FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Mercury Marine this week celebrates the casting of its 2,500,000th stainless steel propeller in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Simultaneously, Mercury is celebrating its famed investment cast facility’s 40th year of producing the finest boat propellers in the world. The plant opened in 1974.
Mercury propellers are recognized globally for best-in-class speed, acceleration and fuel economy. The most recent propeller innovation produced by Mercury is the extremely successful and popular Enertia ECO prop, which delivers 10 percent improved fuel economy at cruising speed, while still maintaining exceptional performance and durability.
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By Rick Mackie, Mercury Racing
I just got back from the Miami Boat Show where, in addition to our unveiling of the awesome 1650 RACE sterndrive, I debuted the all-new Pro Max outboard propeller. Some of you may be familiar with the high performance 150/200/225 h.p. Pro Max outboards we produced back in the mid 1990s. I thought the Pro Max name was perfect for our new prop and its intended applications.
We needed a prop to help lighter weight hulls get up on plane faster and improve top end speeds. The Bravo I XS is the solution for 2-strokes carrying heavier loads. The Bravo I FS is the prop for four strokes with heavy assignments (single and multiple engine rigs) as well. The new Pro Max fills the gap for OptiMax ProXS and 300XS and Verado Pro FourStroke outboard applications on hulls with natural bow lift.
An Allison XS-2003 GrandSport was used to validate the Pro Max for sport boat applications.
Outboard drag racing veteran Glenn Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Racing and Marine, helped validate the prop fur us. Glenn ran it on an Allison XS-2003 GrandSport with the new Mercury 150 Four Stroke. He also provided an OptiMax 250 ProXS powered Bullet 21XD bass boat. Glenn and his team are ecstatic with the Pro Max. “We experienced jacket rabbit acceleration. Both boats were on plane in 1-1/2 seconds!,” exclaimed Glenn. The Allison didn’t realize any change in top-end speed due to the engine height restriction with water pickup location on the stock 150 gearcase.
“The Bullet, benefiting with a high performance Torque Master gearcase, improved on both hole shot and top-end speeds,” said Glenn. “We did back-to-back tests comparing the Pro Max with like size Pro E.T.s as well as a variety of other props. The Pro Max outperformed everything on the ramp. We love it!,” Glenn concluded.
Eric Simmons test the Pro Max on his go fast SCB flats boat.
Eric Simmons, owner of Simmons Custom Boats, was my go fast flats test guy. He too tested with an OptiMax 250 ProXS. “We’ve dialed in our boats with the Pro E.T. It’s a very durable prop. If we could get acceleration similar to what we experience with the Bravos, while maintaining the E.T. blade durability and overall performance, I would say you have a winner,” said Eric in our initial phone conversation regarding the project. “Water levels are an issue where we are. Hitting bottom is inevitable and thus blade durability is a big deal,” Eric said.
Pro Max BASS Classic. display.
Upon completion of his tests Eric called to say we have a winner. “The Pro Max’s appeal is it’s speed and efficiency coupled with the improved hole shot realized with the through hub exhaust, said Eric. “Our testing produced considerably lower slip numbers, proving you nailed your proof of concept in every aspect. We can’t wait to get some of these for our customers,” said Eric.
Glenn and Eric have been an immense help in making the Pro Max a reality. Production starts in April. Meanwhile, I’m off to Tulsa, Oklahoma later this week for the BASS Master Classic. I will display the Pro Max there in the Mercury Marine booth. For those of you going to the show – stop by. I would love to see you and chat about props. I’m excited about the new Pro Max and our expanded mix of low emissions outboard props. Now if it would just quit snowing! Spring and Summer can’t come soon enough
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