BALTIMORE — The Yamaha Marine Group opened its two-day summer media event Tuesday night at the National Aquarium here with the introduction of an upgraded version of its largest outboard engine, the F350C.
"We've made so many improvements to the F350 over the past few years, mainly involving maintenance and durability, that it was time to present them as a package in a new next-generation engine," Yamaha product information manager David Meeler said. "So we have a new engine with a freshened-up look, and we're now covering it with a 5-year warranty."
About 28 journalists are attending the event in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. They will test the new F350C and Yamaha's recently introduced V MAX SHO high-performance outboards. Demos also will be given on boats equipped with Helm Master, Yamaha’s integrated boat control system, in twin- and triple-outboard configurations.
Eight boats ranging from 18 to 36 feet were in the water at Harbor East Marina. Two were rigged with the new F350Cs — an Everglades 325cc and a 27-foot Shearwater.
Yamaha introduced the V8 350, which has a displacement of 5.3 liters, in 2007.
"The F350 allowed outboard power to be used in places it had never been used before," said Meeler. "These were never intended to be lightweight engines. They were designed to push large outboard-powered boats. The engine has great torque — that low-speed and mid-range 'grunt.' "
The improvements include the addition to the F350C of Yamaha's Shift Dampener System, which virtually removes "clunking" noises and vibration during shifting and low-speed operation. Since the F350 hit the market nearly a decade ago it has been slimmed down, with an incremental weight reduction from 804 to 763 pounds.
The engine is also smarter, using a better electronic control unit (ECU), which alerts owners when the engine is due for selective maintenance points. Yamaha also has improved the engine's corrosion resistance in areas near the waterline.
With all of these upgrades, it made sense for Yamaha to increase warranty coverage from three to five years, Meeler said. "We want to let the world know we thoroughly stand behind this trendsetter of a product."
Yamaha also introduced a new Talon propeller designed for its 4-strokes from 70 to 115 hp, as well as its 50- and 60-hp high-thrust 4-strokes and any older 2-strokes from 60 to 130 hp.
Within the Talon range is the new Talon Pontoon SDS propeller, which is designed to move large loads with extra control and thrust without shift noise or vibration, said Meeler.
Yamaha Marine sponsors the National Aquarium with outboards — twin F300s — for the organization’s 35-foot aluminum powercat research vessel, which is dedicated to shark research and the restoration of local wetlands.
Besides testing boats and engines, attendees will have the opportunity to fish with Yamaha Pros and B.A.S.S. Elite Anglers Mike Iaconelli and Randall Tharp.
This is the first time Yamaha has hosted a press event in the Mid-Atlantic, said Martin Peters, Yamaha Marine Group communications manager.
"In a unique urban setting, the area offers a great fishery … in this historic harbor,” he said.