In 2009 Nick and Andrew have joined forces with Yamaha to attempt an ambitious project to transform a beat-up Bertram 23.
Currently powered with a big, thirsty and very unreliable (the boys have already had to be rescued!) sterndrive powerplant, the plan is to re-power ‘Beast’with a brand-new Yamaha 350 four-stroke V8 outboard! Yes, it will be fast, it will be super reliable and it will become the ultimate fishing boat!
As well as getting a new motor, Beast is going to be restored into a new boat! She’ll be stripped back, her interior will be thrown away and replaced, her trailer will be fixed up, and over the course of the Hook, Line and Sinker 2009 season Beast will be reborn.
You can follow all the progress of Project 350 – Unleash the Beast right here on this webpage, where you can also watch each of the 12 segments we will produce to record what is sure to be an exciting journey.
The Yamaha 350 horsepower four-stroke is the most powerful outboard motor in the world.
Producing 350 prop-shaft rated horsepower, it is designed to provide massive thrust for the heaviest off-shore outboard-powered boats, and any outboard-powered boats that the industry has, thus far, only been able to dream about building, or in our case, repowering!
Unleash the Beast!
- Block configuration – V8 60 degree
- Displacement – 5.3 Litre (5330 cc) (325 ci)
- Prop shaft horsepower – 350 @ 5500 rpm
- Cylinder heads – DOHC / 32 valve with Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT)
- Compression – 9.6:1
- Full Throttle RPM range – 5000-6000
- Fuel induction – Sequential multi-point Electronic Fuel Injection
- Fuel type – Regular Unleaded (Minimum Pump Octane 89)
- Exhaust – In-bank dual exhaust with Power Surge Chambers
- Intake – Electronic throttle valve with 8 individual long intake tracks
- Ignition system – 32-bit ECM with integrated coil-in-cap ignition design
- Alternator Output – 50A (40A @ 1000rpm)
- Lubrication – Wet Sump
- Gear ratio – 1.73:1
- Controls – Command Link® – Digital Electronic Controls
- Multiple outboard synchronization – Auto sync throttle control with twin and triple applications
- Trolling throttle adjustment – +/- 50 rpm increments (600-1000 rpm range) via Command Link System
- Weight – 25″ shaft / 804 lbs
- C.A.R.B. – 3-Star
- Limited Warranty – 3-Year Pleasure, 3-Year Government, 1-Year Commercial
* Specifications are subject to change without notice.
Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,200 dealers and OEM partners with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and accessories and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha is the only outboard engine brand to have earned NMMA’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception.
The before shots
Beast update 1
Well, well, the reality of Yamaha Project 350 – Unleash the Beast is starting to sink in and, make no mistake, we have got a big job on our hands to bring the mighty Beast back to her former glory after 20 years of neglect. The first step of the transformation involved firing up the Beast to gather performance and speed data with the original Mercruiser in place so we would have something against which to measure the new Yamaha V8 350.
Glenn Gibson from Yamaha Australia was in charge of our technical box of tricks, which recorded speed, fuel consumption, noise and acceleration and, to be fair, the Mercruiser performed pretty well. It’s worth pointing out here that the engine fitted to Beast is a relatively modern unit. It’s a 5.7 litre, multi-point fuel-injected Mercruiser V8, rated at 300hp. It’s putting the power to the ground through a two-year-old Bravo III drive leg and, as far as these things go, it’s about as good as it gets.
However, there’s no getting around the fact that sharing cockpit space with a large V8 engine is both noisy and cumbersome. We managed to coax a top speed of 37 knots out of the old girl, which is more than respectable, but she was having a drink too, a touch over 94 litres per hour at that sort of speed. In the real world that doesn’t mean much – cruise speed is far more relevant – and in that field Beast seemed happiest at around 23/24 knots, which translated to 3100rpm and 36 litres per hour.
If you’re big on detail have a look at the data sheet in our “Final Testing” at the bottom of this page. You’ll notice noise levels were high, even at relatively low speeds, and when you mash the throttle the sound on board is roughly equivalent to a chainsaw at full noise.
Can’t wait to harness up that big, silky smooth Yamaha!
Beast update 2
Alright Beast fans, time to fill you in on all the goings on with our beautiful Bertram 23 project boat. As we speak, she is in a shed in north-west Tasmania in the capable hands of well-known fibreglass fabricators Penguin Composites, about to be fitted with a very serious hull extension capable of carrying the awesome Yamaha 350 V8 outboard. Now this is not something that you do without careful consideration and, as such, David Mercer, the boss at Penguin Composites, has engaged the services of Launceston design firm Allmasts to come up with a pod design that will enable the boat to fully exploit the performance capabilities of the big Yamaha.
We’ve had a few emails from viewers interested in the facts and figures of our project, specifically in the area of weights and balance. We know that the old Mercruiser and leg weighed about 460 kilos and the Yamaha 350 tips the scales at 370 kilos, so we pick up a bit of a weight saving with the swap. We’ve also been able to toss out a 200-litre auxiliary fuel tank and a 100-litre water tank, which were mounted under the port side bench seat in the cabin opposite the helm. Obviously this is not a great place for tanks because the lateral trim of the boat changes depending on the amount stored in the tanks. One of the original weaknesses of the Bertram 23 Flybridge was the lack of fuel capacity, only about 150 litres held in a single underfloor tank. By removing the inboard engine and converting the gaping hole to fuel storage we should be able to double our capacity to 300 litres; all low along the centre line of the boat and a much more satisfactory outcome.
We’ve sold the Mercruiser 350 MPI and Bravo III to a bloke in WA who has a 70′s version of the same boat and has spent thousands on trying to resuscitate its 30-year-old sterndrive without success. We’ve travelled down the path of old sterndrive motors and unless you are pretty competent mechanically it is a recipe for unhappy, unreliable and expensive boating. That fact is basically the inspiration for this entire project. All across the country there are 100s of very sound, older boats only really let down by the fact that they’re powered by rusting hunks of Detroit iron. The point of Unleash the Beast is to demonstrate that with high output outboard engines like the Yamaha 350, it’s now possible to repower these boats for a fabulous new lease on life.
We’re heading to Penguin Composites tomorrow for our first look at the progress being made and how the pros repair those annoying gel coat dings that fibreglass boat owners encounter from time to time. Unfortunately the Beast has more than her fair share. Keep watching this space and we’ll have some photos up shortly of the pod progress. If you’ve got a question about unleashing the Beast, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to find the answer.
Beast update 3
Hello Beast fans, across the country and across the globe! Snd apologies for not updating this page sooner but we’ve had our hands full with creating a truly spectacular vessel.
As we speak, Beast is currently at Lewis Marine in Hobart undergoing the final stages of a fitout and the awesome Yamaha F350 V8 outboard is sitting proudly on her stern. While there’s no doubt that it is a seriously large bit of gear it doesn’t look at all out of place.
The pod, fabricated by Penguin Composites (www.penguincomposites.com.au,) is a work of art and easily the most graceful that I’ve seen fitted to this style of boat. It really looks like a factory installation. It runs to the full depth of the transom and carries the keel line all the way through, it is a true running section of the hull. On either side is a marlin board which will carry a burley bucket on one side and a boarding ladder on the other. As you can see from the photos, the whole thing works really well.
The interior of the boat has undergone a full transformation also – gone are the vinyl covered, ply side panels and carpeted side pockets, replaced by easy clean fibreglass. The wooden cabin bulkhead has been covered in a similar, white, wipe clean product and the end result is a boat with more storage, easier maintenance and a much more modern look. The old aluminum, 160 litre fuel tank has been chucked and that cavity, along with two thirds of the old inboard engine hole, has had some baffles put in and a top glassed on to give us a single underfloor fuel tank with a capacity of somewhere between 250 and 300 litres.
A live bait well has been built into the existing transom of the boat and on top of that is a large (800mm x 400mm) cutting board/bait prep station complete with rod holders, hinged lid and internal storage compartment. Beast is now out of the 80s and almost ready to fulfill her role as a hardcore fishing machine.
While all of the above has transformed the functionality of the boat, one of the most vivid changes has been to her external gelcoat, I’m not sure exactly who at Penguin Composites (www.penguincomposites.com.au) drew the short straw polishing Beast but they deserve hearty congratulations. The change is nothing short of amazing. When we first had a really good look at the boat (after we’d paid for it) we thought we may have made a serious mistake. The gelcoat was faded, chalky and heavily bashed about, maybe even going to require painting. But no! After untold hours with angle grinder, filling putty, buffer and polish the end result is virtually like new. As mentioned earlier, Beast has now left Penguin Composites and we are over the moon with the job they’ve done for us. It is truly a one-stop-shop for fibreglass restoration and fabrication.
More to come shortly.
The Final Testing
Well what a transformation it was! Here’s all the numbers for the final results!
Mercruiser 350 Mag MPI 300hp (224kw) – Data Sheet
|RPM||L/h||L/h||Ave L/h||Km/h||Km/h||Ave Km/h||Knots||dB||Km/L|
Drive (Bravo 3) OL487439
MCM 350 MAG MPI (350CID)
Max RPM 4600rpm – 5000rpm
Testing TTL results:
21.80L TTL Fuel
22.25 TTL Klms
25.40 Moving Ave Km/h
Ave 1.02 Km/L testing conditions
Yamaha F350hp (257.4kw) – Data Sheet
|RPM||L/h||L/h||Ave L/h||Km/h||Km/h||Ave Km/h||Ave Knots||dB||Km/L||Nm/L|
Testing TTL results:
83.00L TTL Fuel
87.30 TTL Klms
29.80 Moving Ave Km/h
Ave 1.05 Km/L testing conditions