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Machinery and Hydraulics

Machinery and Hydraulics

Machinery and hydraulics is about how you move, control and steer the boat. Of course this includes the engine which generally moves you backwards and forwards but there are also several other bits of equipment to help you with that. Bow and stern thrusters for sideways movement at the front and back of the boat help the boat turn quickly or move in a sideways direction. The rudder is what steers the boat through the water.

When underway – and also when laying at anchor in a bouncy sea – hydraulic stablisation helps to STOP you moving. At least, it stops you moving in the wrong direction. The design of a trawler means it does have a tendency to roll from side to side in the waves – and when waves come from in front or behind, it also pitches.

And what do you do when the engine breaks down and stops running? With a single engine boat, you need an alternative power source which can provide propulsion to get you back to the nearest port. There are several different options for this and each one has its pros and cons. We have tried to put together the combination of machinery which works best for us.

As our main systems are hydraulic, we have also taken the hydraulic route for other equipment on-board. This includes the anchor winch and crane for the dinghy. All this equipment can also work on straightforward electrical power. However, hydraulic power is more reliable and powerful, with no risk of batteries running flat. Hydraulic systems use pressurised fluid – hydraulic oil – the drive motors instead of electricity. As a result, there is a network of hydraulic hoses throughout the boat and a 30 litre fluid reservoir at the heart of the system.