoid racing overnight. The change was made in response to a tragic accident that took place last year. This year, racing started 2 p.m. local time Saturday, April 30 and ran until 8:00 p.m. Racing convened at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 1, with a 4 p.m. finish. Read more

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1350 McCulloch Boulevard!

The 2011 Desert Storm Poker Run is over. And man, what a show it was. We arrived Wednesday in time for the Desert Storm open house party at Oregon Custom Marine (OCM). OCM is a Frisini Motorsports dealer selling Spectre, Sonic and Frisini Motorsports boat brands. We had a great time. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones, too. OCM’s facility is first class. Our thanks to OCM, Lake Havasu Marine Association, Jim Nichols and the Desert Storm organization for their hospitality.

Opening Day

“1350 McCulloch Boulevard.” Home of the Mercury Racing street party display.

Derek Wachob’s 1350 MTI Corvette ZR48 boat. The matching ZR-1 Corvette was parked just to the rear of the boat.

Thursday was the fifth annual Desert Storm Street Party. This was the largest gathering of high performance boats, marine propulsion and tow vehicles ever assembled. McCulloch Boulevard was jammed with displays on both sides of the street for more than a mile. Our Mercury Racing truck was parked in a prime location — perfect for one old gear-head. He looked up from his wheelchair at our QC4v 1100 and said, “Lord Jesus, have mercy.” Gotta be the quote of the day. Read more

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Same Planet, Another 24 Hours

2010 24 Hours of Rouen Class 3 and overall race winner.

As I write this, the 2011 Desert Storm Poker Run is in full swing. Another form of performance boats will gather later this week across the Atlantic ocean for the 48th annual 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race in Rouen, France.  The world’s most grueling outboard powerboat race begins 4:00 p.m. Rouen time Saturday, April 30. Rouen tests man and machine as boats run non-stop for 24 hours on the Seine River.

Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace four strokes compete in Class 1 competition in Rouen.

The race features three classes of outboard powered tunnel hull race boats. Class 1 competition features engines with a maximum displacement of 850 cc (60-80 h.p.). This class is populated with Yamaha 2-stroke outboards. The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace four stroke competes in this class and is been a top contender in previous events.

 Class 2 features engines with a maximum displacement of 2000 cc (130 h.p.-200 h.p.). Mercury SST 120 and OptiMax 200XS SST race outboards typically dominate this class. Read more
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Desert Storm! Hoorah!

In less than 24 hours we’ll be boarding a plane for our trek to Lake Havasu City, Arizona for the Desert Storm Poker Run. When you live in Wisconsin – you need a full day of travel when your destination is… well, just about anywhere. We fly into Phoenix and then drive 3-1/2 hours to Havasu.

A rare, sunny scene of from the 2010 Desert Storm Street Party. Last year’s event was hampered with unusually cool weather and torrential rains. The forecast this year is hot and sunny. The weather is supposed to be nice, too!

Desert Storm 2011 event promo poster.

Things get rolling at high noon Thursday with 5th annual Desert Storm Street Party. The event has grown to be the largest performance boat show in the world. The biggest and baddest boats from the East Coast, West Coast and all areas in between converge on the small Western town to show their muscle throughout the three-day Desert Storm event.

We will showcase our revamped mobile marketing truck stocked with an impressive mix of product displays including the all-new 1100 sterndrive (see the blog On The Road Again).  Read more

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Bravo for Outboards? YES!

For those of you who may not know me, I manage Mercury Racing’s propeller department. We offer a wide variety of high performance outboard and sterndrive props. I oversee production and manage our prop offerings. My most enjoyable responsibility is helping customers solve their unique propeller issues.

Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard propeller.

Allison XB-21 BasSport 2 + 2. Photo courtesy of Allison Boats.

I’ve been getting great feedback regarding our Bravo I XS outboard propeller. The latest is from Allison owners who say it is an awesome prop for their XB-21 tournament bass boats. XB-21’s rigged with an OptiMax 250 Pro XS do best running a 27-inch pitch Bravo I XS. Those who power-up to the OptiMax 300XS say their ride is dialed-in using a 29-inch pitch Bravo I XS. XB-21 owners have found odd-pitch Bravo I XS props provide the best hole shot and bow lift. Read more

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Building a Batch of Champions

Mike Hammer (background) rolls a batch of OptiMax 200XS powerheads to the dyno. Powerheads are broke-in and race ready when they leave our facility.

Gary Aman mounts a Sport Master gearcase to a 200XS ROS mid section.

Outboards. Outboards. Outboards everywhere! Mercury Racing’s factory floor is a buzz of activity. We’re busy with a large build of low-emissions 2-stroke OptiMax 200XS SST (Super Stock Tunnel) and ROS (Race Offshore) outboards. A majority of the direct-fuel injected engines are headed to Europe for race venues in Sweden, Italy and France.

Complete engines and conversion kits are being built. The conversion kits, which include a powerhead, tuner, cowlings and gearcase, are a one-time offer for the 2011 season. The SST and ROS kits are available to racers who want to upgrade from older, naturally aspirated, 2.0 liter SST 120 and XR2 Race Offshore engines.

OptiMax 200XS ROS race outboard.

OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard.

Both SST and ROS end models feature a 2.5 Liter V-6 OptiMax powerhead which combines components from the OptiMax 2.5XS and the  Mercury Racing engineered 175 Pro XS outboard.

The 200XS SST features a 12-inch race mid section and a unique IV SSM gearcase which switches the right-hand engine rotation to a left-hand propeller shaft rotation. This is required for the hard, left-hand turns of tunnel boat race courses.

The 200XS ROS features a 15-inch mid section and a 1.75:1 Sport Master gearcase. Models are available in both right-hand and left-hand rotation for multiple engine applications. Read more

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On The Road Again

The Mercury Racing truck is back on the road! Dave Vehrs, one of our drive technicians who has extensive over the road trucking experience,  is the driver. Dave left Fond du Lac Sunday. His destination? Lake Havasu City, Arizona for the Lake Havasu Boat Show, April 8-10 and the Desert Storm Poker Run, April 27-30.

Dave Vehrs stands next to the cab of the Mercury Racing mobile marketing truck.

For those that follow us – the message is clear: The Race Never Stops!

Dave plans to arrive in Lake Havasu early Wednesday afternoon.  This will provide plenty of time to get the truck washed and prepped for the boat show on Friday. Kevin Skiba, our National Sales Manager, will help Dave prep the truck. Fred Kiekhaefer commented, “This may be the first time Kevin has been allowed to hold a sponge!” Dave is flying back to get back to building drives. Kevin is staying on to represent Mercury Racing at the show.

Mobile Marketing

Those familiar with the truck will notice some subtle differences. The mission of the truck has changed from “product support” to “mobile marketing.” The graphics have been updated to showcase our latest consumer products; The QC4v based 1350 and 1100 sterndrive engine packages and our Pro Finish CNC 5-blade cleaver props. Read more

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LA Boat Show Recap

Mercury’s booth at the Los Angeles Boat Show.

KMG displayed their 22-foot Phantom hull with an OptiMax 300XS outboard fitted with the Sport Master gearcase. The KMG catamaran in the background is powered by twin 2.5 EFI Drag race outboards.

Brad Halpin and I recently returned from the Los Angeles Boat Show. (Brad is one of Mercury Racing’s technical experts who is responsible for helping boat builders learn to properly install Mercury Racing propulsion; I’m a sales guy.)  Mercury Racing products, including the all new 1100 sterndrive, were on display in  Mercury’s booth. Boat builders featured Mercury Racing outboards and sterndrives, including the 1350, in their booths as well.

For years, the LA show ran through two weekends for a total of nine days! Furthermore, the LA show was scheduled at the same time as the Miami International Boat Show. Exhibitors such as ourselves were challenged to support two shows simultaneously.

The recession then changed everything. Now, the LA show is about two thirds of its original size. This year, it ran March 17-20, one month after the Miami show. Boat builders and suppliers were upbeat and anxious to show their latest creations to the West Coast market. Read more

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Application Dependant – Part 2

Outboards for larger single and multiple engine boats (continued from Application Dependant – Part 1)

In my previous blog, I focused on smaller, single engine outboard applications where power-to-weight is a very important factor.  Here, I will discuss larger, single and multi-engine fishing and sport boats.

OptiMax 300XS powered Lake & Bay flats boat.

Triple Verado 350 SCi powered Fountain 38 Center Console.

Let’s start with the larger single engine boats. If you are rigging a flats or bay boat and intend to use it to pursue fish – an OptiMax works just fine. If you plan on getting a family sport boat for tubing/wake boarding or water skiing, the OptiMax is also an excellent choice. Those who prefer ultra quiet running qualities, with the creature comforts of digital throttle and shift and power steering, should go with a Verado or Pro FourStroke.

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Application Dependant – Part 1

Its boat show season and one of the most common questions we get from consumers is what type of engine is best for their boat. These questions are mainly in regard to outboards versus sterndrives or inboards. Not sure why – although I can take a guess and say it is due to the large variety of outboard options out there. Choices include two stroke or four stroke, various shaft lengths and gearcase styles available from numerous brand manufacturers. Various price promotions, extended warranties and insurance add to the complexity.

Mercury Marine offers outboard power options for virtually any applicaton.

It all boils down to application. What is your boating style? Tournament bass fishing, recreational bass, flats, bay boat fishing, go fast sport boating, poker running, tournament offshore angling, cruising, etc. Another question; what size boat are you looking at and who will be along for the ride? Read more

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Education (and Tuition)

48 MTI and 1350s during testing.

Sometimes education comes unexpectedly. When special designs or capabilities come together in a unique new way, surprises can occur. This just happened: In preparation for the Miami International Boat Show, MTI was testing one of its 48 Race/Pleasure catamarans powered with Mercury Racing’s 1350s and M8 drives.

Dry sump. I’ve written before about the purpose of dry sumping – efficiency. Here we have a 48 MTI with two dry sump M8 sterndrives. Plus two dry sump, quad cam, four valve engines making 1350 hp each. Between engines and drives, dry sump transmissions. Big power; big expectations!

As people sometimes do, the owner tried propellers from another manufacturer. Whang! Blade gone. We warned that these engines produce big fat monster torque (BFMT); we learned this lesson the hard way, too; we designed a special prop series just to handle it. However, this was not the education – just its preamble.
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“Thumbs Up, Miami!” from Fred K

Mercury Racing’s new 1100 drew raves in Miami!

This beautifully laid out Sunsation couldn’t be heard running because its 525 EFI engines were equipped with Racing’s X-haust systems. Ah, sweet silence at speed!

I would like to personally thank all those who came to Miami and visited Mercury Racing – in our Convention Center booth, at our customers’ displays, or on the water at Sea Isle Marina. From what you’ve told me, you like our new 1100 package. Me too.

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Racing’s Miami Experience

The 2011 Miami Boat Show was a great success. Almost everyone in the industry was upbeat. Deals were made, boats were sold and Mercury Racing propulsion was featured in numerous boats at the show – including eight 1350 powered boats!

We hit the ground early on Thursday, Feb. 17, opening day. Fred Kiekhaefer got things rolling with a 10:15 a..m. press conference in the Mercury booth where he unveiled the new 1100 sterndrive.

Cigarette Racing unveiled the all-new 42X Ducati boat powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines coupled to NXT #6 SSM sterndrives.

Staggered 1100s neatly insgtalled in the Cigarette 42X Ducati.

Fred assisted Cigarette Racing later Thursday evening with the unveiling of the new 42X Ducati boat featuring Mercury Racing’s new 1100 engines coupled to NXT #6 SSM drives.

As Fred mentioned in his earlier blog (Theres a new predator in Miami), Cigarette, MTI, DCB and Nor-Tech all had boats on static display featuring 1350 power. Bob Bull’s 1350 powered MTI 48 Race/Pleasure was the talk of the in-water show.  Read more

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There’s a new predator in Miami!

No Miami International Boat Show would be complete without something up my sleeve. This time, it’s the “younger brother” to Mercury Racing’s 1350 engine. (I just could not call this tough fella “little brother.”)

Mercury Racing’s new 1100 twin turbo V-8 hammers with 1100 lb-ft of torque on 89 octane, mid-grade pump gasoline.

Ta dah!: Our 1,100 horsepower, twin turbo V-8 is here! Like the big guy, it’s a 9 liter, all aluminum, close cooled, quad-cam, four-valve engine. It begins production in April.

The 1100’s benefits are pretty straight forward: Compared to our 1075 SCi, it has a little more power and a lot more torque; compared to our 1350, it has a little less of each.  However, our new 1100 has over 1,100 lb-ft of torque on tap – in a wide RPM band all the way from 2,500 to 5,250! That’s more torque than our 1200 SCi engine! It delivers 1,100 horsepower at 6,500 RPM (red line). It requires less gasoline – less of it and lesser octane: It takes 89 (R+M)/2, mid-grade pump gas (the 1350 takes 91; the 1200 SCi takes 110 race gas!). The 1100 complies with EPA and CARB exhaust gas emissions limits. Maintenance requirements are less frequent, too. This is ideal power for offshore vees and cats.

Even with all its technology, our 1100 is offered at a price favorably comparable to Mercury Racing’s 1075 SCi. As good as our 1075 SCi is, it is out-performed in every metric by our newer technology. Therefore, the 1075 is discontinued. So too, is our 1200/1025 SCi dual fuel engine. Of course, refresh and service parts will continue for our SCi platform. Also, our 850 SCi through 525 EFI will remain in Mercury Racing’s product line.

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50 Years of Racing merCruisers – Part 2

Racing MerCruisers: 1988 – 2010 (continuing from 50 Years…Part 1)

1988 Superboat World Cup Champion, Don Johnson, with Sterndrives by Kiekhaefer and engines by Gentry.

The deal that wasn’t: Mr. Seger had big ideas, but did not follow through. Ah, what might have been.

First, a relevant side bar: In 1985, a Swiss businessman and offshore racer, Hugo Seger, approached Kiekhaefer Aeromarine (KAM) to design a racing drive. He had tired of his drive failures. We agreed to a deal: KAM would design a drive, he would pay as we made progress, and would become our European distributor.

KAM looked back at the K-600 sterndrive because it was already tooled! But in the dozen years since 1973, we learned a propeller was happier when positioned higher and farther back. Since we dared not start with any handicap, we began to design anew. “Sterndrives by Kiekhaefer” was conceived. Designers, Larry Lohse and Tom Theisen, didn’t sleep much. Me either. Read more

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50 Years of Racing merCruisers – Part 1

Mercury's founder (my co-founder), Carl Kiekhaefer, came reluctantly to embrace the sterndrive concept. But once on board, he never looked back.

2011 is the 50th anniversary of the merCruiser sterndrive. More important to those of us with the speed-on-the-water gene, it is also the 50th anniversary of racing with merCruiser sterndrives. So, here is the first part of the chronology, 1961 – 1987,  and a pictorial flashback: the evolution of the Mercury Racing and Kiekhaefer sterndrives.

Now in its third printing, Jeff Rodengen's book on Carl Kiekhaefer exposed the previously unknown conspiracy in creation of the modern sterndrive.

For a thorough exploration of the modern sterndrive creation, I recommend Jeff Rodengen’s book, Iron Fist, Chapter 26, The Great Stern Drive Conspiracy, pp. 360 – 379. It is a fascinating work of investigative journalism containing creation, deception, disloyalty, honor and captivating personalities of the sterndrive’s history. Here, I’ll focus on the history of merCruiser and Kiekhaefer racing drives in this two-part series.

merCruiser Racing: 1960 – 1987

Sales literature for the first merCruiser with 327 c.i. and 225 hp.

In March 1961 came the first merCruiser – coined from mer (for Mercury) plus Cruiser (for its target market). The idea was to use more powerful automotive-based engines (like an inboard engine) with vectored thrust, trim and steering (like an outboard) to give better performance than a conventional inboard.

This first 225 hp merCruiser sterndrive proved to work well pushing a boat and was more powerful than competitor’s. But it had an odd worm gear and ring gear mechanism to crank the whole drive out of the water – 180 degrees about the crankshaft axis – for corrosion resistance and “prop changes from inside the boat.”

Don Aronow and mechanic, Knocky House, switched from inboards to race merCruisers in the Bahamas 500 and ever after.

Rapid follow-on design work brought the 110 and 140 hp merCruiser I, introduced in late 1961. It was followed quickly by the 310 hp merCruiser III in 1962. The original drive, renamed merCruiser II, was produced until replaced by a new design in 1970 – without the crank-up mechanism. The II and III were the platforms for racing variants.

Twin 225 hp merCruiser IIs powered the 1962 winner of the 184 mile Miami-Nassau "Ocean Power Boat Race." No bolsters. No canopies. No engine hatch. Just go!

By 1962, there was a “Super Speed Master” (SSM) version of the merCruiser II. From inception, factory owned Mercury Racing teams were conquering all comers in offshore power boat racing. That’s where “the enemy” was. Offshore victories told the world merCruiser had arrived. Market supremacy followed quickly.

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Miami is almost here!

I’m getting all excited. In less than a month, the Miami International Boat Show will open its doors! In my opinion, Miami is the best high performance boating venue in the world. It’s a chance for me to escape Wisconsin’s winter and catch up with my industry friends and many of our customers. And there’s always something new. This year’s show appears to be no exception.

Custom painted 1350 in a 48 MTI. WOW! Photo courtesy of Robert Brown, Powerboat Magazine.

Four first-class boat builders will have new boats with Mercury Racing 1350 power on display: Cigarette Racing Team, Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB),  Marine Technology (MTI) and, confirmed Feb 11, there will be a new model Nor-Tech at the Convention Center, too!

Randy Scism told me, January 24, that he will have a twin 1350 powered MTI on the water in one of Mercury Racing’s slips at the marina. (I’m hoping it will be John Woodruff’s beautiful new 48, but I’m not fussy! I’ll be satisfied with Bob’s or Albert’s.) We’ll also have a 525 EFI powered Sunsation XRT with X-haust silencing, another 525 Formula FasTech, a Spectre cat with outboards and a military Whaler 37 Justice with three “cop motor” Verados. You have to see all this!

Please stop by and say, “Hello! What’s new?”

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Refreshed & Rejuvenated

Is your propulsion system in good shape and ready for another season? Now is the time to check over your equipment. If your engines have reached a maximum of 150 hours, now is the time for a refresh to insure a hassle-free 2011 boating season.

We introduced the Factory Fresh engine refresh program in 2006 as a service for owners of our big block sterndrive engines (850 SCi, 1025 SCi, 1075 SCi and 1200 SCi). We’ve learned how our customers from around the world use the product, how various applications relate to engine wear and the affects maintenance (or lack of) has on engine life. More importantly, we have built valuable relationships with our consumers, OEM boat builders and dealers.

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“You Must Have Had Help!”

I’ve had some time to reflect over the Holidays. It was cold and snowy here, so I began dreaming about boating in Florida or Lake Havasu with our new QC4v, 1350 hp engines. Inevitably, that leads me to thinking of the incredibly talented people at Mercury and Mercury Racing who made it happen. Sad how little credit they get for their effort – at least, beyond our hallowed walls. Things I hear make me want to scream, “We have the talent right here!

The QC4v team with their creation just before the Miami Boat Show launch, February 2010.

Whoa! “Quad overhead cams!” And all metric stuff… “Metric equals furrin’, don’t it?” “It looks European.” “Porsche must have designed it for Mercury Racing.” “AMG designed it.” “Lotus…” And so many times, “What block is that based on?” I’ve heard (or read) all of these things, and more.  I’m flattered; that’s good company.  But folks, this was an in-house job.

One thing for sure: Fred K didn’t design it! (OK, I styled it, attended countless meetings about it and did the initial carbon tooling work. And I wrangled the money to pay for it.) No sir, Iclicked nary a mouse anywhere near a ProE CAD station (except once, when I leaned over Tom Immel’s shoulder).

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A Nordic New Year!

Super Silver, more Super Silver and Carbon: what a look!

Dressing up for New Year’s Eve? In the first ever pair in our Super Silver color option, the QC4v block and cam covers look all formal and serious (but no bow ties, just flowing Ms) for the dawn of 2011. These stunning appointments for Nordic will not only look sharp, contrasted with rich carbon fiber, but also pack some wallop!

Dave Dins at the controls for another 1350 dyno dance. What a sweet sound!

Like every Mercury Racing engine, these 1350s for Nordic must first pass the final dyno break-in and power run before they board the truck for Lake Havasu City. And they did. Once again, in excess of 1350 lb-ft of torque!

Sleek in silver, these matching M8 drives await shipping to Arizona. The Zeus pod drives in the background look industrial by comparison. Everything built at Mercury Racing is big and strong!

Also ready to ship are matching M8 sterndrives, likewise in Super Silver. I can’t wait to see the final installation. The color scheme will certainly be classy. I’m sure Randy Davis, the owner of Nordic Boats, is a bit impatient — knowing his 1350s are just being built.

Happy New Year, Randy! Your wait is over. You too can leave ‘em speechless.

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Happy Holidays!

Clearly, we put the gifts into the engine, not into (nor under) the tree.

All dressed up for Santa’s night out. Sorry, Rudolph; a few rain deer are no match for 1,350 big horses.

Carol and I just returned from our ski vacation at the winter wonderland of Vail, CO — and look what I discovered: Somebody’s going to have a very torqued-up gift set under the tree!

You know who you are ;~)

Best Holiday wishes to you…

…from all of us at Mercury Racing!

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T.E.A.M. Builders

Those of you that have read our posts on the new 1350 sterndrive engine have probably noticed Fred Kiekhaefer’s references to T.E.A.M., an acronym for Mercury Racing’s Total Engine Application Management program.

We introduced the  T.E.A.M. process in 2004 with the launch of our 1075 SCi sterndrive package. It requires training boat builder or dealership staff on the installation of new Mercury Racing propulsion. T.E.A.M. approves both components and processes for quality and compatibility with our propulsion systems. Read more

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Dave’s 1350 Experience

Dave Hemmingson is stoked. His company, Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB) in El Cajon, California is the first West Coast OEM boat builder to experience our new 1350 sterndrive engine packages. See Fred Kiekhaefer’s post Halloween Party at Dave’s where he documents the October 27 shipment of the DCB engines.

Photo of the 1350s installed prior to the the plumbing of exhaust and final rigging. Foam air intakes are fitted to the turbos for rigging and initial boat testing.

A view of the M8 drives awaiting the fitment of the tie-bar and Mercury Racing Pro Finish 5-blade CNC cleaver propellers.

Mike Griffiths, one of our installation specialists, traveled to DCB to assist with the initial install of the engines in a 31M Wide Body.

Mike met up with the DCB team in Lake Havasu City, Arizona after the Thanksgiving Holiday. He arrived armed with an array of our new Pro Finish 5-blade CNC Cleaver props for the December 2nd sea trials. You have to “sea” the sea trial videos, below! Read more

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Dry Sump. Pump it up!

I am pleased to bring you the 4th in a series on the technology of our 1350 engine.

Efficiency. The purpose of dry sumping is efficiency: Put enough oil in the right places to lubricate and cool moving components, but not so much as to produce drag. Then, more power comes out.

The term, “dry sump,” simply refers to scavenging the oil from the lowest point (sump) of an engine – making it “dry.” Except, it’s never really dry. Oil goes almost everywhere and wants to collect wherever there is a low spot. Wherever oil gathers near moving parts, there is not only lubrication, but also risk of drag and even damage.

No tranquility. The oil doesn’t pump gently to the valve train or rod bearings, lubricate and peacefully trickle back down, to make the rounds again. It’s violent in there: Oil goes “weightless” and smashes down when a boat launches and lands. It splashes with every wave impact. It wants to pile on one side, when you round a turn marker. Just think about how your body moves around at speed – and you’re not ducking under a spinning crankshaft! Read more

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Racing Blue and Nor-Tech, Too!

Jon Steiner (left) positions finger followers over the valve stems. Mike Critchley installs the closed cooling reservoirs.

Mike and Jon install propulsion control electronics and harness (left foreground). Doug Peterson works on two more blocks (center background) for Cigarette. A third pair for MTI are fresh off the dyno and good to go (right background).

The first pair of color optioned 1350s are going together for a special Nor-Tech customer. This set is Racing Blue metallic with Super Silver manifolds. They scheduled to be on our dynos before Thanksgiving. They’re matched with Racing Blue M8 drives. The transom assemblies are complete. We started assembling the drives today (November 18).

I think the colors look great here in the shop. That combination should be absolutely dazzling in the sunshine of Ft. Myers!

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Sterndrive Losses? Less Than You Think!

Tremendous effort goes into good boat set-up. My conversations about set-up too often turn to power consumed by a drive train,or generated by an engine, and always… propellers. The goal is efficiency – accepting some sacrifice for boat control. Really, your goal is the euphoric joy and adrenalin rush of high performance boating! My goal is to help you get there.

Mercury Racing’s test rig for measuring parasitic losses in drives and transmissions.

Here, I’ll focus on drives. (We’ll cover engine power and props later.) Between engine crankshaft (drive input) and prop shaft (drive output), basic functions are required: gear reduction (so props are efficient); offset of input vs. output shafts (so they’re wet) and ability to change direction (steering and trim are good).

Mercury Racing employs several sterndrives for those functions. Each occupies a unique performance envelope and capacity. Unfortunately, each has parasitic losses: clutch slippage; gear efficiency; number and nature of gear interfaces; U-joint friction; bearing drag; gear oil (quantity, temperature, viscosity and lubricity); and oil windage/pumping losses. So here, drive by drive, are the results of those parasites… Read more

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Go Digital: Drive by Wire!

This is my third in a series about the technology we’ve applied in our new 1350 hp engine.

Computer. It all starts here: The embedded brain of Mercury Racing’s QC4v has ten times the power of our previous PC09 box. That computing power enables far more capability — not just fuel, spark and boost bypass maps — but fine waste gate modulation (learn more:  Big Fat Monster Torque) plus digital throttle, shift and start. Let’s look at DTS.

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Halloween Party at Dave’s!

Dyno technician, Dave Dins, awards an A+. The second 1350 for DCB is ready to exit Cell 5.

Just in time for a Halloween party at Dave’s Custom Boats! The first pair of Mercury Racing 1350s for DCB passed their dyno tests and final inspections – and shipped October 27 for California!

These are big muscles for a black tom cat: both pulled strong to just north of 1,370 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm and up to 5,250 rpm – and held it through a grueling heat soak cycle. Sounds harsh, and it is, but this is just a normal day for a production engine expecting to leave Mercury Racing for a new home.

Every recreational and racing engine is run through a test sequence on one of our dynamometers. Each engine, from 525 to 1350, must pass both torque and power standards on a boat load simulation. Dave’s newest engines did so with a smile and style. Read more

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Pro Finish

New Pro Finish, 5-blade, CNC Cleaver propellers for sterndrives, were officially released Friday, October 1. They have already been making waves on race courses and in boat builder tests. These highly polished props fill the need for a durable propeller with stamina for Big Fat Monster Torque and surface piercing impact of the Mercury Racing’s 1350 and M8 sterndrive.

Team AMSOIL – Photo Courtesy Pete Boden Shoot2Thrill Pix

Bob Teague, throttleman/owner of the Mercury Racing 525 EFI-powered Team AMSOIL Super Cat Lite offshore race boat, recently won two consecutive offshore races with the new props. Read more

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Big Fat Monster Torque!

This is my second in a series on design features of Mercury Racing’s QC4v engine.

QC4v’s corrected torque is a whopping 1370 lb-ft. Oh, yea!

Torque on our new 1350 is Monster! It rises fast, from 700 rpm idle, and is flat at 1,370 lb-ft from 2,500 to 5,250 rpm and generating 1,350 peak horsepower, before tailing off toward a red line of 6,500. On 91 octane pump gas, not race fuel. Whoa!

(Right to left) Air inlet, compressor, water cooled turbo, and pressure modulation valve.

In other words: Big Fat Monster Torque is more than sufficient to lift the nose of a 48 MTI catamaran, carry it all the way through a hard turn and still plant everybody firmly in their seats for an extended period of acceleration. Just ask my friend, Randy Scism, owner of Marine Technology Inc., about his first test session before the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. (Or read, elsewhere on this Blog: MTI Spooled Up!) Read more

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The Valve Train That Could

Cam chain cover hints that quad cams lurk within.

This is the first in a series about design features of Mercury Racing’s 1350 horsepower, quad cam, four valve (QC4v) engine. Throughout the series, I will strive to present unavoidably technical content in non-engineering language.

Bigger Purpose: The only reason to have a high performance marine engine in the first place is to produce thrust from a prop so as to push a boat to: a) go someplace or b) outrun somebody – and come back. Props, drives, transmissions, engine innards and controls all have to do their part, but I skip now to the weakest link in the current high-performance chain: the valve train. (See “Why Rev Limits are…Limits” on this blog.) Read more

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Why Rev Limits Are… Limits

I am frequently asked, “Why doesn’t Mercury Racing increase peak rpm on its engines?” The desire is understandable: A higher revving engine would carry higher boat speed and improve getting on plane. But it is not that easy…

Pushrod valve train components at peace.

We electronically limit engine rpm on our pushrod sterndrive engines primarily due to valve train dynamics. A cam spanks a push rod; at its other end, the rocker gets a nudge; the rocker pivots and rolls onto the valve stem, compressing the valve spring and opening a hole to gas flow – either fresh air in, or spent combustion by-products out – and closes again. At our rev limit, each valve sees that input and return 46 times every second! As engine rpm increases, it reaches a speed where the chain of valve train hardware simply cannot keep up – even with good design and very exotic hardware. Read more

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Big Grin for MTI

Mike Critchley fits the starboard turbocharger.

1350 sterndrive production continues with the second pair of engine packages. These are on their way to Marine Technology, Inc., (MTI)  in Wentzville, MO.

A stylish MTI logo adorns the carbon fiber front cover.

I spoke to MTI President/Owner Randy Scism this morning (Oct 6) to let him know the engines have “left the building” and to get some details on MTI’s first install of the new Mercury Racing 1350 engine packages. Read more

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First Production 1350s Shipped!

October 1, 2010 was another milestone in the young life of our all new 1350 sterndrives. The first pair of production 1350 engines are built and about to be shipped to Cigarette Racing. They will replace the pre-production 1350s featured in the Mercedes-Benz AMG inspired 46′ Rider XP.

The spectacular boat, unveiled at the 2010 Miami International Boat Show, has accumulated hundreds of hours of running time as part of Mercury Racing’s extensive engineering validation of the all-new quad cam four valve (QC4v) engines, Zero Effort Digital controls, heavy-duty hydraulic transmissions, surface piercing M8 sterndrives and Pro Finish CNC propellers. Read more

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