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The yacht of your dreams with a MAN engine

 

Of the almost 100,000 engines that MAN Truck & Bus produces each year, yacht engines are only a small yet very refined group. Unassailable in their performance, compactness and consumption, these high-speed diesel units are in demand for top of the range shipbuilding. An excursion from the Côte d’Azur to Lake Constance – to two of many waters around the world where these marvels of technology are deployed.

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Engine compartment of the AB100 "MY LEA III" with three MAN V12-2000 engines.

Not a single cloud is to be seen in the sky above Nice. The sun is flashing on the decks of the sailing vessels and yachts at anchor in the large harbour basin of Port Lympia. Hundreds of prows are bobbing up and down, as there is a lot of coming and going on this warm spring day at the Côte d’Azur. A 30-metre long, gleaming white yacht has just cast off from the Quai de Napoléon 1er. It's an AB 100 from AB Yachts, which moves gracefully through the harbour past colourful sailing vessels and a huge car ferry that will soon put to sea for its destination of Corsica. The AB 100 speeds up once it has passed the lighthouse at the end of the harbour wall. Water bubbles up at the stern, the bow rises and it’s not long before the yacht begins to disappear from view. Its white wake strips in the azure blue of the French Riviera reveal that it has set course eastwards towards Cap Ferrat and Monaco.
Reiner Rößner is very familiar with the AB 100. The reason: unlike other yachts, it has not just two, but actually three engines. “The fact that these are three MAN V12-2000 is of course especially pleasing”, the Head of Sales MAN Engines  says with a laugh. “This power of three times 2,000 hp means the yacht can reach over 50 knots. That’s over 100 kilometres an hour. Truly extraordinary for a boat that’s over 30 metres long. It represents the pinnacle of enjoyment in travel.”  The MAN V12-2000 generates 2,000 hp and is the most powerful model that MAN offers in the marine sector in 2021.

Superstars OF Marine ENGINES

“Lamborghini 63” shoots across the water like an arrow whirling up a huge amount of spray. This eccentrically designed motor yacht in a garish lurid green is a homage to the legendary Italian sports car and is operated as an exclusive luxury yacht by renowned manufacturer “The Italian Sea Group”. She is one of the fastest boats ever built – and relies on two MAN V12-2000 engines to generate her speed. They help this lightweight carbon-fibre, high-speed boat to reach the impressive top speed of 60 knots, which converts to 111 kilometres an hour. “Lamborghini 63 is an extreme example of the extraordinary power density that is a general feature of our engines. MAN high-speed marine diesels are compact and light, while at the same time delivering the highest engine power”, Reiner Rößner says, adding a wink: “In any case, no Lamborghini on the roads has yet achieved 4,000 hp.”

The compact construction of these MAN engines also plays a part in design of the living space on board. “Every centimetre counts in boat design”, chief engine developer Werner Kübler explains. “It makes a huge difference to the manufacturer and owner if the engine compartment can be made smaller in favour of the cabins.” Good fuel consumption and the quiet running behaviour that are added attributes make MAN the undisputed market leader in the yacht engine business.

What unites trucks, buses and yachts

Acceleration capacity, fuel consumption, reliability: customer requirements in the yacht segment are high. MAN Engines meets them by fully exploiting the infrastructure at the MAN Truck & Bus Engine Competence Centre in Nuremberg. “MAN’s size and that of the Volkswagen Group benefit us in the development of marine engines – from procurement to production to sales. A complex area like materials science, which helps us with material resilience tests, would simply be unaffordable given the comparatively small number of marine engines we produce”, Reiner Rößner states. Proven engine technology from the commercial vehicle division benefits MAN Engines in the development of its marine engines. Professional exchange with colleagues from the commercial vehicle division is very important to the marine specialists. “We have for instance benefited from their experience in the after-treatment of exhaust gases”, Werner Kübler reports. “Truck engines were quite clearly the forerunners in this regard. The same applies to consumption optimisation by means of common rail injection.”

This exchange of knowledge also pays off in reverse: in addition to marine engines, MAN Engines also develops industrial off-road engines for vehicles like airport buses, combine harvesters and locomotives. This expertise also benefits the development of trucks and buses. “We come across a lot of extreme applications in our division: yacht engines have to provide massive peak performance, power generation engines have to achieve long running times, and combine harvester engines have to cope with challenging environmental conditions, including huge volumes of dirt and dust. We’re constantly testing the limits of their endurance. Anyone dealing with such extremes also gains a broad spectrum of knowledge”, is how Reiner Rößner describes this special synergy.

Clean marine engines in testing

The mountain peaks of the Alps are glowing red in the evening sun at Lake Constance in southern Germany. The catamaran “Constanze” is making its way across the lake from Friedrichshafen to Constance. The ferry belonging to Katamaran-Reederei Bodensee shuttles back and forth on this route every hour from morning to evening. This catamaran has a special significance for MAN Engines, as Werner Kübler reveals: “In 2019, the ship was equipped with two new MAN D2676 drive engines along with SCR catalytic converters in a completely new exhaust system. In this case our engines have to prove themselves under the continuous demand of ferry operations, both in terms of reliability and ease of maintenance as well as fuel consumption and emissions.” Initial findings from field testing indicate that the engine components from MAN are paying off: thanks to them, the Constanze is emitting significantly fewer nitrogen oxides than comparable ships and could become the first German ship to meet the EU stage V emission standard with an engine supplied directly by an engine manufacturer.

"In the development of marine engines, we benefit from the size of the MAN Group and also the Volkswagen Group, from procurement to production to sales."

Reiner Rößner 
Head of Sales MAN Engines

The matter of emissions and after-treatment of exhaust gases is of equal importance to yacht operators as it is to the shipyards. That's why MAN Engines always provides the latest emission certificates for its yacht engines. “We’ve been offering our customers engines in the strict China II emission standard for over a year before it came into force. This gives us an advantage over the competition and is a plus for the environment”, Kübler maintains. Battery-powered drives are becoming increasingly important in the MAN Group as part of its energy transformation, so MAN Engines is also drawing on technologies and know-how in this area. In the near future, MAN Engines will also offer solutions with clear customer benefits in terms of driving and idling without noise and exhaust emissions, reduced consumption and improved performance.

Reiner Rößner is certain we won’t see a fully electric yacht any time soon: “The amount of energy to be carried on-board for the required ranges would make the boat too heavy and cost more than the entire vessel.” Nevertheless, the technology offers many advantages in relation to performance improvements, but also in terms of comfort and efficiency on yachts and working boats.


Yacht engines: a passionate business

Staying ahead of the multifaceted technological competition in the future – Werner Kübler sees this as the challenge that keeps the yacht engine market from becoming boring. “Building top-of-the-range marine engines is and moreover remains an absolute highlight for everyone at MAN Engines. Each yacht is something special”, he adds. Reiner Rößner has a similar view: “The yacht engine sector swings between the poles of high-tech and lifestyle. This makes it simultaneously demanding and emotional. It’s very easy to fall in love with this business.”

Text   Susanne Theisen
Photos   The Italian Sea Group / AB Yachts

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