pod drives

First Photos of New Island Pilot IP535

First Photos of New Island Pilot IP535

New Island Pilot IP535 Close-Up Bow Shot

New Island Pilot IP535 Close-Up Bow Shot

You saw it here first, folks.  The first photos of Island Pilot’s new IP535.  It’s a monster!  And definitely an Island Pilot “fast trawler.”  Island Pilot’s Reuben Trane confirms the boat will be on display at next week’s Miami Boat Show, so if you want to see one of the truly unique new boats out there, stop by the Sealine Marina (ticket required this year to get onto the docks, don’t forget).  The IP535 features the brand new Volvo IPS II 900 propulsion system and it should top out at more than 30 knots and cruise comfortably in the mid-20s.

The New Island Pilot IP535 Wide-Angle Bow Shot

The New Island Pilot IP535 Wide-Angle Bow Shot

That first photo above is the close-up of the starboard bow, while tied alongside.  This second photo is a wider angle view from the same perspective.  You can see the Island Pilot 435 tied up just outboard of the new IP535.

Stern Shot of the New Island Pilot IP535 with Island Pilot 435 to Left

Stern Shot of the New Island Pilot IP535 with Island Pilot 435 to Left

This last photo is the truly telling perspective.  Check out the size difference between the Island Pilot 435 on the left and the new IP535 on the right.  It’s bloody huge!!  A couple of quick observations:

  • The large aft cockpit now features a built-in table and seating.
  • There are steps to and from the swim platform both to starboard and port.
  • To starboard there is a large door/hatch to the lower deck; no crawling required.
  • A couple of steps up from the aft cockpit is a sort of mezzanine level with entrance to the salon and stairs real stairs athwart-ship to starboard that go up to the flybridge.
  • The flybridge is HUGE.
  • So is Reuben Trane’s lunchbox.

Any other observations??

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Powerboats

Pacific Expedition Offers Zeus Pod Drives for PE60 Catamaran

Pacific Expedition Yachts PE60 Expedition Power Catamaran

Pacific Expedition Yachts PE60 Expedition Power Catamaran

Pacific Expedition Yachts will offer Cummins Mercruiser Diesel Zeus pod drives on its PE60 Expedition Class Power Catamaran. The first hull with Zeus drives is already under construction at Pacific Expedition’s Astoria, Oregon shipyard, with delivery expected later this year.

Here’s how Pacific Expedition describes the decision to offer the Zeus drives:

The PE60, equipped with twin Zeus 3000 series pods coupled to QSC8.3-liter 600-hp engines, uses the intuitive joystick for docking and other slow-speed maneuvers, fundamentally changing the ability to control the large power catamaran with safety and confidence in the most challenging conditions. From offshore running to slow speed docking in crowded marinas, the Zeus system provides tremendous confidence and control to the owners of these large luxury yachts. It all but eliminates the fear and potential for damage that often accompanies operating a yacht with conventional inboard engines in tight quarters. The system also offers unmatched speed and economy in a vessel of its size.

CMD is “very happy to have partnered with a leading innovator in the emerging expedition power catamaran market,” said Richard Newman, CMD’s director of sales. “The Zeus system is a great match for the PE60. We believe this combination will be a game-changer in this category.”

“We are excited to work with Cummins MerCruiser Diesel in offering this kind of revolutionary technology to our clients on what we feel is one of the most exciting boating platforms to come along in some time,” said Patrick Meyer, partner with Pacific Expedition Yachts. “At over 60 feet long and 25 feet wide, a PE60 cuts an intimidating path. However, the Zeus system from CMD offers a new level of sophistication and control to our expedition power catamarans. This results in very comfortable and safe operation of our large yachts with little stress or anxiety by the owners,” he added.

Meyer told OceanLines he believes shaft drives are still a valid option for the PE cats because of the inherent maneuverability of a twin-engine boat with such wide spacing between the engines. Although PE did not disclose the price of the Zeus option, it’s safe to assume that the Zeus drives are more expensive than a standard shaft and prop arrangement.

New Model Lineup at PE

Pacific Expedition also recently announced a re-focusing of its model lineup, with the main offerings the PE50 and PE60. When the company first started, it was offering a 45, 55 and 65. The customer feedback has been such that the most demand was for a PE50 and a PE60. A smaller “Coastal Expedition” (CE) 47 is also offered for those who don’t need the room or extreme range of the PE series.

The current PE60 was derived from the original PE55 as a result of customer interest in having more space available aft of the salon bulkhead. The PE50, however, was a fresh design that took the basic beam and layout of the PE60 and put it into a smaller form. PE said it didn’t want to stretch the original PE45, because it was designed with a beam a couple of feet narrower than the new PE50 and PE60.

You can download the specs for the PE50 here.

And you can download the specs for the PE60 here.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Engines, Industry News, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Technology

Pod Wars on Mad Mariner

Mad Mariner LogoI wrote a continuation of the engine series for Mad Mariner last week covering the ultimate in recreational marine propulsion — the steerable pod drives from Volvo Penta and Cummins MerCruiser Diesel, known as IPS and Zeus, respectively.  Take a look at the piece here and then log on to the discussion forums at Mad Mariner to talk a little more about it.  These units are the next wave and I’m pretty confident in saying that they will be at least an option, if not standard on most new boats within the next five years or so.  Volvo Penta was the first to bring these to market and they’ve got quite a headstart over CMD’s Zeus; there are reportedly more than 2,000 boats afloat already with the IPS systems installed.  There were about 25 different models on display at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and I expect more announcements from Volvo Penta at the Miami show next February.

The CMD people have scored some nice applications for their Zeus drives, too.  Have a look under the Boats, Yachts and Ships article category here for a piece I did on Grand Banks’ newly announced 41 EU Heritage model, which will feature Zeus drives and a full second stateroom made possible by the compact pod-drive installation.  In the Mad Mariner piece I describe a test drive I took on a 2008 Sea Ray 44 Sundancer equipped with Zeus.  If you’ve never actually been aboard one of these boats, the performance is truly jaw-dropping.  Not only does the boat maneuver around the docks as if its on rails, but it accelerates like a rocketship and carves turns at high speed like a Formula 1 race car.  In fact, it can turn so sharply that it will generate LARGE g-forces, large enough that you really have to warn the crew ahead of time and then hang on for dear life.  Amazing.

So, head on over to Mad Mariner and read about what your next boat might have on it — or should I say, underneath it?

Copyright ©  Tom Tripp 2007

Posted by Tom in Technology

The Second Wave Cometh – Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU

If IPS and Zeus drives on express cruisers were the first wave of this new “azimuthing drive pod” technology, then keep your head up because the second wave is arriving — in the form of Grand Banks’ 41 Heritage EU.

Why the second wave? Well, the first wave was basically a quick “bolt-on” application, with only minor modifications to hullforms and interior hull arrangements. But these demonstrations proved worthwhile even in their own right and stirred the creative thinking in naval architecture organizations throughout the industry. The new GB 41 Heritage EU takes the technology the next step. A new underwater hull design belies the iconic topside appearance of one of the best-known and loved trawler designs. And inside that hull, designers have taken best advantage of the compact installation of the Cummins Mercruiser Zeus drives to create a full second stateroom — a feature rare in trawler designs of this size.

So this new Grand Banks boat is a big deal. An even bigger deal is the likelihood that within a certain few years, nearly all new boats for sale will sport this kind of drive technology and be capable of the same things this boat is capable of.

And capable she is. Her maker says she will cruise efficiently at both 10 and 24 knots. We already know that with her Zeus drives and with precision autopilot technology, she will be as maneuverable in the water as a helicopter is in the air — but a whole lot easier to drive.

Are Zeus, and Volvo Penta’s IPS drives the wave of the future? Absolutely, unless some hidden downside reveals itself as installed numbers grow. The main concern boaters have talked about is related to groundings. The angst is typically expressed in terms of, “Gee, that’s a lot of money hanging down there waiting to get sheared off when I run aground at high speed.” I don’t really understand why this is more of a concern than shearing off double shafts, struts, props and rudders under the same scenario in a conventionally powered boat. Cummins Mercruiser thinks it has addressed concerns about underwater impacts on the Zeus drives, putting the propsets behind the transmission leg and putting a skeg on it to deflect debris. True, you can still shear the whole mess off if you hit something hard enough and immovable enough, but even then, the breakaway characteristics of the drive pod are designed to prevent the sea from joining you aboard the boat.

But there is another element to the leading-edge nature of this technology. I believe it is the logical transition step to diesel-electric drives in recreational boats. True, they’ve been deployed in giant cruise ships, and in megayachts like Lurssen’s Air/Ice; and even some smaller yacht manufacturers are working on those installations in boat sizes the rest of us might actually own someday. The principal obstacles have been designing lightweight applications that are affordable. Drive systems like Zeus and IPS, however, are paving the way in terms of hull re-design, maneuvering control software and interior design. Imagine the further advantage coming with diesel electric propulsion; if Zeus gives a designer an extra three feet because of its compact design, how about being able to place the diesel generator anywhere in the boat and just having to run electrical cables to the completely separate drive pod hanging under the hull (and, by the way, anywhere under the hull that the designer thinks it works best). Now THAT is flexibility. Instead of being the big “iron problem” in the bottom of the bilge around which everything else has to be adjusted, that heavy diesel can become part of the weight and balance solution. That is technology that provides real benefits to boat designers and, ultimately of course, customers.

So look hard at boats like Grand Banks new 41 Heritage EU. It really is the wave you want to ride.

© 2007 Thomas M. Tripp

Posted by Tom in Boats, Industry News, Technology