67.27 miles per gallon. Incredible mileage in a car, but an outboard-powered boat? It’s a remarkable record that stands after five years. Guinness World Records made it official in December 1999, adding the Yamaha F4 four-stroke outboard to its list of world record holders. Guinness issued a World Record certificate for “The greatest distance covered by a boat powered by an outboard motor on one gallon (Imperial) of fuel, is a world record 108.262km (67.27 miles) by a trimaran-style skiff powered by a Yamaha F4 engine.” The lightweight F4 was paired with a trimaran-style skiff, weighing about 48 lbs. built from a carbon fiber/fiberglass composite. The teen-aged crew of three experienced sailors established the record July 1, 1999, reaching 108.262km in 10 hours and 19 minutes, equating to 67.27 statute miles or 58.45 nautical miles. The record run took place over a circular 1.7km course at the Orakei Basin, a land-locked saltwater basin located in Auckland, New Zealand’s city center. To establish the record and have it recognized by Guinness, the team had to burn one imperial (UK) gallon (4.546 liters) of fuel around a circular course. The circular course meant that the effect of the wind was canceled, a requirement by Guinness. The F4 was not modified and used the standard prop shipped with the motor. A Trimble Differential GPS, noted for its accuracy to less than one meter, tracked the number of kilometers traveled. The onboard GPS sent data to the shore-based tracking station via radio where two computers tracked the run. The crew ran the boat at a speed of around 10kph. Because of the length of time the record would take, three drivers were used — Andrew Fenwick, 17, his brother, Sam, 15, and Shaun Sutherland, 15, each taking turns of about 2.5 hours at the helm. The three are experienced sailors with Sam Fenwick the New Zealand P Class national sailing champion. With daylight fading around 5:30 p.m., the 100km mark was finally reached. But the little Yamaha wasn’t finished — an hour later it was still going with 106.3km reached as the sun dipped below the horizon. Yamaha’s four-stroke outboards are well regarded for their fuel economy, durability and quiet operation. In fact, the Yamaha four-strokes have met the U.S. EPA low-emission guidelines six years early. It was at this point that the engine, which had run without skipping a beat all day, briefly stuttered, but quickly came back to life. At 6:42 p.m. with more than 10 hours of continuous operation, the single gallon of fuel finally ran out. After 64 laps, 108.262 km had been reached and a World Record powered by a Yamaha outboard was one for the record books. Greg Fenwick, general manager of the Marine Division at Moeller Yamaha Ltd, said he came up with the idea for the record attempt as a way to publicize Yamaha’s fuel efficiency. We’d say that’s one promotion for the record books. Apparently Guinness does too, as they have decided to let the record stand and not authorize any other challengers. Yamaha manufactures four-stroke outboard motors from 2.5 to 250 hp and two-stroke outboards from 8 to 300 hp.
Product news article courtesy of Yamaha Outboards