Bravo I Prop
When you think about Mercury Racing Propellers, you imagine a technician/artist carefully sculpting custom wheels for Skaters or OuterLimits high-performance powerboats that blast through the water at triple-digit speeds.
“I’m looking for a performance prop with more durability,” said Scott Reichow, Custom Propeller Manager at Mercury Racing in Fond du Lac, Wis.
Even more startling is the boats that Reichow is targeting with new product. Following the growing popularity of performance center-consoles, the company introduced the Bravo I FS propeller at the Miami Boat Show last February. This prop is designed specifically for big four-stroke outboards (that’s what the FS is for) on large performance-oriented center-consoles such as those from Nor-Tech, Deep Impact, Contender, Invincible and more.
The Bravo I FS is zero balanced so that it doesn’t spin when sitting idle on a shaft. The four blades’ leading edges are wedged to a specific gauge, while the trailing edges have some cup taken out to improve rpm. The blades are thicker in the middle for more durability and, to reduce stern lift (stepped hulls don’t need as much), the propeller’s hub or barrel is shorter. If you upgrade from your current props, you would actually choose a 1” higher pitch. For example, if you’re currently running 21” pitch wheels on a center console, you’d go with a 22” Bravo I FS and improve the top speed. Reichow said that a 27’ Blackwood center console with a pair of 300-hp Mercury Verados picked up 2 mph when it was equipped with Bravo I FS wheels.
Finally, the $708 propeller is available in pitch sizes from 22” to 31” in one-inch increments and the Bravo I FS has a polished finish instead of the traditional satin. Reichow said the finish better resists corrosion in saltwater. “You don’t have to be as careful with a propeller as you do with the lab-finished stuff,” he explained.
The other surprising target for Mercury Racing is the performance cruiser class. For these boats, the company offers the Bravo III XR, which has more cup in the trailing edge than stock Bravo Three propellers. Many owners of cruisers built by Monterey, Chaparral and similar companies have upgraded to the Bravo III XR and have seen improvements in efficiency and performance. “The price of the props is reasonable for the performance you get out of them,” said Reichow. The Bravo III XR retails for $760 per propeller (remember the Bravo III is a twin-prop drive), while the standard replacements start at $663.
The boats that these props are targeted at might not be as sexy as a 100-mph go-fast, but owners of center consoles and performance cruisers can now say that they’ve got Mercury Racing propellers made just for them.