I got a chance to drive four boats when Yamaha Motor Corp. presented nine new outboards from 4 hp to 300 hp at a recent media event in Chattanooga, Tenn.
- a Scout 245 XSF center console with the F250
- an EdgeWater 318 center console with twin F300s
- an Alumacraft Dominator 165 CS with the F70
- a Zodiac Cadet 260 Airlite with the F4
The V6 outboards were smooth and powerful. We had five men in the Scout 245 XSF, and the F250 pushed it on plane without a problem. The outboard was set up with a propeller that uses the company's new Shift Dampener System. An internal damper in the prop hub eliminates the "clunk" that sometimes occurs when shifting into gear. The F250 certainly shifts smoother than prior V6 models, but from what I could tell the clunking hasn't been completely eliminated. With the single F250 the Scout gets 3.7 mpg at 30 mph. Impressive.
The twin F300s provided plenty of power for the EdgeWater 318. With four crewmembers on board, the test boat blew up and down the Tennessee River at 56 mph. At a cruise of 32 mph, you'll be getting around 1.8 mpg.
The F70 will make a good choice for repowering center consoles from 15 to 21 feet. The engine weighs just 260 pounds, which makes it the lightest 70-hp 4-stroke currently on the market. (The 4-cylinder Suzuki DF70 weighs 341 pounds.)
The 60-pound F4 and F6 4-strokes also weigh less, shedding 23 pounds. That can make a big difference - on your back - when you're standing in the dinghy trying to mount or remove the engine. It also makes the task safer.