When Captain John and Chandra Gavin decided to build Game Changer, a custom 45-foot, down-east-style Hustler fishing boat in 2014, they chose a Volvo Penta D11 625-horsepower marine commercial engine to provide its power. They needed strength to move Game Changer and ease of control. The boat is well-equipped with a lot of gear on board, making it a heavy boat, which is used mainly for commercial lobster fishing and tourist excursions.
The Gavins, who have more than 25 years in the commercial fishing business, are based in Ballantyne’s Cove, Nova Scotia. For their work, it was important to have a strong enough marine engine to provide speed to get them to the commercial lobster fishing grounds quickly. They need reliability, a key requirement for providing enjoyable tourist excursions aboard the Game Changer, including sunset tours and giant bluefin tuna catch-and-release trips.
“We chose Volvo Penta because we needed an engine with the utmost reliability and power. We knew people who had no issues with their Volvo Penta engines,” says Chandra Gavin. “Speed was a big factor as well, since we need a large engine to move Game Changer.”
Dana Dorey, a technical sales representative with Wajax in Nova Scotia, has been in the boat and marine diesel engine industry for nearly 20 years. He worked closely with the Gavins to select the D11 for Game Changer. “This is a high-quality engine that is compact, powerful, and fuel efficient, with low fuel consumption,” says Dorey. “It has a lot of low-end torque, and a very responsive throttle at a low RPM.” The D11 engine has been a great fit for the boat, since it provides rapid acceleration, and the ability to maintain a high cruising speed, irrespective of load or sea state.
The boat runs from May to the end of October, including 30-40 tuna fishing trips per year. In the water for the past five years with 4,000 hours on the engine, they haven’t had any need for repairs beyond routine maintenance. Volvo Penta has several authorized dealers in Nova Scotia ready to provide parts for the boat, and timely, scheduled maintenance hasn’t been an issue.
“I speak with the Gavins over the phone often, and visit them at least once per year,” says Dorey. “Passenger assurance is of the highest concern since they run a charter business, in addition to their commercial lobster fishing. I think the Volvo Penta engine gives them confidence in the boat. It also gives them the peace of mind to book passenger trips a few years in advance, without worry.”
“We’re enjoying the power this engine provides. Getting to the fishing grounds quickly, particularly during tuna season is essential, and we are usually leading the pack,” says Gavin. “We are also very pleased with the fuel economy.” The D11 625-horsepower diesel engine is six-cylinders, 2400 RPM, and meets EPA Tier 3 emissions requirements. While Gavin didn’t have specific numbers regarding their annual fuel savings, she said that compared to other boats in the area, their fuel bills are lower.
According to Dorey, Volvo Penta has a nice share of the market in Nova Scotia. The marine diesel engine products are growing in popularity, as the need for reliable marine commercial engines is always present.