Twin Dtorque Outboard Solution Repowers Hitchhiker Sailing Catamaran

Our distributor worldwide YANMAR has successfully equipped a 52 foot multihull hitchhiker SV X-IT sailing catamaran with a new propulsion system: an innovative installation of two Dtorque 111 turbo diesel outboards.

This opens up a promising new potential for using modern diesel outboards on larger sailing catamarans. The project, in which two 50 hp Dtorque engines are mounted in a central hull position on hydraulic plates in sea-going nacelles, has achieved impressive results in sea trials, with improved performance reported both under engine and under sail.

The first serial production diesel outboard with dual crankshaft and the smallest diesel outboard with common rail fuel injection, our Dtorque offers a range of benefits, including a remarkable torque output peaking at 111 Nm at 2,500 rpm, fuel economy, safety, reliability, and low noise and vibration, that could now be experienced by catamaran owners.

Using Dtorque outboards supplied by YANMAR’s Australia distributor Power Equipment, the radical installation was devised by Ballina Slipways shipwright Michael Cocks and catamaran X-IT owner Ilan Sebban. Ilan wanted to replace his cockpit-mounted 60 hp petrol outboards for a safer and more reliable alternative, and had discounted diesel inboards due to sailing hull compromises. The smooth-running 804cc Neander-engineered outboards were selected as the ideal solution, with torque performance surpassing the leading 70 hp fuel-injected, four-stroke gasoline outboards, fuel consumption of less than 12 litres per hour and expected service life in excess of 10,000 hours.

The midships position was integral to the plan to make the boat sit better in the water, with sea-breaking pods then designed and fabricated in front of each outboard position to mount the Dtorque engines when in use and protect and reduce drag when retracted from service. Jacking plates allow both proper water entry for the outboard legs and full retraction away from the splash whilst under sail.

On the cat’s return sail, it hit close to 19 knots on multiple sections of the trip and averaged 9.5 knots under sail, with improved boat tracking in the new configuration, particularly with downwind sailing. The performance of the new Dtorque diesel outboards also delivered some impressive numbers, logging just over 10 knots on the sea trials and a similar speed under motor on open waters, with a notable lack of vibration under power and cool running temperatures below 40°C.

Justin Hogen, YANMAR MARINE INTERNATIONAL, Area Sales Manager Outboard Engines, said: “This interesting catamaran repower project confirms the capabilities and versatility of this unique diesel outboard and its appeal for a wide range of applications. The combination of long range, low running costs, durability and low emissions offers key benefits, while boat owners will also appreciate the increased on-board comfort, safety and minimal maintenance.”

A modern classic of the larger recreational multi-hulls, SV X-IT was the last built by the founder of Hitchhiker designs, John Hitch, in around 2005. With the backup of reliable and capable diesel power, owner Ilan plans to sail her to Cape Town next year.

Check out the complete story here including some impressive photos: