Yanmar Powers Spirit of Queenstown

Spirit of Queenstown

A purpose built passenger ferry, the Spirit of Queenstown, is the newest tourist venture by Southern Discoveries for Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand.   Designed by Incat Crowther, built by Aluminium Marine and powered by a pair of Yanmar commercial marine engines, by any measure this is an impressive high speed ferry.

Spirit of Queenstown is an all alloy high-speed cat, 26m long with a passenger capacity of 170 passengers plus a crew of four.  This is a ferry specifically designed to deliver an efficient low fuel burn while combining a blend of passenger comfort and excellent speed.

Operating from Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the owners of the new ferry (Southern Discoveries) insisted that special attention was devoted to the development of durable on boards systems, robust ship structure, conservative engine ratings and good machinery serviceability.  On all counts Spirit of Queenstown exceeds the brief.

The Yanmar engine of choice for this repower project was the 650mhp (478kW) 6HY-WET commercially rated marine diesel engine.  This is an IMO Tier 2 Emission certified purpose built heavy duty marine engine model ideally suited for passenger ferries or other workboat applications.  It is a 6 cylinder in-line configuration engine, displacing 13.733 litres and weighing 1385 kg, without a transmission. It features a full mechanical governed and mechanical fuel injection system and when combined with the unique twin turbocharger design as used on this model provides for quick acceleration and very impressive fuel economy right across the full operating speed range.

In the engine room, the Spirit of Queenstown is also fitted with Yanmar YHX-160 transmissions and a pair of Mase Yanmar Powered 33KVA generators, all supplied by Power Equipment.

In 5 days of sea trials before the delivery trip across the Tasman, the Spirit of Queenstown delivered impressive performance data.  At maximum power of 2100 rpm, the ferry logged an impressive top speed in excess of 27 knots.

With the sea trails completed, the Spirit of Queenstown took on board a delivery crew and departed south from Brisbane heading for Coffs Harbour on the central coast of NSW for refuelling before departing for Bluff, the southernmost town in New Zealand.

Dick Moore, one of the skippers on board the Spirit of Queenstown, reported on arrival at Bluff that the delivery trip went as planned and without incident.

“The Yanmar engines performed extremely well on the three and a half day crossing from Coffs Harbour,” Dick Moore said.  “Most of the time we cruised with the engines operating at around 1700 rpm or 15 knots.  At this speed we were using 50 litres of fuel per engine per hour.  No oil top ups were required.”  Once in Bluff, the Spirit of Queenstown was greeted by Aluminium Marine owner Steve Cordingley and a number of his staff.   The next stage of the delivery process was to partially dismantle the superstructure so that the giant cat could be transported by road to Queenstown, a journey of 220 km.

Moored up at O’Reagans Wharf in Queenstown, the Spirit of Queenstown will carry passengers across the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu to the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station for an authentic and nature-based tourist experience.  As well as regular tourist excursions, the Spirit of Queenstown will be available for conference, incentive and event groups.

The vessel has 170 seats, 127 of them inside the main deck passenger cabin. A kiosk provides concession service aft. The outboard seats are arranged in booths with tables. Large double doors provide access to the cabin from the aft boarding gates. The aft main deck features three toilets and overhead hangers for bicycles. The upper deck features the wheelhouse and 43 exterior seats.

“We are very proud to be associated with Southern Discoveries on this project,” said Michael Blair, Marine Sales Manager at Power Equipment, the authorised Australasian distributor of Yanmar engines.  “Southern Discoveries joins a growing list of professional operators in both Australia and New Zealand enjoying the benefits offered by Yanmar purpose built marine engines.”

“With a solid track record in powering a diverse range of commercial vessels, the Spirit of Queenstown again highlights the superior performance of the Yanmar range of commercial engines.”