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Resurrecting the beast!

The long-awaited re-launching of Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing 100 was one of 2023’s sailing world highlights. Her performance under sail is breathtaking. Moving this mighty maxi around between race commitments requires some diesel engine help from time to time of course and her new Yanmar 4LHA-STP has proven to be the good thing for the Wild Thing under motor

Wild Thing Yanmar

In the world of sailing, few names evoke as much excitement and anticipation as Grant Wharington.

Renowned for his daring spirit and relentless pursuit of excellence, Wharington set sail on a new adventure some three years ago – the reconstruction of his iconic yacht, Wild Thing.

This ambitious project has captured the imagination of sailing enthusiasts worldwide, marking a thrilling chapter in Wharington’s outstanding career.

One of the easiest decisions in this incredibly complex re-imagining of Wild Thing, (now officially named Wild Thing 100), was her engine regime.

It was always going to be Yanmar.

“Yanmar are the industry standard really in yachting,” is the opinion of Grant, “I mean, if you looked at the last 100 or so serious ocean-going racing yachts built in this country, all but a handful are running Yanmars.”Wild Thing’s rebuild, in simple terms, was a lengthening of her hull to bring the much-vaunted monohull weapon into the hundred-footer class. There is nothing simple about such a hull lengthening however. The job that started in 2019 in Melbourne’s docks replaced aged components with state-of-the-art materials, integrating advanced carbon-fiber composites, boosting structural integrity, adding state-of-the-art electronics and enhancing arrangements for crew.

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Her rigging is a matter of technology, science and sail mastery that deserves its own testaments to describe and – almost literally – is biblical in application. “She went from an 80-foot boat to a 100-foot boat, and effectively from a 16.2tonne vessel to around 22tonnes,” explained Grant.

Some 1.2 tonnes of that weight increase are attributed to a heavier bulb on Wild Thing’s keel, (no less than 6.2tonnes of lead is hanging at the lowest point of its 5.5m draft!)

This extra displacement was the primary driver for upgrading Wild Thing’s Yanmar regime from her faithful Yanmar 4JH4 (110mhp) engine up to a significant horsepower increase in the shape of a Yanmar 4LHA-STP (240mhp) power plant.

More than double the horses came with around a 50per cent engine weight increase, (just over 100kg), so the midship positioning of the new Yanmar provides a fabulous power-to-weight upgrade too. The 4LHA-STP is a 3.45 litre engine which makes its brand-famous big bore and stroke work via direct injection (in-line pump) of diesel along with turbocharged and intercooled boost.

They are a stalwart of the Yanmar range and when coupled with the KMH50A gearbox, (as Wild Thing is set up in a 2.43-1 ratio), are designed to last the proverbial “forever”. While it may seem Wild Thing has been around forever too, the name has in fact been attached to what Grant describes as “seven different boats since 1989 really”.

“All Wild Things have been running Yanmars since 1991 though,” Grant is proud to add.

Under her 80-foot configuration and 4JH4, Wild Thing could motor at 8knots. “The new motor is absolutely fantastic,” says Grant of the hundred-footer’s new 4LHA-STP. We easily get 11knots out of the new engine, so if there is no wind around when we are moving the boat to its next race destination, we can make good miles.”

Grant Wharington Wild Thing
Wild Thing 100 owner & skipper Grant Wharington

Keep in mind of course that motoring speeds are nothing to get too excited about in this class of vessel. With a design that makes this impressive, black-hulled beauty capable of achieving a sailing speed of 1.2 times the wind speed across her sails, 11knots under motor doesn’t seem terribly quick.

The sailing world has watched such capability in awe as Wild Thing, under Wharington’s expert command, has reclaimed her status as a force to be reckoned with at the elite end of monohull sailing.

Power Equipment is proud to have provided the motoring power to this iconic Australian racer in her ambitious rebuild – with more horsepower and no doubt even more glory for this new juggernaut of Australian sailing.