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Force of Nature, powered by Scania V8 engines named Lobster Boat of the Year

Australian marine industry publisher Baird Maritime has announced the Scania-powered ‘Force of Nature’ crayfish boat as its Lobster Boat of the Year 2020.

Commissioned by loyal Scania marine engine customer, Geraldton-based Dave Perham, the boat’s quality, innovation, reliability, utility, economy, sustainability and style were all key factors in securing the award.

Powered by a pair of Scania 900 hp V8 engines, ‘Force of Nature’ is returning a 20% fuel saving in operation compared with the previous (and smaller) vessel Dave operated, which was also powered by a brace of Scania engines.

The new vessel is a seven-berth, 22.4 metre Southerly Designs monohull. The hull was built by Extreme Marine, with the superstructure by Dongara Marine in Port Denison. The new vessel is longer than the 17.1 m Conquest 55 ‘Natural Selection’, which Dave has owned and operated since 1994. This vessel was originally powered by Scania and underwent two repowers with Scania engines over its 26-year working life. Natural Selection had a capacity for 64 cray fish baskets, whereas the new vessel takes 84, reflecting the growth in size of cray fishing boats in WA over the period.

Force of Nature’s twin Scania DI16 076M engines are rated for 662 kW (900 hp) at 2300 rpm and each drives a fixed pitch propeller via a ZF gearbox. The engines were bought through Scania Power Solutions’ Jeremy Tennant and the wiring and dry start and commissioning was undertaken by Rob Taylor of Taylor Mechanical and Marine, Scania’s agent in Geraldton.

During sea trials with full 7500-litre fuel tanks, a maximum speed of 24.5 knots and 18.5 knots cruise speed were achieved, both about 1.5 knots above expectations.

Dave Perham has worked the Western Cray fishery for more than 40 seasons, and says reliability and economy are more important than speed.

“I’m not the kind of skipper that runs at wide open throttle,” he said. “What’s important to me is knowing I can rely on the boat, and the engines, to be ready to fish whenever the market conditions are right.”

The choice of engine rating reflects this operational profile, configured to allow unlimited operating hours each year.

“Scania engines have given me excellent reliability over the years, Southerly Designs boats also have proven longevity, and the quality of the workmanship throughout the boat’s structure and systems gives me absolute confidence that I can depend on Force of Nature to deliver the outstanding performance it produced on trials for many, many years to come,” Dave said.


“Scania engines have given me excellent reliability over the years"

Careful planning means the cruise speed is achieved when the engines are at their most efficient, which Dongara Marine Managing Director Rohan Warr says is a factor in making the latest crayboat highly economical to operate.

“With Force of Nature we are seeing fuel consumption that is about 20% less than other recent vessels with the same hullform.

“That benefit is not just from the engines; we’ve put in place a range of other tweaks that improve the owner’s bottom line as well.”

Force of Nature is the twelfth new Southerly Designs vessel that Dongara Marine has been involved in constructing in the past five years, and another is close to completion.

“Aside from the big export shipyards, there can’t be many, if any, other Australian boatbuilders who have produced similar sized boats in such quantities, and with such consistency, in recent years,” Rohan said.

“We are pleased that Dave Perham has once again come to Scania to provide the power, economy and reliability for his new boat, which is significantly larger than the one he replaces,” says André Arm, National Manager for Scania Power Solutions.

“Dave’s experience with Natural Selection, and the total operating economy he achieved has obviously contributed to his loyalty to Scania, as well as sustaining his business profitability.

“We wish him well with his new boat and look forward to providing him with more excellent service over the next 26 years.”

Baird Maritime, launched in 1978, is one of the world's premier maritime publishing houses. The company produces the leading maritime news portal, home of the world-famous Work Boat World, Fishing Boat World, Ship World, Ausmarine, and Commercial Mariner sub-sites, and the industry-leading ship brokerage platforms and