View Full Version : Cool outboard

06-23-2011, 09:52 AM
Deuce High. Digging through my archives for Rick’s turbine outboard article, I came across another off-the-wall product: Mercury Racing’s ProMax Deuce High. This one was a full-out engineering project. It was a combination of our fuel injected 2.5 Liter ProMax EFI powerhead and an advanced propulsion system. The mid section and gearcase were designed from a potpourri of sterndrive and outboard hydrodynamic engineering concepts and a very clever prop clutching device.
http://www.mercuryracing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Deuce_High_Three-Quarter_720--205x300.jpg (http://www.mercuryracing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Deuce_High_Three-Quarter_720-.jpg)The exotic Pro Max 200 Deuce High outboard.

The most unique of its design innovations was its 2-speed automatic gearcase. The engine drove two, counter rotating props on the same axis — like the merCruiser Bravo Two. Unlike the Bravo Two, the props were sequentially shifting: On initial acceleration, one prop would free-wheel while the other spooled up quickly. A computer controlled, hydraulic clutch system automatically engaged the second prop when the engine reached a preset torque. This enhanced hole shot, big-time!
Water pickups were built into a removable skeg. (Lots of debate with my boss about the wisdom and cost of the stainless steel “girdle” skeg. I lost.) The fully surfacing gearcase was designed to run with the full torpedo above the water. The water running beneath the propeller hubs and torpedo improved propeller efficiency and eliminated torpedo drag.
http://www.mercuryracing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Twin-prop-Lake-X-rig_BLOG-116x150.jpg (http://www.mercuryracing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Twin-prop-Lake-X-rig_BLOG.jpg)Twin prop outboards were tried at Lake X in the early 1960's. They died then, too.

The counter-rotating, fully surfacing props delivered unsurpassed boat speed and very good fuel efficiency; It also improved handling and stability because steering loads were neutrally balanced at all planing speeds. The boat was amazing crossing wakes or waves at odd angles – it just tracked like an arrow! Much easier to drive than a typical high performance bass boat.
Unfortunately, it couldn’t be sold at the price of an arrow – more like a cruise missile. The expensive hardware (two exotic stainless steel props, the stainless steel girdle/water pickup and the prop shaft/clutch mechanism) cost too much for the bass market. Deuce High saw one boat show, but not production. Not enough fish hunters would pay the steep premium for its performance. But doggone it, that Deuce High wild card flew! (If I can find it around here someplace, maybe I’ll put it on a boat and surprise some unsuspecting fisherman.)
These two products taught me two important business lessons: 1) If one leads too fast (even a good application like 377 can be too far ahead for its time), your customers can’t or won’t keep up – and we fail; 2) If a great idea (Deuce High) can’t be produced at a price the consumer views as a value, they won’t buy – and we fail. These days, we listen more before we spend to develop new products – and (so far) we’ve succeeded.

06-24-2011, 04:37 PM
The Deuce would have been fun on my Hydrostream Vegas :nilly:

If it didn't weight too much.