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The M360 Project – More engine power and berthing made easier

by Boat Gold Coast on 11 Jul
The M360 Project © My Marine Service Centre
Petrol to diesel – when is it a viable option? Are you overcapitalising your investment? How do you judge what is good value and what is a wasted effort? When should I consider such an enormous transformation?

Andrew Weekes of My Marine Service Centre at Gold Coast City Marina (GCCM) asked Christopher Dan, a well-known Southport Yacht Club personality, when the latter was pondering his boating future. While excited about the idea of upgrading Christopher’s beautifully presented Riviera M360, both men needed to come to a thorough understanding of the expectations of the end result. After all, it entailed a sizable investment.

Firstly, Christopher and his wife, Robyn, were still some two years from receiving their newly ordered boat, and were in the enviable position of wanting to keep their existing boat so as to always have a home-based craft for when the new girl was up north or down in Sydney Harbour. So the question of how long the boat’s upgrades would be enjoyed for, were satisfied very early in the discussions.

Increasing the vessel’s range was a primary consideration. The desired 4.2 turbo diesel Mercruiser (Cummins) packages would, in theory, provide more power (torque) at a far better fuel burn while delivering a greater cruise speed and the benefits of better hole shot.

Using the extensive facilities at GCCM, My Marine Service Centre was commissioned to proceed with the project in late 2016. Engine drives and transom assemblies were removed along with the petrol generator. Fuel tanks were drained and cleaned by Sweep Marine Services. The engine room was stripped of all batteries, wiring and plumbing. Detailed with flow coat, the new engine room needed to allow for the changes in engine design. While the engines were out, the batteries were repositioned and new hot water service was fitted, which is easy to access while the engines are out. After all, by the time the new engine drives and joystick steering were fitted, things were going to be tight.

Working closely with the factory technicians from the Mercury head office, the My Marine team needed to allow for a sensible cost effective way to accommodate the drastically increased air intake consumption required to successfully run the new diesel packages. Stainless-steel louvered Dorade boxes were added to the stern corners of the vessel. The myriad of factory wiring looms, nine separate electronic control modules, and NSS12 Simrad Mercury-compatible interfaces were included for a complete instrumentation package. The joystick and skyhook controls were added before the final engine genset and drive installation occurred.

Once the M360 was relaunched, there was several full days of joystick programming as each individual boat has its own personality and this needs to be factored into the programming of the joystick.

The result?

Wow! Not only a vessel with total berthing control at the touch of the joystick combined with convenience of holding itself in a single position indefinitely (an absolute godsend for planning the tying of fenders and ropes for stress-free docking), but also an amazingly quiet 24-knot cruise and a top speed of 34 knots – up from 18-20 and 24, respectively.

While the fuel burn resulted in similar per hour figures, the drastic increase in speed achieved has increased the range to comfortably allow the family to realise its goal and now can easily plan the extended trips up to Moreton Bay and beyond, which is what that they desired.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile and successful project, enabling the family to achieve boating happiness and extending the serviceable life of a very worthwhile vessel for many years to come.

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