by Bob Wonders
Sydney Harbour’s popular water taxi service is now benefiting from the latest Yamaha V8 technology with the H20 Taxis now employing the powerhouse F350 V8 outboards.
H20’s ’WaterBus’ offering enhanced service thanks to dual F350 V8 Yamaha outboards.
Stepping up from its former dual F225 four-stroke installation, the H20 ‘WaterBus’ is now powered by the twin 5.3 litre outboard engines producing a combined 700hp and the torque required to lift to the plane a 5-tonne vessel with up to 3-tonnes of weight on board.
The taxi service provides an almost ferry-style service around Sydney’s famous harbour, traversing the Parramatta River, through to Manly, Middle Harbour and all points of the compass, with more than 200 pick up and drop off locations.
H20 Taxis owner, Shane Kearns, is a mariner of some renown. He was the founder of Getaway Sailing Adventures at Birkenhead Point Drummoyne and a Yachtmaster Instructor/Examiner and Yachting Australia Safety and Sea Survival teacher. His offshore exploits taking students in major ocean races broke ground in the Australian yachting scene.
Kearns says upgrading the service’s 10.8-metre flagship vessel with the powerful Yamaha F350s was 'a logical step.'
'The previous 225hp four-stroke engines had already done more than 3000 hours and I had been considering the F250 engines when the new F350 became available,' he explained.
'With a full load aboard, the F225 engines were really working hard, now, with the dual F350 installation the performance of this big, heavy boat has been transformed.
'To date, I have done 35 engine hours and have nearly halved my fuel bill, the F350 engines using a combined 31-litres an hour across a range of harbour conditions and boat loads,' he added.
Kearns added the aluminium tri hull to his fleet nearly two years ago.
The boat was built to survey in 1995 for the world-renowned Doyle’s Watson’s Bay Restaurant and was licensed to carry 26 passengers.
Some extensive customising was carried out on the boat and the engines changed from two-strokes to the Yamaha F225 four-stroke model and the vessel re-surveyed for 49 passengers.
The roof was rated to one-tonne for equipment transport.
'With the dual F350 engines I travel at an average speed of 18 to 22 knots with the engines sitting comfortably on 3000rpm,' Kearns said.
'Changing the propellers from 15' to 19' has produced additional thrust and recently I opened her up to 5000rpm and registered 38 knots.'
It’s not only water taxis that have embraced the new Yamaha technology, with a number of Australian boat builders and importers looking to the V8 engines for outstanding power-to-weight performance.
Yamaha Motor claims the new engines have 'redefined the power options' for larger planing vessels.
The company says the F350 V8 produces the torque expected from an inboard engine, but with the weight, access and space saving advantages offered by an outboard.
According to Shane Kearns, the WaterBus 'feels more balanced' thanks to the dual F350 installation.
'In the last 21 months I have covered approximately 20,000 (37,000 kilometres) nautical miles around the harbour and in excess of 3000 engine hours on the F225 engines,' he said.
'I now have every reason to expect the best from the new engines.'
Well-known Sydney Yamaha dealership Power Marine, of Waverton, supplied and installed the new engines.
They are supplied with Yamaha’s full four-year manufacturer’s warranty.
For further information contact Yamaha Motor Australia, telephone (07) 3906-7000.