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By Bill Gius, iboats.com

If it appears you're seeing more outboard powered boat on the dealership floor these days, you're right. A veritable tsunami wave of change has moved boat builders away from the traditional stern drive power to an outboard motor application. In some cases, using the same hull design.

The industry-wide change can be partially attributed to the introduction and development of the four-stroke (4-stroke) outboard. 4-stroke outboards now range in power from 2hp through 350hp (excluding some higher horsepower high performance engines).

Honda brought their 4-strokes to the US in the late 60's, (first Honda 3hp shown) Yamaha in the mid 80's (current 350hp Yamaha cut away shown) and Mercury (current 150hp Mercury shown) in the mid 90's.

4-Stroke outboards have grown in popularity because many of them are more economical, fuel efficient, quieter, ecologically friendly and easier to maintain than stern drives.

But you just don't walk away from a popular and successful design or hull if you're a boat builder.

Here is a stern drive boat with... outboard power.

The Starcraft SCX 210 OB (outboard) could be called a "hybrid" boat. The hull and most of everything above the waterline is still basically a stern drive designed boat; with a 200hp outboard hung on the back. Well, "hung" is a bit of an over simplification. You don't really just "hang" an outboard on the back of a boat that used to have its engine inside the transom. The folks at Starcraft worked with Armstrong and Yamaha to power up this great family bowrider.

According to Peter Barrett, VP Marketing for Starcraft: "We spent many R & D hours with Armstrong getting the boat to balance correctly. We have had a long relationship with Armstrong and they were eager to help us with this project. We're very pleased with the performance considering the overall size of the hull and the depth of the cockpit area."

"Our goal, first and foremost was to duplicate the rear seating comfort and utility that we had in the SCX I/O series. We did so by keeping the same design as the I/O, moving away from a traditional space killing splash well and converting the engine area into a generous storage area. Key features such as the flip up sundeck, large rear facing stern seating combined with a big usable stern swim and ski platform would all be lost without the use of a bracket on this outboard model. This stern swim platform really makes this boat a fresh water or salt water tow sports animal!".

The SCX210 OB we drove was equipped with Yamaha's newest 200hp 4-stroke outboard. It features an inline, 4-cylinder, 2.8L, 16 valve, DOHC engine that delivers a very thin profile for single or dual engine application. According to Yamaha: "this new four-cylinder, four-stroke F200 is the lightest 200-hp four stroke on the market and can easily replace lower horsepower or larger V6 outboards and thereby increase the performance of mid-sized boats." As you can see in some of these photos, the outboard installation not only gives the boat a lot of useful deck room but the location of the installation perfectly balances the boat in the water. It's not bow high or sitting squat in the water.

The SCX210 OB has a custom wakeboard tower and you know, so do a lot of boats these days. Even pontoon boats have wakeboard towers; that doesn't necessarily make them good wakeboard boats. The SCX is a decent wakeboard boat. It's not an inboard tournament boat; it's a very nice bowrider that puts up a good wake. We ran it at 18mph, 28mph and 40 mph; wakeboard, tubing, slalom and barefoot speeds. WOT speed was 42.3mph.

You have to pay attention to trim and speed but you can create a nice wakeboard wake that will give you good air. At slalom speeds the wake flattens down enough for recreational skiing but at barefoot speeds the turbulence off the prop is very rough. The 2,500 pound boat puts a nice hole in the water so it also gives a pretty health wake for barefooting. Depending on how crazy you want to get for tubing, it will deliver a lot of fun behind the boat.

The stern drive design also give the boat tremendous stability. We attacked some wakes from a couple large cruisers and it cut the wakes beautifully without delivering a violent shudder to the passengers.

This boat clearly exemplifies the transition from stern drive power to outboard power. It's done well while expanding and extending the life of an exceptional hull design.

For more info on the Starcraft line of boats and to find your nearest Starcraft dealer click on: http://www.iboats.com/Starcraft_Boats/nb/m1466-y2013/
For more information on Yamaha Outboards check out: http://www.yamahaoutboards.com/
For more information on Armstrong Transom Brackets click to: http://www.armstrongnautical.com/brackets.htm

Bill Gius is a three-plus decade marine industry veteran with extensive, hands-on accessory, boat and engine experience. Bill has been working with iboats.com for six years to help manufacturers and dealers use iboats' online marketing, advertising and lead generation services. Bill can be reached at 800-869-1686 x199 or bill@iboats.com.

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