by Mike Rose
Emirates Team New Zealand chase boat fleet lined up to have their Yamaha outboards serviced by Hugh Stewart. Louis Vuitton Cup 2013. San Francisco.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s fleet of Yamaha-powered support vessels has been given a thorough going over as the team prepares to race for the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cups.
While ETNZ’s impressive AC72 Aotearoa was undergoing final modifications, prior to competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup finals, Yamaha Motor NZ Ltd’s vastly experienced technical manager, Hugh Stewart, was ensuring the team’s Yamaha outboards were ready for the business end of the regatta.
'To power their various support, chase and tug boats, Emirates Team New Zealand has 18 Yamaha outboards, ranging from grunty little FT60s right up to powerful 350hp V8s,' says Stewart. 'As you would expect from such a meticulous organisation, they also run a rigorous inspection and maintenance regime, ensuring that all of their outboards are always ready to perform at their absolute best.
'As we have already seen in this regatta, there is absolutely no margin for error. For example, ETNZ’s main chase boat, powered by four Yamaha F300B V6 four stroke engines, carries the team’s paramedic and dive crews and they must be able to keep up with the super-fast Aotearoa, regardless of how fast it is going or what the sea conditions are like.'
Stewart says, as he expected, the hard-working outboards required little maintenance.
'Although all of ETNZ’s outboards are exactly the same as those we sell through our dealer network in New Zealand, these outboards work far harder and do far more hours than those on recreational boats.
'Yet, even though some of these outboards have already done over 1200 hours, often at 5000-5500rpm or more, all they required was just a good check up. I replaced the filters and changed the oil and that was pretty much it,' he says.