Canadian Yachting May 2015 - (Page 4)
Fuelling Your Dreams
As boat show season ends and we launch into spring, we hope that you saw some exciting new boats and motors at the shows to fuel your dreams.
Especially in new engines, the technological advancements are absolutely remarkable. Recently, I was at the Miami International Boat Show where Mercury Marine
launched two new higher horsepower versions of their top-of-the-line Verado outboard
engine; the 350 hp Verado 350 and the absolutely amazing, 400 hp Verado 400R from
In spite of coming from Mercury's very talented and always competitive Mercury
Racing department, Mercury's new president, John Pfeiffer told me at the press introduction, he fully expects to see people powering their new pontoon boat with a Verado
400R! It's available to the general public, not just racers. Visit the Canadian Yachting
magazine YouTube channel to view my interview with John Pfeiffer.
Also during the show, I had the opportunity of driving these new engines and the
performance is exhilarating to say the least. They also illustrate just how far we've come
in advanced technology, especially in recent years.
Are you a car enthusiast? In my younger years, I was absolutely a car enthusiast and
amongst my group of friends, the high watermark was when my pal Mike got a 1967
Corvette roadster equipped with the 435hp 427 big block V8, Muncie M22 gearbox
and side pipes. You could hear this car coming from blocks away. It sounded like nothing else on the road and was almost certainly the fastest production car of the day.
It was absolutely a factory hot rod engine and the car magazines of the time spoke
with awe about how it produced more than 1 hp per cubic inch. While this car was a
blast to drive, the engine generated so much heat that it would boil the fuel in the gas
line if you got stuck in stop and go traffic, it was totally useless in snow and it always
seemed to need a tuneup. It drank Sunoco 260 like water.
Well, 427 cubic inches of displacement translates into approximately 7 L of
displacement producing 435 hp. Here is the shocker. Mercury's new 400R is an inline
6-cylinder with a mere 2.6 L of displacement producing 400 hp - the Verado is almost
the same horsepower from less than half the engine displacement. Incredible technology. The Verado is 153 horsepower per litre!
To produce 435 hp, the Corvette basically needed race fuel. In spite of the huge
power being produced in the 2.6 L Verado, electronic knock control enables the engine
to safely run on 89 octane (95 RON) fuel when the recommended premium 91-octane
(98 RON) fuel is not available to maximize performance.
I recently attended an industry meeting of marina operators in Ontario and one of
the subjects of discussion was fuel. If you are not aware of it, almost every type of gasoline available now contains ethanol, a grain alcohol which works perfectly well in your
car with its sealed fuel system, but marine fuel tanks have to be vented to the outside
air for safety reasons.
Here's the issue; ethanol is hygroscopic which means that it absorbs moisture and
if water from condensation forms in the fuel tank, the fuel absorbs the water to the
point where it separates from the gasoline. This causes a blob of non-combustible
material that can damage or even disable the engine.
New engines can handle up to about 10% ethanol and their construction can tolerate alcohol without it deteriorating gaskets and O-rings but older marine engines were
not built for ethanol.
This summer, your marina can probably get ethanol-free gasoline (but ask the
marina about this) and be prepared that in summer 2016, ethanol -free fuel may no
longer be available. Highway gasoline all has ethanol except Shell V-Power (if the
pump is marked "Contains No Ethanol").
This summer, talk to your marina and your service people about fuel. Don't let your
boating dreams turn sour with ethanol. *
Canadi an Yachti ng
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Yachting May 2015
Vantage Point: Fuelling your dreams
Waterfront: CPS Boating Tools on Video, Sneak Peeks at New models launching, Trent Severn Rideau Waterway update and much more...
Club Profile: Vancouver Rowing Club
Feature: Sharon Green: Sailing Photographer
Destination: Ghost Lake
Destination: Georgian Bay Six-pack
Destination: New York Canals
Power Review: Beneteau GT 35
Crossing the Line: Explaining Sailing to Powerboaters
Canadian Yachting May 2015