Better Boat: Equipment That Works
Over the past nine years, Tony Fleming has upgraded most of the major systems on Venture, including the engines, the genset, the propshaft, and the steering. The original engines, for example, were 640-horsepower Cummins diesels, but he thought the boat was underpowered. In 2007, he went to the MAN factory in Nuremberg, Germany, and installed 800-horsepower MANs upon his return. The MANs on Venture now have 3,163 hours, and they are standard on the 65 line.
Fleming put a 21-kW Onan genset on Venture a few years ago. “We started out with another brand,” he says, “but it was problematic. I’m very happy with the Onan.” Venture also has four inverters.
For the driveshaft, Fleming had been using the Aquadrive system, which employs soft engine mounts to reduce drive and vibration, until he tried another system when he built Venture. Then, while cruising in Florida, he stopped by the Seatorque factory in Stuart. Seatorque is a fully enclosed drive system where the prop shaft turns inside an oil-filled stainless steel tube; it’s all one soft-mounted unit from the transmission to the prop, directing thrust to the boat’s structure while reducing vibration, noise, and drag. He retrofitted it on Venture and it’s now standard on all Fleming 55s, 58s, and 65s.
The original steering on Venture was hydraulic, but Fleming replaced that with fly-by-wire Hypro Electronic Command Steering, with an electronic unit at the helm connected to an electronic power unit near the rudders via a single wiring harness. The new system made steering easier, while eliminating the chance of hydraulic leaks. It was retrofited on Venture and is now standard on all Fleming 65s.
Not all upgrades are high-tech. Indeed, Fleming created a jump seat for the pilothouse of Venture ll that folds away flush against the starboard bulkhead when not in use. This means five people can sit comfortably in the pilothouse facing forward underway; one in the custom helm chair, two on the L-shaped settee, one on the steps leading to the bridge, and one in the jump seat.
Other upgrades include an Ultrasonic antifouling system, with three internally-mounted transducers sending pulses through the hull “to keep creatures and slime away,” Fleming says, plus PropSpeed on the propellers, which has kept them clean for a few years.
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This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.