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UMPBA KileaAnnKleckner

Racing Is All In The Family

Living Wide Open with Mercury Racing power is often family affair, but the sport of powerboat drag racing makes it possible for multiple competitors to share one boat at the same event. At a recent Upper Midwest Power Boat Association (UMPBA) event we met a family who loves to have fun and go fast together.

The Go-Fast Grandfather

Ask Kilea-Ann Kleckner when she got interested in the drag boat racing, and she has to think for a second.

“They tell me I attended my first race when I was two months old,” replied the 16-year-old high school junior. “I can’t remember when I wasn’t interested in drag racing.”

Kleckner kept tagging along with her grandfather, Rick Conklin, who started drag racing in Florida in the 1980s, but makes frequent trips to the Midwest from his home in Kissimmee to compete on the Kentucky Drag Boat Association (KDBA) circuit, and events at Lake Lucas, the purpose-built drag boat racing lake located at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri.

UMPBA KileaAnnKleckner

“He’s taught me everything I know about racing,” said Kleckner. “I’ve watched him all my life and I just emulate the way he behaves at the races. Together we’ve watched all the other racers, and I’ve always paid attention to who wins and how they do it.”

Kleckner was ready to start racing when she turned 12, the minimum age to drag race a personal watercraft on the KDBA series, and in 2017 she was high-point champion on the circuit. In 2020 she turned 16, and the minimum age to race a boat, and started sharing a seat with Conklin in a new Full Throttle Powerboat QS1 Mod VP boat powered by a 2.5-liter Mercury Racing outboard. The purple single-seat boat Carbon Copy has a full carbon fiber layup and the hull weighs just 310 pounds, according to Conklin. The motor is tuned to make about 280 horsepower.

The pair started coming to Wisconsin to compete in UMPBA events to get Kleckner more experience in a low-key setting. This is bracket racing based on boat speed – the quickest boat down the 800-foot course wins as long as they don’t exceed the bracket’s top speed. Kleckner signed up for the 95-mph bracket, while Conklin ran in the 105-mph class. Dialing in the boat to nail that speed, but not go faster, requires careful tuning and attention to water and atmospheric conditions.

“Today the difference between 95 mph and 105 mph is about 2 degrees of trim,” said Conklin.

Kleckner is quick but still learning. The UMPBA event was held down a river with a 2 mph current, which meant she had to keep her engine running to keep from drifting downstream and into the course. The class had 17 boats, and by the time she lined up for her third run she’d burning up a enough fuel to lighten the boat just enough to break out of the 95-mph bracket. A big disappointment as she won her first two heats. Later in the season she was the second-fastest qualifier at an event on Lake Lucas, but a strong cross-wind made it challenging to keep her very light boat lined up for the start. She got distracted and was late on the starting light.

“Actually driving the boat came naturally to me,” she said “Right now my biggest challenge is learning to keep my composure when something goes wrong.”

Both Conklin and Kleckner stressed the comradery they enjoy at powerboat drag racing events.

“The people make this fun,” said Conklin. “This is like our summer family. We loan each other parts, and I’ve even seen a racer loan another competitor an entire powerhead. The only time we don’t get along is for those eight seconds it takes to make a run.”

That’s the Wide Open life – eight seconds of pure intensity.

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World’s Finest Skiff Raffle to Benefit Captains of Clean Water

Win This Hell’s Bay Professional™ Orvis Edition Powered by the Mercury Racing 60R

Mercury Racing has teamed up with Orvis and Hell’s Bay Boatworks to create a very special technical flats skiff that will be used by Captains for Clean Water to support its mission to protect and restore water resources for the enjoyment of all. This one-of-a-kind Hell’s Bay Professional™ Orvis Edition boat, and a boat-load of other great gear, could be yours for just the price of a ticket in the World’s Finest Skiff Raffle, a effort to raise funds for the important work being conducted by Captains for Clean Water in Florida and across the globe.


Enter the World’s Finest Skiff Raffle on line. Each entry is $50.00. The raffle closes on July 21, 2021 and the winner will be drawn on July 22. Raffle tickets will also be available from Captains for Clean Water at boat shows, fishing tournaments, and community outreach events. Click here for complete raffle rules and details. Partners in the raffle include Hell’s Bay Boatworks, Mercury Racing, Orvis, Raymarine, Power Pole, Boatmaster and YETI.

“This beautiful boat is much more than a raffle prize,” said Chris Wittman, co-founder and program director of Captains for Clean Water. “Between now and next July we’ll be using the boat to raise awareness among the public, and policy makers that can impact the resource. The boat will be used to take state and federal legislators, agency leaders, and members of the media out onto the water. It’s the most-effective way we know to offer a real perspective on the scale of the resource and our commitment to conservation.”

Captains For Clean Water is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that fights to restore and protect water resources, founded in 2016 by fishing guides fed up with the poor water management practices that were devastating Florida estuaries. The group is focused on raising public awareness of issues, and of known science-based solutions delayed for decades due to lack of political will. Captains for Clean Water has successfully united the outdoor industry, environmental groups, business community and concerned citizens around these important issues, and are seeing more people than ever get involved in the fight for clean water.

The special 17-foot 8-inch Hell’s Bay Professional™ Orvis Edition boat features special hull-side graphics and a custom SeaDek kit on the poling platform and on the cockpit sole depicting the State of Florida and its key waterways. The boat is rigged with a Raymarine Axiom 9 multi-function display and a Power-Pole 6-Foot Pro Series 2 shallow water anchor, and rests on a Boatmaster aluminum trailer. Extras include a Traeger Ranger Portable Grill plus a pair of YETI Trailhead Chairs, a YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, and two YETI Rambler One Gallon Jugs and YETI Rambler 36 oz Bottles.

Of course this special boat requires an exceptional outboard, and the Mercury Racing 60R is a brilliant performance solution for technical flats skiffs. The only outboard in its class with a 15-inch midsection, the Mercury Racing 60R fits perfectly on the transom of this compact performance skiff and offers the added benefits of a high-thrust gearcase. This lightweight, compact outboard is a powerhouse tuned and geared to deliver amazing hole-shot acceleration for instant on-plane performance in skinny water.

Hell’s Bay Boatworks is led by a team of dedicated anglers and adventurers, guided by Capt. Chris Peterson and his wife, Wendi Peterson. The skiff builders at Hell’s Bay facility in Titusville, Fla., only build to order and put their efforts into quality construction, the finest materials, cutting edge design and personal customer service. Founded in 1856, Orvis is the legendary manufacturer of high-quality fly rods and reels, hunting and sporting goods. Orvis’s conservation activism began with the work of founder Charles Orvis in fisheries conservation and management in the late 19th century and has continued since.

For more information, visit Captains for Clean Water.

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Mercury Racing 60R Powers a Dream Catcher

Captain Steven Lamp of Dream Catcher Charters in Key West, Florida, is a fishing guide with a penchant for fast boats, which makes him an ideal consultant for Mercury Racing. Capt. Lamp’s charter operation is currently running 11 boats, from a 17-foot Beavertail Skiff to a 47-foot Viking convertible. It’s the diminutive Beavertail Skiff 17 Elite that has had Lamp’s attention recently, as he’s just finished rigging this technical flats skiff with the new Mercury Racing 60R outboard.

Powering a boat like the 17-foot 8-inch Beavertail Skiff 17 Elite is exactly the mission the Mercury Racing 60R was designed to accomplish. Designed specifically to be poled into the shallows where bonefish and permit lurk, the Elite 17 features a carbon/Kevlar layup which helps reduce its gross hull weight to just 600 pounds. Lamp says the boat weighs about 900 pounds ready to fish.

“In this type of boat, and for this type of flats fishing, engine weight is critical. I had been running this Beavertail with a 20-inch Mercury 90 FourStroke outboard,” said Lamp. “The new Mercury Racing 60R weighs 91 pounds less than the 90 FourStroke. Losing that weight gives me about two more inches of draft. I can now float in just seven inches of water with two people in the boat, and I’m a pretty big guy myself. The big surprise is that, despite giving up 30 horsepower, I only lost 3 miles per hour in top speed.”

The only outboard in its class with a 15-inch midsection, the Mercury Racing 60R fits perfectly on the transom of a compact performance skiff like the Elite 17.

“This 15-inch motor is scaled to the boat,” said Lamp. “Because the powerhead is lower on the boat the entire center of gravity is lowered, so the boat feels less tippy when I’m on the poling platform, and I can use a lower platform. The boat also handles better when we are running at speed.

“The balance of the boat is critical,” explains Lamp. “For efficient poling on the flats, I want the boat to rest level in the water. With the 90 FourStroke on the transom I had to put 140 pounds of lead ballast in the bow to level the boat. Now I can leave the ballast at home, which is another reason we’ve gained draft. Now I can let my client bring more than one sandwich for lunch!”

The 60R outboard features a four-cylinder, 1.0-liter long-stroke powerhead tuned for torque by Mercury Racing. A single overhead camshaft cylinder head keeps the powerhead as light and slim as possible for less intrusion on the transom. A powerful 18-amp alternator is designed to maintain battery charge on boats equipped with angling electronics and baitwell pumps. The Mercury Racing 60R offers the added benefit of a 4.25-inch diameter, high-thrust gearcase with a 2.33:1 gear ratio to handle up to 20 percent more prop-blade area than a standard gearcase. That blade area and the shape of the gearcase provide added lift aft to boost hole-shot performance and provide confident handling at speed.

“I don’t fish tournaments, and for this boat top speed is not that critical because the boat runs wet, with a waterline that’s about 85 percent of its length,” said Lamp. “That’s a lot of drag for a 60-horsepower outboard. We tried several props and settled on the 14-pitch Mercury Vengeance, which works well without requiring a lot of trim.”

To extend range the Mercury Racing 60R is equipped with computer-controlled electronic fuel injection (EFI) programmed to deliver outstanding fuel economy at cruising speed on 87-octane fuel. Its ability to run a larger propeller also enhances cruising-speed range. Lamp has realized a significant improvement in fuel economy with the Mercury Racing 60R.

“I cruise at about 30 mph, and with the 90 FourStroke I was getting 6 to 7 miles per gallon at that speed,” said Lamp. “With the 60R I’m getting 9 miles per gallon, which gives me more range, or I can run a very light load of fuel and take two clients to a near-by destination.”

Take it from a pro, who makes his living on skinny water: The Mercury Racing 60R a brilliant performance solution for technical flats skiffs

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Bass Boats Rage with Mercury Racing 300HP CNC Cleaver Prop

This is how Mercury Racing puts power to the water. Two recent test sessions with high-performance bass boats powered by the Mercury Racing 300R outboard demonstrate the performance potential of the new Mercury Racing 300HP 5-Blade CNC Cleaver propeller.

Working with Fastbass Marine LLC, of Grand Rivers, Kentucky., Mercury Racing engineers tested the two-seat Allison Pro Sport powered by the 300R outboard rigged with a 15 x 32/15-degree 300HP CNC Cleaver prop and posted a top speed of 108 mph at the 6400 RPM. That’s a new speed record for this 21-foot 2-inch, 1,300 boat model, according to Fastbass Marine.

“They were on the rev limiter and testing in 95-degree heat and warm water,” said Mercury Racing propeller specialist Nick Petersen. “With a taller-pitch prop and cooler weather Mercury Racing feels this will be a 110-mph package. This same boat model would run 100 mph with a 300XS, so this is a great demonstration of both the power of the new Mercury Racing 300R outboard and the technology of the 300HP CNC Cleaver prop.”

The same Mercury Racing 300R/300HP package was also run on a slightly heavier Allison Bassport with dual consoles and a 36V trolling motor on the bow. This test posted a top speed of 102 mph. Both Allison boats were tested with a full fuel tank and a tournament load of gear.

Mercury Racing next met with Ballistic Boats of Fruitland, Idaho, an up-and-coming builder of performance bass boats. A tournament-loaded 22-foot 3-inch Ballistic .223 model weighing about 1,600 pounds and powered by a Mercury Racing 300R outboard posted a best top speed of 98 mph running a 15 x 31/15-degree 300HP prop – great performance but Mercury engineers feel it could be even better with some fine tuning of the setup.

The naturally aspirated, 4.6L V-8 Mercury Racing 300R FourStroke outboard delivers up to 40 percent more bottom-end torque than the two-stroke Mercury Racing 300XS it replaces, all at a weight comparable to the 300XS and on 87-octane fuel. The Mercury Racing 300HP 5-Blade CNC Cleaver propeller was created to maximize the performance of the Mercury Racing 300R with the Sport Master gearcase. Its proprietary blade profile delivers stronger acceleration and more top-end speed than the Mercury Racing 400HP CNC Cleaver prop when run on the Mercury Racing 300R outboard.

“Following each of these tests, drivers noted the great handling provided by the 300HP CNC Cleaver prop, and its confident stability at top end on these single-engine, pad-hull bass boats,” said Petersen. “The CNC machining process used to create these high-performance propellers insures that pitch, diameter, and rake are perfectly true, and that lift, handling, and speed characteristics are absolutely consistent.”

Each Mercury Racing 300HP Cleaver propeller is custom made to order, with thousands of pitch, rake and diameter combinations are available to dial in the maximum performance of almost any boat. All Mercury Racing propellers carry a one year warranty that covers the propeller in its entirety and any damage done to other parts if a failure does occur. For more info, call Mercury Racing sales at 920-924-5330 or to order have your local Mercury dealer contact Mercury Racing Propellers.

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A New Way to Boil Water

Mercury Racing 360 APX Competition Outboard Brings Four-Stroke Power to Formula One

Mercury Racing has created the next generation of competition outboard for Formula One tunnel boats. The new Mercury Racing 360 APX, a potent four-stroke V8, is designed specifically for boats competing on the UIM F1H2O World Championship. The 360 APX outboard is the first model in a new Mercury Racing Apex Series of outboards designed for closed-course competition, and will be available only to qualified racing teams.

“The 360 APX will usher in a new era of performance for this premier class of tunnel boat racing,” said Stuart Halley, Mercury Racing general manager. “It combines a durable, low-emissions, four-stroke powerhead with amazing performance, and will require much less maintenance than the two-stroke outboard currently in use in the F1H2O World Championship.”

The UIM F1H2O World Championship is the flagship international series of single-seater inshore circuit powerboat racing. The series attracts up to 20 of the world’s leading drivers competing in tunnel-hull catamarans that negotiate hairpin turns at more than 90 mph and top 140 mph on the straights. In 2019 nine teams and 18 drivers from 12 countries competed in the six-race UIM F1H2O World Championship, with American pilot Shaun Torrente, racing for Team Abu Dhabi, winning the championship. The 2020 UIM F1H2O World Championship schedule has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am excited about the arrival of a new low-emissions competition outboard engine from Mercury Racing, focused at the top level of powerboat racing,” said UIM President Dr. Raffaele Chiulli. “The engine, designed with input from the UIM and H2O Racing, significantly reduces exhaust emissions while at the same time providing the speed and excitement that powerboat racing fans expect from our flagship series in circuit racing. The UIM supports full implementation of this engine, which demonstrates our commitment to lowering carbon levels in our sport.”

Veteran racer and multi-time tunnel boat champion Chris Fairchild acted as a consultant to Mercury Racing during development of the 360 APX, and was the test-boat driver during three week-long test sessions at the legendary Lake X test site in central Florida.

Chris Fairchild

“We set up a course on Lake X that was the same size and dimensions as a course the Formula One boats compete on Europe, and we were able to beat their best times with the new 360 APX rigged on a DAC Formula One tunnel boat,” said Fairchild. “The racers will be very satisfied with the performance of this new motor. We also worked to make this an easy transition for race teams that chose to switch to the 360 APX. The teams will not need to build new boats to use the 360 APX, the gearcase uses the same bolt pattern as that on the current motor, and they will be able to race with the same props they are using now, which is a huge cost savings.”

The 360 APX is based on a modified version of the Mercury Racing 300R 4.6-liter V8 powerhead. The engine is normally aspirated and retains its dual overhead cam/four-valve architecture. The compression ratio is increased from 10:1 to 11:1 and peak rpm is boosted from 6400 RPM to 7000 RPM. The powerhead is fitted with a short-runner intake manifold mated to a cold-air induction system vented through the cowl. The engine calibration is modified to take full advantage of the powerhead modifications. The 360 APX uses a 24-volt starter for faster dock-side starting in competition. A digital control offers smooth and precise throttle application. Additionally, this engine offers 90% lower emissions than current two-stroke racing engines.

The 12-inch midsection is all-new and designed specifically for Formula 1 tunnel boat applications, with a structural wet sump driveshaft housing and integrated power trim and lift with remote pumps. An overdrive spur gearset between the crankshaft and the gearcase increases the input shaft speed to the gearcase to match that of the current 9600-RPM two-stroke race engine, and produces the left-hand propeller rotation desired for Formula 1 circuit racing. The overdrive gears are designed to accommodate multiple gear ratios, so the teams can select the ratio that best fits each particular race.

12-inch mid-section

“The primary purpose of the overdrive is to increase the input speed to the gearcase,” said Mercury Racing Director of Engineering Jeff Broman. “While the 360 APX produces about 45 percent more torque, it doesn’t match the RPM of the 2.5-liter two-stroke. With the new 360 APX we can trade some torque to increase propeller RPM via the overdrive, which will also improve the life span of the gears.”

Super Speed Master (IV SSM) outboard gearcase

An evolved version of the Mercury Racing Super Speed Master (IV SSM) outboard gearcase is direct-drive with no neutral or reverse shifting. Above-water exhaust offers unrestricted flow and produces an exciting tone for racing fans. The motor is equipped with integrated, light-weight steering arms for tunnel boat cable steering. The top cowl and driveshaft housing covers are lightweight carbon-fiber composite. The cowl features robust latching and sealing systems, while the driveshaft cover has quick-release fasteners to ease access to the midsection.

Mercury Racing 10W-30 MRX engine oil, a new high-performance full-synthetic lubricant, was engineered alongside the Mercury Racing 360 APX outboard and specifically formulated to withstand the extreme heat and stress the engine will encounter during F1 tunnel boat competition.

Mercury Racing 360 APX outboards are available, exclusively to eligible race teams, for order now with shipments scheduled to commence in early November 2020.

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Grass Roots Drag Racing

The Upper Midwest Power Boat Association Keeps It Simple

Drag racing may be the most elemental of motorsports – a short, furious sprint from start to finish line, first one there is the winner. The goal of the Wisconsin-based Upper Midwest Power Boat Association (UMPBA) is to keep powerboat drag racing as uncomplicated, and as much fun, as possible.

Brett Suebert, president of UMPBA, in his STV

“The goal of UMPBA is to have as few rules as possible,” said UMPBA President Brett Seubert. “We want to grow this sport by getting more competitors and fans engaged. Our rules make the sport easy to understand and leave a lot of room for creativity.”

The UMPBA hosts a form of bracket racing, but instead of the brackets being organized by elapsed time (ET), drivers chose to enter a bracket based on boat speed at the end of an 800-foot course. If they exceed that speed, they automatically lose. The seven brackets start at 65 mph, and go up in 10-mph increments to the Unlimited bracket, for boats able to top 116 mph. Like any drag race, success is based more on quickness than top speed. A boat able to out-accelerate a faster competitor – or the driver with quicker reaction time at the start – may end up winning the race. Boat speed is monitored by a GPS unit that’s required to be in every boat, which can be inspected at the end of each run.

Boats and competitors are required to meet basic safety standards. Racing is open to boats powered by outboards, inboards and jet drives. Each event has 35 to 45 entries, according to Seubert, with 45 to 55 class entries as some boats enter more than one speed bracket. This is real “run what ya brung” racing, and in the slower classes it’s not uncommon for fast family runabouts and bass boats to enter.

Nick Petersen, Mercury Racing Propeller Specialist

“I have four seats in my Hydrostream Venom, and I use it as a day cruiser between races,” said Nick Petersen, Mercury Racing Propeller Specialist and Project Manager, who competes at UMPBA events. “My boat is powered by a Mercury Racing 250 XS, and I started in the 75 mph class, and have moved up to the 85 mph class. Once you get up to the 95 mph class, most of the competitors are running dedicated race boats with two-stroke racing outboards that can pull a lot of RPM. A Mercury Racing 2.5 outboard can run up to 9000 RPM, so they can rig a smaller-pitch prop for hole shot and still make top speed at the end of the run.”

The faster classes are dominated by lightweight 18- to 20-foot hulls produced by brands like Checkmate, Allison, STV and Hydrostream; with pad-bottom V-hulls and Mod-VP style tunnel hulls.

“Weight is the real key to quick acceleration,” explained Petersen, “and some of the really fast hulls weigh only about 400 pounds. They’ll have a very thin carbon fiber layup, a small fuel tank, and a single center-mounted seat. Add a lightweight outboard like a modified Mercury Racing 2.5 Drag, which can make 400 hp on alcohol fuel, and you’ve got a real rocket.”

In keeping with the simple-is-best approach, UMPBA events do not utilize electronic timing. Boats approach a “commitment buoy” and a starting line buoy together, about 50 feet apart. Racers are then flagged off from a starting boat located 30 feet beyond the start buoy. Judges and a camera are waiting in a finish-line boat at the end of the 800-foot course. Each class runs a double-elimination format.

“If a competitor suspects the other racer broke out of the class speed limit, he can ask to see that racer’s GPS for verification,” said Seubert. “There is a 2 mph breakout for each class, so racers have that leeway before they break out and are disqualified.”

A new feature on the way for UMPBA races is a custom Ambush SS 1756 safety/tow boat being built by Legendcraft Boats of Alexander, Ark.,  for the organization. The boat will be powered by a Mercury Racing 60R outboard with tiller steering. The 17-foot aluminum boat will be equipped with dive tank racks and a step-off transom for the rescue divers stationed at each race. The boat will also be used to set the course and as a tow craft for disabled race boats, according to Seubert.

UMPBA’s new safety boat, a Legendcraft powered by 60R

The 60R outboard features a four-cylinder, 1.0-liter long-stroke powerhead tuned for torque by Mercury Racing. The WOT range is extended to 6300 rpm to maximize acceleration and enable more propping options. A single overhead camshaft cylinder head keeps the powerhead as light and slim as possible for less intrusion on the transom. The high-thrust gearcase accommodates a robust 2.33:1 ratio to handle up to 20 percent more prop-blade area than a standard gearcase, and is shaped to provide added lift aft to further boost hole-shot performance and confident handling at speed.

Racing’s new 60R is ready for action on race day

“Legendcraft is has built the boat, and it was rigged by Merten Marine in Oshkosh, Wis., which has been very supportive of the UMPBA,” said Seubert. “The boat will showcase the new Mercury Racing 60R outboard, and this will be the first 60R to be equipped with tiller steering.”

Jim Merten rigs the new safety boat

The UMPBA has four events on its 2020 schedule, and has been able to hold the first two by observing social distancing and other pandemic precautions at its races. Drag boat racing is very popular in the southern United States – the Outboard Drag Boat Association holds its annual championships at Jasper, Tenn., in October – and racers from that region and from as far away as New York State have travelled to race with the UMPBA.

“What I enjoy most about the UMPBA is that the racing is competitive, but not cut-throat,” said Petersen. “It’s designed to be safe, stress-free and a lot of fun.”

Sounds like the perfect way for a Mercury Racing fan to experience the Wide Open lifestyle.

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Hydrodynamics: Part 2 – The Science and Art of Gearcase Hydrodynamics

In our recent Intro to Hydrodynamics post we discussed the impact of drag on escalating boat speed, and the importance of using the science of hydrodynamics to reduce that drag. The gearcase is the one component of a high-performance sterndrive or outboard that is always in the water, and thus subject to drag. Mercury Marine and Mercury Racing have a long history of developing gearcases for racing and high-performance applications, with the first Quicksilver racing gearcase and shortened midsection introduced in 1950 for the Kiekhaefer Mercury KG-7 Super 10 Hurricane outboard, which promised to increase top speed by 20 to 30 percent on the racing runabouts of the era.

Drive development has a long history at Mercury Racing

Today, Mercury Racing engineers face some of the same challenges that complicated gearcase design 70 years ago. One is the trade-off between robust internal design – to handle ever-increasing power – and the desire to create a slim shape that’s as hydrodynamic as possible. All of the design work starts in the computer.

“We begin with some basic parameters – pinion and driven gear diameters, bearing sizes, and max prop diameter – this sets the propshaft-to-anti-ventilation plate dimension,” explains Jeff Broman, Mercury Racing Director of Engineering. “Then we have some basic configuration decisions around the shifting mechanism, which could be in the gearcase or further up the driveline, whether the exhaust will be through-prop or above-water and water inlets will be in the gearcase or on the transom, and the choice of single- or dual-pinion drive shaft.”

Sport Master Gearcase Cutaway

Once those mechanical parameters have been defined, engineers can start wrapping a hydrodynamic housing around the internal parts. The initial shape starts with established rules-of-thumb based on years of design experience. These relate to making a housing that has low drag, good handling characteristics, and resists cavitation, but also is able to be consistently and precisely manufactured, taking into account casting process capabilities and reasonable machining tolerances.

The anticipated boat speed then sets the shape of the torpedo – higher speeds require more length for a given diameter. Operating speed also defines the shape of the skeg, which is especially critical on surfacing drives. When a surfacing drive is running at speed, only the skeg is in the water, so the design of the skeg is critical to maintaining stability. The shape of the torpedo is also extremely important, particularly during re-entry and when accelerating onto plane. The torpedo also controls how the water flows into the prop. It is important to have a smooth flow of water up and around the gearcase, controlling the amount of lift generated. Outboard gearcases present the additional challenge of designing water pickups, which must be located and shaped based on the operating speed, minimizing sensitivity to trim and debris fouling and always providing enough cooling water to the engine.

Example of M6 / M8 Drive Overlay

Once an initial housing designed, it goes into CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulation, which is the numerical analysis of fluid flow accomplished in powerful computers. Mercury continues to develop its proprietary methods and capabilities in this field. Current cutting-edge CFD simulations can capture air mixed with water – critical on surfacing drives like the Sport Master, M6, and M8 – and incorporates a moving propeller. The simulation offers guidance in refining the design.

1965 Speedmaster Assembly Drawing

The next step is the creation of a prototype, which may be a modification of a current gearcase or a new shape completely machined from billet. Then it’s time to head for the water. Depending on the application, in-water evaluation may start with a boat in the Mercury fleet. If an appropriate boat is not available, Mercury Racing will partner with a boat builder to gain access to a boat. Testing of a new gearcase housing is guided by Mercury Racing hydrodynamics specialist, Mike Griffiths. Griffiths has years of experience in all types of high-speed boats and has the expertise to safely evaluate any aspect of boat setup. He will put the new gearcase through a series of tests to evaluate how it will work in a real application. The output of these tests is a mix of objective data – top speed, acceleration, steering loads, and water pressure – and his subjective “feel” of the boat. Based on those tests, engineers will continue to fine tune the design until it meets Mercury Racing standards.

“While speed is always a goal, it’s actually more important that the drive behaves in a safe and predictable manner,” said Broman. “Once we meet all of the design objectives, we release the new design for production.”

The result is the kind of Wide Open performance boat owners have come to expect from Mercury Racing – the ability to enjoy the absolute thrill of speed on the water with confidence and reliability.

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The Passion of Benny Blanco

The Florida guide has been pulled to the water since childhood

Photo: @bostoninked via Capt. Benny Blanco

It was a bicycle, not a boat, that made it possible for award-winning conservationist and tournament-winning fishing guide Capt. Benny Blanco to feed his passion for angling at a very young age.

“When I was about 12 years old I got a bike, and that set me free,” said Blanco, who grew up in the Miami-Dade County community of Kendall, Fla. “I would get up early in the morning to ride my bike down to the canal and throw my cast net for five hours to fill a pail with mullet. Then I’d take it down to the bait shop and trade for Rapala lures, so I could go catch fish.”

Today Blanco, 44, is a full-time fishing guide working the waters of Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys, not from a bicycle but from Hell’s Bay craft powered by Mercury Racing outboards. The oldest of five children, Blanco is descended from Cuban commercial fishermen.

“But I think that passion skipped a couple of generations,” said Blanco, who lives in Palmetto Bay, Fla. “My parents were the first generation of the family born in America, and my stepfather was interested in fishing but didn’t have a lot of time for it, and we didn’t have a boat. I started hanging out at local bait shops, and other elders in our community started helping me learn to fish. That’s when I was netting bait fish and mowing lawns to earn a little money for fishing gear. Kendall is full of canals and lakes and I could fish from shore.”

Blanco’s bicycle eventually carried him to Biscayne Bay.

“I’d ride 45 minutes to fish for half an hour,” said Blanco. “On the bay I could catch world-class game fish, permit and bonefish. What I loved about fishing was that I didn’t need a team, I didn’t need a lot of expensive equipment, or even any skill.

“Catching my fifth permit was not as exciting as the first, and I started taking other people fishing,” said Blanco. “I’d take my step dad, my buddies or girl friends, and I got great satisfaction from teaching them and seeing them catch a fish. I realized that being a guide was my calling.”

At age 14 Blanco acquired a jon boat, and started making trips with his stepfather to Flamingo to fish Florida Bay. By age 15 he was towing the boat there himself. A talented five-sport athlete, Blanco accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, but an injury in his first season, and the winter weather in Atlanta, convinced him to head back to Miami. While working as a construction manager, Blanco earned a captain’s license in 1997, purchased a Hewes skiff, and started guiding in 1998.

“Being a fishing guide is not exactly what my parents and my family had in mind for me,” said Blanco. “They thought I was crazy, that guiding was no way to make a living. But between 1998 and 2000 I won tournaments against some of the big names in the sport, and went full time with guiding in 2000.”

Blanco realized there were not many guides working the flats in Florida Bay, and decided to focus on the area.

“I became a student of the bay. I poled every inch, 330 days in one year, learning the currents and the wind, every aspect of the fishery,” said Blanco.

In 2015 a major algae bloom killed of 50 percent of the Florida Bay sea grass, an event that inspired Blanco to become involved in local conservation efforts, including Captains for Clean Water and The Everglades Foundation. Blanco promotes protection of vulnerable, pristine waters across Florida through “Guiding Flow,” the show he hosts on the streaming channel Waypoint TV. Today Blanco guides 40 percent of his time on Florida Bay, 40 percent on Biscayne Bay, and the remainder in the Keys.

His main guide boat is a Hell’s Bay Boatworks Professional™, which he recently re-powered with the new Mercury Racing 60R, a high-performance outboard designed specifically for technical fishing skiffs.

“I think the Hell’s Bay Professional is the best poling skiff in the world,” said Blanco. “With two clients aboard it draws just 5.5 inches of water and is so easy to control. The Mercury Racing 60R has only improved the boat. I replaced a 20-inch, 70-hp motor from another brand with the 15-inch 60R and immediately improved my hole shot, which is so important on the flats – you need to be able to jump up shallow and run shallow. Mercury Racing seems to have found an excellent combination of gear ratio and powerband. The ability to run up to 6300 RPM gives me many more propping options, and I just got the new Spitfire XP prop and am excited to try it.

Photo: Dan Decibel |

“Speed is important in tournaments, and in that regard the 60R delivers, but I’ve really been surprised by the fuel economy I’m getting with this new motor,” said Blanco. “It’s much more efficient than the 70 I was running, which improves my range.”

One thing is clear about Benny Blanco – the man belongs on the water.

“I believe there’s something in my blood,” he says. “I wasn’t looking for it. The passion found me.”

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Bravo I FS Prop Dials In Multi-Species Boat Performance

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

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

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

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

Want to download the test data? Click here.

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Mercury Racing Releases new 300-HP CNC Cleaver Propeller

An outboard as exciting as the Mercury Racing 300R deserves its own propeller and Mercury Racing has just delivered. The new surface-piercing Mercury Racing 300HP 5-Blade CNC Cleaver propeller is designed expressly to maximize the performance of the Mercury Racing 300R. Its proprietary blade profile delivers stronger acceleration and more top-end speed than the Mercury Racing 400HP CNC Cleaver prop when run on the Mercury Racing 300R outboard. This new prop will also improve the performance of the legacy Mercury Racing 300XS and 300X outboard models.

“While mainly aimed at twin-outboard catamaran applications, this new propeller design will also take single-engine, padded-vee bottom and tunnel boats to a new level of performance,” said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing director of marketing, sales, and service. “There’s no room for error when driving these high-performance boats and that’s the approach we take when building propellers.”

The state-of-the-art CNC machining process offers unparalleled benefits compared to standard cast propellers. Pitch, diameter, and rake are perfectly true on every Mercury Racing CNC propeller to ensure that lift, handling, and speed characteristics are absolutely consistent. Designed to make the most of the Sport Master gearcase and elevated engine heights, the 300HP 5-Blade Cleaver prop dramatically reduces slip percentages in outboard Sport Master applications, averaging 4.5 percent at WOT.

Thousands of pitch, rake and diameter combinations are available to dial in the maximum performance of almost any boat. Each CNC Cleaver propeller is custom made to order. Diameter range is 14.5 to 15.5 inches, pitch range is 26 to 40 inches in one-inch increments, with a choice of 15-degree or 18-degree rake.

To learn more, visit .

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Mercury Racing Awards Skilled Trade Scholarships

Mercury Racing has awarded its second annual scholarship to two local high school students Joshua Bartlett of Randolph, Wisconsin and Grant Burbach of Oakfield, Wisconsin for $2500 each. The goal of the scholarship is to alleviate financial stress of post-secondary education and support the continued growth of skilled tradespeople in our community.

Companies such as Mercury Racing rely on skilled individuals with a strong work ethic and passion to build and service niche products. This scholarship will help grow the local workforce by providing the education and tools needed to succeed.

Scholarship recipient Josh Bartlett

“This scholarship will help me achieve my dream of getting a degree in manufacturing technology,” said Bartlett. He will attend Dordt University in the fall for the Pro-Tech Program with an emphasis in Manufacturing Technology.

Scholarship recipient Grant Burbach

Burbach will attend Moraine Park Technical College and will pursue a degree in Gas Utility.

As for Burbach’s reaction to the award, he said, “It is a great honor to be awarded this scholarship. Having this assistance will lessen my worry about how I will pay for my education and I will be able to focus on my course work.”

“This is the second year we have provided this scholarship, and this year we are proud to award this money to two very deserving individuals who clearly have a passion for pursuing a technical trade,” said Stuart Halley, general manager, “Mercury Racing depends on skilled tradespeople to have a prosperous future. It is our mission to continue to continue to grow this program so that more students, like Josh and Grant, have the financial support they need to be successful.”

Mercury Racing wishes to thank all who applied for this scholarship and express our congratulations on a successful 2020 graduation.

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Magoo’s Rules

How One Owner Achieved 550 Hours with his Mercury Racing QC4 1350s

Acceleration never gets old, and nothing beats the heart-pounding rush of dropping the throttles to unleash the torque generated by a pair of Mercury Racing QC4 sterndrive engines. It could be the ultimate performance-boating thrill.

Dave “Magoo” Megugorac is a performance boat owner addicted to the QC4 drug. Magoo, as he’s known to his friends, prowls Lake Havasu and Lake Powell in a DCB M35 powered by a pair of Mercury Racing QC4 1350 engines, and in his new rig, a DCB M44 with a pair of Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1350/1550 engines below the hatches. The 66-year-old has run the DCB M35 cat to 163 mph to win the Desert Storm Shootout four years in a row, and won his class at the 2019 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout at 156 mph in the M44.

Magoo craves the thrill of performance boating, but he’s also keenly aware of the price of admission.

“I’m really kind of cheap,” he explains. “Too many owners get into these boats and then find out they can’t afford to own them. But I’ve got five seasons and more than 500 hours on the M35 and it has never once let me down. The secret is to use, but not abuse, the powertrain.”

Impressive machines that they are, Mercury Racing QC4 sterndrive engines also operate under incredible stress. Eventually these thoroughbreds will need to come “back to the barn,” as it were, for fresh legs – a complete inspection and update in the hands of the Mercury Racing technicians manning the QC4 Factory Refresh program. The factory-recommended interval for the 1350 engine is 200 hours. Magoo has more than doubled those hours and his engines are still fast and reliable. That’s not due to luck.

A Fast Family

Magoo was raised with a hot rodder’s mentality. His grandfather owned a service station in Santa Monica, Calif., and as a teen his father Dick “Magoo” Megugorac joined Low Flyers Racing Club, a crew that raced on dry lakes and included many of the founding fathers of SoCal hot rodding. Dick opened Magoo’s Street Rods in Canoga Park, Calif., in the 1960s and built a number of high-profile custom cars. His hot rods were known for having intricate mechanical detail and outstanding reliability. Dave Megugorac was working as a technician in a California Cadillac dealership when, in 1988, he started Magoo’s Automotive Consultants Inc. to provide third-party inspection services for extended warranty administrators – he’s an expert in failure analysis. When he retired and got into performance boats, he brought that perspective to the water.

“Rule one is do the maintenance, by the book, with a factory-trained tech,” said Magoo. He has his 25-hour oil changes and fluid checks done by Mercury Racing dealer Barrett Custom Marine in Lake Havasu. More detailed maintenance, including engine valve lash checks, water pump replacement, engine alignment and drive and transmission service, is handled by DCB at 100-hour intervals.

“I delivered both DCB boats to Dave, and he is always by the schedule,” said DCB sales manager/VP Tony Chiaramonte. “He follows the 25-hour break-in cycle, which many owners don’t have the patience for. They want to run their new boat. And he always has an eye on the oil temperature gauges.”

Managing oil temperature is key to long engine life, according to Magoo.

“These are fabulous engines, but they put incredible stress on the oil,” he says. “I start the engines and idle until the oil reaches 180 degrees. I won’t roll the boat over (get on plane) until I see 180, and then I won’t throttle up until the oil is 202 degrees and the thermostats have opened. When I come off plane, I idle the engines until the oil temp comes down to 194. Depending on the air and water temperature, this might take five minutes. If people in the boat want to swim, well they just have to wait.”

Chiaramonte says Magoo will not deviate from this routine. “I’ve been with him at poker runs and the fleet starts to take off, and most owners would be on the throttles to stay with the group, but Magoo will just wait if his oil temperature’s not right. He doesn’t care.”

According to Mercury Racing Service Manager Bob Krupp, the QC4 was rigorously validated to where the recommended  maintenance and refresh intervals were set.  Depending on how the customer uses the engine, the refresh interval may sometimes be extended, especially when following the recommended maintenance intervals.  Posted engine refresh intervals are guidelines, not gospel.

“Engine hours, valve lash, and oil blow-by on the breathers are indications of engine health,” said Krupp. “If we see oil in the valve cover breathers it’s a sign the piston rings are worn. On the higher horsepower QC4 turbocharged engines the cylinder pressure is  very high such that over time the valves may start to recess into the cylinder heads. The clearance gets too tight and during service you’d go to a thinner shim, but when the valves can no longer be shimmed it’s time to refresh the engines back at the factory where authentic Mercury Racing parts are replaced to further extend the life of the engine.”

Magoo preserves his valves by limiting time at full throttle.

“I run the boat hard, but I try to be intelligent,” said Magoo. “Some owners out here will run wide open all the way to the dam. I never stay at wide-open too long. I don’t care to hold it there to get that last mile an hour unless it’s a speed run. I’ll bury the throttles, then back off and let it breath, bury it and let it breath. I’m not racing so why hold it wide open?”

Krupp reminds performance boat owners that the rev limiter is not a replacement for fundamental driving skills, especially offshore. Learning to throttle in rough water will preserve high-performance engines.

“When I got into this, I realized I had no business running 140 mph,” said Magoo. “So I took a driving class with Tres Martin and got a complete understanding of how to throttle, trim and safely handle the boat.”

How impressive is Magoo’s engine life?

“He’s way out there,” said Krupp, who notes that when run hard a 1350 engine may need a refresh at 100 to 125 hours, “but I guess it shows what’s possible. The QC4 engines are pretty incredible machines that provide a unique driving experience on the water like no other engine.”

Photos courtesy of Tommy Gun Images

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Mercury Racing 450R Named to Boating Industry Top Products List

Recognizing the New Benchmark in Outboard Performance and Technology

The Mercury Racing 450R high-performance outboard motor has been named to the 2020 Boating Industry Top Products list. The seventh-annual list announced on May 1 includes 50 of the “marine industry’s best new and innovative products” selected by the editors of Boating Industry magazine. To be eligible for consideration, products or services must be introduced or significantly updated since January 2019.

“The Mercury Racing 450R set a new benchmark for outboard performance and design,” said Stuart Halley, Mercury Racing general manager. “Its inclusion as a Boating Industry Top Product acknowledges the creative talent and the engineering and manufacturing prowess of the entire staff at Mercury Racing, where we always run Wide Open.”

In February the Mercury Racing 450R earned 2020 Innovation Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The 450R impressed judges from Boating Writers International with its combination of unrelenting performance, technology features and styling, each intended to enhance the performance boating experience.

Launched in June, 2019, the Mercury Racing 450R writes a power prescription that combines unprecedented acceleration and top-speed potential with rugged reliability and the latest technology from Mercury Marine.

“We have now rigged more than 20 Nor-Tech boats with the Mercury Racing 450R, and it’s the motor’s mid-range torque that really gets our customers excited,” said Trond Schou, President of Nor-Tech Boats. “You can punch these motors at 60 mph and they just take off. On our bigger boat models the power of the 450R really makes a performance difference.”

The Mercury Racing 450R features a 4.6-liter V8 FourStroke powerhead boosted by an exclusive Mercury Racing supercharger to produce 450 peak propshaft horsepower and 439 ft. lb. of torque – 40 percent more torque than the previous Mercury Racing outboard benchmark – from an outboard that weighs as little as 689 pounds (313 Kg), the best power-to-weight ratio in the high-performance outboard category. The Mercury Racing 450R delivers all of its performance on readily available 89-octane (95 RON) pump fuel.

To view the full 2020 Top Products list, visit .

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Mercury Racing Service Manager Scott Browne Passes

A highly-respected technician, performance engine and boat builder and waterski racing champion.

The Mercury Racing family regrets the passing of colleague Scott Browne, who served as a Service Manager for Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific region. Browne, age 49, died unexpectedly in January.

“Scott was energetic, knowledgeable and passionate,” said Anthony Brown, Mercury Marine marketing manager for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. “Scott had a positive effect on each and every one of us.”

When Browne joined Mercury Marine in 2001 he brought with him two great loves – spending time on the water and working with engines. He had the knowledge to answer questions and the passion to ask them. An expert mechanic, fully trained on race engines and with plenty of experience working in a dealership, Scott knew the business from all sides.

Browne also had a huge impact on the waterski-racing fraternity in Australia. A popular motorsport in the region, waterski racing pairs a high-performance boat and an expert skier in competition against other teams, either on a closed course or in a point-to-point or timed race. Boat-and-skier speeds in the top classes can top 100 mph. Browne, highly regarding in the waterski-racing community, participated as a skier, a mechanic and boat builder, a driver, and a fervent supporter of the sport.

His waterski racing career started in 1994, when he teamed with his brothers Paul and Craig. His achievements are too many to list, but some of the highlights will clearly show the legacy he leaves.

Running a boat powered by a 6.0-liter engine Scott built, the trio’s first race was the 1994 Robinvale 80. Their boat The Sting caught fire after five minutes but the three persisted and with Scott doubling as team mechanic and number-one skier they ended up holding all three Victorian river records in their class. A record the Browne brothers set at the 2001 Mildura 100 race stood for 10 years.

Scott’s next boat, Quicksilver, wasn’t just quick, it was revolutionary. The 1850 Bullet was powered by a triple-rotor Mazda 20B rotary engine fitted with a turbocharger, which sparked more than one heated debate, as it regularly hit speeds near 100 mph. As a skier, Scott won the Southern 80 in 2001 and 2002, collected victories at the Mildura 100 in 2002 and 2003, and went on to win at Robinvale in 2004. After hanging up his ski, Browne continued to build and drive championship-winning boats, claiming the high-points titles at Murray Bridge in 2008 and Robinvale in 2012.

Browne’s involvement and enthusiasm went well beyond pure racing. He once skied behind a 29-foot Scarab more than 300 miles from Tasmania to Port Phillip Heads in southern Victoria, Australia. In 2010 Browne claimed a silver medal in the veteran men’s class at the 62-mile Catalina to Long Beach ski race off the California coast, perhaps the most-prestigious waterski race in North America. He generously donated his Haines Hunter boat when he heard Mercury wanted to form an all-female ski race team.

Scott Browne was an amazing family man, friend and colleague. He will be sadly missed by all of us who knew him at Mercury Marine, and our most-heartfelt sympathy goes to his family.

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An Intro to Hydrodynamics

There are two basic ways to increase the top speed of a powerboat: add power or reduce drag. Adding power is the obvious path and the easiest to understand, and nobody understands power like Mercury Racing, home of the Mercury Racing 450R outboard and the Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1550/1350 sterndrive engine. Finding a reduction in drag can have a surprisingly significant impact on speed, and basic physics tells us why.   

Drag is proportional to the square of speed – so going twice as fast requires that we overcome four times the drag. To make a simple math example, to increase boat speed by 10 percent, say from 100 mph to 110 mph, will require overcoming about 21 percent more drag (1.1 x 1.1 = 1.21). However, the power required to overcome that drag is proportional to the cube of speed. So to use the same example, increasing boat speed by 10 percent will require approximately 33 percent more power (1.1 x 1.1 x 1.1 = 1.331). To create a real-world example, if a boat powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1100 QC4 engines (2,200 total horsepower) can reach a top speed of 125 mph, pushing that speed to 135 mph (an increase of 8 percent) will require approximately 26 percent more power, or 2,772 horsepower – a pair of Mercury Racing 1350 QC4 engines would do the trick. This assumes no increase in prop slip, losses to drivetrain friction, or significant change in air density, among other factors. 

This formula works backwards as well, so any reduction in drag translates into more speed if the available power remains static. A fast boat experiences both aerodynamic and hydrodynamic drag. At high speed, most performance boats have very little hull in the water, so much of the drag to be overcome is aerodynamic. The two key points of hydrodynamic drag that concern Mercury Racing are at the gearcase and the propeller. The engineering challenge lies in finding ways to reduce drag while retaining real-world practicality. For example a very slim gearcase might be hydrodynamically efficient but unable to contain gears with a practical ratio, or gears large and strong enough to offer acceptable durability. Improving gearcase hydrodynamics may have a negative impact on water flow to the propeller, decreasing prop efficiency. Chasing hydrodynamic improvement can be a complicated game of compromise, but is always a worthwhile effort because any reduction in drag is like gaining horsepower. And horsepower is expensive. 

Modern engineering tools like computational fluid dynamics (CFD) allow engineers to study in detail the flow of air, either through and engine intake or around the hull and deck of a speeding boat, and to identify areas of drag. But those tools are much less reliable in the study of hydrodynamics, making years of experience and on-the-water testing vitally important. In future columns we’ll look at ways hydrodynamics influences the design of Mercury Racing propellers and gearcases as we support your quest for a Wide Open life at speed on the water.  

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Mercury Racing Employees Help in COVID-19 Fight

Three home-bound Mercury Racing employees are using personal 3D printers to support community efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. When Steve Wynveen, a development engineering manager at Mercury Racing, learned that Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee had posted a pattern and instructions for home sewers to create cloth face masks, he discovered a way to pitch in.

Steve Wynveen (and his assistant) with 3D printer

“One of the more time-consuming parts to sew in this plan is folding bias tape in half and stitching it together to form the strings that loop over your ear or behind your head,” said Wynveen. “Bias tape has a bit of springiness to it because of the 45-degree weave angle. The tool we are 3D printing is a funnel that folds the tape back onto itself, so that when it exits the tool, it can be fed right into a sewing machine, or be ironed flat.”

Davy Dins at home with 3D printer

Bias tape tools are available commercially, but a sewer who doesn’t have one on hand would have to leave home to purchase one – not advisable right now – or order one online and wait for delivery. Wynveen found a bias tape tool on to design a bias tape tool that could be 3D printed and enlisted fellow development engineering manager Chris Jenks and Mercury Racing technician David Dins to help crank out the plastic tools. All three Racing employees are 3D printer hobbyists, according to Jenks, and one of them brought home a 3D printer from Mercury Racing to keep engineering projects moving forward while the company is on “work from home” status.

“The 3D printer community is finding many ways to help during the pandemic,” said Jenks. “PrusaPrinters created files with its local health ministry in the Czech Republic for face shields and shared them with its printer community. Those in the 3D printer hobby usually make small models or arts-and-crafts projects. I’ve been making motorcycle parts. The bias tape tool was something we could make quickly and share locally.”

The tool is designed to be handheld and forms the tape as it is fed into a sewing machine, or as it is ironed flat. Wynveen communicated with two Facebook groups coordinating sewing of masks in Wisconsin – Masked Sewists for SE Wisconsin (2,762 members) and Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors (3,963 members) – and on March 30 offered his bias tape tool. He then enlisted Jenks and Dins to help print the tools, or “formers.”

“We are printing 30-piece nests of four-centimeter and five-centimeter formers,” said Wynveen. “I picked that nest size as it’s about a 12-hour print, which best lines up with our human sleep schedules, and gets us 60 pieces per machine, per day.”

Chris Jenks at home with 3D printer

Jenks said the “printer brigade” has created about 600 of the bias tape tools and has delivered about 500 of them to sewers. Jenks said ideally the tool would be designed and prototyped on a 3D printer, and then used to create a die for mass-production of an injection-molded part, but that process could take 12 to 16 weeks. For a small and fast run, the 3D printer option is working.

“I know it sounds cliché, but it really does feel good to help in the fight against this pandemic,” said Wynveen. “Sewists from all over Wisconsin are grateful to get one of these tools. Plus, it didn’t hurt that we got to tweak on our printers, and apply some technical knowledge to maximize our production rate. Fun stuff for an engineer that likes to go fast.”

Links to get involved in mask production:

The Froedtert request to the public:

The Froedtert mask pattern and instructions:

The Masked Sewists for SE Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors


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Built for Speed

Speed-Run Pontoon Ideas Trickle Down to Consumer Models

It’s likely the first pontoon boat race occurred the day the second pontoon boat was built. That’s the nature of competition. But the notion of going very fast in a pontoon might seem a bit counter-intuitive. If you want to go fast, why not just start with a faster boat? Maybe that would be too easy for people like Brad Rowland, a 51-year-old plumber from Sullivan, Ill., who holds the pontoon speed record, a blistering 114 mph run at the 2013 Lake of the Ozarks (LOTO) Shootout speed trials.

“You know when you are really cookin’,” said Rowland. “It gets real smooth because you are barely in the water.”

Rowland set his record with the 25-foot triple-tube South Bay pontoon “Tooned In” rigged with triple Mercury Racing Pro Max 300X outboards with 1.75:1 Fleet Master gearcases. In 2016 Rowland matched that record speed in a new 25-foot South Bay powered by the same trio of Mercury Racing Pro Max 300X motors, and claims to have seen 117 mph in private testing.

Rowland and other speed-seeking pontooners run with the deck fencing in place and even retain the stock seating.

“It’s basically a box on the water,” says Rowland. “I will open the front and rear gates to let some air flow through the boat, but I’ve found reducing weight has no effect on speed. The aerodynamics are so bad to start with.”

Rowland ran the South Bay to 112 mph at the 2019 LOTO Shootout, which is now on a course shortened from a mile to ¾-mile since he set the record. A steering malfunction hampered his run, or he feels he might have beat his own best speed.

“It’s a hairy deal running that fast in a pontoon,” says Rowland, who thinks pontoon speed may have hit a wall. “I’ll shake the hand of the man who goes faster.”

Photo Credit: Playcraft Pontoons

A handful of pontoon manufacturers – South Bay, Playcraft, Manitou and Avalon are examples – offer production models designed for speed and handling performance with potent single and twin outboards, including motors like the new Mercury Racing 450R outboard. The fastest production models are capable of speeds exceeding 70 mph.

“Nobody needs a 300-hp outboard on a pontoon for day-to-day use,” said Rusty Kucher, Brunswick Category Director – Pontoons, including the Harris Boats brand that offers the Mercury Racing 450R outboard for its Grand Mariner and Crowne series. “But there’s a segment of the pontoon market that wants to run as fast as possible, and enjoys having the biggest motor available. The owner who bought a boat with a single or twin Mercury Racing 400R outboards a few years ago now wants to move up to the 450R.”

Tri-tube pontoons designed for more than 200 hp and to run over 50 mph typically feature heavy-duty construction, with stout cross members placed on 16-inch centers, and pontoon tubes made of heavier-than-standard gauge aluminum. Triple tubes are generally required for boats rigged with more than 200 horsepower. Some builders make this center tube slightly larger in diameter than the outboard tube, or mount it slightly lower, so that at speed the boat rides primarily on the center tube but can also heel slightly to carve cleaner turns than a twin-tube pontoon. A number of design elements are added to the round tubes to increase performance. The tubes may have added bulkheads, and may be filled with compressed air or foam, so they maintain shape at high speeds. Some have a flat bottom surface added aft to promote planing, and all will have lifting strakes on the inboard and outboard tube surface that are designed to capture the energy of water displaced by the tubes and use it to lift the entire boat to reduce drag. The strakes are also designed to improve boat handling. A final element is a skin of aluminum attached to the underside of the cross members to reduce aerodynamic and hydrodynamic drag.

Add some serious outboard horsepower and props from Mercury Racing and you’ve got a performance pontoon, a boat that’s the antitheses of the traditional “go slow and enjoy the view at sunset” pontoon experience. Of course, a performance pontoon can always be throttled back for that sunset cruise, but can also offer an exhilarating burst of speed and cover longer distances more efficiently.

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What is a Technical Skiff Anyway?

Unless you’re an avid angler who works the flats of the Gulf Coast, Florida Keys or the Caribbean, you may have never seen a technical flats skiff. These compact, ultra-light boats are designed to get a light-tackle angler into the skinniest water, where bonefish and permit may be lurking. In this world of flats fishing a technical skiff – from builders including Hell’s Bay Boatworks, Yellowfin Yachts, Ranger, and Beavertail Skiffs – is truly a high-performance machine, not in the traditional sense of performance gauged by high speed, but rather in terms of the extreme focus of its design. The new Mercury Racing 60R outboard was developed to complement the absolute functionality of the technical skiff by offering strong hole-shot acceleration in a compact and lightweight package. The Mercury Racing 60R is also the first outboard in this class to be offered with a 15-inch length that is a perfect fit on the low transom found on the most-compact technical flats skiffs.

Capt. Steven Lamp of Dream Catchers Charters in Key West, Fla., has been guiding on the flats since 1994 and consulted on the development of the Mercury Racing 60R. His 17-foot Elite skiff is typical of the breed.

“My boat weighs just 590 pounds without the motor,” says Lamp. “With a Mercury 90-hp outboard on the transom and a customer in the bow, I draw about 8 to 9 inches of water. With this new Mercury Racing 60R I’ll draw 6 to 8 inches.”

Lamp is a big guy for a flats guide, at 6 feet 5 inches tall and over 200 pounds, and he often puts diving ballast in the bow of his boat to offset his weight in the stern, and keep the boat resting flat in the water.

“The hull of a technical skiff has no rocker,” said Lamp. “It’s designed to lie level in the water at rest, with the bow deep so that it’s easier to control in the wind and also easier to spin quickly so I can get the customer in the best position to make a nice presentation.”

Technical skiffs range in size from 16 feet to 18 feet in length and every element of the design influences its shallow draft. The bottom has little or no deadrise at the transom, the interior is quite Spartan, and most examples are built using the latest in sophisticated, ultra-light/ultra-strong composite materials.

“You’ll never see a trolling motor a technical skiff,” said Lamp. “And I’ve seen owners remove the rub rail to make the boat 20 pounds lighter.”

The shape and attitude of the hull limits the top speed of Lamp’s skiff.

Spitfire XP

“My boat will run about 41 mph with a 90-hp outboard, and it will run about 41 mph with a 60-hp outboard,” said Lamp. “The 60 is a lot lighter, but the 90 had the torque to get me quickly on plane. A key advantage of the Mercury Racing 60R is its 4.25-inch gearcase and the new Spitfire XP propeller, both of which contribute to strong hole shot.”

Lamp explains that while he may be fishing in less than a foot of water, when it’s time to move he’ll pole to a deeper hole.

“We are all very concerned with preserving the flats and never want to tear up the bottom,” said Lamp. “I want about three feet of water to get the boat on plane, but that deeper hole might only be six to 10 feet long. So we need to plane off almost instantly.”

Stealth is key to approaching fish in very skinny water, and technical flats boats are designed to be very quiet at rest. To minimize the sound of water slapping the hull, chines and strakes are positioned to be either well below the water line or above it when the boat is at rest.

The guide or one angler poles the boat from a platform over the outboard. Motor height on the transom dictates the height of that platform, and until the debut of the Mercury Racing 60R the platform had to clear a 20-inch outboard. By designing the 60R with a 15-inch midsection, Mercury Racing has achieved a number of benefits, according to Lamp.

“These boats have very low freeboard to reduce windage as much as possible, and they really have a 15-inch transom,” explains Lamp. “So to mount a 20-inch, 60-hp motor, for example, requires either designing a raised transom or rigging with a jack plate, both solutions that add weight to the boat. If I can ditch the jack plate I’ve saved 30 or 40 pounds. The lower motor also lowers the boat’s center of gravity, which improves handling when running. And I can use a lower poling platform, saving more weight and making the boat a little more stable at rest.”

The popularity of the technical skiff is growing, according to Heath Daughtry of Yellowfin Yachts, and that growth is spurring further development of the boat type.

“Customers still want to fish shallow water but they also want to get across longer stretches of big water to get there,” said Daughtry. “Our next designs will seek to preserve the boat’s poling performance while shaping the entry to improve the ride so the angler can run 20 or 30 miles across Florida Bay, for example.”

Yellowfin Yachts helped found the Florida Skiff Challenge, a 40-hour, 1,300-mile non-stop race around Florida from Pensacola to Jacksonville in specially prepared technical skiffs. Daughtry says the Challenge has been a valuable exercise for Yellowfin, which has built boats for the event to test new laminate concepts and to demonstrate the endurance of its 17 Skiff model. The sixth annual event is scheduled for April 2-5, 2020, and benefits Captains for Clean Water and its efforts to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

It seems even technical skiff owners can’t resist the temptation to run Wide Open.

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Mercury Racing Rocks Miami Boat Show

450R Wins Innovation Award and the 60R Debuts

Mercury Racing introduced its new 60R outboard and other key new products at the Miami International Boat Show (Feb. 11-15) and received a prestigious award at the annual event. The all-new Mercury Racing 450R high-performance outboard model was awarded a 2020 Innovation Award by the National Marine Manufacturers Association in the Outboard Engine category. The Mercury Racing 450R was introduced in 2019 and impressed judges from Boating Writers International with its combination of unrelenting performance, technology features and styling, each intended to enhance the performance boating experience.

“We are honored to win an Innovation Award for our new 450R outboard,” said Stuart Halley, Mercury Racing general manager. “The team at Mercury Racing has created a new benchmark for outboard performance, one that might have seemed unreachable just a few years ago. Clearly the Innovation Award judges recognized the technological innovation and sophistication built into the 450R.”

The Mercury Racing 450R was featured on boats available for demo rides at the Miami in-water display area, including the NorTech 452 Superfish, Fountain 32 Thunder Cat and Mystic 4200 center console . Fans of sterndrive power had a chance to take a 150 mph blast aboard the MTI RP 48 powered by twin Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1550/1350 engines.

New Mercury Racing 60R Outboard

The new Mercury Racing 60R is only outboard in its class with a 15-inch midsection designed to fit perfectly on the transom of technical flats skiffs, and offers the added benefits of a high-thrust gearcase. This lightweight, compact outboard is a powerhouse tuned and geared to deliver amazing hole-shot acceleration for instant on-plane performance in skinny water.

The 60R outboard features a four-cylinder, 1.0-liter long-stroke powerhead tuned for torque by Mercury Racing. The WOT range is extended to 6300 rpm to maximize acceleration and enable more propping options. A single overhead camshaft cylinder head keeps the powerhead as light and slim as possible for less intrusion on the transom. A powerful 18-amp alternator is designed to maintain battery charge on boats equipped with angling electronics and baitwell pumps. The 4.25-inch diameter, high-thrust gearcase accommodates a robust 2.33:1 gear ratio to handle up to 20 percent more prop-blade area than a standard gearcase, and is shaped to provide added lift aft to further boost hole-shot performance and confident handling at speed. The Mercury Racing 60R fits perfectly on a 15-inch transom. Compared to competing 20-inch motors the Mercury Racing 60R offers a lower center of gravity for better boat handling and stability. It can accommodate a lower poling platform while eliminating the need for a jack plate or flared transom.

New Mercury Racing Propellers

Four new high-performance propeller options from Mercury Racing introduced at Miami are designed to maximize boat performance and handling in specific applications, and broaden a range of performance propellers that is unmatched in the marine industry.

The new Mercury Racing Spitfire XP propeller, designed to be the ultimate prop for the new Mercury Racing 60R outboard, can also offer outstanding performance on Mercury outboards up to 115 horsepower equipped with a 4.25-inch gearcase. The Spitfire XP has a four-blade design and long barrel that combine to deliver extra stern lift for lightning-fast hole shot, a key advantage in skinny-water applications. This precision-tuned Mercury Racing Pro Finish propeller is crafted in Mercury-exclusive X7 stainless steel alloy. It’s offered in 12-inch to 21-inch pitch in half-inch increments to dial in optimal RPM at wide-open throttle.


The new Mercury Racing 600HP-Rated 5-Blade CNC Cleaver propeller is a surface-piercing design engineered with the optimal blade thickness to deliver unmatched top-end speed and handling on performance hulls powered by Mercury Racing 520, 525, 540, 565 and 600 SCI engines paired with a Mercury Racing Bravo XR Sport or Sport Master outdrive. Prop slip is dramatically reduced to an average of 4.5 percent at WOT in Bravo XR Sport and Sport Master applications. Available dimensions are 14.75- to 15.50-inch diameter (0.25-inch increments), 26 to 40 pitch (1.0-inch increments) and 15-degree or 18-degree rake.

Mercury Racing adds a new 12-degree rake option for its CNC Cleaver high-performance propeller line already available in 15-, 18-, and 21-degree rake designs. Intended for use with shaft drives and some Mercury Racing M6 and M8 sterndrive applications, the new low-rake profile generates the minimal lift desired for hulls that have substantial lifting characteristics at speed, such as Unlimited-class offshore race boats. The 12-degree rake Mercury Racing CNC Cleaver propeller is offered with five or six blades, in a 700-hp to 1,800-hp rating, in 15-inch to 18-inch diameters, and 28-inch to 37-inch pitch. All Mercury Racing CNC Cleaver propeller models are now available with rounded blade tips for boat owners that prefer that design.

New HD Steering Pump

The new Mercury Racing HD power steering-pump and High-Flow Helm deliver a new level of high-performance steering for boats powered by multiple outboard motors, including the Mercury Racing 450R outboard engine. The new pump enables high-performance boat builders to assemble a complete, validated steering system for almost any application using components from Mercury Racing. The HD power steering pump delivers 1,800 psi of pressure and a flow rate of 7.5 liters per minute, capacity designed to address the demands of high-speed, dual-engine catamarans executing extreme maneuvers. The new 80cc High Flow helm reduces lock-to-lock steering input on dual-engine catamarans for more-responsive handling, and reduces the ratio on boats powered by triple, quad, and more outboards that use more steering cylinders. The HD pump also can be used with Mercury 40cc and 50cc helms, but the 80cc helm requires the HD pump to meet its flow requirement. The increased pressure and flow of the HD pump can also improve the power assist function on boats running multiple non-surfacing engines, including multi-engine pontoons. The HD steering pump fits in the same mounting space as the Generation B pump, and retrofit hose adapters will be available for use when replacing a Generation B pump with the new HD pump. Mercury Racing steering components are engineered to work as a system, and feature quieter operation than competing systems.

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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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Up For The Challenge

Meet Mercury Racing Director of Engineering Jeff Broman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prop School Part 7: Barrel Length

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

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

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

Maximux ST versus LT barrel length

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

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

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

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

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


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Builders take hurricane relief to new levels

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

Team Nor-Tech / Hurricane Dorian Relief

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

Team MTI / Hurricane Dorian Relief

Team Cigarette / Hurricane Dorian Relief

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

Team Fountain / Hurricane Dorian Relief

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

Team DCB / Hurricane Dorian Relief

Team / Hurricane Dorian Relief

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Boyne Thunder at Sweet 16

The Stroll the Streets event is on par with the Desert Storm Street Party in terms of traffic and pure enthusiasm for high performance boats.

Nick Petersen and I just returned from the 16th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run, July 12-13. Nick is our Propeller Specialist and Project Manager. What a spectacular experience on every level!

People were very impressed with the cut away 450R display engine.

The event has grown to be one of the most popular poker runs in the country. Boat count has grown from 85 in 2010 to 120 this year. Activities began Friday, July 12 with the annual Boyne Thunder Stroll the Streets event. Our Mercury Racing Experience truck was front and center at the intersection of Main and Lake Street.  The weather was just perfect. People traffic through the truck was non-stop throughout the evening.  The all-new 450R outboard was the star of the show. The Cold Fusion White Rear Tie-Bar cat model and a cut-a-way display of the same model in Phantom Black were leading topics of conversation and backdrops for social media selfie pics.

Traffic was non-stop at the Mercury Racing merchandise tent.

The most common question was “how much.” When we responded that MSRP ranges from $53K-$64K, depending on the model, the common response was, “that’s what we thought.” Warranty and fuel requirements were also a hot topic. Consumers and boat builder partners were pleased to learn the 450R runs on 89-octane fuel and is backed by a three-year factory warranty, with up to five years of Mercury Product Protection available.

Sterndrive enthusiasts were equally in awe with the Dual Calibration 1350/1100 display engine.

Stu did an outstanding job of driving throughout the event. It was great to see he and his family relax and enjoy all of the beauty Michigan has to offer.

Nick and I got to participate in the poker run on Saturday with Florida Powerboat Club founder Stu Jones and his family in Project 1080, Stu’s Resto Mod Cigarette 38 Top Gun powered by twin Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives. This was a special treat: It was Nick’s first visit to Boyne, and my first time to do the entire run.  We were in the first flight of boats; It was exhilarating to come on plane with a number of like-size performance boats as we progressed down Lake Charlevoix toward Lake Michigan.

Stu’s son Max collects a card on one of the five stops on the 145-mile run.

The 145-mile run includes card stops in Northport, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor, and a lunch stop in downtown Charlevoix.  Lake Michigan served up two to four-foot seas – quite forgiving considering what she is capable of producing.

It was great to see so many of our industry friends supporting the event onsite. Speed on the Water’s Pete Boden was behind the lens, photographing all of the action from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. Nor-Tech sales rep Terry Sobo made the trip with a new boat in tow for delivery to an ecstatic customer. American Custom Marine owner and Mercury Racing dealer Mike Knoblock represented us well with the Racing Experience Truck parked in front of his customer-appreciation event Thursday evening, with Racing banners visible for all to see.

Mike Knoblock received this stunning Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console just in time for the run. It was the only 450R powered boat in the event.

Mike capped the event by splashing an all-new Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console with triple 450Rs. The new owner ran with Mike on the 390’s maiden voyage over the Pure Michigan waters. “I can tell it’s fast, Stu said, “that thing passed us like we were standing still.”

It’s always great to hang out with Speedboat Magazine’s Ray Lee and Todd Taylor.  Michigan based Skater rep Tony Cutsuries was impressed with seeing the 450Rs in person for the first time.

Rick Bowling in his QC4 1350 powered Gone Again Talon catamaran. Rick was very impressed with the event.

It was nice catching up with  Dan Kleitz of Outerlimits; he’s eternally  pleasant and upbeat.  Doc Jansen is living the Racing brand – running Wide Open as much as possible in his Dual Calibration 1550/1350 powered Outerlimits. It was fun to see former- offshore-racer-turned-poker-run-enthusiast Rick Bowling and his 1350-powered Gone Again Talon catamaran. It was Rick’s and Ray Lee’s first Boyne Thunder experience, and both were impressed.

Doc Jansen having some fun with an Outerlimits catamaran as they spool up for a run to the next card stop.

The three major benefactors of Boyne Thunder are the Main Street program, Camp Quality, and Challenge Mountain.

The Main Street program’s mission focuses on maintaining a vibrant downtown while preserving its historical heritage and supporting sustainable projects.  Some of the projects that people enjoy are Stroll the Streets on Friday nights, the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the year, a pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown, and façade improvement grants for local businesses.

Project 1080 at rest during the lunch stop in the picturesque city of Charlevoix.

Since it began, Boyne Thunder has raised more than $500,000 for Camp Quality, a nonprofit organization that provides special experiences and support for children with cancer.

Jackie Jones and the Project 1080 Mascot, Bandit.

Challenge Mountain is 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.

“What makes Boyne Thunder special is the number of volunteers that pitch in to make the event run smoothly. Most all of the volunteers have a connection to one of the benefactor organizations but come together to work on the event and promote the event’s mission, not their own.  Each of our committee members handle various components of the event and work with those volunteers in their areas and with great communication, we have found this business model works for us,” said event organizer and Boyne Thunder Board Chairmen Bob Alger.

Nick and Tyler Jones pose for the camera as we prepare to enter Lake Michigan for a run to the first card stop.

Mercury Racing is honored to be associated with events such as this, where the entire poker run event staff is voluntary. No egos. No hidden agendas. Just a community event focused on promoting the sport we love which in turn supports a great cause.

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Lead the Charge with the All New 450R Outboard

Greetings from Nashville where we just revealed the all-new 450R outboard.  Developed for discerning performance boating enthusiasts demanding unmatched power and performance, the 450R delivers outstanding power density at 450 propshaft horsepower from an outboard weighing as little as 689 pounds (313 Kg).

Literally hundreds of pounds lighter than the nearest competitor, the new 450R delivers industry leading power-to-weight in a compact, efficient and sporty package.  Best of all, the Mercury Racing 450R delivers all of its performance on readily available 89-octane (95 RON) pump fuel.

Supercharged Performance

The carefully considered design and placement of the new supercharger and charge-air coolers allow the 450R to use the same slim-line cowl as the 300R model while incorporating higher flow intake vents.

The 4.6-liter V8 FourStroke powerhead is boosted by an exclusive Mercury Racing supercharger to produce 450 peak propshaft horsepower and 40 percent higher torque than the powerful 400R.  The carefully considered design and placement of the new supercharger and charge-air coolers allow the 450R to use the same slim-line cowl as the 300R model while incorporating higher flow intake vents.

The 4.6-liter V8 FourStroke powerhead is boosted by an exclusive Mercury Racing supercharger to produce 450 peak propshaft horsepower and 40 percent higher torque than the powerful 400R.

Like all Mercury Racing outboards, the 450R accommodates 26-inch center-to-center mounting on multi-engine transoms, perfect for optimizing use of transom space on new boats or re-power installations.

Inspired Engineering 

The exclusive Mercury Racing Advanced MidSection (AMS) features heavy-duty stainless steel guide plates and stiffened engine mounts that stabilize the outboard and enhance high-speed handling.

An optional rear tie-bar bracket integral to the AMS provides a strong, ultra-light mounting point and uncluttered installation for catamaran and other high-speed applications.

Gearcase Options

From single-engine performance runabouts to multi-engine catamaran sport boats the Sport Master – in the correct application – will enhance boat handling, speed and efficiency.

The surface-piercing Sport Master gearcase, 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 for the 450R application, a stout new one-piece 1.25-inch diameter stainless steel propshaft.

From single-engine performance runabouts to multi-engine catamaran sport boats the Sport Master – in the correct application – will enhance boat handling, speed and efficiency. The available cambered skeg counteracts prop torque for improved performance and handling in single-engine applications.

The 450R is also available with the 5.44 HD gearcase for lower-speed and traditional submerged applications. All 450R gearcases have a 1.60:1 gear ratio for enhanced acceleration and speed.

Mercury Racing Propellers

On the new 450R models, the popular MAX5 and Outboard CNC Cleaver props are required for use with the surface piercing Sport Master gearcase.

Mercury Racing propellers are designed to maximize boat performance and handling in any application. Our artisans handcraft each propeller to precision-tuned works of art, customized for specific boat types and performance goals. Each individual propeller is then zero balanced and measured to ensure consistent performance every single time.

On the new 450R models, the popular MAX5 and Outboard CNC Cleaver props are required for use with the surface piercing Sport Master gearcase.  For 5.44 HP gearcase applications, Mercury Racing’s Bravo I FS, Bravo I LT, Enertia ECO XP, and Rev 4 XP are excellent options.

Intelligent Technology

Adaptive Speed Control with a custom Mercury Racing calibration automatically holds engine rpm regardless of load or condition changes – such as rough water, tight turns, tow sports and lower speeds on plane – to maintain boat momentum with less-frequent throttle control adjustment

Mercury Transient Spark Technology applies pre-programmed timing advance to optimize torque output for stronger hole-shot performance. Adaptive Speed Control with a custom Mercury Racing calibration automatically holds engine rpm regardless of load or condition changes – such as rough water, tight turns, tow sports and lower speeds on plane – to maintain boat momentum with less-frequent throttle control adjustment.

Digital throttle and shift technology enhances the high-performance boating experience by providing smooth shifting and instant response while eliminating cable rigging and maintenance

The 450R is compatible with Mercury Racing Zero Effort Digital controls or any Mercury Marine digital control system, which can throttle up to six outboards with a single lever in some applications. Digital throttle and shift technology enhances the high-performance boating experience by providing smooth shifting and instant response while eliminating cable rigging and maintenance.

Optional Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) is available for boats rigged with two to six outboards and provides intuitive, fingertip 360-degree boat control for docking and maneuvering in tight quarters, plus the convenience of Skyhook® sea-holding features and integrated auto piloting.

VesselView also enables Advanced Sound Control, a dual muffler system that can be toggled between an ultra-quiet mode and a deep sport tone with a stirring growl on start-up

An available Mercury VesselView offers more systems information and engine data than with any other display system in the boating industry. VesselView can simultaneously monitor the RPM, speed, fuel flow and efficiency, temperature, trim and more on up to six outboards on an intuitive seven or nine-inch touchscreen display.

VesselView also enables Advanced Sound Control, a dual muffler system that can be toggled between an ultra-quiet mode and a deep sport tone with a stirring growl on start-up.

Unmatched Reliability

The 450R is backed by a 3-year factory warranty and up to 5-years of Mercury Product Protection coverage.

Designed to thrive in the abusive environment of high-performance boating, the 450R was tested, tested and tested again – in the lab and on the water – in a never-ending quest to exceed the highest expectations of the most-demanding customers. Run Wide Open with confidence.

The Mercury Racing 450R outboard is backed by a three-year limited factory warranty and a three-year limited corrosion warranty. Extend that coverage for up to five additional years with a Mercury Product Protection factory-backed extended service plan.

 Color Options

Devil Red Eye, Graphite Grey and Carbon Fiber accent panel kits are available to custom-match a 450R outboard to a boat color scheme.

The Mercury Racing 450R is available in Cold Fusion white and the legendary Mercury Phantom Black. Cold Fusion White models are finished with Devil Red Eye cowl accent panels with a white Advanced MidSection (AMS) and gearcase. Black models are finished with Graphite Grey cowl accent panels and matching Graphite Grey AMS and gearcase. Devil Red Eye, Graphite Grey and Carbon Fiber accent panel kits are available to custom-match a 450R outboard to a boat color scheme.

Production of the all-new 450R is underway and customer shipments have begun.

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Project 1080: Helm with a View

Stu Jone’s restoration of  an epic Cigarette 38 Top Gun  with Mercury  Racing 540 sterndrives has been a resounding success.  Deemed Project 1080, the vintage Florida Powerboat Club pace boat has been completely refreshed from bow to stern.

Work began with replacing  mechanical throttle and shift Mercury Racing Bulldog sterndrives with our  8.6 Liter 540 sterndrives featuring  modern Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) technology.

Mercury Racing Digital Zero Effort Controls feature short throw levers for effortless shifting and ultra-fast throttle response.

Mercury Racing Digital Zero Effort Controls signal driver intent – providing  digital throttle and shift signals to the potent 540hp engines. Power is transferred to Bravo One XR sterndrives spinning Mercury Racing Lab Finished Bravo I propellers.  Integrated Transom Systems  (ITS) featuring Integral steering rams provide a clean installation of the robust XR drives. K-Plane trim tabs assist in getting the classic vee -bottom up on plane as well as adjusting  hull attitude while underway.

Vitals View 

Vital engine and hull data  is provided real-time via a touchscreen Mercury  703 VesselView monitor.  It has more information and data on boat and engine functions than any other system in the boating industry: rpm, speed, fuel flow and efficiency, temperature, trim, and more.


Project 1080  also uses twin  Garmin 7612 XSV chart plotters for engine  data display as well as navigation.  Stu walks us through the VesselView 703 features in the latest Project 1080 Update video.

Stay tuned for the next Project 1080 update where Stu will run us through the operation of K-Plane trim tabs and provide performance results from updating the Bravo One XR drives with surface piercing Sport Master gearcases.

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Allison Renaissance

Allison sales representative Terry Wingo helped us locate 250R-powered Allison subject boats featured in our new R-Series outboard catalog.

It’s exciting to see the great amount of interest in our new 4.6L V8 250R and 300R FourStroke outboards. What’s particularly exciting is the adaptation of the product by Allison Boats. Allison for years powered its lightweight, high-performance vee-bottom hulls with our legacy 2.5-liter Mercury Racing outboards (electronic fuel injected and OptiMax direct fuel injected two-strokes).

Allison sales representative Terry Wingo helped us locate 250R-powered Allison subject boats featured in our new R-Series outboard catalog. A new dealer who was instrumental making the catalog photo shoot happen was Tim Powell, owner of Fastbass Marine in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Tim’s business has grown at a frantic pace and doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

Tim became an Allison dealer in October and signed on as an exclusive Mercury Marine dealer in December. He started out specializing in selling and servicing marine electronics out of his garage. It didn’t take long for that business to grow. With 16 boats stacked up he soon realized he needed to move into a larger 40-foot-by-60-foot building. It wasn’t long before he outgrew that facility and found himself moving once again, this time into his current 60-foot-by-100-foot building, which includes a 35-square-foot office/showroom.

Tim driving a XB-21 BasSport Pro for the Mercury Racing R-Series Outboard catalog photo mission.

Tim’s focus is providing tournament anglers the performance that comes with the race-proven Allison hull rigged for tournament fishing. His hull of choice is the XB-21 BasSport Pro. Allison also offers the XB-21 in a Prosport (large single-console) and 2+2 (Single/Dual Side Console with seating for four).

Tim’s focus is providing tournament anglers the performance that comes with the race-proven Allison hull rigged for tournament fishing.

“The XB-21 is very stable – a great platform to fish from. Single-console and dual-console models are both popular,” said Tim. “The single consoles are popular with hardcore anglers who appreciate the room to move around.”

Fashion Trend

Glenn Reynolds and Terry Wingo in Bumble Bee – one of the featured boats in the Mercury Racing R-Series outboard catalog.

Longtime Allison dealer Glenn Reynolds of Reynolds Racing  & Marine provided a bright yellow XB-21 BasSport Pro (Dual Console) for our photo mission. With the paintable accent panels on our new V8s, it was a no-brainer to color-match the accent panels and stripes with the boat. Deemed Bumble Bee, the boat was a magnet for photos. It jumps off the pages of our catalog and social media posts. Tim followed that up with his personal demo boat, an identical XB-21 BasSport Pro in electric lime green with color-matched 250R. That one made its debut at our Miami Boat Show media conference in January.

Tim’s personal demo boat made its debut at our Miami Boat Show media conference in January.

When asked what engines are favored Tim said, “I really push the 250R. I focus on that engine, as it is the power limit for most tournament fishing. After saying that, I may update the 250R for a 300R on my personal demo boat – just to see what it will do. However, with the color-matched engine graphics becoming as popular as they are, I think this one won’t be sticking around long.”

New Kid on the Block

At 36 years old, Tim is not only the newest Allison dealer, he is also one of the youngest. Tim said he has the upmost respect for veteran dealers Glenn Reynolds and Lee Sanderson of Sanderson Marine. I thought it would be interesting to get a perspective from the veteran’s point of view in terms of the resurgence in popularity of the performance outboard bass boat market.

The new 4.6-liter V8 250R and 300R FourStrokes have provided a whole new experience for 21-22-foot boats.

“I have experienced a vast evolution of engine technology in my long career of powerboat racing and running my dealership,” said Glenn Reynolds, owner of Reynold’s Racing and Marine. “I started with Mercury ‘Tower of Power’ inline six cylinder two-stroke engines. My first race engine was a 1968 Mercury 1250 BP. I then moved up to the 150 J Block. We then moved into the era of the V6 two-strokes: 225, 260, 280 and 300hp engines. These evolved from carbureted to electronic fuel injected models.

“More recently we adapted to the low-emissions OptiMax engines. Mercury has always been way out front in terms of performance. The new 4.6-liter V8 250R and 300R FourStrokes have raised the bar. They produce more power and torque compared to the two-strokes along with improved fuel economy. The new engines have provided a whole new experience for 21-22-foot boats. The ride is better and more comfortable. It’s just a safer experience overall.”

Veteran Mercury Racing and Allison Boats dealer Lee Sanderson as featured in the 2005 Mercury Racing outboard catalog.

“The torque the new Mercury V8 FourStrokes provide bring the big 21-foot Allison to life. The hole shot, acceleration, and top-end now rival that of the smaller 20-footers rigged with the 225 Pro Max engines of the day,” said recently retired Lee Sanderson. “The boat is up on plane in a boat length, and it sits you back in the seat throughout the bottom-end and mid-range. The engine is also much quieter and smoother compared to the two-strokes.”

A new Hemi Orange XB-21 BasSport Pro (single-console) made its public debut at an Allison factory open house Friday. We are looking forward to seeing this beauty on the water with its color matched 250R outboard.

The electric lime green and Bumble Bee yellow boats drew a steady stream of admirers in the Allison booth at the Bassmaster Classic over the weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee.




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Brian’s FS Experience

AlumaCraft Trophy 195 with 200 Pro Verado

Brian Huinker called me recently for prop advice on a boat he and his nephew bought together. Brian is a Technical Application Manager for Mercury Marine.

Brian and his nephew Mike Huinker bought an Alumacraft Trophy 195 with a 200 Pro Verado. With his work – Brian travels with an assortment of tools and props to assist dealers and builders in their boat setup. Brian has realized success in the past with the stock, stainless steel 3-blade propeller. He happened to have a 19-inch 3-blade in his support van – so he mounted it on the Verado. Brian mentioned he had heard good things regarding our Bravo I FS. His nephew Googled it and found a variety of information (there’s more to that – read on 🙂

Calm Before the Storm

Mike Huinker with his daughter Sammy and son Lukas.
Mike Huinker with his daughter Sammy and son Lukas.

It was right after Brian had dialed the boat in with the 3-blade that he and his nephew packed their gear and were off to Northern Minnesota for their annual fishing trip on on Lake Winnibigoshish. Their first day out was beautiful. The water was calm and the fish were biting! 🙂  The 19-inch 3-blade turned the 200 Pro Verado 5800 rpm at 50 mph. Unfortunately, the weather turned and the calm serenity of the first day was a distant memory.


The wind stirred the lake into a fury of rough water. Mike was driving – doing all he could to battle the rough seas.

“We were getting pounded and wet. It was a rough day on the water,” Brian said.

The wind picked up even more on the next day. Brian was busy loading his gear – getting ready to head out when he noticed Mike working on the back of the engine. As he got closer he could see he was changing the prop. It was not just any prop. He was installing a 20-inch pitch Bravo I FS.

“Looking at the prop, I looked at him and asked, did you borrow one? No he said.” I ordered it. I’m thinking wow, must have been good YouTubes and other positive news for him to order one,” said Brian.

“My research I found YouTube videos of Steve Miller and Jim Saric discussing the Bravo I FS . Then early last spring another YouTube video of Gary Parsons (professional walleye angler) talking about the FS and I was sold.  I had the prop before we took delivery of the boat,” Mike said.

Game Changer 

Mike first leaned about the Bravo I FS online.
Mike first learned about the Bravo I FS online.

Brian and Mike proceeded to put their rain gear on expecting another rough and wet day on the water. They take off and were about half way to their fishing spot when Brian asked Mike if he was driving the boat differently from the previous day. Mike said no.

“I was able to push the throttle harder and the boat handled so much better in the rough conditions. We were not getting pounded, the boat had a much better ride and we were staying much drier,” Mike said.

“We were impressed with the boat. The Bravo I FS changed everything about it. It made a believer out of us,” Brian said.

Now instead of dreading the day on the rough waters, Brian and Mike are able to enjoy the ride to their fishing spot.

Sometime later they were able to find calm water.

Sammy topping off the gearcase with lube.
Master Mechanic Lukas topping off the gearcase with lube.

“With the engine mounted at the second hole (same height as with the 3-blade stainess) they matched the 5800 rpm engine speed and 50 mph top speed. Mike then raised the engine up to the third hole while also adding a trolling motor and three batteries in the front compartment.  The added weight didn’t affect the FS a bit. The engine turned 5800 rpm’s all day at 50 mph,” Brian exclaimed.

Good stuff. I look forward to hearing from Brian again to see how he and Mike are doing now that the weather is turning nicer and their Alumacraft is dialed in for some serious fishing. 🙂


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Dominance Down Under!

Photos courtesy of Kim Baldwin.

Mercury Racing dominated the2016 Robinvale-Euston 80 ski racing event.
Mercury Racing dominated the2016 Robinvale-Euston 80 ski racing event.

We recently received exciting news from our friends at Mercury Australia. Mercury Racing powered boats dominated the Robinvale Euston 80 water ski racing event, clinching 11 victories in the Expert classes and an additional six wins in the social classes. The event took place March 12-13 on the mighty Murray River which separates New South Wales and Victoria. Check out race Recap Video.

Don Gulley (driver) and observer Kevin Boylan piloted Merc Force, a Mercury Racing QC4v 1650 powered hull with skiers Jake Tegart and Steven Rowe in tow to take top honors in the Super Class division. It would be the team’s first win in seven years. Ironically, their past win before was also at the Robinvale event.  Jessica Pearse, piloting the QC4v 1350 powered 99 Pyscho Clowns with observer Daniel McMahon and skiers Codie Rigg and Steven Berry in tow, finished a respectable second in Super Class.

“It’s been a long time coming. The last time we won was here in Robinvale. I even think we are a little quicker this time around,” Don said.

Record Setting Performance 

The Mercury Racing QC4v 1350 was the power behind Pigs Arsenal record setting performance in Unlimited Inboard competition.

QC4v 1350s were the power behind two record setting performances.  Chris Stevens (driver) and Mark Boyer (observer) piloted Pigs Arsenal, with skiers Sean Stevens and Jack Stevens in tow, to win the Unlimited Inboard Competition. They finished a full two seconds ahead of the previous record for the class.

Merc Force F1 sliced a full 11 seconds off the previous record to capture the Women’s Expert category.

Merc Force F1, with Trent Souwer and Christian Apps driving and observing and skiers Chelsea Blight and Ellen Jones in tow, sliced a full 11 seconds off the previous record to capture the Women’s Expert category.

Clean Sweeps 

Mercury powered boats claimed a clean sweep in the Under 19 Boys Expert event.

Mercury powered boats claimed a clean sweep in the Under 19 Boys Expert event, with Temper 2, Master Force and Superbad finishing one, two and three – with a two minute gap back to the next finisher. SBR and Agent Orange, both sporting Mercury motors, collected Gold and Silver in the Unlimited Outboard competitions.

OptiMax 300XS outboard power swept the F2 class competition with Enforcer, Top Gun F2 and In Strife finishing 1-3.  OptiMax 300XS outboards also scored big in the highly competitive MOC contest with Hardback Racing and Hodge Marine Racing finishing 1-2. An OptiMax 250 SportXS powered Velocity Racing to win the SMOC category.

Mercury Racing also dominated the Under 19 Girls competition with Melt Down and Ballistic Still, both sporting OptiMax 300XS power, finishing 1-2.

Korrupt, sporting Mercury Racing 600 SCi sterndrive engine, clinched the competitive 70 MPH competition while OptiMax 250 SportXS outboards delivered No Cash and Southern Force to claim Gold and Silver respectively in the Sub Junior Girls category.

Congratulations to all of the teams in this very impressive showing of Mercury power. I look forward to sharing more good news from our friends down under as the 2016 water ski racing season progresses.


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Mercury Racing Powers MTI to Triple Crown Championship

2015 Superboat Unlimited World Champion. Photo credit. Pete Boden - Shoot 2 Thrill.
2015 Superboat Unlimited World Champions with Bob Bull (driver) and Randy Scism (throttles) Photo credit. Pete Boden – Shoot 2 Thrill.

I couldn’t wait to get in this morning to make some calls and write this post to celebrate Team CMS’s  Superboat Unlimited Offshore World Championship. My first conversation was with John Tomlinson – throttleman in CMS #03, a Mercury Racing 1650 powered 48-foot MTI cat with veteran Jeff Harris behind the wheel.


Port engine compartment damage resutling from the Team CRC collision with CMS "03. Photo credit: Speed on the Water
Hull damage resulting from the Team CRC collision with CMS #03. Photo credit: Speed on the Water

“The goal all along was to finish 1-2. Jeff and I placed second on Wednesday (race 1).  We were taken out early Friday (day 2) when Team CRC rode up on some rooster tails and ended up hitting us in turn 1, resulting with a gaping hole on the port side of the engine compartment,”Johnny said.

"The goal all along was to finish 1-2," john Tomlinson - Team CMS #03. Photo Credit: hammer Down Boating.
“The goal all along was to finish 1-2,” John Tomlinson – Team CMS #03. Photo Credit: Hammer Down Boating.

“On Sunday, Jeff and I were third going into the first turn. Bob (Bull) and Randy (Scism) (CMS #3) were on the inside and GEICO  was on the outside. We were pinched in the middle going through the turn. Once we came out into the rough – Jeff punched and we lever looked back,” said Johnny.

Winning Combination 

CMS #03 pilots Randy Scism (L) and Bob Bull.
CMS #3 pilots Randy Scism (L) and Bob Bull.

“MTI and Mercury Racing make a winning combination,” were the first words from Marine Technology, Inc., owner/CEO Randy Scism when we spoke this morning.

Mercury Racing Class 1 Race sterndrives power Ballough and Tomlinson to the 2015 Class 1 World Championship. Photo Credit: Simon Palfrader
Mercury Racing Class 1 Race sterndrives power Ballough and Tomlinson to the 2015 Class 1 World Championship.
Photo Credit: Simon Palfrader

“Triple Crown champs; Superboat Unlimited National Championship, Superboat Unlimited World Championship and Class 1 World Championship. It’s been an awesome couple of weeks,” Randy expounded. This may be the first time in history Mercury Racing has captured the triple crown.

The two boat Team CMS team. Boat #03 with team owner Bob Bull (driver) and Randy Scism (throttleman). Boat #3 with Jeff Harris (driver) and John Tomlinson (throttles). Photo compliments of Marine Technology, Inc.
The two boat Team CMS team; Boat #3 with team owner Bob Bull (driver) and Randy Scism (throttles). Boat #03 with Jeff Harris (driver) and John Tomlinson (throttles). Photo compliments of Marine Technology, Inc.

“We had a great year,” said Team CMS #03 driver Jeff Harris. “We ran every SBI race and the Lake Race at LOTO as well. Throughout the year, the only races Johnny and I didn’t win were the ones Bob and Randy won,” Jeff said.

“The winning boats led every lap. A large part of that is the engines are so darn reliable – lap after lap – race after race. There simply are no issues and thus why the Mercury QC4vs are so dominant,” Jeff concluded.

We’ve Got Your Back 

I couldn’t wait to talk to Bob Bull this morning. As you would expect – he was ecstatic.  “The motors ran great in the ’52 (CMS #3). They had three races on them from the National Championships and we ran them all week in Key West as well. Good to go. No issues. They are super dependable and deliver a ton of power,” Bob said.

The Official Bob Bull - MTI Triple Crown Camp Shirt.
The Official Bob Bull – MTI Triple Crown Camp Shirt.

It was this time last year we launched our new Mercury Racing merchandise program.  One of the shirt designs the vendor came up with came up with features a sublimated design. The first rendering they shared featured race boats – but the art wasn’t representative of the modern offshore performance boat. I went through my archives and found a perfect overhead shot of a CMS MTI. It’s ironic – the design is a perfect tribute to MTI for their historic Triple Crown accomplishment and to Bob and Team CMS for their winning the 2015 Superboat Unlimited National and World Championships!

Randy Scism proudly displays the Superboat Unlimited Championship award with his wife Cherell and the legendary Reggie Fountain at his side.
Randy Scism proudly displays the Superboat Unlimited Championship award with his wife Cherell and the legendary Reggie Fountain at his side.

Congratulations again to Team CMS and MTI for your historic race season. I’m looking forward to catching up with you over the off season to see what you have planned for next year!





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Mercury Racing Powers Team Abu Dhabi to Class 1 World Championship!

Mercury Racing Class 1 Race sterndrives power Ballough and Tomlinson to the 2015 Class 1 World Championship. Photo Credit: Simon Palfrader
Mercury Racing Class 1 Race sterndrives power Ballough and Tomlinson to the 2015 Class 1 World Championship.
Photo Credit: Simon Palfrader

American offshore racing veterans Gary Ballough (driver) and Johnny Tomlinson (throttles) piloted Abu Dhabi #6, a MTI catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing Class 1 Race sterndrives, to win the 2015 Class 1 World Championship! The season finale event took place on the teams’ home waters as part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final event for the 2015 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat season.

Abu Dhabi's victory marks the first time in 15 years a V8 powered boat has captured the Class 1 title.
Abu Dhabi’s victory marks the first time in 15 years a V8 powered boat has captured the Class 1 title. Photo Credit: Simon Palfrader.

Johnny and Gary placed third in qualify on Thursday, giving Team Abu Dhabi an eight point advantage going into the final event. They needed to either beat or finish immediately behind T-Bone Station (Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella) to cinch the title. Read more

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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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Rouen is Black as Day!

Photos Courtesy of Henri Thibault. Click to enlarge.

Defending Champion Philippe Chiappe Repeats in Rouen!

Mercury Racing swept the 52nd annual 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race. The race concluded Saturday, May 2nd. This was the third consecutive year race organizers diverted from the traditional April 30 start and fourth consecutive year the race was run over a two day period.


Close Race  

Defending champ Philippe Chiappe

From Russia with OptiMax Power!
From Russia with OptiMax & Class 2 Title!

Defending champion Philippe Chiappe, with Team Nollet #1  drivers Christophe Larigot, Peter and Nelson Morin won the race overall and Class 3 competition. Chiappe and team drove their Mercury S3000 race outboard powered hull a total of 784 laps to win the event.  Russian team Team New Star 1with Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST power, finished a mere one lap behind Chiappe – providing race fans with one the most exciting finishes in recent Rouen history.


Top 5

Team Navikart were an early adapter of OptiMax power and are always top contenders in Rouen.
Team Navikart were an early adapter of OptiMax power and are always top contenders in Rouen.

Bourgeot Racing Team completed 652 laps for a send place podium finish in Class 3 competition.
Bourgeot Racing Team completed 652 laps for a send place podium finish in Class 3 competition.

Team Navakart Racing #35 and Team Navakart Racing #32  finished 759 and 753 laps respectively for 3rd and 4th overall and 2-3 finish in Class 2 competition. Team Bourgeot Racing Team completed 652 laps to place fifth overall and and second in Class 3 competition. Team Pegase Racing Team and Team Autovision & Tullio Abbate rounded out 3-4 in Class 3 competition. All were powered by Mercury Racing outboards.

Class Act

Aeron Racing celebrates their Class 1 victory!
Aeron Racing celebrates their Class 1 victory!

The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard dominated Class 1 competition.
The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard dominated Class 1 competition.

The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard dominated Class 1 competition, powering Arion Racing to victory with 480 laps completed. Team Magaur finished three laps behind to cinch a second place podium finish. Team Marine Inshore, Team Viking DKC and DEFI 24H Esigelec rounded out 3-5. All were powered by Mercury 60 EFI Formula Race outboards.


Postcard caption: Wish you were here!
Postcard caption: Wish you were here!

It’s hard to believe its been 15 years since I traveled to Rouen and witnessed Team Mercury’s historic race victory with low-emissions OptiMax outboards. Henri Thibault’s incredible photography makes me want to make a return trip to the magical French city on the River Seine to again experience this one-of-a-kind event.

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MTI Spooled Up!

Mercury Racing 1350 Install in Bob Bull’s 48 Race/Pleasure

I just got off the phone with Randy Scism at Marine Technology, Inc., (MTI). They first tested Bob Bull’s Mercury Racing 1350 powered MTI 48 Race/Pleasure Thursday, October 21 near the MTI facility. Mercury Racing Product Integration Manager, Mike Griffiths, worked closely with MTI in this, the first install of 1350s in a catamaran and the first 1350 install for the Wentzville, Missouri based company.

First Catamaran Installation of Mercury Racing 1350 Sterndrives

The installation went very smoothly – culminating with the on-water test Thursday. Test time was limited due to water conditions and the need to transport the boat to Florida.  It will be on static display in the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, at Pier 57/MTI in-water slips October 28-Nov 1. Read more

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