Hobart cray fisherman Rodney Clark is his own man. He’s a professional fisherman who by choice works alone at sea and co-designed his own cray boat, the Rachel Christine.
Rodney Clark chose a Yanmar 6HA-HTE3 marine diesel engine for his cray boat. Now, 17,600 operating hours later and no lost fishing time due to mechanical failure, Rodney reckons that choosing the Yanmar brand was the very best decision that he has ever made.
Rachel Christine is an impressive vessel. Triabunna boat builder Malcolm Fergusson laid the keel in 1997 working to a design loosely based on a hull shape used by fishermen in Victoria. Rodney Clark wanted a hull shape that would allow him to travel faster and also specified a raised aft deck for more comfortable quarters.
Built from Celery Top Pine, some Huon Pine and Stringybark hardwood, Rachel Christine measures 15m loa with a beam of almost 5.2m. The ribs in the bow area are heavy hardwood laminations, closely spaced so as to withstand the impact of smashing green seas.
Lightships the displacement is 33 tonnes, but when leaving the safety of Hobart for the wild waters of the coast of Tasmania, the Rachel Christine displaces 45 tonnes.
“I like the warmth and quietness of a timber hull,” said Rodney Clark. “Timber is a more expensive construction material than alloy and these days I can’t see any more timber hulls being built for fishermen like me.”
“The cost to replace the Rachel Christine today could easily be $1.5 million.”
During the five year construction period Rodney Clark was on hand whenever he wasn’t fishing, lending a hand to create this impressive hull.
As testimony to the craftsmanship of the local timber boat builders and Rodney’s extensive maintenance regime, Rachel Christine looks as though she came off the slips just months ago, not 13 years. The hull is spotless inside and out. There’s not a drop of oil to be seen in the engine room and the high gloss Jarrah fit out in the living quarters is as good as any kitchen in a Toorak mansion.
When it came time to select the engine for Rachel Christine, Rodney Clark took his time and looked around at all the other brands.
“I had a 6 cylinder Ford engine in my previous boat and I had also had a Yanmar 3GM30 in another boat,” Rodney Clark recalled.
“In my opinion Yanmar was the only brand that was a proper marine motor. All the rest were truck engines that had been converted.”
Once Rodney Clark decided on the Yanmar brand he then settled on the specific Yanmar model, the Yanmar 6HA-HTE3. However, before placing his order, Rodney went to see a Yanmar 6HA-HTE3 being fitted into a fishing trawler in Launceston, and that was what sealed the deal.
The Yanmar 6HA-HTE3 is a 6 in-line cylinder marine diesel engine, specifically designed for economical ocean-going commercial applications. It is rated at 278mhp ( 205kW) @ 2100rpm.. With a displacement of 11.946 litres, the emphasis of the Yanmar then, as it remains today, is one of fuel economy, low maintenance and long life. (The 6HA series is now superseded with the 13.140 litre displacement 6HA2 series.)
The Yanmar 6HA-HTE3 has a Yanmar YX90 marine transmission bolted up to it. This runs a 3.5:1 ratio and with the Yanmar ticking over at 1500 rpm, the Rachel Christine makes 8.5 knots when fully loaded and heading to sea.
“This model Yanmar engine has more power than I need, but at sea you only pay for the power that you use,” said Rodney Clark.
“With almost 18,000 hours logged on the engine and 13 years at sea, the engine room in the Rachel Christine is pristine. There is not a drop of oil to be seen, nor the slightest speck of rust on the engine. This is a great example of how good these Yanmar engines really are.”
A typical trip for Rodney Clark is now 16 days long. It used to be 8 to 10 days, but there are fewer cray fish about these days and they’re found further afield. The Yanmar 6HA-HTE3 has proven to be ultra-economical, burning on average 70 litres a day with the engine operating for 8 hours a day. The fuel burn on a 16 day trip is roughly 1100 litres or less than 9 litres per hour.
“I mainly lay my cray pots on the south-east and the east coast of Tasmania,” Rodney Clark said. “I have a licence for 50 pots and it takes me about 3 ½ hours to pull them up. I carry 1500 kgs of frozen bait and have a live tank that will hold up to 1500 crays. Every night I find shelter and drop the anchor.”
Five years ago, Rodney Clark further confirmed his confidence in the Yanmar brand by when he installed a MASE I.S.7 generator set in the engine room. At the heart of the MASE I.S.7 is a Yanmar 3TNV76 diesel engine. The MASE is used to run lighting and a fan heater on board the Rachel Christine, with 800 trouble free hours logged so far.
“The Yanmar is a great brand,” Rodney Clark concluded. “My engine is so reliable, spares are easy to get and the people at Power Equipment are helpful and friendly.”
Michael Blair from Power Equipment commented that the Rachel Christine makes an impressive sight berthed in Hobarts famous Constitution dock.
“This is one vessel that the whole team at Power Equipment is proud to be involved with,” said Michael Blair.
“Rodney is one of a long list of professional operators who have chosen Yanmar to power their vessels and are to this day experiencing real financial benefits from their decision.”
“Around the waterfront I frequently hear from owners that the initial purchase price is always a bit dearer with the Yanmar, but what is most important to them is the long term cost of ownership. The low operating costs at the end of each year is the real benchmark and is something that has been proven again with the Rachel Christine”.