Twin Dtorque Installation Repowers Catamaran Owner's Sailing Passion

Frustrated by the lack of reliability and unpleasant smell of his old petrol outboards, Ilan Sebban opted for a radical midships diesel solution on his Hitchhiker sailing multi-hull for new peace of mind and outstanding performance under power and sail.

The first serial production diesel outboard with dual crankshaft and the smallest diesel outboard with common rail fuel injection, YANMAR’s Dtorque Turbo Diesel offers a range of benefits, including a remarkable torque output peaking at 111 Nm at 2,500 rpm, fuel economy, safety, reliability, and low noise and vibration. The smooth-running 804cc Neander-engineered outboards are the ideal solution for a range of applications, with torque performance surpassing the leading 70 hp fuel-injected, four-stroke gasoline outboards, fuel consumption of less than 12 litres per hour and expected service life in excess of 10,000 hours. The Neander Dtorque Turbo Diesel outboard is distributed worldwide by YANMAR.

Moment of Truth

Fighting to make headway in a 10-plus meter storm swell in his 52-foot Hitchhiker sailing catamaran X-IT, owner Ilan Sebban was struck by the realisation that, even for sailing enthusiasts like himself, good engines are essential. At that moment, he knew that the passion and time he had invested in his 2005-built multi-hull must extend to finding a repower solution that would improve on-board safety, enhance assisted travel and complement the yacht’s sleek lines.

“We ended up under engines, pretty much full throttle for nearly three hours just to keep the boat into a sea that was trying to get the better of us and nothing hit home for me more that there are times when good engines aren’t just a convenience, they are a necessity,” said Ilan.

Sydney-based Ilan and his crew made it home safely from New Zealand on that occasion, but the difficult experience marked the start of a refit journey that would culminate in a transformative twin YANMAR Dtorque 111 turbo diesel outboard installation that has left him eyeing the horizons for the next offshore ocean adventure.

Catamaran Conundrum

X-IT, a modern classic of the larger recreational multi-hulls, boasts a beam of 33 feet, low hull profile and impressive bridge deck structure. Mounted in the cockpit area, the previous combination of a pair of 60 hp petrol outboards were plagued by problems including salt ingress and other issues.

“There was constantly a smell of petrol about the cockpit area with the old outboards, and unfortunately just too many failures,” Ilan explained. “And while I like to think of myself as a sailing ‘purist’, so to speak, I’m well aware of the importance of good, reliable engines on board a vessel like mine.”

Diesel inboards were discounted due to sailing hull compromises from running gear, while electric propulsion was not realistic for longer-distance cruising. In addition, it was critical that the repower installation would be appropriate for this ocean-capable sailing machine, correctly balancing the boat to maximize performance.

Torque of the Town

With a clear vision for X-IT, Ilan and Michael Cocks, of Ballina Slipways, quickly decided that an innovative installation of two 50 hp YANMAR Dtorque Turbo Diesel outboards, supplied by YANMAR’s Australia distributor Power Equipment, was the solution.

The midships position was integral to the plan to make the boat sit better in the water, with sea-breaking pods then designed and fabricated in front of each outboard position to mount the Dtorque engines when in use and protect and reduce drag when retracted from service. Jack plates allow both proper water entry for the outboard legs and full retraction away from the splash whilst under sail.

Along with the obvious safety benefits of using a less volatile fuel, the impressive 111 Nm of torque delivered by the Neander engineered outboards was key.

“The stern will usually bury to some extent with outboards to the rear and this midships installation has made the whole boat sit better in the water,” Michael explained. “The close-quarter handling was very good, with all that torque no doubt helpful and the vessel responded well under power. We’re very happy with the outcome.”

Michael also praised a notable lack of vibration under power from the Dtorques – no doubt helped by the 804cc engine’s dual counter-rotating crankshaft design. He was also impressed by running temperatures of the engines during sea trials that never went above around 40 degrees Celcius regardless of revs. “It’s nice to see smooth, cool-running engines like that,” he added.

“It’s nice to see smooth, cool-running engines like that. The close quarter handling was very good, with all that torque no doubt helpful and the vessel responded well under power. We’re very happy with the outcome.”

– Olivier Poncin President

Excellent X-IT

While being built for speed under sail and minimalist equipment onboard has keep X-IT’s displacement to around 9 tonnes, the Dtorques’ 50 hp output has pushed the hull at up to 10.5 knots during sea trials. By comparison, the previous 60 hp petrol outboards struggled to achieve 6.5 knots at WOT. Ilan also confided that the cat’s return sail from its recent Ballina Slipways refit saw it hit close to 19 knots on multiple sections of the trip and averaged 9.5 knots all up under sail.

“The midships installation of the Dtorques has definitely balanced the boat better and I believe the boat tracks better in this configuration, particularly with downwind sailing,” Ilan said. “We managed just over 10 knots on the sea trials and did a similar speed under motor on open waters too – I’m incredibly happy with the performance.”

Justin Hogen, YANMAR MARINE INTERNATIONAL, Area Sales Manager Outboard Engines, said: “This interesting catamaran repower project confirms the capabilities and versatility of this unique diesel outboard and its appeal for a wide range of applications. The combination of long range, low running costs, durability and low emissions offers key benefits, while boat owners will also appreciate the increased on-board comfort, safety and minimal maintenance.”

“…There are times when good engines aren’t just a convenience, they are a necessity. The midships installation of the Dtorques has definitely balanced the boat better. The boat tracks better in this configuration, particularly with downwind sailing. I’m incredibly happy with the performance.”

– – Ilan Sebban, SV X-IT owner


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