More interesting news from the fine folks at Tunnel Boat Performance. Make sure to check out their website also for some great information!

TBPNews #55 - February 28, 2004
>>>>>> Tunnel Boat Performance News >>>>>>>>>>>>>> (now over 4500 members!)

In this issue:
1) Mercury launches Project X
2) Best Engine Voting of 2003
3) Hull-splashing decision affects whole industry
4) Chris-Craft will tour vintage shows
5) Mercury reacts to decision in engine dumping case
6) 'Hot Boat' magazine - Save 51%!
7) ** NEW ** 'Tunnel Boat Design' Software - Version 7.5

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1) Mercury launches Project X

MIAMI, Fla. - Mercury Marine launched its long-awaited Project X four-stroke
engine line, to a large crowd at the Miami International Boat Show. The engine
line, named the Verado, is the first four-stroke engine manufactured by Mercury
and will be offered in 200, 225, 250, and 275 hp. It will also be the first
production supercharged outboard engine available. Mercury says it is the
strongest and quietest four-stroke on the market, as well. The in-line
six-cylinder has a displacement of 2.6 liters, or 158.5 cubic inches. The
Verado's valve train features four valves for each of its cylinders with a
double-overhead cam design. Fuel will be delivered via a computer-controlled,
sequential, multi-port fuel injection system.

"The introduction of Verado is a landmark for Mercury Marine and the dawning of
a new era for the outboard industry. The six-plus-year project cost Mercury more
than $100 million to produce, what it says is the most sophisticated marine
propulsion system in history. The Verado, Mercury says, is a completely
integrated propulsion system with steering and control systems. Mercury says
this will also be one of the quietest engines on the market, utilizing a
low-pass acoustic system. The company says that the engine can't be heard by
most passengers at idle speeds. The product also features the SmartCraft Digital
Throttle and Shift technology, which was introduced in the OptiMax product line
in model year 2002. This couples with Mercury's exclusive ElectroHydraulic
Steering system that is said to eliminate undesirable steering torque without
sacrificing engine "feel."

The initial line of products will begin production in April, and the
yet-to-be-announced remainder of the family will be available within the 2005
model year.
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2) Best Engine Voting of 2003

Which engines were voted the "Best Engines of 2003"? J.D. Power and Associates
report covers customer satisfaction with marine engines.

About 75% of first time boat buyers indicated that "Engine Type and Technology"
had little or no impact on their decisions about the type of boat or engine to
buy. Interestingly though, within the group of buyers who had previous
experience with marine engines, the number dropped well below 50%! Anglers, who
use their boats for both trolling and for getting to and from the fishing
grounds, show a higher concern for engine type and new technology. Runabout and
Express Cruiser owners showed a lower interest.

Outboard Category: Engines using 4-Stroke EFI technology had the fewest number
of problems. The 2-Stroke, carbureted engines reported the most problems.
Evinrude had the highest rating for 2-Stroke engines, with Yamaha a close
second. Evinrude had high marks for fuel economy and lack of fumes. Yamaha did
the best for quietness, ease of starting and warranty coverage. Yamaha ranked
number one in the 4-Stroke category, with Honda in second place. Yamaha also did
well in ease of starting when cold and cruising speed. Honda received high marks
for fuel economy and warranty coverage.

Straight Inboards: Boat owners with straight, inboard engine installations were
the most satisfied by far. Inboard engine owners reported less than half the
number of problems than did Outboard and Inboard/Outboard owners. Pleasure Craft
Engine Group (PCM) ranked highest in this category.

If you would like to look at this information for yourself, go to J. D. Power
and Associates Consumer Center and select "Engine Quality/Performance" to read
their full press release.
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3) Hull-splashing decision affects whole industry

There are lots of views on "Hull splashing" - here's another article.

The industry needs better product design protection, says the company on the
losing end of a copycat suit. But Maverick adds, it will "continue to work
within the legal process to resolve this issue." A federal judge ruled that
Pro-Line's 22 Bay Boat is an original design, and is not substantially similar
in appearance to Maverick's Pathfinder 2200 V-Hull. Maverick had filed suit in
the hull-splashing dispute back in 2002. The legal battle between Pro-Line and
Maverick began when Maverick filed its lawsuit, claiming the Pro-Line 22
infringed on Maverick's design of its Pathfinder 2200. Maverick also had warned
Pro-Line dealers that if they continued to market the 22 Bay Boat, they, too,
could be held liable for infringing on Maverick's rights under the Vessel Hull
Design Protection Act.
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4) Chris-Craft will tour vintage shows

Chris-Craft Boats is going to take its 130th anniversary celebration on the road
this summer, charting out a tour of antique and classic boat shows across the
nation. The company already has lined up appearances in Mount Dora, Fla.; North
Lake Tahoe, Calif.; and Bay Harbor, Mich., and says its goal is to add as many
as seven more shows. The company dates to 1874, when founder Christopher
Columbus Smith built his first rowboat. For perspective, Chris-Craft points out
that James Polk was president at the time; Thomas Edison was born that year; and
an unknown author named Emily Brontė was publishing a novel titled "Wuthering
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5) Mercury reacts to decision in engine dumping case

FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Mercury Marine President Patrick C. Mackey is "gratified" by
the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) ruling Monday that opened the
door for what he termed "a full-fledged investigation" into pricing practices by
Japanese marine-engine manufacturers. The ITC "determined that there is a
reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by imports of
outboard engines from Japan that are sold in the United States at less than fair
value". Mercury's release said the company presented evidence at an ITC
conference on Feb. 2, "that Japanese outboard-engine companies have engaged in
unfair trade practices in the U.S. for several years and that they continue to
do so." In its response to the ruling, the Yamaha Marine Group said the ITC's
decision was based on the low threshold imposed for continuing the case.

As a result of the commission's ruling, the U.S. Department of Commerce will
continue its antidumping investigation with a preliminary determination due on
or about June 16, the ITC statement said.

Copies of the commission's Feb. 23 findings are expected to be available after
March 22, and can be obtained by calling 202/205-1809. Requests may also be
faxed to 202/205-2104.
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7) 'Hot Boat' magazine - Save 51%!

We have obtained great deals on Powerboat magazine subscriptions. This month we
have a great deal on the popular 'Hot Boat' magazine.

Hot Boat is prop and jet driven boat enthusiasts bible. Each issue featuring
tests, technical and product reviews, adventure travel, outboard and drag racing
coverage, high performance tips, and outboard RPM tricks. 11 issues Published:
Seasonal; Cover Rate: $54.89;
Our Rate: $27.00 (Save 51%)
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8) NEW 'Tunnel Boat Design' Software - Version 7.5

We've just released the new Tunnel Boat Design Software - version 7.5. This is
the best release yet - with the most dynamic and plentiful new features ever!
Check out new features at, or
download the summary of new features
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See you next time!