Yanmar selected for big torque at low revs

Yanmar - El Torito
Bob Carter
El Torito is a fitting name for this vessel; it’s Spanish and translates as ‘little bull’. Built in 1968 in the US, El Torito has enjoyed a colourful history, but with a pair of new Yanmar 6HA2 engines on board, this ‘little bull’ is good for many more years at sea.

Purchased six years ago by Mark Woodley and his father Ross, El Torito was added to the Barrier Reef Live Cray’s fleet as the mother ship. Operating up and down the Great Barrier Reef, El Torito is home to a fleet of professional Cray dories. For two weeks at a time and for eight months of the year, El Torito is at sea working.

When Mark Woodley brought El Torito into the fleet, the ship was in very good condition but the engines were its Achilles heel. These were the original six cylinder inline two cycle diesel engines fitted in the US and there were major concerns about their reliability. So Mark Woodley decided to re-power.

'I had heard about Yanmar making huge and impressive inroads into commercial fishing fleets,' Mark Woodley said.

'This was the first time that we had ever had to re-power one of our vessels so it was all a bit foreign to me. Eventually I decided to go with the Yanmar 6HA2-HTE’s.'

The Yanmar 6HA2-HTE model is an in-line six cylinder marine diesel engine that displaces 13.14 litres and weighs 1340 kgs without the gearbox. Maximum power output, as fitted to El Torito, is 278 mhp (259kW) at 1880 rpm.


On the Yanmar 6HA2-HTE, cylinder block inspection hatches are standard equipment to facilitate maintenance. There is also a centre mounted fuel injection pump and mechanical governor system, features which set this model apart from other brands with electronic fuel management systems.

Apart from the impressive power curve, the Yanmar 6HA2M-HTE is noted for its low levels of vibration. This has been achieved through the use of light-weight moving parts and precise balancing. Low vibration means less wear and more comfort on board particularly for the extended two week stints at sea and night time relocations.

'I was won over by the technical attributes of the Yanmar 6HA2,' said Mark Woodley. 'This is a big displacement engine with a relatively small power output. But it has masses of torque. This configuration has given us a significant increase in speed, taking El Torito from six knots to eight knots during overnight manoeuvring with a maximum speed of 10 knots. For us, that’s a massive benefit.'

Under normal working conditions, the El Torito moors during the day while divers and their crew catch crays. Then at night the anchor comes up and the ship steams for 10 to 12 hours to a new site.

Obviously fuel is a major cost issue. The El Torito carries 28,000 litres of diesel. Operating at 1500 rpm, the vessel is good for eight knots with the Yanmar engines using 20 litres per engine per hour. This is achieved with a 19mtr hull which weighs in at 110 tonnes lightship, but 160 tonnes loaded with fuel, water and crays.

With many years now passed following the Yanmar re-power Mark Woodley is a big advocate of the Yanmar 6HA2 engines.

'We’ve logged over 7000 hours and have not had a single issue on either engine. Absolutely zero!' said Mark Woodley.

A big benefit of Yanmar is the 500 hour service interval. At each service the oil is analysed for contamination. The results show zero wear and tear which is an accolade in itself.

At sea, the relatively flat bottom and big bluff bow of the El Torito means that she is not exactly built for speed. When running into a head sea with the old engines, the waves would actually stop the hull in its tracks, before lurching forward again.

But with the big torque of the Yanmar 6HA2 engines downstairs, the hull just punches through.

'The change to Yanmar has been a phenomenal successful for us,' concluded Mark Woodley.

As further endorsement of the Yanmar repower of El Torito, Mark Woodley sold his business to the MG Kailis Group, a WA based fishing company. The new owners were very happy with the Yanmar re-power and accepted El Torito to their existing 20 plus fleet of fishing vessels.

Power Equipment is the exclusive and authorised Australian, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and South Pacific Distributor of Yanmar Marine and Industrial diesel engines, JCB DieselMax, MASE diesel marine and RV generators, Gori high quality folding sailboat propellers, PSS Shaft Seals, and Northern Lights Gen Sets.

Originally, El Torito was the floating home and laboratory of Walter Starck PhD, the co-inventor of the revolutionary electrolung rebreather.
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