Originally Posted by jwalker
Jim, 2 diesel boats and then a change to petrol.
Give us the lowdown on the new boat...and why?
Two reasons really - firstly a co-owner who decided it was time to hang up his lifejacket (although JS will probably be out on the water as much on my new boat as he was on Panther!), which meant I had to finance the new boat all on my lonesome, but also because of reliability issues with the legs attached to diesels.
Our first diesel was a 6.8m Ribcraft Offshore, with a Volvo KAD32. Although the boat was only 3 years old, it was costing a lot to maintain, with a variety of repairs (exhaust elbow, starter motor, etc.) The Ribcraft was well built, but at 6.8m was a little short on waterline length for a diesel installation, so it was rather stern-heavy, and hard work in a head sea. We both agreed it was time for a change to something a bit longer, but still with a diesel installation (economy, safety, availability etc).
So boat number two was ordered, an 8.5m Tornado. She was (is) a superb sea-boat, highly capable in all conditions and very well constructed. We plumped for the Yanmar coupled to a Bravo 3X leg. We chose the 250hp engine because there was evidence that the 300hp+ engines were too torquey for the Mercruiser legs. All was well unit last year, when we had a failure of one the the Universal Coupling Joint bearings at about 280 hours - it took about 10 weeks to fix, in the peak summer period, and we missed a number of commitments (Scottish Series etc). Then this year we had to replace a worn steering gimbal pin (at 600 hours), taking another 10 weeks and a whopping £2.5K!
So I'm having a go at the outboard route, new boat, 3 year engine warranty etc. The extra cost of fuel is significant - yesterday I did 68nm in formation with my old 8.5 diesel - he burned 64 litres, I burned 69 litres, so the economy is pretty similar, albeit the price at the pump is not! Of course if (and hopefully it's a big if ) red diesel is no longer available to pleasure craft next year, the economic advantage of diesel boats will be less clear.
I've gone for another Tornado, because their sales advice and support was absolutely first class with the 8.5, and of course because of Tornado's legendary build quality, which I've yet to find any reason to doubt. Thus far the 7.5 is everything I could have asked for, what she lacks in waterline length and sheer inertia as compared with the 8.5, she more than makes up for with an excellent ride and handling.
Had more been known about the new Volvo diesels, perhaps I could've been tempted back down the diesel road, but it's early days yet and I'll await your and others experiences with interest.
Well that's my reasoning in a nutshell, time will tell if I've made the right decision!