Out­board-tech ad­vances are broad­en­ing the propul­sion op­tions for midrange day boats.

Yachting - - CURRENTS - By Kim Kavin

When volvo penta, fa­mous for its om­nipresent IPS en­gine sys­tem, ac­quired out­board-en­gine man­u­fac­turer Seven Marine this past sum­mer, own­ers of midrange boats gasped at the pos­si­bil­i­ties. Seven Marine was less than a decade old, hav­ing started pro­duc­tion in 2013, but it had done for gaso­linepow­ered en­gines what Volvo Penta has done for diesels: looked to au­to­mo­tive tech­nol­ogy in seek­ing out per­for­mance en­hance­ments. “Out­boards are ver­ti­cal; they stand up on their nose,” says Seven Marine Vice Pres­i­dent Brian Davis. “If you open your car and look at your en­gine, the en­gine is flat. We were the first ones to mount a flat en­gine in an out­board.”

The part­ner­ship should con­tinue to ad­vance what Davis calls the “superconsole” mar­ket: boats in the 48- to 58-foot range (and, soon, be­yond that). Seven Marine’s 557 hp and 627 hp mod­els — horse­pow­ers pre­vi­ously un­heard of in out­boards — gave builders new ideas about how those boats could be built and used, just as Volvo Penta’s IPS has done for in­board de­signs. ¶ “A cen­ter con­sole boat is the pickup truck of the boat mar­ket, but when you make a CC per­form like a Porsche 911 with the re­li­a­bil­ity of a Lexus, you kill the per­for­mance-boat mar­ket,” Davis says. “We’ve created the abil­ity for the superconsole cat­e­gory to ex­ist.” ¶ Whereas midrange boats have long been a des­ti­na­tion unto them­selves (many yachts­men buy a 50-footer to hang out on all day and night with friends and fam­ily), the new thought for these boats is as en­ter­tain­ment plat­forms for superyachts, water­front homes and more. ¶ “These boats are not your des­ti­na­tion,” Davis says. “They’re the ac­cess to the des­ti­na­tion.”

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