From Classic to Cutting-Edge

Who says fishing can't be luxurious? With Rybovich custom sportfishing yachts, grandeur converges with innovative design to craft high-performance, smooth-riding fishing vessels.

It was a 54-foot Rybovich sportfishing yacht that stole the heart of competitive sport fisherman BJ Creadon after a two-year-long search for his next vessel. The cold-molded boat provides the perfect combination of speed and comfort for a sportfish application. With high hopes for the Rybovich, Creadon and marine surveyor Dave Hinkel took the vessel out for a sea trial before purchasing. However, while on the sea trial, one of the boat's original 30-year-old engines failed. The original engine package included two non-John Deere marine engines.

"He was going to walk away from the boat, but it's such a good vessel that I explained to him that if he was to buy it at a discounted price, we had some options," said Hinkel. "It was either repair his old engines and rebuild or make the investment in a marine repower to get better performance, better fuel consumption, and improved reliability. It's the type of boat that's worth spending the money on so it was a pretty easy decision to make."

Hinkel knew just the solution to replace the yacht's original engine package: twin John Deere 6135SFM85 marine propulsion engines rated at 750 hp (559 kW) at 2200 rpm. Compared to the original engine package, the twin John Deere 13.5L marine engines offer improved fuel efficiency, impressive power, and lighter weight, and unlock technical and operational benefits for the sportfishing yacht.

Ready for a Marine Repower

With an engine down and the purchase officially made, the classic Rybovich yacht was ready to be repowered.

In addition to his job as a marine surveyor, Hinkel is also the president and owner of Marine Diesel One, a dealer for Flint Power Systems (the John Deere engine distributor for the Southeast United States and the Caribbean). Marine Diesel One has been a dealer for Flint Power Systems since 2018. Having extensive experience with John Deere engines, Hinkel knew they would be the perfect replacement for the original engines.

After consulting with the engineering experts at Flint Power Systems, Hinkel landed on the twin John Deere 13.5L marine engines because they offered a size and horsepower range similar to the original engine package. The John Deere engines offered lower rpms than the original engine package, which included twin in-line two-cycle engines rated at 760 hp (559 kw) at 2300 rpm. Lower rpm reduces vibration and noise for improved crew comfort.

"It's a perfect package to replace the original engines. As far as reliability goes, I'm a big fan of John Deere." Hinkel laughed before adding: "I told him that if he wanted to use another engine he would have to find somebody else to put them in."

Bringing fuel efficiency to the application while still meeting power needs, the John Deere marine engines offered a simplified engine package for easy installation and a significant weight reduction. Hinkel estimated that the new engine package was 2,800 to 3,000 pounds (1,270 to 1,360 kilograms) lighter than the original engine package.

"The weight change significantly impacts how the boat sits in the water. With this particular model, having a lighter engine package translates into smoother operation and faster planning," said Hinkel. "We were also able to replace the electronic control system with new technology."

After a successful sea trial, the Rybovich sportfish yacht and its new John Deere engine package was ready to hit the water.

Cruising the Caribbean

Creadon, the buyer, was extremely impressed with the performance of the new John Deere engine package and the efficiency it brought to the vessel. He also expressed confidence he had in the John Deere name.

"The reliability of John Deere marine engines stands out, and the service network is second to none," said Josh Learn, Flint Power Systems territory sales manager for northern Florida. "It doesn't matter where you are in the world. You can find a John Deere dealer to help you out with whatever is needed: from maintenance and warranty needs to service work and sourcing parts."

The repowered yacht was formerly known as Sidewinder, but Creadon and his wife renamed the vessel Menace. Creadon has plans to cruise to the Bahamas and live on the passenger vessel (which can sleep eight to 10 people) while he competes in several sportfish tournaments in the upcoming season.

"I'm very happy with the results. I can't wait to get this jewel over to the Bahamas and get it fishing again," said Creadon. "I'll feel better fishing the Caribbean knowing that I've got new powerplants under me and that everything is up to speed. I think we'll have a great season."

Find Related Stories and News: