Is it time to replace the other form of propulsion on your yacht? We look at reasons to re-power, and some brands that are worth considering.
There are three reasons why a yacht owner might choose to replace his or her diesel.
Weight - Over the past 10 years, manufacturers have found a number of different ways to reduce the footprint and, more importantly, the weight of their engines. This means that a racing yachtie looking to lighten the boat could save quite a few kilograms by replacing a 10-year-old engine, say, with a modern light-weight of the same power.
Reliability - If you hold your breath wondering whether it will start every time you turn the key, it’s time to replace the old donk.
Fuel Economy - As well as knowing it will start when you need it, a new, lighter engine will be much more fuel-efficient, eventually repaying your investment.
The high Australian dollar has made the option of re-powering your yacht very attractive right now. It has brought down the cost of a new imported engine, and has also, sadly, almost destroyed the local boat building market, meaning engine importers rely on re-powers for their business. They are keen to make a sale.
While the price will obviously depend on a range of factors, such as the number of accessories, the location of the boat and the amount of involvement of the distributor in the installation, for a typical 10 to 30hp model you are looking at between $9,000 and $12,000 at current exchange rates.
In our experience, the importers of the major brands of diesel engine are very knowledgeable about their products and will take the time to work through your requirements.
For example, if you are more concerned about getting to your next anchorage quickly rather than the amount of diesel you’re burning, you may want to discuss upgrading to a more powerful engine. As the footprints have shrunk, so it is possible to get more horsepower into the same space.
You may also want to discuss saildrive versus shaft-drive. While not every boat can make the change without major surgery, saildrives can save cabin space.
We looked at three of the best imported marine diesel brands, and bring you some key features to consider on these pages. If you plan to visit Sanctuary Cove or Sydney International Boat Show, that’s a good time to talk with the importers and have a look at the options.
Beta marine diesels are distributed by Beta Diesel Australia. According to Gary Townsend of Beta, the key Beta attributes are reliability, low cost and ease of service. They range in hp from 14 to 150 and are available in shaft drive and saildrive to 60hp.
Beta marine engines are based on the latest series Kubota diesel engines, which have a deserved reputation for reliability and fuel efficiency. Gary says the new series engines are far more fuel efficient and lightweight than they were even 10 years ago.
The other big feature with Kubota engines is that parts are economical and can be easily sourced, as Kubota are one of the largest manufacturers of diesels in the world. So if you plan on cruising the Pacific, for example, you will be able to obtain parts if required.
The Beta engines are all marinised to Lloyds specifications in Gloucester in the UK and come with a “Lloyd’s Approved” certificate, which makes them fully approved for use in the charter industry.
Gary says the Beta 25 is one of the most popular in the range as it is three cylinder (reducing vibration) and is very lightweight, giving excellent power-to-weight ratio. It also has average fuel economy of less than 2 Litres per hour at 3600rpm.
Dimensions: 677mm long x 370mm wide x 522mm high (with shallow sump). Weight 113kg.
With some yachts there is limited space beneath the engine so Beta have designed a shallow sump option for these installations. The main difference between the two options is the position of the sump pump connection, with a height differential of 41mm between the shallow and standard sump options.
The full Beta range is 14, 16, 20, 25, 30, 35, 43, 50, 60, 75, 90, 115
For further information contact Glenn or Gary Townsend at Beta Diesel Australia on (02) 9525 1878 or go to www.betadiesel.com.au.
Nanni Diesel Australia are the distributors, with dealers in all states. The range suitable for sailboats are also based on the Kubota diesel, so the comments on the previous page about reliability and fuel-efficiency are equally applicable to Nanni.
The Kubota-based range is marinised in France, with Nanni being originally part of the Renault automotive group, and the range runs from 7hp to 130hp. The company has developed its Environmental-TriVortex Combustion System to meet the very high EU exhaust emissions standards, and this considerably reduces emissions and dramatically improves fuel efficiency by ensuring complete air and fuel combustion.
A new casting technology which has been developed by Kubota for their engine blocks has resulted in reduction of the average operational temperature during heavy duty operation. This evolution, combined with the specific Nanni Diesel marinisation, increases longevity and reliability. Nanni still employ timing gears rather than a timing belt, which also results in decreased maintenance time and cost.
Nanni diesels are used in lifeboats and have SOLAS certification which they say provides proof they apply the most stringent safety standards currently in effect.
Key features of the Nanni range are their compact footprint, light weight and simplicity, making maintenance easy and inexpensive. All models from 10hp to 60hp are available in saildrive, while the full range from 7hp to the biggest diesels are available in shaftdrive.
The Nanni 21 is one of the more popular models. It’s dimensions are 660mm long x 472mm wide x 506mm high and the weight is 106kg including gearbox.
For further information contact Peter Collins at Collins Marine on (02) 9319 5222 or go to www.nannidiesel.com.au.
Yanmar marine diesel engines are distributed by Power Equipment and are available from agents throughout the country. The company has an excellent reputation among the sailing community, with reliability being very high on the list of attributes. They have been building diesel engines for 100 years, so they know what works.
Yanmar also prides itself on fuel-efficiency, with the parent company making this a priority as fossil fuel prices have risen in recent years.
The range includes models from 9hp to 125hp. Yanmar claim the largest displacement and smallest dimensions in their class, and say that extra power and higher torque are key features of the range. They also emphasise quiet and smooth running, lack of visible smoke, and easy maintenance as significant benefits of a Yanmar diesel.
Dimensions of the 29hp model are 715.5mm long x 463mm wide x 545mm high with a weight of 133kg (3YM30 with shaft drive gearbox).
For further information contact Michael Blair at Power Equipment on (03) 5580 4022 or go to www.powerequipment.com.au.
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