Il Black Fin 10 Elegance marries Mercury Verado 400R to become a “muscle rib”. Still, there’s Joystick Piloting and especially Activ Trim.
The tech specs of Black Fin 10 Elegance say “maximum output 700 HP”. But to my back there’s two brand new Mercury Verado 400R… So here I am, expecting to test a true rocket. And it is…only regret, the rough sea in Sardinia doesn’t allow me to push it to the limit. A chance to try the contribution of Active Trim to a balanced navigation.
Black Fin 10 Elegance: flagship of the range
Black Fin 10 Elegance is undoubtedly an exclusive RIB: both in size and in trim level. It is perfect for fast day cruising, but also comfortable and livable as you’d expect on such a craft.
To bow the stainless steel pipe of the step is a bit of a sore for the eye, luckily the sun pad is very large (2.60 x 1.70 m) and hides a large locker for any kind of gear. Therefore the small cabin will remain available for some privacy and for the chemical WC. Access is granted by the tilting structure before the console, which also includes a front-facing bench. Given the whole size, there’s no need to enlarge the solarium with extra cushions, so the deck remains free for moving around.
The sporty design of Black Fin 10 Elegance console is underlined by the low-profiled windshield, while the handrail running along the sides ensure a strong grab when times get rough. The dashboard design is cured as well, completed with a large Simrad screen which collects all the information about engines and navigation, also available via the analog instruments. More peculiar, it hosts joystick and Active trim, the latter being object of our test along with the new Verado 400R. A double sofa for driver and co-driver can be lowered to choose the driving position. As customary, its structure houses in the back a mobile grill with sink and an 87-liter refrigerator.
The aft area is characterized by a large dinette with a U-shaped sofa that can comfortably accommodate six people and quickly become a second sun bed. To protect the cockpit a canopy supported by the S/S rollbar works well and doesn’t hinder too much the whole look of Black Fin 10 Elegance.
Black Fin 10 Elegance with Mercury Racing Verado 400R
153 HP per liter make Mercury Racing Verado 400R the most powerful outboard every built by Mercury. Therefore the power to weight ratio is the highest in its category. The unit is based on the well known 2.6 liter 6 cylinder block with supercharger. A specific tune and a cooling system for the air increase the output and reduce the noise; while the new water-cooled supercharger has been designed to lower the intake temperature so to enhance air density. This gives a high torque and therefore progression at any speed, up to the rev limit fixed at 7000 rpm. The electronic anti-detonation control makes it safe to run on RON 95 gas, optimizing performance when the suggested RON 98 is not available.
400R is the first Verado to use Sport Master shaft: already tested in racing, it features lowered water intakes for best performance. It is also the first Mercury Racing outboard boasting the Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) technology; while Mercury Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) cancels the gap caused by traditional cables for throttle and transmission. Last plus, the digital, ergonomic controls named Zero Effort grant an always intuitive navigation.
Mercury Racing Verado 400R is available in the two, classic Phantom Black or Cold Fusion White colors, which can be matched to any hull shade. If in Cold Fusion White tone, they feature a light blue racing graphic, otherwise available in other six hints to maximize customization.
Black Fin 10 Elegance with Active Trim
The Active Trim technology allows to adjust the setup in a simple and especially automatic way: it’s like switching from a manual stick to an automatic ‘box. Mercury calls it “suitable for both beginner and experienced boaters” as it should simplify the vessel management and improve performance while reducing fuel consumption. Let’s find out.
Active Trim by Mercury sports a patented control system with GPS: unlike other systems that use only the engine speed, it takes into account also the speed of the boat. We don’t need to stress how an ever-balanced navigation would have beneficial effects on performance, consumption and safety, even more so given the five pre-set profiles available for a wide range of different conditions. The Active Trim panel is compatible with both analog and digital instruments, and it can be turned off any time to go back to traditional manual controls. Furthermore, the system is compatible with any Mercury or MerCruiser engine equipped with SmartCraft, and can be installed on existing engines.
Black Fin 10 Elegance: the test
As we mentioned before, the Sardinian sea looks very choppy. It is indeed an excellent opportunity to test the quality of the hull of the Black Fin 10 Elegance , but not the perfect condition to test the potential of the two powerful Verado Racing 400R: in fact we couldn’t push beyond 6000 rpm and 50 knots. And at this speed, I wasn’t able to read the fuel consumption figures as we were shaking too much (although not in fear…). Zeroing the trim tabs brings me at an even lower 5500 rpm , while using the Active Trim I can perform a bit better. This may also explain the large differences in fuel consumption at very high speeds, but I can’t rule out errors in the detection given the extreme conditions.
What is undoubtedly clearly is that the Active Trim works really well: the boat is quicker and the need for gas is lower, without having to go mad with the settings. May an expert boater further improve the performance over the electronics? We have the testimony of a Mercury technician Mercury who admitted, not without a bit of resentment, that with calmer sea Active Trim beat him by half a knot: for the record, we’re talking og 70 mph at 6800 rpm. On that occasion, as in my case, the two Verado Racing 400R were equipped with a pair of Rev4 four-bladed 19″ props. Anyway, let’s not forget that Active Trim should work even better with smaller engines: in fact, the lower the power output, the more crucial the chassis control.
And what about the behavior of our Black Fin Elegance 10 ? It certainly proves to be a very good boat, just with a tendency to be a little light to bow. Still I’m confident that with a longer anchor chain and all the equipment in the large fore locker the balance should improve considerably. As for the Joystick Piloting system, this is one more of many tests I’ve done before, and it gains the expected top marks. It’s a pity we could not entirely squeeze the potential out of the Verado Racing 400R, which still seemeda bit too exuberant for the Black Fin 10 Elegance. But all in all, isn’t this the reason they were designed for?
Read (and watch the video) of our crazy test on a monohull with four Mercury Verado Racing 400R in Dubai
The numbers of Black Fin 10 Elegance
Length overall 9.94 m (32ft 7in)
Beam 3.56 m (11ft 8in)
Inside length 8.85 m (29ft)
Inside beam 2.36 m (7ft 9in)
Tubular diameter 65 cm (26in)
Displacement 2500 Kg
Max output 700 HP
Test engines Mercury Verado 400R 2×400 HP
Fuel reserve 560 l (147 US gal)
Fresh water reserve 100 l (26 US gal)
CE certification B
Performance without Active Trim
Performance with Active Trim
Rough sea, temperature 28°C (82°F), clean hull, fuel 260 l (68 US gal), no fresh water, passenger 6
Prices (VAT not included)
Mercury Verado 2×250 HP € 142.130
Mercury Verado 2×300 HP € 147.370
Mercury Verado 2×350 HP € 154.790
Mercury Verado 2×400 HP € 173.230
Mercury Verado 400R (one engine) from € 40.060