Pods Are Busting Out All Over - 10/17/2007

ZF Pod Drives will be used by a number of diesel engine brands.


The new Grand Banks Heritage 41 is equipped with Zeus drives and becomes one of the first boats not an express cruiser or flybridge to use them. The Grand Banks Heritage line is the traditional trawler-look and the improved speed, fuel economy and range that the Zeus system provides this boat makes its installation a no-brainer.

Convertibles and Hardtops

As noted in another article, Riveria is installing IPS pod drives in a 51-footer to be used as a Volvo Penta test boat in Norfolk, Va. Sabre Yachts in South Cosco, Maine is engineering a Zeus installation in one of their hardtop boats and only time will tell how far the pod drives go with this traditional builder.

Displacement Vessels

While it is not a particularly big market, which is why it will come later, displacement boats are also good candidates for pod drives, industry sources say. Eventhough they will not get the eye-popping performance enhancements of planing boats they are still more efficient, which means that possibly a smaller engine can be used. Certainly pod drives will extend a boat’s range, all things being equal. Because jack shafts can be used with pod drives, designers have much more latitude as to where they can place the engines to maximize interior accommodations.

Clint Moore, president of Volvo Penta of America has said that his company is looking at making larger pod drives that will be able to handle boats up to 100 feet. That they make sense in large boats is attested to by the fact that the Queen Mary II -- at 1100-feet in length -- uses four forward-facing pod drives driven by electric motors.

Good News for ZF

All of this is good news for ZF, a major manufacturer of marine gears, and the company that designed and makes the actual pod as well as the marine gear which is bolted onto the engine. With sales directly to CMD, as well as units used with Yanmar and Cat engines, at least, the ZF pod drives are going to be used on all types and sizes of boats.

ZF’s one major marine gear competitor – Twin Disc in Racine, Wisconsin – “has no pod system under development,” according to a spokesman in their technical department. That means that ZF and Volvo Penta will have this market all to themselves. Only 5,000 40’+Powerboats Sold New in the U.S. Last Year

What most people don’t realize is how few big boats are actually sold new each year. Drive down the streets of Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and you might think it must be tens of thousands. The answer is that fewer that 5,000 40’+ new boats were sold in the last 12 months. Household names like Viking, Hatteras, Ocean Yachts and others only sell from 75 to 120 units a year each, even in good times.

Yes, that’s right: All of those boating magazines, marine newspapers, websites, boat shows, newsletters, direct mail, brand magazines, and sky writers are all trying to find 5,000 40”+ new boat buyers in the U.S. Boggles the mind. Large Motoryacht Basin Planned For Boston Harbor

Fan Pier will also provide four-and-a-half acres of public parks, the first park to be designed by the respected landscape architectural firm, Richard Burck Associates (RBA). This new expansive green space will overlook the waterfront, and with the harbor walk extending around the marina, these public amenities will further enhance the development as a pedestrian and family-friendly neighborhood.

Boston-based development firm, The Fallon Company, headed by President & CEO Joseph Fallon, will break ground on Fan Pier’s first office building in Mid October, paving the way for the city’s most ambitious, environmentally-friendly 21st century neighborhood. The groundbreaking comes nearly two years after Fallon purchased the coveted site from the Pritzker family. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, State Senator Jack Hart and Fallon’s financial partners, Mass Mutual and Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, are all expected to take part in the landmark ceremony.