Volvo Penta Pod-drive Boat Sails for IMDS Show & Baltic Sea Odyssey

By George Backwell at June 25, 2011 21:41
Filed Under: General, Industry Events

The patrol-craft PTA80 set off from Gothenburg, Sweden on 16, June 2011 to prove itself over a twenty-nine day trip around the Baltic Sea propelled by the latest inboard pod-drive from Volvo Penta, the IPS1050 twin. Seven ports in five different countries are to be visited by the test boat in the course of the 2,096 nm odyssey, including a highlight week at St. Petersburg in Russia for this year’s International Marine Defense Show (IMDS) where PTA80 will join an international fleet of some forty display craft of various sizes.

PTA80 Patrol Craft: Photo credit Volvo Penta

Pod Drives

The pod drive is a relatively new innovation for recreational and work boats, so a brief explanation may be in order before continuing. In a sense like their big pod relatives, the azimuth pods that are commonplace in present-day cruise ships, these systems for much smaller vessels consist of pods with propellors slung below the craft (driven by inboard engines) and computer controlled to produce forward, transverse and reverse thrust. The IPS series have three main modes of operation; one for docking manoeuvres, one for slow-speed and one for standard steering with cruise control.

A joystick is on hand for control of the 'fly-by-wire' electronic system (no direct mechanical control linkage) in order to change the direction and amount of thrust of the pods; effected by the ubiquitous NEMA 2000 data networks for communication between the component devices that make up the combined propulsion and steering system. For the operator this adds up to fingertip-sensitive control for docking.

Volvo Penta IPS1050 Twin Engine

Innovatively, propulsion power output is delivered
by each low emission 4-stroke 12.8 litre straight six-cylinder engine (producing 2x 588 kW at 2300 rpm) to not one, but a pair of forward-facing, counter-rotating propellors on each shaft.

Powerful torque even at low revs is achieved by means of a twin-entry ‘pulse charging’ turbo, and the makers claim the set-up brings a saving in fuel-consumption of more than thirty percent against boats of this size with traditional shaft propulsion. The pod drive system takes up less space, and also provides the added benefits of a quieter boat with less vibration when under way.

Volvo Penta IPS1050-Twin: Photo credit Volvo Penta

PTA80 Patrol Craft

The sleek full-load displacement 33 ton PTA80 chosen for the Baltic Sea expedition is 22.5 m (73.8 ft) in length with a beam of 5.2 meters (17.1 ft)  and a maximum planing speed of 30 kts; a quick mover, the patrol craft is capable of acceleration from idle to 20 kts in only 9 secs.

The seven-member crew of PTA80 is due back in Gothenburg when their Baltic Sea odyssey comes to an end on 15, July.

Comments (1) -

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Orville Tichacek |     7/18/2011 9:09:25 PM #

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