The American penchant for going places fast and comfortably is something outboard engine and boat manufacturers have been quick to recognize. But the most remarkable engineering advance of the past year, perhaps of the past 50 years, is the development of the first diesel-powered outboard engine, a two-cycle, self-scavenging, opposed-piston motor, which will soon be offered to the public by American M.A.R.C. (manufacture and research company) Inc. of Ingle-wood, Calif. In the American MARC diesel the outboard boatman will be getting an engine that has no carburetor, no sparkplugs and no magneto. There will be no gasoline fire hazard. And in the American MARC, they will also be getting a design in which the fuel is precombusted, saving the bulk of diesel combustion chambers, and a space-saving, weight-saving, two-pistons-in-one cylinder. More, in this unique engine, the cylinder cleans itself of exhaust gases (see left) without the valves and scavenging pumps demanded in conventional diesel design. Heretofore, the diesel has been too heavy and cumbersome to be suited to outboard production, but these innovations give twice the power in half the space. The first production model will be an engine rated at 7� hp. More powerful engines, to be developed simply by adding extra cylinders through in-line construction, are planned for the future. Cost of the 7�-horse diesel will be about 25% above that of a comparable gas engine, or about $325.
THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY
High-domed Mercury Mark 78 (left) is the biggest production outboard on the market. Its six cylinders deliver 70 hp. yet by stacking one cylinder on top of another in an inline design 1 the engine head is so narrowed that two Mark 78s can be easily mounted side by side on a 34-inch transom, giving water skiers as well as hefty cruisers (next page) speeds up to 40 mph. By arranging the connecting rods so that no two pistons thrust backward or forward at the same time, the 78 vibrates far less than might be expected of such a powerful unit. Rubber mounts 2 reduce vibration even further. Besides these innovations, the Mercury six-cylinder is the first production motor that can be run in reverse from pistons through to propeller. In conventional engines the propeller is reversed through a system of gears; in the Mark 78 the crankshaft itself reverses its direction and the engine runs backward. As a result, all controls—starting, throttle and directional shifting can be centralized in one lever. List price for the Mark 78: $960.
Mighty Evinrude and Johnson engines each get tremendous pulling power from a big four-cylinder engine, the first banked V-type construction incorporated into outboard design. In V-type outboards four cylinders 1 fire alternately, delivering four power strokes per revolution to a short, sturdy crankshaft 2. Each piston, as it fires, is balanced by a counterthrust from another piston, so that vibration is virtually eliminated. The Johnson and the Evinrude, called Super Sea-Horse 50 and the Starflite respectively in the high-styled 1958 models shown at right, are rated at 50 hp. But in manufacturers' tests the engine, mounted on a 20-foot boat carrying five people, pulled four water skiers from a deep-water start, indicating an actual power potential well beyond the standard horsepower rating. Other important engineering advances in the Evinrude and Johnson are a thermostatic recirculating cooling system that keeps the engine at the most efficient operating temperature, and a downdraft carburetor which vaporizes the fuel more efficiently before burning. Cost for each is $840, including electric starter unit.
GOOD NEWS FOR FISHERMEN
As outboard motors grow bigger and more powerful, boatbuilders have been able to design bigger, faster, roomier hulls to go with them. This has been good news to budget-cruising men, who have been ready for bigger boats for a long time but until recently have not had engines that were powerful enough to push them. All of this good fortune, however, has not been shared by the nation's 20-odd million fishermen, who often describe themselves as forgotten men when it comes to outboard hulls.
Their lament has had considerable foundation. In the scramble to build and market interesting hulls, manufacturers have tended to concentrate on high-fashion weekend cruisers, many of which are not at all well adapted to fishing. At least, that is the opinion of the anglers, particularly those who fish on salt water or large inland lakes and have some strong utilitarian ideas about outboard boats.
First of all, they want a large cockpit in which they can move around with freedom. Second, they want plenty of stowage space for their fishing gear. They are likely to have no use whatever for decorative, protuberant fixtures that may foul a fishing line and have no practical function. And they certainly have no use whatever for a boat that gives its occupants a heavy soaking and a good scare, or worse, in hard weather.
The Trojan Bimini-22 (pictured below) is a member of a stout, new breed of outboard cruisers that has been designed specifically for the practiced angler. Built by the Trojan Boat Company, Lancaster, Pa., it illustrates as well as any stock boat on the market today the fact that an inexpensive outboard can be strong and able enough for fall fishing weather.
The Bimini is 22 feet long, with an eight-foot beam and a cockpit big enough to warm the heart of even a tuna fisherman. It is strongly ribbed with oak and is planked with mahogany and plywood. With its deep, nicely flared bow, it handles easily in a heavy chop. In the cabin there is a head, two bunks and space for either fishing tackle or a galley stove. Best of all, the Bimini can take an angler where he wants to go. In it he can troll for striped bass outside the surf at Wrightsville Beach, N.C. or for school tuna in Cape Cod Bay. He can cruise the Gulf Stream off Palm Beach for sailfish, or tackle marlin in the blue water off Guaymas. And he can do it without sending his wife or the Coast Guard into a nervous decline every time the wind starts to blow. The only limitations are those imposed by the prudence and common-sense seamanship of the skipper.