Boiling Water in the Desert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rendezvous in Havasu

The Mercury truck in position at the Lake Havasu Boat Show. Photo credit: Bob Brown.
Mercury Racing M8 drives on the transom of a 1350 powered DCB M-35 Wide Body. Photo credit: Bob Brown.

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

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

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

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Bravo on the Bayou

Mercury Marine reps celebrate another BASS Classic victory. (L-R) Scott Reichow, Kevin "KB" Brown, Mike Shedivy, Randy Qualls (Legend Boats), Chris Lane (2012 Classic Winner), Michelle Kilburn, Steve Miller
The Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard propeller features a tuned exhaust tube with large one-inch vent holes for enhanced 2-stroke outboard performance.

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

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

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Ethanol and Older Outboards

Damage to a boat engine carburetor as a result of ethanol at 10% (E10). Photo courtesy BoatUS.

Mercury Racing has received numerous questions on ethanol fuel in older engines. Here is an article from BoatUS, written with input from Mercury engineers (republished with permission), that covers many of the ethanol issues:

A Shotgun Marriage? Ethanol and Old Outboard Boat Engines

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 28, 2012 — Ever since E10 gasoline (gas containing 10% ethanol) became widely available several years ago, the nation’s largest recreational boat owners group, BoatUS, has received hundreds of calls and emails complaining about boat engine problems. The majority of complaints concern older outboard motors, those made before about 1990. BoatUS’ Seaworthy magazine asked Mercury Marine’s Ed Alyanak and Frank Kelley, who between them have over 60 years of experience, to find out what’s made these decades-old outboards more susceptible to ethanol’s well-known problems and what owners can do. Read more

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

Pre-run inspection of a 700 SCi powered DCB catamaran. Photo credit: Tres Martin's Performance Boat School.
Twin OptiMax 300XS outboards rigged on a 30-foot Spectre catamaran.

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

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

Helm of a DCB M35 catamaran powered by twin 700 SCi sterndrives.
Helm of 50-foot Cigarette Marauder with twin 1350 sterndrives.

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

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

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