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New Boat Engines for 2013
Mercury TDI SmartCraft
Who Wants It? Boaters seeking relief from ethanol worries associated with gasoline engines.
Importance? High efficiency, high performance and high torque in a small footprint.
Mercury Joystick Piloting
Joystick control offers outboard owners the same maneuverability that pod-drive and sterndrive boaters have come to enjoy. It’s expensive technology that limits its appeal to the upper end of the market. Owners of outboard-powered fishing rigs are apt to pooh-pooh a joystick: Man up and learn to dock your boat! Of course, these are the same folks who had no use for power steering and digital controls a few years ago. Teleflex Marine debuted its Optimus 360 outboard joystick, a system that works with all cable-controlled outboards in a dual installation, in 2012, and it incorporates a digital helm and controls for $18,000 plus installation. In 2013, Mercury joins the joystick party.
In early 2013 joystick piloting for Verado 250 and Verado 300 outboards debuts. It can’t be retrofitted, so you’ll have to repower or buy a new boat to get it. It’s offered for twin, triple and quad Verado installations. Mercury already has joysticks for its Zeus pod-drives and its Axius system for MerCruiser sterndrives. The Axius steering actuator mates to the Verado steering ram in a single unit located in front of the motor. The Verado motors already have a digital helm, digital throttle and shift, and power steering. The joystick plugs right into that system, so it’s a very tidy installation compared with the Teleflex system. Pricing is not yet available. As with Axius, we expect cost will vary by builder.