Westward gets a new engine!

A New Dawn for Westward!                 Photo: Barry Champion

When motoring at sea the last thing you want to hear is the silence of an engine that's stopped working suddenly! While the museum's iconic Sydney - Hobart yacht race winning vessel Westward is, of course, intended to be sailed, a motor is helpful to manouvre safely in and out of Constitution Dock, and as propulsion when at sea without favourable winds.

So, when the motor started coughing throatily while the exhaust threw out clouds of dirty black smoke and the engine would turn itself off everytime forward or reverse gear was engaged or disengaged it was decided to investigate some options. 

The engine itself was found to be in not bad a condition given it's age - first installed 1959 - but the gearbox had, in the technical engineering term, had it. Adapting a new gearbox for the old engine, while not impossible, would be expensive and, given the age of the engine, might turn out to be an expensive and short lived solution. So after a fair bit of chin scratching and teeth sucking it was decided to bite the bullet and look at alternative options, which, when it came to it, pretty much amounted to getting a new powerpack.

But where to find the money?

Westward already had a relationship with the Australian National Maritime Museum's (ANMM) Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) as the vessel’s management plan was developed with funding from the program, so an application to the next grant round seemed a sensible way forward. But, even if the project received the highest grant available, then there would still be a significant shortfall that the museum would need to fund.

Enter Peter Collins at Nanni Diesels Australia in Sydney, thanks to an introduction by Steve Hall of Tas Diesel and Marine in Prince of Wales Bay. Peter called the museum one Friday afternoon after hearing of the situation, expressing his desire, as a yachtie with Sydney – Hobart experience and a passion for both sailing history and wooden boats, to help find a sustainable solution that would ensure Westward continues sailing well into the future.

So with ducks lining up, an application to MMAPSS was submitted and accepted and a new powerpack was soon winging its way south from Sydney.

As with all such projects, other problems become apparent once the work started and, on removal of the old engine, it was found that the fuel tanks were heavily corroded and required replacement.  But work progressed well and a re-powered Westward was back in Constitution Dock in plenty of tim to participate fully in the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival.


Old Engine                                                  Photo: John Wedd


Preparing the space for the new engine     Photo: John Wedd                                     Carefully removing one of the old fuel tanks Photo: John Wedd



A shiny new NANNI engine ready to go!     Photo: John Wedd                                      New engine in situ                                     Photo: John Wedd       



Doesn't it look neat?                                  Photo: John Wedd                                       Tidying up the Dog House                         Photo: John Wedd


                                                                     Safely arriving back in Constitution Dock    Photo: John Wedd
                                                                     under power


The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.