Mercury Marine plans to use Sunsation’s 29 CCX in Wisconsin and Florida to test twin configurations of its 150- to 300-hp engines.
According to an announcement from Sunsation Boats—the Algonac, Mich., builder with a variety of center console and sportboat offerings in its lineup—its popular 29 CCX model has been selected as the latest addition to Mercury Marine’s test fleet.
Earlier this summer, Sunsation was commissioned by Mercury’s engineering department to build a base model 29-foot center console as a test platform for twin configurations of Mercury’s 150- to 300-hp outboard engines. Company owners Joe and Wayne Schaldenbrand and Jared Morris were contacted by Phillip Magee, the manager of Mercury’s Environmental Research Center located at the X-Site facility in Florida. Magee, laid out the requirements for the build and Sunsation delivered the boat by October.
“We were excited that Mercury chose our product for their test platform,” Joe Schaldenbrand said. “It’s a great opportunity for us, too. They can give us feedback on the efficiency of our boat and share some of their data. I can’t say how much information they’re going to be willing to share, but we can’t spend that kind of time testing so anything they share is likely to be helpful.”
Schaldenbrand said this is the third Sunsation model Mercury has used for testing purposes. This is the first center console as the other models—a 32 Innovator and a 43-foot F4—were offshore V-bottoms. Dating back to the 1950s under the direction of Carl Kiekhaefer, Mercury has conducted year-round engine tests on various model designs of the world’s major boat manufacturers. Since then it’s been a dedicated exercise in gathering data for ongoing performance and reliability improvements of its propulsion products.
“Mercury has a great relationship working with the Sunsation team both with its line of performance V-bottoms and, for the past few years, its new CCX center console designs,” Magee said. “Sunsation was one of the original manufacturers to qualify for Mercury’s T.E.A.M. program and has provided us valuable data over the years from its own R&D efforts.”
In the announcement from Sunsation, Magee answered a few questions regarding Mercury’s criteria for selecting the 29-foot center console, and his answers are shared below in Q&A format. In a related story, Active Thunder is building a new 23-footer as a validation platform for Mercury’s new 6.2-litre engine in Panama City.
Why did Mercury engineers choose Sunsation’s 29 CCX?
“The boat, which has a trailerable beam, is at the high end of the speed range for its class and has an open recreational-style seating design. Plus, the quality of the hull will insure long-term testing of our engines.”
What specific tests are planned for the 29-footer?
“We will perform performance, NVH and various engine tests and calibrations. We’ll also provide demonstrations of how this boat performs with the different outboard horsepower configurations and setups.”
Where will the testing take place and for what time period?
“Primarily in Oshkosh, Wis., and Panama City, Fla., over the next few years.”
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