14 Apr 2011

Boating World’s Derrick Levy says exciting technology from Volvo could well become the deciding factor when it comes to choosing a big Sport Fisher or Cruiser in future – particularly as fuel consumption and longer operating range are serious considerations these days.

“Australia’s biggest boat manufacturer Riviera, places so much store in the many benefits of the revolutionary Volvo IPS System (Inboard Performance System) that it is being offered as a standard feature in most of the newer models.” He said.

The IPS system has completely transformed the shaft, propeller and rudder system familiar to most boaters – by using a pair of duo-prop drives, mounted well aft with the props facing forward -  "pulling", rather than "pushing" the boat through the water.

The section of the drive that follows the props acts as a rudder as well as an underwater exhaust outlet, offering additional stability and manoeuvrability – and engine noise is considerably reduced.

Apart from the dramatic change to the handling characteristics of a vessel (compared to the same size vessel with standard inboard propulsion) - the engines are moved well aft to create additional interior space in the boat to accommodate more guests.

An amazing feature of the IPS system is the computer controlled steering. There is no mechanical or hydraulic resistance at the wheel – it simply turns freely and a computer interprets the wheel position and instructs the IPS drives accordingly - "fly by wire" if you will.  In other words the wheel is automatically centred (as the drives return to centre) each time the boat is restarted. There is no need to count rotations from lock or consult a rudder angle indicator before departing a dock. Joystick docking is another huge benefit.

And it gets better! Derrick added that with the IPS system top speed has improved by about 20%, acceleration by about 15% , fuel economy by as much as 30%, 40% increased range and 30% less CO2 emissions. There are no struts and shafts interrupting the flow of water to the prop - directing the prop wash in the direction desired to move the stern rather than "bouncing" it off an angled rudder..

And if one should hit a submerged object the good news is you are less likely to sink as the drive unit on the IPS is designed to break free in the event of a collision and leave the hull intact.

The IPS drive system makes for a very, very agile boat!