Click for Glendinning Click for Walker Click for Apolonnian Click for Apollonian Click for Cheoy Lee

Future of pods

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

  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,884
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Sucking any kind of floating debris directly into the props for starters, is my beef with them. With rear facing props, most floating debris will get deflected by the drive itself. Another poster mentioned that you cannot do more than 40 knots with foward facing props.
  2. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,034
    Location:
    In The Bilge
    Forward facing or aft facing makes no difference in a hard grounding or say hitting a dead head. Either way your going to have propeller and or housing damage. That being said, Forward facing or Tractor drive systems have been proven superior in all but a few slim categories. Better maneuvering, fuel consumption, cavitation by pulling in undisturbed water etc. Funny fact NEO is that Steerprop and Schottel have forward facing systems that are ice classed to ABS A-5 and IACS PC-1 / the most stringent ice classification there is.
    Polar ice breakers use variable pitch tractor drives to mill ice and blow ice ridges by vectoring. Not here to say that Volvo penta's machine is going to be eating polar ice but you don't have any other concerns with a tractor drive from a conventional set up other than wrapping your head around it. Repeat after me, It's all in my head, it's all in my head...:)
  3. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,715
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I think that 40 knots only applies to existing systems. There is nothing inherent in forward facing that is going to limit to a set speed.
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,884
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I don't know if that is true. I was delivering a 64' Hatteras MY from the Bahamas to St. Thomas. There was a Meridian doing the same leg as us and he hit a dead head at 8 knots with Zues. It sheered 2 of the mounting bolts and bent the other 2 but was still hanging onto the boat. He made it about 60 miles that way on one engine, when he pulled into St. Thomas they removed the drive and it had no damage to the drive or the props, they installed new bolts and were on their way again. I would think foward facing props would've been mangled in that situation.

    I also saw a Searay come into Hillsboro inlet over the bar that looks like the opening to the inlet on the north side. The entire boat skidded over the beach/sand bar, left the drives on the sandbar and then the boat landed into the lagoon. Again the drives were not in bad shape, nor the props and sheered the bolts like they're supposed to.

    From personal experience I would think foward facing propellors would be more apt to wrap crab trap line around them and suck debris into them at least at slower speeds than aft facing. From my experience with outboards and stern drives (both aft facing obviously and with similar lower unit shapes) crab trap lines and other things will hit the front of the lower unit and be deflected a lot of time by the lower unit before they get into the propellors. I do prefer the use of bronze propellors on the volvo over s/s on the zues for the fact that you can get antifouling to stick a little better on them (propspeed) and you can't on s/s. Perhaps I am wrong, but I would prefer aft facing.
  5. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,034
    Location:
    In The Bilge
    My understanding is the Zeus and IPS drives have self sealing bellows if the drive is sheared off? Is this correct? I mentioned previously that my experience with these two units is very limited and I don't know how robust these two systems are. I do have a great deal of time dealing with the bigger machines and can attest to the bullet proof nature of those systems but of course they're different animals all together with individual prop blades to be replaced on the shaft if damaged etc. It makes sense though in the pleasure boating market, The more parts that you can sell from damaged or worn out systems the better. Kinda like razor blades, We all know that Gillette can produce a blade that would last a year but then they wouldn't be in business very long. As time goes by I'm sure Volvo and Merc will refine their systems to be better , faster and stronger as the market dictates. (Hopefully)
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,884
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Yes, they have bellows and are designed to sheer off without any water intrusion into the boat. The drives have a splined shaft and it goes into the thru-hull section with 4 bolts that sheer off in the case of an impact. The drives general fare pretty well on most groundings and just fall off instead of destroying themselves. It's almost like how a stern drive goes into the gimble plate.
  7. CPT2012

    CPT2012 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2013
    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    MIAMI FL
    Looks like they're addressing the power issue by adding more drives. The new L580 from Sea Ray debuting at FLIBS this month will have triple Zeus drives.

    http://assets.searaylaunchpad.com/dal/L580_sellsheet.pdf
  8. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    657
    Location:
    Miami
    Hi Marmot, I was going to answer, but Capt J echoed my thoughts perfectly, the thought of forward facing props with virtually no protection would not be my first choice. At least on the Zeus drives, they'll hit the unit before the props.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,715
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Well, there have been quite a few IPS with triples and at least one boat with quads. However, I just don't think the general public is ready for triples and quads.
  10. captaintilt

    captaintilt Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Great Lakes / Florida
    Lets remember the Spencer "Betsy" with Quad ZF Pods and also the Jarrett Bay with CATS and the Zeus Pods. I've been on the Jarrett Bay and it performed very well, and believe the owner was very happy with it, and they have since built a few express models with Zeus. I think its difficult to convince "traditional" Sportfisherman to be able to operate the boat with either the Joystick or Palm Beach controls. I don't really know because while I love operating Sportfisherman, I'm more of a M/Y Guy myself and that's what I've always worked on as a Captain.
  11. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,034
    Location:
    In The Bilge
    Triple and quads?? Pods have reduced the overall space envelope of engine rooms.
    Designers & builders love this as they can take a frame or two out of the machinery space and enlarge the S/R or heads and up sell the interior of a 80 footer by saying that it has the volume of a hundred footer. I did get aboard the Lazzara sport a couple of years ago that had quads and was appalled at the lack of space for maintenance. You really had to work to pull a dip stick and good luck if you had to change out a starter motor. I'm all for innovation but the builders and engine manufacturers have to be realistic about access to critical components on the sides of the engines. The way some of these multiple installations are set up it' a sure recipe for rusted and abused iron after a year or two from lack of maint.
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,715
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Just seems to me that at triples and quads you're creating as many disadvantages as you have advantages. Cruisers and Regal were two of the first triples on the market. Cruisers is on a 52' Boat with a 15'6" Beam. Regal was a 52' with 15'4" Beam if I remember correctly. They now offer it with twin Zeus instead. Imagine the remaining space on a boat the size of those two.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,884
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Captains I've spoken to have no issues operating the boat with either the palm beach controls or the joystick, you can use either or, and with zues you can go immediately from one control to the other control without having to access anything. IPS you have to press an access button for 2 seconds.

    As for the other issue including on the searays......most owners and Captains simply don't want to have to maintain 3 or 4 engines and find it to be a larger expense AND hassle......even for your simple pre-voyage checks.....think about it, 4 engine oils, 4 coolant levels, 4 gears oils, 4 belts, etc etc..... The problem I have is once you get more than 2 pods you start losing fuel economy. On twin pods you get 30-40% fuel economy savings over traditional, 3 pods it drops to 15-20% (still somewhat worthwhile) on a quad installation 5-8% economy which is not even worth it to have to deal with maintaining 4 engines.
  14. RichLazzara

    RichLazzara New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    We have installed IPS, ZEUS, and ZF pods into our yachts over the years. I don't believe there is another manufacturer (under 100') with more experience than us. We've done twin, triple and were the first ever to do Quad. The Pod systems are here to stay. They need to continue to develop the technology making it available to higher horsepower engines. There also needs to be significantly more development in pods that work with engines such as CAT, MAN, MTU in order for them to have more market penetration into the 50-150' size range. Within a decade though Pods will be the norm not the option.

    1. They will be very prevalent in boats 40-100, approaching majority within another 5-7 years.
    2. Yes as horsepower and capability increases.
    3. Yes and no. Depends on size of boat. Also depends on market. European markets have not been favorable to the pods. South American, Asian, Canadian, Australian have accepted it.
    4.People will convert as horsepower and capability increases. Riva certainly could use them now on small boat.
    5.Don't know what they will do
    6. No. Surface drives are who/what Pershing is. They are part of their brand.
    7.As soon as CAT, MTU or MAN offer a 1800hp - 2400hp version of pods then yes they will offer them.
    8.They already do.
    9.Market will accept triples, but prefers twin..as for Quad's that time has passed.
    10. No. Pods will not replace outboards. Cost, installation, manufacturing, size, etc make outboards preferred over pods in smaller boats.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,715
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Rich. Thanks for the response. Question 10 was really focused on would pods and large outboards replace stern drives/inboard-outboards.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,884
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    For the most part they have in a lot of boat types. When was the last time you saw a stern drive center console? Or fishing walkaround. I think there are some segments where stern drives will always be the leader, such as race boats.
  17. Perlmudder

    Perlmudder Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Toronto/Crystal Beach
    Cigarette just debuted a center console stern drive at the Key west poker run. Intrepid makes them, Spectre, and I am sure Statement and Nor-Tech would make them if someone orders one.
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,715
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Intrepid offers it on one boat and primarily for someone who wants diesel and not gas. Spectre may do it if desired but not in their regular line. Yes, Cigarette does show it in the 1040. So it is possible to find one in a CC but it certainly is rare and far outside the mainstream. And it's been pushed out by the larger outboards. I don't see pods moving into CC either. I know Seavee and some others offer them, but the large outboards negate a purpose.

    Runabouts is where I/O's have their volume and the sale of stern drives has continued to decrease even as the market recovers. People like Glastron have added more and more outboards and things have almost returned to the balance of 30 years ago. Sea Ray continues to avoid outboards but they can do that since their sister, Bayliner, has increased their outboard offerings substantially. Chaparral remains I/O but their growth segment has been their sister, Robalo, with outboards. I do believe a part of the runabout segment will continue as I/O's however.

    However, from the upper end into cruisers in the 30-50' range there was already a movement from I/O's to Inboards and people like Regal and Cruisers have moved toward pods. Regal has brought pods down into their new 42'. I gradually see the I/O market compacting into the 24 - 40' range.

    Coming back to the questions initially posed I personally think pods will continue to take market share in the 40-65' range. I then think that will expand upward as available horsepower increases. I think there is a strong resistance in the buying public toward triple pods and going beyond 65' depends on larger engines so that twins can work. I'm not as optimistic as Rich on the time period and level of dominance simply based on the slowness of movement thus far. Volvo leads the way but this really requires pods matched to MTU and CAT. They dominate the engine market with MAN a rather distant third. This requires an overall shift from providing the whole package toward providing just the pod drives to match up to the larger engines built by others. I do however believe pods will expand and have majority on 65' and under and an increasing percentage of 65-100' within the next several years.

    I think outboards will continue to own fishing and cc markets and I believe they will increase their percentage of runabouts and even small cruisers.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,884
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    My opinions pretty much follow Olderboater's. I think if they can come up with big pods so that 60-100' yachts can use them in a twin engine installation and they can handle 1500-2600HP (think Cat/MTU) that you will see them take hold and a lot of builders use them. There are lots of upsides such as better fuel economy, less vibration, maneuverability, etc. Also, if you have an issue with a pod, you could technically change it in a few hours with a diver and be right back in business.
  20. RichLazzara

    RichLazzara New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    olderboater, I'll grant you I may be too optimistic in timeline. CAT has their POD being developed for the smaller CAT engine. Perhaps it takes much longer for bigger engine?? MTU and MAN can currently use the ZF4000 POD on engines 1,200hp and under. Either way it will be fun to see changes in propulsion in the coming years.