With a brand-new John Deere engine onboard, charter vessel Sydneysider is celebrating 50 years on Sydney Harbour.

This much-loved motor-sailor will quite possibly continue her journey for another fifty years with the care that owner Jenny Nugent continues to give her and the John Deere strength down below.

When Peter Jauncey built the steel-hulled Sydneysider back in 1971 as a charter vessel, he could probably never have imagined the transformations that would occur on Sydney Harbour where she was built, nor the icon his vessel would become.

Jump forward a full half century and no doubt the late Mr Jauncey is smiling down on daughter Jenny Nugent who is stewarding the 15.8metre, 53-tonne party boat’s continued success with a well-matched re-powering in the form of a John Deere 6068TFM50 diesel engine. But more about that later.

Originally a Lloyds registered vessel, Sydneysider, (whose name is an ode to a line from a Banjo Paterson poem), was the first registered charter vessel on Sydney Harbour according to Jenny.

Jenny’s family have plenty of maritime experience around Sydney and Australian waterways and her enthusiasm for Sydneysider and its related heritage is infectious.

“Sydneysider in fact also held the first 24 hour liquor license to exist anywhere in Sydney and she entertained everyone from tourists and party groups from the hotels through to a host of television personalities over the years,” Jenny says with pride.

“The Rolling Stones have even been on board. She has always been chartered with provision of great food, drinks and company – she is the ‘party for any reason’ vessel and we continue to provide an upmarket experience.”

Jenny had a clear idea of the characteristics of engine replacement she needed for Sydneysider, (medium-revving horsepower), but struggled for some time to match the right engine to the boat.

“We had run a GM since built and while we loved that old engine, it had reached the end of its life and it was having problems. About 3 to 4 knots was all we could get out of it.” Jenny said.

After the old engine was removed an interim fitting of a European-branded engine, (replaced twice), only proved problematic according to Jenny, and so the question of what engine would do the job properly remained.

“We couldn’t have high revs, we had limited engine room space and I wanted something to last forever,” Jenny explained.

“And I have to say, I’m thrilled to have been able to purchase the John Deere for Sydneysider!”

The John Deere 6068TFM50 (M1-rating) put into Sydneysider is a 115kW (154bhp) @ 2,300rpm, six- in-line, heat exchanger cooled, turbocharged marine diesel engine that delivers the kind of torque

that allows a 3.12:1 gearbox coupled with a 30” (diameter) X 24.5” (pitch) propeller to work like a charm on this single-screw vessel.

A true commercial engine with unrestricted annual hour usage at the M1 rating and no limit on full- power operation hours, the 6068TFM50 is filling a horsepower gap for operators like Jenny Nugent that is difficult to rival.

An experienced skipper herself, Jenny has been grateful for the kind of torque that comes from the medium-revving John Deere.

“Especially on a busy waterway like the Harbour,” explained Jenny, “with the John Deere setup our stopping distance has halved and I’ve just got so much better control over the boat now.”

Sydneysider now pushes out in excess of 9 knots at WOT and is doing 5.5 to 6 knots at easy running rpm.