Yanmar Re-Power Saves Ferry operator Time and Fuel

A Yanmar re-power has provided a welcome boost to the Maria Island Ferry business operated by John Cole-Cook. Thanks to the pair of new Yanmar 6LY2A-STP engines, the trip to Maria Island is now quicker and the fuel savings are massive.


Maria Island 2
As a direct result of the Yanmar re-power, the steaming time from Triabunna to Maria Island has been reduced by 8 minutes, each way. Fuel consumption has also been reduced by 30%.
Over the course of a full year this translates to a huge reduction of 546 engine hours plus a considerable sum saved in fuel costs. The Yanmar re-power has delivered huge and measureable benefits to John Cole-Cook.
Maria Island is a hidden treasure off the coast of Tasmania, accessed from the small coastal town of Triabunna some 70 km northeast of Hobart.
The island was first occupied by indigenous people for 30,000 years. The first European contact was Abel Tasman in 1642, then the seal hunters arrived in the late 1700 hundreds followed by the whalers. Convicts were transported to Maria Island between 1825 to 1830, before Port Arthur was established. Today the settlement of Darlington is a World Heritage listed site. The history of Maria Island spans periods of convict settlement, mining, farming and early nature conservation efforts.
Currently, Maria Island attracts tourists by the boat-load, all year round. Access is only available by sea with the Maria Island Ferry service established in 1997. John Cole-Cook purchased the business in 2008.
As skipper of the Maria Island Ferry, John Cole-Cook makes the 17 km crossing from Triabunna to Maria Island 364 days a year. In peak season the ferry makes a total of 12 crossings a day, but in the quieter months the average is 4 crossings a day.
The vessel used for ferrying passengers to Maria Island was purpose designed and built for this specific run. The aluminium catamaran measures 11.6m LOA and has a beam of 5.0m. Built by Image Boats in Western Australia, the Maria Island Ferry displaces 7 tonnes lightship but can be loaded up with a further 5 tonnes when the maximum payload of 50 passengers and their luggage come aboard.

Maria Island
“When I purchased the Maria Island Ferry business, the boat was operating with the original 320hp diesel engines,” said John Cole-Cook. “They were obviously a bit old but we never pushed them too hard. That was until recently when one blew a piston.”
A re-power had previously been discussed but the idea was shelved. The engine failure brought the issue to a head and a quick resolution was needed. For every day that the vessel was laid up and off the water, the business would suffer financially, so a quick turnaround was the priority.
Based on the referral of a trusted local, John Cole-Cook got in touch with the authorised Yanmar Dealer in Hobart, Unitech Marine Sales / Spectrum Engineering. Dealer Principal, Peter Shedden recommended a pair of Yanmar 6LY2A-STP engines, quoted a price to supply and fit them and the deal was done. The Maria Island Ferry was packed off to Hobart and the re-power commenced.
Yanmar’s 6LY2A-STP engine is a turbocharged, direct injected, intercooled, in-line 6 cylinder displacing 5.813 litres to produce 440mhp (324 kW) at 3300rpm. With a dry engine weight of only 535kg (less gearbox) the 6LY2A-STP delivers industry leading power-to-weight Yanmar diesel performance.
In an amazing feat of engineering efficiency, the Maria Island Ferry was back at work with the Yanmar 6LY2A-STP engines fully operational inside of 21 days. The ferry was with Spectrum Engineering for just 19 days in which time the new Yanmar engines were shipped from Melbourne to Hobart, the old engines were removed, engine mounts were replaced and the new Yanmar engines were installed.
“My previous exposure to the Yanmar brand was very limited,” John Cole-Cook said. “I did notice however that Yanmar is very popular amongst professional fishermen. Anyone that I spoke to who owned a Yanmar, was glowing in their praise.”
Since installing the new Yanmar 6LY2A-STP engines, the ferry has been totally transformed. The Yanmar engines combined, deliver an additional 240 mhp over the old engines. The extra output delivers a massive amount of power to push this cat through open water and often big seas.
“The biggest gains have been lower noise, greater speed and an amazing reduction in fuel consumed.” Claims John.
With the old engines thumping away, conversation on board could only be had with people directly alongside each other. Now John Cole-Cook says that the low engine noise from the Yanmar engines makes conversation easy.
When the Maria Island Ferry is fully loaded the Yanmar 6LY2A-STP engines punch the alloy catamaran hull along at 25 knots at 3300 rpm. However, the most impressive gains for John Cole-Cook is at the operational cruise speed.
“Whereas we used to run over to Maria Island at 13 to 14 knots, we’re now travelling at 18 knots and experiencing a 30% fuel saving. The Yanmar engines tick over at 2600 rpm with the fuel burn 28 litres per engine per hour.”
With fewer engine hours and a 30% fuel saving, it’s clear that the Yanmar re-power has delivered overwhelming benefits to John Cole-Cook.