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Future of pods

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by olderboater, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    We're seeing more used as they increase the hp. In other threads we're talking about pods for sportfishing boats. So my question is where do we see the future. Certain sizes, certain uses?

    I'm going to ask some specifics as well for examples.

    1. I'll start with SF since that was another discussion. Do we see pods becoming prevalent or even the majority? What size range of boat?

    2. Express cruisers like Sea Ray, Marquis? Will they become almost all pods?

    3. Boats like Sunseeker, Princess, Lazzara. Will pods expand through all their models and sizes and become the majority?

    4. Would you see people like Riva converting to pods? Those who haven't used any to date?

    5. What about a brand like Hinckley and Hunt that has unsuccessfully dabbled in them and has built their brand on jets?

    6. Or brands like Pershing built on surface drives?

    7. What about yachts in the 80-130' range? Those that currently have high horsepower like Hatteras or Westport? Will pods reach the required hp with twins? Will they use 3 or 4?

    8. What about full displacement boats? From small tugs like Nordic or American to KK's to larger yachts? Do pods have a place in this type boat? What about aluminum and steel hulls?

    9. For larger boats will triple or quad installations be common or will the market resist going to more engines and only expand as the hp increases so twins will work?

    10. Stern drives have been the market segment suffering most, losing a lot of ground to outboards. Will pods start taking share coming from the other direction? Could the combination of larger outboards and pods eventually eliminate stern drives/inboard-outboards? Do you see pods in 25-30 foot bowriders?
  2. TeKeela

    TeKeela Member

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    I'm glad your brought this up, those are many questions I have been seeking answers to. I posted a similar question in another forum however there did not seem to be enough intelligence to stay on topic and provide serious answers, theories, projections etc.

    My take:

    1. I'll start with SF since that was another discussion. Do we see pods becoming prevalent or even the majority? What size range of boat? - the issue I see/hear most with a twin install on a sportfish is the shafts eat up the ability to have decent fish boxes and livewells in the deck. The hulls need to be customized to accommodate the pods and since the engines end up so far aft it changes a lot of traditional arrangements and weight distributions. Additionally they can take up traditional fuel spaces reducing capacity (per one of the big builders) with the shaft running above the hull. The maneuvering is unmatched but how do the fish react to those counter rotating props compared to a nice shaft and wheel?

    2. Express cruisers like Sea Ray, Marquis? Will they become almost all pods? - likely my guess because of easy docking

    3. Boats like Sunseeker, Princess, Lazzara. Will pods expand through all their models and sizes and become the majority? -
    again I bet yes.

    4. Would you see people like Riva converting to pods? Those who haven't used any to date? - I bet all those express type boats will convert, again to the handling

    5. What about a brand like Hinckley and Hunt that has unsuccessfully dabbled in them and has built their brand on jets? -

    6. Or brands like Pershing built on surface drives?


    7. What about yachts in the 80-130' range? Those that currently have high horsepower like Hatteras or Westport? Will pods reach the required hp with twins? Will they use 3 or 4?


    8. What about full displacement boats? From small tugs like Nordic or American to KK's to larger yachts? Do pods have a place in this type boat? What about aluminum and steel hulls? -

    9. For larger boats will triple or quad installations be common or will the market resist going to more engines and only expand as the hp increases so twins will work? - expand HP

    10. Stern drives have been the market segment suffering most, losing a lot of ground to outboards. Will pods start taking share coming from the other direction? Could the combination of larger outboards and pods eventually eliminate stern drives/inboard-outboards? Do you see pods in 25-30 foot bowriders? - I say no time soon. The size of those pods are restrictive for smaller applications. Lots of draft and lots of space under the deck as well. AND if it is a trailer boat you can't tilt it up like an I/O and if you hang it off the back it puts a lot of weight behind the axles. Not to say how many ramps it would never get into. If they made a smaller unit perhaps. Why not fix the issues with an I/O and add a rotating section 1/2 way down? You would get the handling but still be able to tilt it up.


    AND so far I have only seen SeaVee do a single install with a bow thruster connected to a joystick, they do not appear to offer that install anymore, it seemed the perfect package. Handles as if with two but 1/2 the cost and better fuel consumption. Why I don't know.

    My ideal build would be a high 30 some foot walkaround with a single pod maybe sitting on a Cummins however as I read the drawings the hardware would draw well over 30" and the above hull below deck takes up so much space the deck would have to be much higher off the water than preferred. Add to that annual haul out to service the pod.

    Who knows? Looking forward to the discussion.
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Ships and tugs have been using them for years. 'cept for that one cruise ship in the Bahamas, draft is usually not an issue and everything is a benefit.

    I can see quickly large yachts using them, stay with the big ZFs and others and keep it down to two main drive lines.

    Some SFs have tried to use pods with a jackshafts with some good results.
    Huckins is just fixing to deliver a new SF with Cummins / Zeus drives with jackshaft. (ugly boat IMO))

    Were managing a Meridian (fancy Ray) with Zeus. The owner is happy.
    Our diver has learned to change the wheels in dark water (blindfolded) and install new bottom vert tabs. Zincs still takes a few minutes.

    For us, I'm not rich and famous, operate in shallow water, and prefer the KISS rule.
    ,rc
  4. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    There's three or four 100 + foot Browards still in Service that are running with Ulstein Speed Zee drives. (tractor drives) These units were fixed and not azimuthing but I believe one was variable pitch. Between Rolls Royce and Schottel there would be plenty of choices for 100' and up yachts to choose a pod system that fits the propulsion package.
  5. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Do the Rolls Royce and Schottel systems have similar characteristics to IPS and Zeus?
  6. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    I think if you want higher performances (Pershing and similar) surface drives will win versus pods. Volvo IPS has a limit of about 40 knots. I know of an Absolute 47 which touched 41 knots in light mode with the IPS600 Volvo D6 435hp and is one of the fastest.

    It is is possible that the ZF can go faster to this due to the propeller looking back configuration.

    So far Volvo is winning hands down and I think it has 80% of the market share versus the ZF and other pods. I do not understand since ZF is easier to apply and requires little hull design change versus the IPS. I think this is mostly due to after sales networks and service centers being open everywhere.

    I am not sure if Ferretti Group (Riva) will jump into pods. So far they never have tested them as far as I know on any of there boats. The Itama 45 and Mochi 44 Dolphin would be a good place to start for them, but I see no interest. Both brands have always been shaft driven boats, even before the Ferretti acquisition.

    As as large pods go, also remember the Fortjes system from France which was equipped on a new 29 meter Maiora a couple years back.
  7. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    The Rolls Royce system is currently being manufactured for yachts and has all the same characteristics whilst the Schottel is catching up at this point pod wise but they sell quite a few pump jets to the yachting market .
    Rolls Royce has an all Carbon Azipod / AZP65c that's being manufactured exclusively for the Benetti group for their F-145 fast and a few other vessels like the Azimut Grande etc.
    It seems that Rolls Royce has realized the $$ to be made in yachts after acquiring Vickers in 1999 and has aggressively acquired manufacturers the last ten or so years positioned in both the commercial and yacht sector such as kamewa and Ulstein propeller. The big difference in these systems Zeus, IPS and the Ulsteins would be the pricing.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Capt J
  9. 993RSR

    993RSR Senior Member

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    Hinckley recently announced they are offering pods on a new model (43?)
  10. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    They've offered pods before (Don't know if they actually sold any). Then when the owners bought Hunt, the dropped the pods from Hinckley. Hunt had pods and I thought maybe Hinckley had introduced them to match Hunt and then with the same ownership didn't need to.
  11. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Can Spurs Marine or any kind of line cutters be fitted to IPS or Zeus pods?
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Wow, That's a question.
    I can see a cutter on the first wheel from the case, probably where it's really needed.
    Cutters in between wheels could take some magic. There is too much room between the wheels for them to clear themselves and like on a past Volvo DP Z drive I had; a line will lock them up. The forward facing (IPS) wheels would foul and lock up big time, Zuse with a case cutter may clear, IMO.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Interesting subject came to mind today. The new Sea Ray L650 Fly. Possibly a good candidate for pods, except...Sea Ray owned by Brunswick and Zeus doesn't go large enough. A comparably sized Marquis uses twin IPS 1200's as does a comparable Lazzara. Other boats in that range do as well. I think it really is going to be critical for Zeus to team up on some larger engines. I know they have done a 715 hp with CAT, but I think just a one time deal.

    As you get to larger boats the cost of the equipment is a bit less of a negative.

    Then that made me think of one other thing. What advantages of pods remain with a boat such as that Sea Ray. Well, I'm not sure handling is one. The Sea Ray has gyro stabilizers and bow and stern thrusters standard, plus bow and stern controls and a joystick.

    Fuel economy would still remain and could be a significant advantage. At 3.33 gallons per nm, reducing that 20% becomes fairly significant in cost and range. Adding nearly 50 nm in range and saving nearly $3 per nm. But then would the economy minded buyer really be buying that boat to start with? Probably not. They'd be seeking a trawler or, at most, a semi-displacement model.

    Then one criticism I'd have of the current boat that pods may of may not address (other engine options would) but that boat is terribly noisy with 76 decibels at 1500 rpm and peaking at 83 decibels. (Smaller engine for same equivalent power should help some).
  14. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    There seems to be a HP threshold for the mechanical smaller pods at this time. the ZF 4000 is rated at 1200 HP @ 2300 RPM and was fitted to a couple of Viking S/F with C18 mains in 2011. ABB and Schottel electric pods begin their ratings @ 1MW
    So that would be a neat trick to pull off in small to medium sized yachts. In lieu of two main propulsion engines just install suitable sizes gens on the stringers and run diesel electric if they can scale the power back a smidge. A bit of "Pie in the Sky" on my part But an interesting thought.
  15. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Volvo already do line cutters for IPS.

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  16. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Thank you Fish.
    That looks like a circle of Mako Shark teeth! Looks really aggressive compared to Spurs Marine. I don't have any experience with this pod manufacturer and was curious to how this was done once A "Lobstah" (Maine) boat builder was mentioned.
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Ok, but 1200hp ZF's really opens the doors to a lot of things. I think the 65' Searay Fly fitted with C18's and the ZF pods would provide plenty of power. You have to figure 1150hp acerts/pods will give you the same speed/propulsion as about 1500hp and straight shaft from my experience......

    Honestly my preference is Zues after running all of them. Volvo is just as smooth in dockside handling and so forth.....I simply don't like the Volvo network,warranty claim, and foward facing props. ZF's work good and are a quality product but do lack a little of the dockside finesse the IPS and Zues have. If CMD could mate a C18 Cat to their pods it would be a good match......or even anything in the 1000hp range.
  19. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    I agree J, I have a problem with forward facing drives, it's a scary proposition. If I had to go with pod drives, it would be Zeus drive or nothing.
  20. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    What kind of problem is that?