Posts Tagged ‘mercruiser’

Mercury Racing offers 1,650 Horsepower Stern Drive for 2014 model year

They also offer 1,350 horsepower and 1,100 horsepower I/O packages for this coming model year.  These are all 9.0 litre engines with quad cams,port fuel injection,  turbo-chargers, and computer controls via special systems that vary the turbo boost as well as run the DTS. It is almost a straight-up, square-torque curve engine with all the items as designed and under control. These are dry sump engines, BTW. WOT is 6,000-6,500 rpms. They all require Mercury Racing Pro Finish CNC sterndrive 5 or 6 blade props that are sold separately. Go to a Mercury Racing authorized dealer like for more info.

mercury racing marine engine 1650 sterndrive i o inboard outboard

Mercury Racing photo of 2014 model year 1,650 HP marine engine and outdrive

The 1,350 and 1,100 horsepower engines use available marina gas dock for fuel, while the top 1,650 HP strictly requires 112 racing gas. Both of the milder 9.0 liter engines come with a one year warranty, but to somewhat limit the 1,650 Hp engine to racing use only, MerCruiser does not offer any warranty.

There are deals out there for all three of these engines, so do not be put-off by list prices. At the same time, these heads, blocks, and many other features are custom-to-Mercury Racing parts, so do not think they compete with your local engine builder. Think about a cool $250,000 for two engines and drives, as a starting point, but one should be talking speeds over 150 MPH and as high as 200 MPH.

All of these marine engines come with Mercury Racing’s M8 which is a 35% stronger, upgraded drive from the legendary world champion Six Drive.  This is their top performance out drive. Mercury also offers the NXT, Bravo 1 XR, and then Mercury Marine offers, Bravo I, II, III drives for pleasure boaters.

Boat racing video (fast forward to about 6:35 into the 9 minute  youtube)


mercury marine mercruiser 1350 HP engine i o sterndrive outdrive

1,350 HP Mercury Racing marine engine and M8 outdrive


mercury racing mercruiser marine engine sport boat

mild version of 9.0 liter 2014 Mercury Racing 1,100 HP marine engine and drive

Antique and Classic Boat Show, Mount Dora, Lake Dora, Tavares, Sunnyland Boat Show Report number 2

Chris “seabuddy”Brown in a Donzi 14 at Lake Dora Tavares Mount Dora Antique and Classic Boat Show (he is in the black shirt) here…..

A 14 foot Donzi is a rare bird. They only made 14 boats and only in 1967. She is a Donzi Baby. Seabuddy ran pedal to the metal, trimmed out at just over 5,000 rpm across Lake Dora on Saturday in boat that is number 14 of that run.

donzi marine baby donzi 14 inboard outboard i/o stern drive classic boat photo image

Jumping wakes in a Donzi Classic Boat

Small, performance boats have a special place in my heart. Donzi Boats and Glaspar G-3 boats and Glastron GT 150 boats are right there for me as fun boats. Outboard, inboard, v-drive, stern drive, and jet, are the various ways to go for these boats. Higher horsepower outboards in a short shaft length are getting harder to find. Seabuddy has been told that only up to 25 Hp. outboards are out there for 2013.

Donzi Marine was started by Don Aronow in 1964. His first model was the Ski Sportster called the Sweet 16 model. These boats were powered by a Volvo 110 horsepower 4 cylinder engine with a Eaton Outdrive. They were 43-46 mph boats that turned on a dime and rode soft, because of their deep vee bottom shape. Later boat came with V-6 and V-8 engines. From their race success the Donzi Boats were called the “Damned Donzis”.

1965 brought the 28’ Broad Jumper, Donzi Diesel and other famous boats and names. Think Don Aronow, JakeTrotter, Jim Wynne, Walt Walters, Allan “Brownie” Brown, and Dick Cole. The boats were shown in clothing showrooms on 5th Avenue in Manhattan in New York. President LBJ had one. The company was sold to TeleFlex. The 18’ 2+ 3 came to market. 1966 brought the 28’ 008 race boat. Here came Astronauts Gus Grissom, Gordon Cooper, Fireman Red Adair, and Dick Genth in a Donzi race boat on the various race courses. The 14’ Donzi came in 1967. A rare boat then and it is a rare boat now. Photo not from the seabuddy fun.

My Monterey Bow Rider Runabout to Bimini, Bahamas Island off Miami, FL

miami inlet atlantic ocean

Heading out towards Bimini

There was no other boat in sight. No land to see off in the distance. Nothing. I was alone on the Atlantic Ocean about 11 miles off the coast of South Florida, heading to Bimini in the Bahamas Islands chain. The boat’s sounder had stopped reading the water depth long ago. My cell telephone no longer had a signal. I had the VHF on channel 16 and heard other boaters, but they were beyond my horizon. I slowed to idle to take it all in. I spun the boat a 360 and saw water in every direction. I was very, very happy.

The waves really were not bad at all. It was the broad spacing between the 5’ high swells that allowed me a rather gentle cruise to an offshore island. The boat slowly would rise and fall from the Gulf Stream waves under my keel.

This little adventure was a long-held dream of mine. I had been to the Bahamas several times, but always on other people’s boats. This time the good ship was mine. The Monterey bowrider that I had taken delivery of in Miami earlier in the month had been equipped. I’d also tested it for over 20 hours on short trips around the greater Miami area as I closely followed the weather forecast, waiting for the right day.

On the eve of my departure, NOAA’s marine weather indicated that the sea and wind conditions for a Bahamian Crossing would be close to perfect on Sunday. I checked out of my hotel, dropped off my rental car and prepared to sleep onboard in a sleeping bag so I could get an early start…

I wasn’t nervous. I’ve been boating for near 50 years and logged several thousand miles of cruising. I passed the first of four CG courses before I was a teenager. I’ve owned many boats and been on a variety of waterways across the country. I had confidence in myself and my boat. So I was cautious, but confident.

This boat is a 2006 Monterey 268 SS bow rider, powered by a single Mercruiser gas engine coupled to a Bravo III outdrive. In my test drives, I had proven that the hull had the bow shape and other design elements to make it a top-shelf choice for running in bigger water. She’s a deep boat and heavily constructed using top fiberglass materials. The stainless steel hardware is beefy. Most of the finer details are the best that the industry offers. The folks at Monterey had built me a very good boat.

I used Richardson’s chartbook, Florida Keys and Bimini, as well as Maptech’s Florida’s East Coast Chartkit for navigation. Both had pre-printed course headings overlaid on their charts. Since I didn’t want to leave from either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, which were already charted in these books, I eyeballed a course using theirs as a starting point. BTW, the pre-charted routes differed in each book slightly, as one edition had been corrected to 1990 and the other to 2002. Courses can change over time due to magnetic North movement.

I checked and confirmed my course heading using a hand-held Garmin 48 GPS, putting in a lat/lon for my Bimini arrival point as a GO TO point. I was pleased that my roughly calculated course was within a few degrees once I was underway. My excuse for not developing a “better” course? I was crossing on a top weather day—and in a faster boat. And land would only be out of sight for about 30-35 miles.

But what about that Gulf Stream?

Think of the Gulf Stream as a “river”, running north within the Atlantic Ocean between the South FL coast and Bimini Island. It drags all boats northward as they try to cross East-West between Florida and the Islands. The slower the boat travels, the longer it’s in this current, and the more off-course any compass heading becomes. The Garmin GPS really adjusts for this nicely.

land fall entrance to north bimini and south bimini

Bimini Ahead

My trip over to Bimini was a dream cruise. The boat lifted up on plane and headed its bow into the rising sun. I was exhilarated, for together, my boat and I were finally fulfilling this life-long goal. The hotel and condo high-rises that cried out “civilization” dropped behind the stern and then went below the horizon.

The boat had a low rise-and-fall as it was lifted over the gently sloped Gulf Stream waves that marched north below the boat. To keep on course, I positioned the boat so the sun would shine through the windshield at the same spot. I flipped open the Captain’s Call exhaust to entertain myself and then closed it when it seemed out-of-sync with conditions. When I got to feeling a little spooked from knowing that the nearest land was 400 feet straight down, I listened to the VHF to reconnect to the human race.


Wham! A dolphin flew up out of the water aiming straight for the side panel of the boat’s glass windshield. I didn’t even have time to duck. I just stared at him like a deer caught in a car’s headlights. But, it turns out he was just fooling with me. He dove right back under the water and passed under the keel. I almost wet myself over that one! Then I decided he was just a youngster who played a joke on me with this close call. I was sure that he flashed me a broad grin in reaction to my facial expression.

What is Bimini like? It’s two low-lying Islands. After last year’s bevy of hurricanes, there’s extensive damage to many buildings and some trees. But the water is every bit as magnificent as it looks on the commercials. Turquoise—an unbelievable turquoise color. You can see bottom even when it’s fairly deep. Experienced islanders can navigate by looking at the water’s colors and tone.By the time I arrived at Bimini’s doorstep and cruised around locally, the weather forecast for the next few days was far worse than I expected for a return crossing. Most likely I would have to wait at least three days to get good crossing weather again—maybe longer. Since it was still early on this picture-perfect morning, and I had plenty of fuel for a quick run back to Miami, this trip turned out to be an “over-and-back” in the same day. And it was a good decision.


chalks sea plane base in bimini

damaged building on North Bimini Island in the Bahamas


As it turned out, a 26’ center-console fishing boat went down off the FL coast the very next day. Three fisherman went overboard, but the tow service saved them and then the Coast Guard transported them back to land. If I hadn’t paid attention to the forecast and just got caught up in the splendor of my Bimini adventure, I could have been caught out there in those sea and wind conditions, too.

So I was back stateside. Bimini was glorious, but there’s still so much more to see along the East Coast. Now it was time to plan for my next destination…

see the bottom clear water off bimini bahamas

One can see the bottom in the clear turquiose blue water around Bimbini Island,in the Bahamas


Gas Outboards lead Sea Ray Boats

2013 sea ray venture 37

test report photo

New gas outboards are slowly leading the boating industry out of the recession. It is simple. They are the least clean power source for all boaters, from Center Consoles to runabouts. Thus, the cheapest power plants.

The EPA and CARB require very high clean air standards for gas and diesel I/O engines, as well as marine inboards. Without the very high clean air standards, outboards look like the cheap way to go with a new boat purchase.

Take an early look at the new Sea Ray outboard cabin cruiser sport yacht named 370 Venture here…

It is not a true 37 footer, however, look at this boat’s beam and then look at this beam from a Silverton Express cruiser 31’ which has a beam of 11’6”, or, the Cruisers Yachts 33′ with a beam of 11′ 10″, or, a Regal Marine 32′ at a 11′ 2″ beam. Note, the 2013 Sea Ray Venture beam 11’ 3”. Oops, Sea Ray’s game changer new boat is really a 32’ foot cruiser with a stretched out nose (bow) and stern. Sea Ray is not alone in lenghting their new models but not the rest of the boat. If you approuch a new model at a boat show and think of it as a 37′, one allows for a 37′ pricing. If you think of a new yacht as a 31′ or 32′, then 2013 pricing may seem high.

In any event, a marina charges by the highest LOA it can find on a given boat, so this is an important ongoing cost for a boat owner. One does not like to pay for the monthly charges for a 37′ boat slip, if the boat is a 31′ or 32′, in what it provides.

Any boater will want to think about slip fees as a life-of-the-boat-ownership-cost, before one buys the boat.

And another thing, with just two outboards on an over 30’ boat, one must keep the boat’s bottom perfectly clean. Most center consoles of this size use three or four outboards to adjust their performance for this issue. That gives an always powerful hole-shot or good acceleration from low speed to planning speeds with slightly dirty boat bottoms. Outboards simply do not make the torque like a stern drive, thus one needs more of them or a perfectly clean bottom.

300 Horsepower Mercury Verado outboards are 158 cubic inch displacement gas engines each. Engine displacement is a good indicator of get-up-and-go torque. This new Sea Ray Venture has two of these. If the new Sea Ray was powered by two Mercury Mercruiser I/O engines it would have two 350 cubic inch displacement gas engines (you can see that you need at least four Verados to match up with two small block Merc I/O engines). This throttle lag is an issue with bigger twin outboard powered / engined boats. Think of the weight of passengers, full fuel, some water, and a somewhat filled holding tank, too, when you test boat. If it were powered as many used inboard boats are, it would have two 454 cubic inch displacement (big block) gas engines. Take a ride with a dirty bottom boat example before you form your opinion on a new Sea Ray. You and I know it will be OK with a clean bottom. They are a good company and do lots of pre-production boat tests. The metal and paint finish of a Mercury outboard is the same as a Mercury Mercruiser I/O. So, if you do not like the idea of a I/O boat, an outboard one is not any better choice for you. Both should be kept on a lift when in salt water while not in use or in a dry stack storage building, but many dry stack marinas will not take a 37o model boat. Their equipment will not balance it properly moving it around on land.

See more comments on this new Sea Ray Venture at the Sea Ray board here.…

By the way, Sea Ray has been cutting back on USA boat building staffing and now only make certain 2012 models in Europe and, starting in the fall of 2012, will start to make some 2013 model Sea Ray boats in South America.

Century Boats are High Style

Classic fiberglass Century Arabian chrome name plate trim

High quality and style classic boat model name plate

Century Boats led the styling of runabouts as utilities both in wood and in fiberglass.  This is a 1977 Arabian with its high style use of fiberglass, chrome, and vinyl that sets an image of exciting luxury on the lakes and rivers of our waterways. This is an inland performance boat. She is not a deep vee and is known for pulling water skiers, tubing, and stylish dockside dining events. Give this boat the throttle, hear the exhaust speak with a rumble, and take off with little bow rise as she pushes you back into your seat.

classic fiberglass boat photo image Century Arabian bow

High style Classic Fiberglass Century Arabian

Century made exciting boats from its beginning in 1926 as an outboard race boat builder along with making some other craft, like fishing boats and sail craft. For almost all of the time the Century Boat Company has been in Manistee, Michigan. This was the location, not Milwaukee or Panama City,  that most of the nautical style leader designs were invented.

Early classic collectible inboards were often a Sea Maid model and the small (14’) outboard racer that is still highly sought after,  the Thunderbolt. Century stayed with boats under 21’ in length as that made them different from Chris Craft, Garwood, and Hacker Crafts that built boats into the mid-30s LOA. Note always known, there is another reason for the under 21’ production policy. The plant in Manistee had a limitation on what could be gotten around inside it and out the door!

The Arabian represents an important design for Century as it was made in both wood and fiberglass. Some say it was designed deliberately to help with the boat building material change over during those years of the 1960s and 1970s. The design is credited to Robert Rioux, now deceased.  He certainly led runabout styling with this model Century. Part of this high-style comes from Century’s use of automotive pieces for several parts like the steering wheel, windshield, etc.

classic fiberglass Century Arabian 1977 transom swim platform boat photo

Restored Classic Fiberglass Century Arabian boat


Classic Fiberglass Scarab Wellcraft offshore performance boat

Scarab offshore racer performance boat photo image

Scarab Panther

This a sister-ship to the one I had that went 74 mph back in the 1980s. Same color, same details, except for the cockpit cover stripe. The one I had made for me was powered by the first set of twin Mercury Marine Magnum Bravo engines and drives shipped west of the Mississippi River. This seabuddy photo image was taken in Alexandria Bay, NY in the 1,000 Islands area of the USA.

I was an ex-Wellcraft boat dealer that had sold and had owned many Scarab boats and wanted to try the better balance that the Bravo 454 package offered over a TRS 454 big block set-up in the 30 foot race hull. Plus, I could get Gus Anastasi at Wellcraft to make one up using lots of Kevlar to lighten and strengthen the hull.

With a 454 Bravo power package the weight of the engine and drive sat farther back within the boat and that weight shift made for a better and faster boat with a given amount of power. Also, the Magnum Mercury Marine back then offered a easy way to get the good heads and 4 bolt main bearings in a stock Mercruiser package.  There was no need to go to Merc Racing to get the better engine.

With 1.5 to 1 gears in the Mercury Marine Bravo outdrive, the boat ran best with 25” pitch props. It ran about the same top speed, but had a softer hole shot with 27” props. A set of 23” pitch props were real peppy coming out-of-the-hole, but did not get the same 74 MPH top speed.

I tried several minor changes to play with the top speed, but nothing added as much to the boat’s top speed performance as the right props did. I did, know, however, that true straight-back exhausts (not a switchable exhaust) would really more the top speed number by 3-5 MPH, but I did not want all the noise.

This is my favorite size and powered Scarab, the 30 foot inboard outboard Scarab. I had a 34’ Scarab, a 38’ Scarab,  a 40’ Scarab, and a 30’ outboard powered Scarab (which I really did not like at high speed). Yup, I like this boat.

Mercury Racing breaks 100 MPH in a Baja Marine boat

boat photo image 35 foot Baja Marine boat with 700 Hp Mercury Maine

Cruising at high speed in a Mercury Marine powered 35' Baja Marine

Baja breaks past the 100 MPH top speed mark with twin 700 Horsepower Mercury Marine Racing engines in the boat test. This is a 24 degree deep vee offshore racer style performance boat that ran just past 100 MPH at 5,500 RPM using 34” pitch propellers.  She is a go-fast that weighs 8,100 lbs.

The boat tested had 50 plus MPH performance at 3,000 RPMS and 75 MPH speeds at 4,000 RPMS. All of these are very solid boat performance numbers. Her 95 MPH speed at 5,000 RPMS is also very good.

She is a Baja Marine Outlaw 35 model. A 35’ 0” long (longer if you count the swim platform) with an 8’ 6” beam go-fast fiberglass boat. Fuel capacity was 185 gallons.

An 8,100 weight for a 35 footer boat is not light. Baja does not want trouble with their Outlaw boats. They like a nicely finished pleasure boat cockpit and cabin. The boat has plenty of seat padding in the cockpit area and a good sized and well padded bed in the cabin.

Merc Racing puts a supercharger on its 502 cubic inch engine to develop 700 Horsepower in the 4,800 to 5,200 RPM range. Using special, Hi-Po parts, Mercury Marine set the compression ratio at 7.5 to 1. Also, she is a sequential fuel injected power plant. Try the NXT I/O outdrive (or stern drive). Theses motors and outdrives come with a one year limited warranty for recreational boating. The best top speed props are over-the-hub exhaust design 4 blade cleavers. Seabuddy thanks Baja Marine and Mercury Marine Racing for the photos.

high powered Mercury Racing supercharged engine photo image

This is the 700 horsepower 502 Mercury Marine Racing engine

Mercury Marine Racing 1,350 Hp for top marine power

photo marine engine Mercury Marine Racing turbo F I 9 liter gas engine

Photo Mercury Racing 9 liter 1,350 Hp gas super Turbo charged engine

It is a four cam, port fuel injection, turbocharged, 9 liter, 6,500 rpm redlined marine engine that comes with a warranty. Special exhaust tuning and electronics keep turbo lag out of the picture. She gives reduced time-to-plane acceleration and continuing push you back into your seat back punch all the way to a boat’s  top speed.

The engine has a bore of 4.57 inches with a stroke of 4.21 inches for a displacement of 552 cubic inches or 9 liters. The full throttle operating rpm is 6000 to 6500 rpm. It has a sequential fuel injection system.  With the multiple turbo set-up the compression ratio is 7.8 to 1. She meets with EPA and CARB emissions requirements for 50 state boating enjoyments.

This engine is so strong that Merc Racing had to invent new propellers to handle the power. The entire driveline and its dry sump M8 surface style stern drive have also been strengthened.

A M8 surface-piercing stern drive with a Mercury Racing hydraulic transmission handles high torque and power levels with ease for improved handling and exceptional performance

MTI came out with a 48 foot long with a 10’ 6” beam catamaran that matched up perfectly with two of these engines. It was displayed at the most recent Miami Boat Show and wowed the Very High Hi Performance crowd attending that show. Twin gas fueled engines was the popular way to power many of the Go Fast boats this year.

Seabuddy says many thanks to Mercury Marine Racing for these photos.

boat builder MTI 48' Cat boat photo 1350 Hp Mercury Racing engine

48' Cat from MTI with with twin 1,350 Hp gas Mercury Marine engines

Classic fiberglass Glastron Carlson boats

fiberglass classic boat Glastron Carlson Scimitar inboard outboard Mercruiser

This boat was a futuristic new boat design back in the early 1980s

These wild looking designs were sold to the boating public back in the early 1980s. They reflect the imagination and design execution talent of a southern Californian boat designer. Art was an independent boat builder and racer going back to the 1960s. He made race and pleasure boat versions of his race boat designs first in in his boat building plant in Garden Grove and then Anaheim, CA.

Early Carlson High Performance Boat Company were the 18’ inboard, C-100 outboard, Carlson Challenger outboard, 141/2’ Carlson Contender, Cyclone, Charger, and CT-15. The most popular model was the Challenger as a 16’ boat with a 6’ 9” beam and it weighted about 750 lbs. without an engine. A far smaller model was the C-100 at a 12’ 10” length and a 5’ 6” beam and a weight of around 350 lbs.

By 1969, Carlson merged his boat company into a division of the Glastron boats and they called the boating result Glastron/Carlson. By 1980, Glastron/Carlson made a boat that was named by Powerboat magazine its “Boat of the Year”. That was the Scimitar, pictured here. These boats were 23’ inboard outboard boats powered by small block Chevy engines from Mercury Marine Mercruiser using their Alpha outdrive.

This was a boat that was a ½” over 23 feet in length with a just over 91” beam. They say the boats were light weight, about 1,850 lbs., and fast as the top speed was in the 55-60 mph range. Some say that they got as high as 62-63 mph with their boat with the standard 260 Horsepower rated Mercury Marine power package. One wonders what the shallow or semi vee hull would do with a “Hot Rod” version of a Chevy engine. The Glastron Carlson Scimitar was sold from 1980 to 1984. About 300 boats were produced for the US and another 200 or so were sold outside the country.

Mercury inboard outboard Glastron Carlson Scimitar boat photo image

This is a 1982 Glastron Carlson with standard Hard top

2012 Chaparral 226 bow rider boat test

lounging in the sun on a 2012 Chaparral 226 bow rider boat photo

Fun in the sun on a 2012 Chaparral 226 bow rider

Here is a family boat that is the answer to the tale of pleasing two performance boating goals. One or more of the family goes after a thrill pleasing boat. The other one or group want comfortable seating, a place to catch some sun, easy cockpit entrance from a float or pier, and a roomy, feature-filled cockpit. This second want is just as much a performance boat goal as top speed or turning ability.

The 2012 Chaparral 226 easily does speeds in the 53-55 MPH range when you put the throttle down on a Mercury Marine Mercruiser 300 horsepower marine engine.  This is a marine chevy engine based Mercury engine coupled to either a Mercury Marine Alpha stern drive or a Mercury Marine Bravo I out drive. Go with an Alpha drive if real smooth shifting is not that important to you and you know you will not be jumping a lot of wakes, trying to fly the boat. It is a faster top speed I/O and a cheaper power package to purchase. A Bravo I will bring more money back upon resale, but this boat really satisfies so that may be a long time away.

Well designed and correctly powered for a runabout boat, she gives an excellent all-day cruising fuel economy in the 2,500 rpm (20-22 MPH) to 3,000 rpm (26-28 MPH) range. Move up to 4,000 rpms (right at say, 40 MPH) and gas mileage suffers. I like the feel of the boat responding to the drive trim by lighting up and adding more speed to the boat without adding more gas.

Chaparral fashions a different bow shape at the deck line to give a roomier than most bow and main cockpit interior. The walk thru makes boarding this boat easy. And seabuddy gives Chaparral supplied photos showing the adjustable sun lounge positions of the padded aft area.

2012 Chaparral bow rider walk thru from transom

Recessed cleats shown are optional, but worth it. 2012 Chaparral 226