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Outerlimits SV-52 Quad Diesel: A Closer Look

Photographed during rigging, the Outerlimits SV-52 in this image has four diesel engines.

Last week I caught up with Mike Fiore of Outerlimits on the Bristol, R.I., custom V-bottom and catamaran builder’s in-house engine program. Near the end of our discussion, Fiore mentioned that he was in the final stages of sea trials for the company’s first quad-diesel-engine SV-52—four 560-hp Fiat Powertrain mills fill the engine compartment. The all-carbon, canopied 52-footer, which rides on a five-step hull and will be used for endurance racing by an overseas buyer, captured a lot of attention.

So about an hour ago I spoke with Fiore to learn more about the 15,000-pound boat. Here’s what he had to say:

In addition to four Fiat Powertrain diesel engines, your new 52-footer has four Arneson ASD drives with quick-change gears and Hering 35-inch-pitch propellers. How has the performance been to date in your sea trials?

Amazing. It’s a big freight train with a top speed of over 112 mph, and it’s very smooth.

How’s the fuel consumption?

Pretty modest, actually. At 90 mph, it gets 1.5 mile per gallon. So with its 500-gallon fuel tank that means it has a range of 700 miles at 90 mph. At 100 mph, it gets 1.2 miles per gallon, which is still pretty good.

Have you had the boat in rough water?

Yeah, and as I said it’s a freight train. It motors along effortlessly. It’s like sitting—it’s a five-place sit-down boat—in your living room. It’s going to be a really good endurance racer. And it handles flat and smooth. It doesn’t do anything wrong. The four propellers in the water work well. The setup is perfect.

This was your first quad-diesel-engine installation. What was that like?

(Laughs) It was a nightmare. It was a packaging nightmare. The forward two engines literally are under the back seats. The engine compartment has, like, a sea strainer “farm.” There’s four of everything in there, and it’s tight. Good thing the engines are diesels—they tend to last awhile (laughs again).