New pilot boat has Volvo Penta IPS propulsion

NOVEMBER 30, 2015 — A new Chesapeake-class MKII launch delivered this month by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding to the Tampa Bay Pilots Association features Volvo Penta integrated engine and drive systems.


The 52.7-ft, 28-knot pilot boat, designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates, is powered by twin Volvo Penta D11 six-cylinder 503 hp diesel engines with IPS2 drives and Volvo Penta  EVC electronic steering and control system.

Each of the IPS pods has two counter-rotating forward-facing props that pull the boat through the water rather than pushing it. The EVC control system and three-axis joystick will increase the boat's overall maneuverability alongside a ship and when docking.

The system complies with EPA Tier 3 emission standards.

"We selected the Volvo Penta IPS2 for our next-generation Chesapeake-class boats to improve the performance and the arrangement of planing hulls like our pilot boats," said Peter Duclos, president of Gladding-Hearn. "IPS2 provides what pilots have been asking for – higher speeds, lower fuel consumption and more comfort." The boat is also fitted with an interceptor trim-control system supplied by Humphree.

"The combination of the Volvo Penta IPS and the Humphree interceptors gives the pilots higher speeds and improved comfort," said Mr. Duclos. "Initial sea trials revealed a 25 percent improvement in fuel consumption over comparable Chesapeake-class vessels, as predicted." 

Last year, Volvo Penta and Gladding-Hearn teamed to produce the first commercial craft in North America to be powered by triple IPS drives and dynamic positioning for automatic hands-off station keeping. The 64-ft. Fort Ripley was delivered to Southeast Ocean Response Services in Charleston, S.C. 

"Volvo Penta IPS is the perfect solution for modern pilot boats, consistently providing 20 percent faster speed, 30 percent lower fuel consumption, 15 percent faster acceleration and 50 percent lower noise and vibration levels when compared to a traditional shaft installation," said Marcia Kull, vice president, marine sales, Volvo Penta of the Americas. "It is a true transformative technology that we believe will become the new standard in pilot boat propulsion moving forward." 

This year, Volvo Penta is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the IPS product. The first IPS was unveiled at the Miami International Boat Show in 2005. Since then, Volvo Penta has sold over 17,000 IPS units. Today, the Volvo Penta IPS comes in a range of ten models, from 350 to 1200 hp, in twin, triple or quadruple configurations.

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