A Drop-In Diesel Replacement from VW

Revive that sailing machine with a new diesel from the Bug maker, a battery-charged dinghy inflator, or environmentally-friendly bottom paint, and more new products from our April 2007 issue

May 12, 2008

VW diesel368

The Volkswagen SDI 40-4 provides a repowering option with out a few of the usual hassles.

Is your boat’s old ticker starting to get a little run down? Are leaks sprouting and bad smells emanating from the engine room? Are repair bills mounting? Perhaps you’re just thinking of replacing an old gas engine with a diesel. A new option to repower your sailboat is Volkswagen’s SDI 40-4 ($12,300, including a saildrive). It’s a 40-horsepower diesel engine paired with its own saildrive unit, also made by Volkswagen. It comes complete with instruments and even an electric oil-change pump. The engine measures 36 inches high, including its mounting box; 40 inches long; and 27 inches wide; it weighs in at 609 pounds, complete with saildrive (but not including a propeller). The unit is sold with a fiberglass mounting box designed to be glassed into the hull, making it unnecessary to go through the hassle and expense of building all new engine mounts, as so often happens when you repower. Some re-engineering may be required, however, to ensure that the engine and saildrive are correctly positioned. The SDI 40-4 consumes fuel at the rate of about a quarter of a gallon per hour at 1,000 rpm and 1.1 gallons per hour at 2,000 rpm. Volkswagen also sells the same engine as a 50- or 60-horsepower unit-all that’s required is a fairly inexpensive software upgrade.

****| |Ryobi Dual-Function Inflator| Want to get rid of your old foot pump and inflate the dinghy quickly with the flick of a switch? Ryobi is expanding its 18-volt One+ product line with the addition of a Dual-Function Inflator ($140, including two batteries and a charger). The portable inflator offers high pressure, to blow up dinghies and bike tires, and low pressure, to inflate air mattresses and fenders. Featuring a lock-on switch, the unit allows automatic inflation up to 40 psi and manual inflation to 115 psi. The Ryobi One+ System allows users to insert the same 18-volt battery into more than 25 different tools that can be purchased without batteries and chargers, keeping the price of individual components down.

****| |Helly Hansen Shorehike 2| Even cruisers like to be stylish if they can be comfortable at the same time. And the Shorehike 2 ($150) from Helly Hansen is both. These shoes have good arch and ankle support and feature hook-and-loop closures and a neoprene sock for comfort. Limber holes in the sides and the sole allow any water that enters the shoe to drain right back out again. The Shorehike 2 is made for such warm weather activities as sailing in the Virgins Islands and wading on coral beaches.


****| |Reed’s Nautical Almanac| The 2007 edition of Reed’s Nautical Almanac ($30) is awaiting mariners at bookstores and chandleries. It’s not just a set of tide and current tables; it’s also an indispensable tool for cruisers. There are three versions covering the west coast of North America, from the Bering Strait to Manzanillo, Mexico, and including the Hawaiian Islands; the Caribbean, including the islands, Colombia, Venezuela, Central America, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Bahamas; and the Eastern Seaboard, from Nova Scotia to the Mexican border and including the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. Each volume has more than 1,000 easy-to-navigate pages packed with light lists, charts, and port information, including marinas and such local facilities as boatyards and sailmakers.

In the mail, I just got a Zelco Peanut Light ($22 for three), and I immediately started coming up with uses for it. You could mount one in the toolbox so you can find a wrench in the dark. Or you could keep one in the companionway so you don’t have to fumble for the battery switch, breakers, and light switch on those nights when you show up at the boat in the dark. This little LED is bound to come in handy all over the boat. And at only 2 inches by 1 inch, it’s small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket.

Andrew Burton is a Cruising World associate editor.


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