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Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:33pm

Post Subject: Engine size

I am buying a new 57ft narrowboat and have 3 companies shortlisted. 2 are offering 45hp engines, the 3rd (reputable and preferred option)company is offering 33hp as standard. Is this big enough, considering some river work and required braking effect?


Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:20pm

Post Subject: Engine size

Well, I have managed the Thames in flood (up stream), the Tideway to Limehouse, and the Avon between actual floods with an engine of a similar (33hp) size on a 54 ft boat and do not find stopping a problem. Only this summer My bow as through a bridge hole when another boat came the other way. I had stopped and reversed out of the hole before he had even stopped. Much of this is because my propeller is well matched to my engine power and gearbox reduction AND I had many years learning to read the river and act accordingly. Those HPs are very misleading because they take into account engine speed and torque where as the prop is only interested in torque. I doubt the usable power you will get is any more than half the power you quote but it could well be less with a badly matched prop. My engine has an almost identical power to a BMC 1.5 but a higher Torque at speeds where it matters so I tend to get a little better performance. Remember that by and large diesels like to work hard so a large engine for mainly canal work may prove expensive in the long run. I can not really answer your question unless I could see how you handle your boat in times of high current flow. Tony Brooks

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