When Mercury Racing introduced the potent Verado 400R outboard at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, it created a definite buzz. But the excitement went beyond the performance center console world. As the year progressed the supercharged four-stroke motor began finding its way onto the transoms of true high-performance sport catamarans in new and re-power applications. And now the buzz has grown to a roar, ironic for quite possibly the quietest high-performance outboard ever built.
In the past, when a new performance outboard would come out, it seemed to be targeted more at bass boats or center consoles—and with good reason, considering how much more of the marketplace those boats account for. But the 400R has renewed interest in more true high-performance outboard uses for manufacturers and buyers alike. It makes sense from many angles. Because it’s a four-stroke, the 400R complies with all of the environmental restrictions, it’s super quiet and dimensionally it fits in the same envelope as a 250-hp or 300-hp Verado. It’s an instant power blast that a manufacturer or rigger can bolt onto a boat to boost speed, acceleration and all-around performance. Oh, and it comes with a two-year warranty.
It’s easy to see why MTI, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, Smart Marine, Hustler Powerboats, Predator Powerboats and more are designing new boats for the motor. But for this story, we caught up with four manufacturers that have already built sport cats powered by 400R outboards—with impressive results.