Tough task for engines in Volvo Ocean RaceTitle

Contrary to what one might think, Volvo Penta’s engines really had to work hard during the recently completed Volvo Ocean Race sailing competition. For example, the winning boat, illbruck, used its auxiliary engine for more than 380 hours during the race.

This is not as strange as it may sound. There are actually two engines on board – a propulsion engine, which can only be used in emergency situations during the race, and an auxiliary engine that is used to produce electricity and fresh water onboard and to drive the ballast water pumps.

Engine league
The auxiliary engines – designated MD2030, are a type of diesel engine normally used for propulsion in regular leisure sailing craft. However, during the Volvo Ocean Race, the auxiliary engine fulfilled an entirely different function. The MD2030 was operated for many hours under extremely difficult conditions, including up to 70-degree heeling, to produce electricity and fresh water for the boats. The table below shows how many hours each boat used its auxiliary engines in total during all of the stages of the Volvo Ocean Race.

1. Assa Abloy approx. 480 hours
2. Amer Sports Too 400 hours
3. Illbruck 380 hours
4. News Corp 360 hours
5. Amer Sports One 270 hours
6. Tyco 220 hours
7. Djuice 240 hours
8. SEB 190 hours

The differences between the boats are largely attributable to three factors. SEB, which dropped out of two stages, used its propulsion engines and thus had less need for the auxiliary engine for charging. The generator capacity and size of the battery banks also varied between the boats, meaning that some of them needed to use their engines more than others to produce a sufficient amount of electricity. In addition, some boats used the engine as a source of heating, while others had a separate, diesel-driven heater.
“The MD2030 is a very reliable engine, and using the engine as a source of heat during the race worked very well and was also a quite fuel efficient alternative,” says Jan Dahlsten of Volvo Penta. “In these instances, a heat exchanger with a fan device was attached to the engine, providing ample heat even when the engine was only being run on low revolutions and without any load.”

Propulsion for emergencies
The propulsion engine, designated MD22P, is not used as much for obvious reasons. Prior to each start, the engine was sealed and could then not be used for propulsion until the boats had crossed the finishing line, except in emergency situations. It is also entirely normal that SEB, Tyco and Amer Sports Too, all of which have dropped out on stages, used their propulsion engines most.

Since the VO60 boats were built, the MD22P engine has been replaced by the D2-55 within Volvo Penta’s current product range. Since its launch in 2001, the D2-55 has been an enormous sales success for Volvo Penta.

Global service
During the entire race, the syndicate has had access to service from some of Volvo Penta’s more than 5,000 dealers throughout the world. Anders Karlsson monitored Volvo Penta’s service activities. He was also present at all ports to provide service and support for the syndicate.

“Everything has gone very well and there have really only been minor faults to correct. The engines are ordinary standard machines that come straight from production without any special treatment and they received only regular servicing by local distributors in each port. The teams are also very satisfied and have developed full confidence in our products,” says Anders Karlsson.

Engines on board
All of the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race had the same kinds of engines on board.

Auxiliary engine:
Designation: Volvo Penta MD2030
Configuration: In-line, 3-cylinder marine diesel
Cyl. Volume: 0.95 l
Output: 29 hp (21 kW)
Weight: 133 kg (excl. gear box)

Propulsion engine:
Designation: Volvo Penta MD22P/120S
Configuration: In-line, 4-cylinder marine diesel
Drive: 120S, sail drive with Volvo Penta 2-blade folding propeller
Cyl. Volume: 2.0 l
Output: 59 hp (43.6 kW)
Weight, including drive: 251 kg
(The MD22 has been replaced in Volvo Penta’s product range by the new D2-55)

For further information, please contact:

Ann-Charlotte Emegård,
AB Volvo Penta,
Tel +46 31 668418