The Mercury 4700 is based on the Ramco Challenger 470 – now replaced by the Tearaway 500 (see Dec 98/Jan99 issue NZ Propeller) and was first released under the Mercury badging at the New Zealand Boat Show last year.
The reason for Mercury’s entry into the boat market is quite simple. They wanted to be able to offer a wider range of dealers the opportunity of selling a quality aluminium boat with the Mercury brand on the transom.
The CPC plate rates the Mercury 4700 to a maximum 50hp and four people and the layout is basic yet practical, with an open cockpit that is certain to appeal to fisherman. The standard seating layout is single swivelling bucket seats with clip-on cushions, although a range of seating options is available if you require more.
Access forward for anchoring is through the opening screen and although there is no dedicated anchor locker, the area under the foredeck does the job okay. An upstand stops all the anchor tackle ending up around your feet.
When you open the centre perspex panel there is nothing to stop it falling back against the screen and the deck. The addition of a rubber or nylon stopper would soon fix it.
It’s also too far from cockpit to fairlead with a 1200mm stretch needed to flick your rope into the exceptionally large fairlead. The low profile bowrail may look good, but with only 150mm gap between roller and rail it gets in the way when anchoring and would be far better if a split-rail arrangement was used. This way you could do most of the anchoring chores from the cockpit.
The cockpit sole is split level, with the area ahead of the seating, dropped down 50mm to give you more leg height when seated. Although 90% of the time you are probably going to drive the boat seated, the positioning behind the wheel is such that it’s reasonably comfortable to stand to drive.
The small fascia allows for limited instrumentation, such as a tacho and speedo. Alongside, the BEP switch panel caters for the navigation lights and bilge pump and there are a couple of spare switches when you add on a few goodies after you get the rig home.
Talking about add-ons, the area directly ahead of the helm is ideal for bracket mounted electronics, i.e. fishfinder and GPS. On the passenger panel opposite you could flush mount them, although visually it’s going to be difficult for the driver to read easily.
Storage is very limited and although you could soon add the likes of extra box seats, a dash mounted glovebox and side shelves you just increase the price and then start to defeat the purpose of buying the Mercury 4700.
The seat bases offer a place for dry gear, although most would be tossed under the fordeck. The space at floor level under the aft deck is reserved for a single tote tank and battery plus bilge pump in the centre. A fuel/water filter is place up high so you don’t have to be a contortionist to unscrew the cartridge and it’s also out of the bilge water.
With a rearrangement of the battery position into the centre you would be able to carry another 25 litre tote tank. However with the excellent fuel economy of the 4-stroke you could, in the right conditions go the 140 nm from Auckland to Russell on a single 25 litre tote tank at around 30 mph. So who needs two tanks!
Wide flat side and rear decks are at a nice height for fishing and the Mercury 4700 comes with four rod holders, as well as two wet lockers with So Pac hatches in the aft deck. Over the transom, there are twin checker plate boarding platforms with plenty of hand holds, plus an alloy foldout boarding ladder that is standard on all boats.
The Mercury 4700 has the outboard mounted on an extended bracket (200mm) and all the cables and controls are neatly encased in a flexible mounting tube. All cables enter the transom high on the starboard side and are routed forward, tucked up out of sight under the coamings.
Slippery When Wet
Underwater, the 15 degree hull has four pressed strakes per side and the 30mm wide extrusion that caps the joint between hull side and bottom doubles as an effective spray rail.
The Mercury 50 4 stroke is a four cylinder, 935cc engine that weighs 102kgs. This puts it heavier than the Honda 50 (92kgs), but lighter than the Yamaha 50 (108kgs). The engine is based on a belt driven, 2V single overhead cam engine, with CD ignition, automatic warning systems, 10 amp alternator, shallow water drive and Mercury’s 3 year limited corrosion warranty. Gear ratio is 1.83:1 and in either Mercury or Mariner colours is only sold in long shaft. Unique to the engine is a Bigfoot (2.30:1) option.
Flat out we recorded 38.5 mph @ 5600 rpm on the GPS and with the 13” Vengeance propeller it didn’t take long to get there. At 4500 rpm the Mercury 4700 sat right on 29 mph. Tests last year during our 50hp Shoot Out, on the fesh water of Lake Karapiro saw the Mercury 50 with a 10.25” x 14” three blader run 38 mph @ 6000 rpm and 24mph @ 4500 rpm.
If you aren’t ready for the 4 stroke or can’t justify the price jump from the conventional 2-stroke, then don’t worry, the speeds of the two engines are identical. A 60hp outboard pushes it up a little to 41 mph, although technically that’s outside the CPC rating for the boat.
Being a fair weather boat, I tested it in light to moderate water and it performed well. At 15 degree vee it’s never going to be a soft rider in the rough, but if you do get caught out, safe and sensible driving will get you home without too many hard knocks. The hull responds well to engine trim, but it is important to get your weight positioned correctly in the boat.
My kids gave it the towing test with both a kneeboard and tube and it passed with distinction. There wasn’t a ski pole so we just fashioned a bridle between the rear hand holds and it worked great.
The Mercury 4700 is a fun boat that doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a well priced entry level package. Although the 4-stroke does knock the price up over the $20,000 mark, with a 2-stroke 50hp Mercury, you would drive away from the dealer’s yard for close to $19,000.
The layout is about as basic as you get in a boat of this calibre and is designed to a price. There could be a lot more in the way of fittings and appointments, but all that’s going to do is jump the price and defeat the purpose for which Mercury Marine first envisaged for the boat.
Built by one of New Zealand’s most respected aluminium boat builders, the Mercury 4700 is ideal for a first time buyer or someone looking for a small aluminium boat that’s easily managed and inexpensive to operate. The bonus of the 4-stroke option is you go lots further for a lot less fuel and ultimately a lot less cost. Sounds like a pretty good combination to me.
- Model (2 stroke 50hp): Mercury 4700
- Price: $19,574
- Price as Tested: $21,098
- Designer: Bill Mackrell
- Material: 3mm aluminium
- Type: runabout
- LOA: 4.7m
- LOH : 4.3m
- Beam: 1.85m
- Deadrise: 15 deg
- Hull Configuration: medium vee
- Trailerable Weight: 700 kgs (approx)
- Engine Capacity: 50 hp
- Power Options: outboard only
- Fuel Capacity: tote tanks
- Cockpit Dimensions: 2500 x 1500
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
CPC standard equipment, nautolex sole, dive ladder, foam buoyancy, twin wet lockers.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
- Make: Mercury
- HP: 50hp
- Model: 4-stroke
- Cylinder Type : 4-in-line
- Displacement: 935 cc
- Max RPM : 6000 rpm
- Propeller: 13” Vengeance ss
- Retail Price: $8789
- Make: Voyager
- Model: NA
- Braked: No
- Suspension: springs
- Rollers: multi roller/keel support
- Std Features: submersible lights, winch, stand-up post.