The Back Cove Downeast 37:
The Single Diesel Engine Driveline
The Back Cove range of down east style cruising boats, in a range from 30 to 41 feet, has been built around a single diesel engine driveline and for boaters accustomed to twin engine drivelines, the choice of a single may require some explanation.
Back Cove designs are vee-hulls with a pocket recess on centerline. The purpose of the pocket is to reduce draft and to move the propeller thrust closer to the axis of the hull where it is most efficient. Back Cove designs get on plane in the 12-14 knot range and have cruise speeds from 20-25 knots depending on engine selection. Most will achieve 29 knots at wide open throttle with the largest available motor. These performance figures are similar to twin diesel engine boats of comparable size.
So just what are the advantages of a single engine?
- A single diesel engine costs less to maintain than do two smaller engines. Impellers, zincs and oil changes all cost less.
- One shaft, one shaft seal, one propeller to maintain in lieu of two. In the event of a grounding, incident damage is far less expensive.
- Winter layup costs are reduced.
- A single engine fits lower in the hull between the center stringers making the design more stable.
- Access to all sides of the engine is dramatically improved because of the engine location on centerline. Twin engine boats typically have a small space between the two motors and space outboard of each is very hard to access.
- Single diesel engine boats are significantly less costly to operate than are twin gas engine designs and, they maintain their value far better due to expected long engine life.
“So, I get the upside, but what about the maneuverability of the Back Cove designs?” The answer to this one is simple. Back Coves all are equipped, as standard, with bow thrusters. Back Cove also offers an optional stern thruster and with those two accessories these boats are more maneuverable than a twin engine design.
“OK, so there is one more question and that is about reliability and dependability of a single engine.”
Today’s common rail diesels are extremely dependable. Most now offer a get home feature where if there are any issues such as an overheat, oil pressure or fuel supply problem, they will self-protect by dropping down to a minimum RPM allowing the vessel to return to the nearest port.
Virtually every fishing vessel that works in offshore waters has just one engine for all of the same reasons mentioned above. Their world requires them to make daily checks of their systems and to maintain their engines at a very high level, all of which a consumer should do to protect their investments. These engines are costly and preventive maintenance is critical. Daily fluid, belt and fuel quality checks are important and scheduled maintenance, equally so. A well maintained diesel only requires clean fuel to run so fuel is the key to dependability. These statements hold true for both single and twin engine applications.
This common sense approach to boat design and ownership is the basis on which the Back Cove range was created. The newBack Cove Downeast 37 is another great example of how boaters can get out on the water for a lower cost and with increased confidence in the driveline of their boat.
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