I had the pleasure of testing Lee Rayner’s Evolution 600 Extreme that was equipped with twin 115 FourStrokes. Mercury’s 115 leads the market in quite a few departments. Firstly, it is almost 10kg lighter than any other 115 four-stroke on the market. On top of this it has the lowest emissions, it’s extremely quiet and offers significantly less vibration than its competitors. Importantly, the 115 is offered in a left-hand counter-rotating configuration, making it ideal for twin outboard use as on the 600 Extreme.
The “CT” in the 115 stands for Command Thrust, which is essentially an upgraded gear casing and system taken straight from the 150 and available in the 115. The CT gearbox provides a larger and longer gear casing, which acts like a large rudder providing better manoeuvrability and control over the vessel. This is a handy feature when equipped with twins on a trailerable game vessel and quick manoeuvrability is required when running down marlin and tuna.
Importantly, the CT system allows the 115 to swing V6 class propellers, which provides better hole shot, possible top speed and all-round greater performance on a heavy and beamy boat such as the 600 Extreme.
The twin engines, fitted with 21” Enertias, got the big 600 on the plane with ease and, much like the 150, they’re extremely quiet. The mid-range power is highly responsive and the boat reaches a top speed of 75km/h. It was clear that the larger CT gear casing improved manoeuvrability, sharp turns at speed and my observations while docking in a highly congested harbour showed handling to be smooth and effortless.
The 600 Extreme was also equipped with some of Mercury’s latest tech in the way of SmartCraft gauges and Active Trim. The SmartCraft VesselView gauge is a stylish and efficient digital 6.4” touch screen that provides all your engine information in a layout that’s easy to read and navigate. The VesselView also linked with the Simrad products on Lee’s boat.
Active Trim – essentially it’s an automatic trim – is a new and innovative technology for Mercury. It was a strange thing to use at first as my thumb was always ready to manually control the trim and I was ready to take over as I had my doubts over its efficiency. I was surprised to see that it was highly efficient and did just as good a job trimming the engines as I could. As you take off it will trim down, as you turn at speed it will trim accordingly, as you slow to troll in rough sea it will find the best trim for the hull it is fitted to. It really is an amazing piece of technology that is suited to those new to boating as much as the experienced skipper.
Mercury has done an excellent job of implementing great tech from the ever-reliable 150 into the smaller 115CT. They are both outstanding engines that suit a huge variety of popular vessel sizes on the Australian market.
New technology such as VesselView SmartGauges and Active Trim is moving along with the rapid development of marine electronics. This intelligent merger of modern tech and old-school engineering reliability with innovative design is what the modern boater is looking for in their engine.