Power & Motoryacht

Turbo Man

Turbocharged engines punch far above their weight, developing substantially more horsepower than naturally aspirated engines of similar displacement. They do this by pumping combustion air into the cylinders rather than relying on the engine to draw it in. This forces more oxygen into each cylinder charge, which supports more fuel burn, and more fuel burn produces more power from the same cylinders. Consequently, a smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient turbo engine can replace a larger, heavier, natural motor with the same horsepower rating. Such weight savings can mean higher speed and/or less fuel consumption and, thanks to the physically smaller powerplant, more room for working in the engine compartment.

So, what’s the downside? Old-timers claim the higher power output of the turbo robs an engine’s lifespan versus a same-displacement natural—maybe it does, but few yacht owners put enough hours on their engines to find out for sure. Certainly, it’s a consideration for commercial fishermen and round-the-world voyagers, many of whom prefer chunky, slow-turning, naturally aspirated engines. But for the majority of skippers, the biggest turbo-related negative is that the darn thing is simply another component to break down, and it needs a little

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