Application is everything in any boating set up. How you are going to use it? This is a big question everyone that is selecting power for a boat should ask themselves. There are no perfect solutions but some come pretty darn close. The Mercury Racing 400r on my Yellowfin 24 CE bay boat is pretty darn close to perfect.
The Yellowfin 24 CE is a very light weight bay boat. Almost an all carbon fiber boat with a tuned bottom that performs well at speed, cruise and all things in between. All of this while allowing me to fish in super shallow water as a Key West flats fishing guide. I use the boat exclusively for all my tarpon fishing. My backcountry fishing charters are also done in this bay boat. In all of those parameters one can see that the set up on this rig is dependent on a quality power option that is not only strong but light weight and reliable. Fuel economy, hole shot, acceleration and exhilarating top speeds are all key points in how I select the power for my high performance Yellowfin bay boats.
I have found the Mercury Racing 400R to be a fantastic solution.
When I experienced this high performance outboard for the first time I could feel the lungs on this engine when I turned the key. I had a crooked smile like a kid with a 100 bucks in a candy store when I felt it . First of all a V-10 5.7 liter motor will want to draw a ton of air. Mercury Racing met that need by enhancing the 400R with a tuned intake and a 92mm throttle body (Larger than the V-10 400 Verado From Mercury). This is all very evident in just the start up when i heard this engine breath for the first time. A real feeling of true power and performance was evident and I had not even left the dock yet.
Lets look into this Outboard a little more.
The Mercury Racing 400R V-10 power head is mounted on the AMS mid section.. This is the same proven mid section that made the Mercury Verado famous to crush vibration and offer a super smooth feel. Of course Mercury Racing had to love it up a little with some performance enhancements like stiffer mounts and tighter tolerances on the ride plates to improve high speed handling. This is also an added bonus to my set up for handling in rough water and shallow water operation where tracking and steering control is critical making my boat very safe and super steady even when running in elevated engine heights. Driving my set up is really like being in a track ready Porsche. She is so tight and responsive. Crazy.. Love it.
These days we have so much going on that draws power from our batteries. Especially on our charter fishing boats where we have electronics, bait pumps, aerators, power poles, lights and jack plates just to name the basics. Then add a monster stereo to the mix and you are pulling some serious AMPS that will crush any large 12 volt house battery. Often this need is met with another battery (more weight) or not sitting as long to catch the fish. Regardless this need has been met by the Massive 150 amp alternator on the 400R. A massive amount of energy being put back to the batteries by just running the motor. Using the Relion Lithium Ion batteries for my start and house battery needs they are able to take more Charge amps than typical AGMs. This allows the 150 Amp alternator to put the juice back in my batteries quickly keeping me lit throughout the day..
Thanks to the new Power Pole Charge I have added the ability to charge my trolling motors when I am running on this boat. Pulling energy from the 400R massive 150 amp alternator and dumping into the batteries to keep my clients fishing. Again with the use of Relion lithium ion batteries I am able to use all that energy to quickly charge my 36 volt trolling motor batteries when running from spot to spot, keeping me fishing all day long with NO worry about draining batteries for any reason. AGMs cannot handle the load of that much charge, it just wears them out. Power pole Charge is the only way to go for hard core trolling motor applications especially with Lithium Ion.
The 150 amp alternator on the 400R is is pretty huge for our power hungry boats.
Applying power to the water is key to any good set up. My choice of gear case for my Yellowfin 24 CE is always the sport master 1.60. With the advantage of low water pick ups. This is great for when I want to run faster and lift the motor or get across skinny water without damaging the environment or my gear and still be able to pull the proper amount of water pressure. A tried and true gear case that has been super reliable for me through the years.
There are many conflicting notes about what is faster or more efficient. The HD or the Sport Master.. On my set up the sporty is faster but a bit of a scrub (.15 mpg) on fuel at cruise. Yes I have done a case to case comparison on the same boat.
The Set back on my sled is based off of years of owning many different Yellowfin 24s Both carbon elite and “classic” versions. I have settled on 12” set back with a 20” 400R. I have used this set back and engine length on my last 3 builds and it works really well for me. The water back there is super flat and unfettered for the full attention of my MAX 5 prop.
Props are the final swing at making a performance package work. I have found after some extensive testing that the MAX 5 five bladed prop from the guys at Mercury Racing works best so far in my very tuned application. The 400R V-10 is a strong mill of power and able to turn this very grippy prop. It rips the boat out of the hole and just keeps pulling through to top end.. The 23” P 15” D MAX 5 is right about on the edge of being too much blade for my daily grind loaded to fish but empty I am on the pins at 6400 pulling 7-8% slip at 80-81 mph. While there is no silver bullet for props that can do everything. This one gets pretty close and I really like the way it handles.
The Mercury Racing 400R is not heavy for her horse power. In Fact.. The Mecury Racing 400R V-10 is about the same weight at the Inline 6 Verado 400R at roughly 670 lbs.. Physically she is a little fatter in the cheeks but the same height and looks amazing on my transom.
Using the RELION Lithium Ion batteries I have shaved an additional 265 lbs out of my boat from the use of AGM batteries. This really helps across the board for all things in a performance package like my boat. I made the switch from AMG to LI in my last build of the Yellowfin 24 CE that was powered by the Mercury Racing 450R V-8 Supercharged outboard. I saw increases of 3-5 MPH in that build.
The performance numbers on this package are pretty amazing. I run my numbers when I am ready to fish and headed out. That is a true tell of what this boat is all about. Me and two anglers ready to fish.
Those that follow my builds of Yellowfin 24 Bay boats saw that my last boat was the same “critter” build as this one with a few minor changes and the Mercury Racing 450R. Set up was a 10″ set back, 20″ mid and sport master lower unit. The difference in performance on these two boats is slight. WOT goes to the 450R by 1.5 mph. Fuel economy at cruise goes to the 400R by .25 MPG. Hole shot is an edge better with the 450R. Acceleration is a bit better with the 450R. The cost is won by the 400R.
All in all.. The differences were marginal and I like the feel of the 400R better.
Questions related to this boat set up..
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