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‘Rubicon’ Takes Action

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Irrevocably commit to a course of action! ‘Rubicon’

There are many STEYR-Motors Australia stories that commence with a boat show encounter, stories where subsequent to an initial enquiry, an interesting project is revealed. Product supply becomes engineering and technical support, and soon a valuable long-term relationship evolves.

One such story embraces a ‘cool’ long term ambition committed to, by a gentleman called Malcom Warnock. A story which includes the meticulous build and fit-out of a 50ft yacht – and ultimately an equally ambitious and very ‘cool’ cruising plan!

Starting with a Graham Radford design in 2010, the bones of the aluminium hull were laid out. Although essentially a self-build and fit-out, Malcom commissioned the services of a specialist aluminium welder fully experienced in the complexities of the ‘double-curvature’ process and the weld techniques this requires. The result is a stunningly ‘fair’ hull profile, needing very little fairing-in detail finishing.

The STEYR-Motors Australia engagement began with supply of a STEYR MO94 4-cylinder engine, rated at 86hp (63kw) @ 3,300 rpm, fitted with a STEYR IFG integrated flywheel generator. Custom engineering included a forward power take-off with provision for a belt driven hydraulic pump, serving power for both the bow thruster and anchor winch. The ZF 25A gearbox turns a custom made shaft and an ‘Autoprop’ folding propeller.

Over the years – while Malcom was still running a business in parallel with the build and fit-out – much of the engine and ancillary components were also supplied by the STEYR-Motors/McIntyre Equipment team. This ranged from fuel system, cooling and exhaust components and installation parts – to the electrical system components for the IFG to serve the vessel electrical system. Major items such as the bow thruster were also supplied.

Malcom’s appropriately named ‘Rubicon’ – which essentially means ‘irrevocably committing to a course of action’ – was launched late June 2022 at Yaringa Boat Harbour, Western Port Bay VIC.

With the mast installation and rigging to be carried out at Martha Cove, In Port Philip Bay, the maiden voyage was taken under power only. Being not quite finished – and yet to be prepared for the extensive cruising envisaged, the trip did however, provide valuable indicators for both performance and economy. After an initial gentle load cycle, a brief moment at full power revealed close to 9 knots, pulling slightly more than the recommended 3,300 full load rpm. A perfect indicator that with the slight increase in displacement that will inevitable result from completion and being fully provisioned for cruising, the correct full load rpm range will likely be achieved allowing minimal engine stress. This presents all the characteristics of a comfortable, quiet, ‘cruise rpm’ – and the desired endurance and economy, essential during periods of battery charging or light winds.

Plans for ‘Rubicon’ include an extensive shakedown cruise in Tasmanian waters – while the ‘grand ambition’ is to then cruise north, right up to the cool latitudes of the Pacific Ocean, and ultimately take in the Alaskan cruising waters. Cruising ambitions just don’t get ‘cooler’ than that!

Check out the maiden voyage on YouTube: