NEWPORT, R.I. — It might be Volvo Penta’s enormous investment in the Volvo Ocean Race that helps give the company a 55 percent market share in the 20- to 60-foot sailboat market in Europe and a 45 percent share in the 40- to 60-foot U.S. sailboat market.
The company touted these numbers, as well as its enormous foothold in the construction and industrial markets, such as power generators — which powered Race Village during the Newport stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race last weekend — at a press conference on Friday afternoon to talk about the propulsion on the 65-foot sailboats that teams use to circumnavigate in one of the world’s most grueling races.
Volvo Penta supplied the D2-75 diesel engines, drives and power generation systems for the one-design racers in the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Volvo Penta system provides electric power for the water maker, lights, heaters, navigation electronics, satellite communicators and other onboard systems, as well as propulsion for emergencies at sea and in-port maneuvering.
“It’s the first time they’ve had identical boats with identical engines,” Volvo Penta for the Americas president Ron Huibers said during a press conference in the Race Village on Friday afternoon.
Volvo Penta sponsored Trade Only Today to cover the Newport stopover.
“We’re all about integration,” Huibers said. “Others have components, but if you look at the IPS, from the helm to the propeller, it’s all one. It’s all our system.”
Volvo CEO Björn Ingemanson said the integrated systems are making sailing and powerboating more accessible. “Joystick docking, there is demand coming from sail there, too. Not for racing, but for family sailing.”
The systems that power the Volvo Ocean Race boats are “much more efficient” in powering the enormous consumption it takes to run the numerous cameras and other media in the heart of the 65-foot boats, said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad.
An embedded journalist records every moment of the sailors’ journey around the world.
“The challenge is to bring the content to you,” Frostad said.