Brian of Fairbanks, AK, asks:

I was wondering about additional uses for the wing engine. Do you see situations where it would be used for additional power such as running against a strong head wind or towing another boat? Would it be preferable to run the wing engine when trolling at very slow speeds? Can the wing engine be used with the main engine to control the boat like you would with a standard two-engine boat?

Jim Leishman responds:

On the larger NORDHAVNs the wing engine is used to power up the hydraulic bow and stern thrusters in addition to providing auxiliary power.

On the 40 its sole job in life is to be there in the event of a power failure and to provide propulsion during routine maintenance checks of the main engine while underway.

I have fiddled with the wing engine to see if it could provide any added control during maneuvering and the one condition it could be used is during extended backing down at low speed. The left handed propeller on the 40 and 46 tend to pull to starboard and low speed will slowly pull the boat to starboard thus overpowering the rudder. I have found that while backing slowly, the wing engine can be run in forward - offsetting the effect of the starboard pull of the main.Normally if you have to back out of a slip channel, the rudder can be centered and short blasts of the bow thruster are used to effectively steer the boat in reverse. So this use of the wing engine is less effective and redundant.

I have repeatedly used the wing engine in Alaska while trolling for salmon. The main engine - while at idle will push the boat at almost 4 knots which is about 2 knots too fast for Salmon trolling. The wing can be used at about 1,000 rpm to give just the right speed. The only problem is that if there is wind blowing, you can't maintain direction control with the wing at that low speed - the bow will blow off. At higher rpm on the wing, it's no problem as the rudder has enough water flowing over it to steer the boat.

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