The array of outboards offered in 2010 proves that manufacturers have not been idle. Research and design engineers across the board focused on reducing overall weight, boosting power and increasing fuel efficiency, to the benefit of anglers.
Look for these and other new engines to be on display at your local boat show this year.
With the introduction of its all-new VMAX SHO family of outboards, Yamaha may have put to rest the common complaint that four-strokes are too big and slow for high-performance bass and flats boats.
SHO stands for Super High-Output, and not only are the new 200-, 225- and 250-horsepower models lighter than two-strokes of equal horsepower, they are faster out of the hole, quicker to plane and possess a higher top-end. (http://www.yamaha-motor.com/outboard/vmax_micro/vmaxsho/comparisons/)
In head-to-head tests, the 250 SHO was up to 13 percent quicker out to 200 feet than comparable two-strokes, and 1 ½ mph faster at the top end than the company’s VMAX Series 2 250 four-stroke.
Acceleration comparisons also ranked the SHO 12 percent more fuel efficient than the Series 2 250. What’s more, it showed a broader power curve for smoother acceleration and performance.
“One of the most impressive things about the VMAX SHO is its midrange punch,” says Phil Dyskow, Yamaha Marine Group president. “Whenever you push the throttle forward, there’s power to spare.”
More And Less
Yamaha achieved the new performance curve by boosting the engines’ displacement to an industry-leading 4.2 liters, while trimming the outboards’ overall weight—the 250 SHO comes in at 505 pounds as compared to 539 for the Series 2 250.
Among the many reasons behind this is a new process which uses plasma-fused sleeveless cylinders rather than steel sleeves. It not only reduced powerhead weight, but also created more room for the pistons, thus increasing displacement.
Yamaha engineers also reduced the fat through the use of new materials. The outboard’s composite cowl is 14 percent lighter than conventional fiberglass, and the composite engine pan is 59 percent lighter than aluminum.
In addition, Yamaha introduced a new propeller, the VMAX Ventless Series that are precision-tuned to wring the highest performance from the SHO outboards. The stainless props are available in 23-, 25-, 27- and 29-inch pitches.
New 70 Four Stroke
Along with the big-bore SHO outboards, Yamaha introduced an all-new F70 four-stroke to round out its mid-range lineup. Yamaha positioned the F70 to as an alternative to its 90TLR two-stroke, which will soon be removed from the lineup. It features the highest horsepower/liter displacement in its class, yet weighs just 260 pounds.
“Our goal with the F70 was to create a four-stroke outboard that could provide a lightweight alternative for aluminum fishing boats, pontoons and light fiberglass boats.” says Dyskow. “This outboard delivers a high level of performance for its size.”
On the OptiMax side, Merc, unveiled its new 125-horsepower model, aimed at smaller 17- to 18-foot fiberglass bass and aluminum semi-Vs.
Available in 20- and 25-inch versions, with 93 inches of displacement (http://www.mercurymarine.com/engines/outboards/optimax/onefiveliter_specs.php?ID=185) in the three-cylinder head, the outboard is inexpensive to operate, yet provides impressive torque for speedy hole shots and overall power for an exceptional top end.
The OptiMax 125 is also compatible with Merc’s ergonomically friendly Big Tiller (http://www.mercurymarine.com/engines/outboards/bigtiller/) handle, designed specifically for high-horsepower outboards.
To help owners of large boats squeeze their fuel budgets, Mercury introduced the MercMonitor ECO-Screen. (http://www.mercurymarine.com/precisionrigging/smartcraft/smartcraftataglance/components/information_display.php) The system evaluates and compares engine rpm, boat speed, fuel consumption and engine trim to automatically guide the operator to the best fuel economy settings. Company officials say that it can increase efficiency by 10 to 20 percent.
The ECO-Screen further simplifies the process with a multi-color screen. A quick glance will tell you whether your settings are optimized (green), or are not (yellow).