Outboard brackets like the stainless marine (stainlessmarine.com) model on Stallings’ boat have been around for years. on a Parker 25-foot, 16-degree deadrise hull, bracketed outboards running from 25 to 30 mph burn 29 percent less fuel, despite the additional weight of the bracket. “As the water moves aft of the hull, it becomes less turbulent, denser water, so the props get a better bite,” says Rusty Sedlack, vice president of Armstrong Nautical Products (armstrongnautical.com).
Need proof? With the same engine and propeller, a bracketed parker is slightly faster than a non-bracketed one, despite turning 100 rpm less. Armstrong builds flotation into its brackets to balance the engine’s weight — in essence, a hull extension engineered to be above the water when planing. Brackets add space too. Half of the extra 667 pounds of the bracketed Parker, and a good chunk of its $8,000 price, is a full-beam fish box and storage lockers not available with transom-hung outboards.
Armstrong and Yanmar partnered to create a diesel stern-drive pod that debuted last fall. Yanmar’s common rail diesels, built on BMW’s 3-liter blocks, provide 220 or 260 horsepower housed within an Armstrong bracket. Dubbed the Armstrong Yanmar Marine propulsion system (AYM), the package weighs 1,388 pounds (694 for the engine, 221 for Yanmar’s dual-prop stern-drive and 473 for Armstrong’s aluminum transom pod). That’s just 236 pounds heavier than the bracketed outboards. “This [common rail 260-horsepower] engine allowed us to do this project,” says Tom Watson, who manages the Marine Engine Division for Yanmar America Corp. (yanmar.com). “We couldn’t have done it with our mechanical engines. The system brings a diesel replacement for outboards to both new boats and repowers.”