Yanmar Powers Australia’s Largest Water Taxi


Fantasea 8 Seasons is touted as the largest water taxi in Australia. Offering a hop-on hop-off service on Sydney Harbour, Yanmar 6HY-WET marine diesel engines were specifically selected to power this new 24 meter purpose designed aluminium catamaran.

Fantasea 8

Whereas most ferry services are tasked with operating to a brisk and tight timetable, Fantasea 8 Seasons is quite different. This is a leisurely tourist service which typically operates at a very sedate 8 knots. In addition to servicing the tourist market, the vessel is chartered for weddings, corporate functions and group tours.

Designed by naval architects One2three, Fantasea 8 Seasons was built in Brisbane by Marine Engineering Consultants. Drawing on the successful catamaran design adopted by Fantasea Crystal and Fantasea Spirit, the hull shape and passenger configuration were refined for operation on Sydney Harbour.

“Fantasea 8 Seasons has a retractable roof which allows our passengers to take in an uninterrupted 360 degree view of Sydney Harbour,” said Kelvin Parkin of Fantasea Adventure Cruising.

“The electronically operated roof enables guests to view the Sydney Harbour Bridge, fireworks and the stars during our evening cruises.”

On a technical level, the Fantasea 8 Seasons hull was re-designed as a low draft, low wake vessel. This ensures that this giant water taxi can access the shallow areas of Sydney Harbour.

With a length overall of 24m, beam of 7.6 m and displacement of 70 tonnes lightship, this is a sizeable vessel. Throw into the mix a passenger payload of up to 196 people, or an added weight of over 15 tonnes, and this becomes a big vessel to move around efficiently.

“The choice of engines was arrived at by carefully considering all the key elements of design and operation,” said Kelvin Parkin.

“The Fantasea 8 Seasons is designed to operate as a dual purpose vessel, often at speeds of just 8 knots in water-taxi mode or at speeds up to 22 knots as a medium speed passenger ferry. As a water-taxi and mid speed ferry, big horsepower in the engine room was not a requirement. What was vital however was having the right engines that a Master 5 skipper could both operate and service. The right size engines would deliver optimum fuel burn for economical operation.”

The Fantasea Company operates a fleet of ten large passenger ferries on Sydney Harbour. The operator has a large amount of performance, service and fuel data compiled allowing management to compare the different make and models of engines in their fleet. In arriving at the decision to power the Fantasea 8 Seasons with Yanmar, the overriding issue was the reliability factor of the Yanmar brand.


“Reliability is a huge factor with our organisation,” said Kelvin Parkin. “Our experience with the Yanmar brand in our vessels has been first rate. The engines in their own right are very reliable and they are exceptionally well supported by technical people from Power Equipment in both Sydney and Melbourne.”

In choosing the Yanmar 6HY-WET model specifically, it was felt that this engine delivered all the right elements of power, fuel consumption, performance and service interval all at the right purchase price.

Fantasea 8 1

Yanmar’s 6HY-WET model is a purpose built commercial grade marine engine. It is a 6 cylinder in-line configuration engine, displacing 13.733 litres and weighing 1385 kg, without a transmission.

It includes Yanmar’s latest combustion chamber design, named ASSIGN, a system originally pioneered by Yanmar on their large bore, low speed propulsion engines.

This technology combined with Yanmar’s own mechanical fuel system delivers impressive fuel consumption results and provides commercial operators with excellent fuel savings. When combined with the unique twin turbocharger design, skippers benefit from quick acceleration and very impressive fuel economy right across the full operating speed range.

The 600hp twin turbo (441kW) develops maximum power at 2100 rpm and is the perfect engine for operators who may require their engine to be run at full throttle for extended periods. The cylinder head is a quad valve design. In this configuration, the Yanmar 6HY-WET excels in conditions demanding continuous commercial use.

Rounding out the shaft drive propulsion system are heavy duty ZF transmissions combined with a ZF Mathers Electronic Control System and VEEM 4 blade propellers.

An important aspect of the Yanmar 6HY-WET engines is the 500 hour service interval. This is more than double the schedule of competitive brands and it ensures that Fantasea 8 Seasons is working on the water for longer.

David Howells, one of three skippers to take control of Fantasea 8 Seasons, rates the new vessel as easy to handle with plenty of torque in the low rpm range.

“The Yanmar engines deliver a lot more bite down low, than our other commercial engines,” said David Howell.

“In the course of a normal day we can log up many hours of running in water-taxi mode at just 8 knots. Fuel consumption is just 10 litres per hour per engine.”

On the delivery run from Brisbane down to Sydney, Kelvin Parkin ran the Yanmar 6HY-WET engines at 1800 rpm for a speed of 20 knots. Fuel consumption was recorded at 70 litres per engine per hour.

Fantasea Adventure Cruising is a division of Riverside Marine. The Riverside Marine group has a diverse range of marine operations which includes ferries, marinas, dockyards, charter boats, dredges and tugs.