When Grant Bruggemann re-rigged former offshore racer Matt Rice’s 32-foot Skater catamaran with two new Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines at his shop, Grant’s Signature Racing in Bradenton, Fla., in late 2015, (read the story) one of the first things he did was call Mark Wilson, president of Wilson Custom Marine to take a look at the lower units on the big outboards.
Wilson has been fine-tuning lower units on racing stern drives and outboards for years and he and Bruggemann thought some tweaks on the gearcases for the re-power project would be beneficial.
While Bruggemann couldn’t provide specific numbers for the work done on the drives alone, he said that he could feel the difference in the boat’s handling and he was confident that the boat picked up speed. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“The skeg was thick,” said Wilson, who has done the same job on Mercury Racing Dry Sump No. 6 and M8 drives, IMCO SCX drives and virtually every type of outboard motor lower unit in the performance game. “They came out looking great, but it was a lot of work.”
Normally, Wilson and Bruggemann would prefer to make one adjustment at a time and then test the boat to see the results, but the project had a deadline so Wilson Custom Marine, which is based in Stuart, Fla., also blueprinted the props at the same time as the gearcases.
The finished bluerprinted product from Wilson Custom Marine (click image to enlarge).
The blueprinting process cleans up the drive’s exterior surfaces so that water flows more cleanly past them. When doing the work on two or more drives that will be on the same boat, Wilson Custom Marine also makes them symmetrical.
Bruggemann said that because the drives and gearcases were blueprinted and re-installed basically at the same time, he couldn’t provide specific numbers for the work done on the drives alone. He said that he could feel the difference in the boat’s handling and he was confident that the boat picked up speed. It also tells the customer that he’s done everything possible to make the boat reach its maximum performance potential.
“It looks good from the factory,” said Bruggemann. “But Mark Wilson just takes it to that next level and he delivers a great finished product.”
Editor’s Note: Two Mercury Racing sources have confirmed that any gearcase/lower unit modifications will void the Verado 400R warranty.