Yamaha Marine Group invited the fishing and boating media to Baltimore, Maryland, in mid-June to test-drive the company’s latest in outboard power — the upgraded 350c V-8 four-stroke, and the new mechanically controlled F225XB and F250XB V-6 outboards.
Yamaha’s 350c, the world’s only V-8 four-stroke outboard, generates 350 horsepower, and since its introduction in 2007, it has changed the way boat builders design vessels for fishing and cruising. The latest model boasts a slight weight loss of about 75 pounds, but more important, Yamaha has bulked up the warranty, offering five full years of factory coverage.
I ran a pair of 350c’s on an Everglades 325, topping 53 miles per hour at 5,900 rpm. At a comfortable trolling pace, the engines murmured at 68 to 78 decibels.
The new mechanical-control F225XB and F250XB 4.2-liter outboards should appeal to buyers in the repower market or to any boating angler who doesn’t need digital electronic controls. The F250XB comes in left- and right-hand-rotation models; the F225X in right-hand only. Both come with 25-inch shafts.
I also ran Yamaha’s V Max SHO 175 and 115 outboards, both released in 2014. The 175, with its 20-inch shaft, was bolted to a pontoon boat rather than a fishing vessel, but I got a great feel for it just the same.
The boat reached 40 miles per hour and offered an on-plane cruising economy of 4 miles per gallon at just less than 20 miles per hour while spinning up 3,500 RPM. That is particularly astonishing on a pontoon boat with three logs, all creating drag for the motor to overcome. The motors run smoothly and quietly, and their cowling and graphics should prove to be real showstoppers on any saltwater boat.
Ranger Boats sent its RP190 aluminum bay boat to the event, powered with a SHO 115. This little rig was a rocket ship, accelerating to plane in under 3 seconds and hitting 30 MPH at 7 seconds. The RP190 topped out at 45 miles per hour (all this with an aluminum prop).