Volvo Penta is providing the engines, drives and dynamic positioning systems for a new class of support vessels for the America’s Cup racing events.
The six new custom 13.9-meter (46-foot) power catamarans, which were designed by Australian naval architects One2three and built by East Asia Composites, made their debut in August and October at the America’s Cup World Series events held in San Francisco. The twin Volvo D6-330 engines and IPS450 pod drives are linked to the Volvo Penta’s onboard GPS for precise position keeping when serving as a course marker, even in strong currents and wind conditions, according to the company.
“One2three designed the boats to meet the specifications of the America’s Cup Race Management,” One2three managing director Steve Quigley said in a statement. “The design brief was to create a vessel that would be used as an actual rounding mark of the course, be capable of accurately maintaining station and remotely monitored for position and also provide a visually pleasing and stable platform for camera crews and a ‘ringside seat’ for VIP spectators close to the fast-paced action.”
“The resulting design took advantage of the dynamic positioning control system and excellent maneuvering features of the Volvo Penta IPS drives on a hull shape that is specifically designed to be seakindly under all weather conditions and highly efficient at speed,” Quigley added. “The main deck is arranged for full walk-around capability with 360-degree viewing.”
Helmut’s Marine Service, which is preparing to celebrate its 25th year as Volvo Penta’s servicing dealer and power center in San Francisco, provided pre- and post-race servicing, commissioning and technical support.
“The great service team at Helmut’s went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the new marker boats performed flawlessly throughout the series,” Volvo Penta of the Americas president Ron Huibers said in a statement.
“The captains were very pleased with the Volvo Penta propulsion and dynamic positioning systems, which enabled them to keep the boats precisely on station without anchor lines,” Helmut’s Marine Service president Helmut Ahollinger said. “This is a tremendous improvement over the smaller outboard boats used in the past, which needed constant manual maneuvering to hold a steady position. And, unlike fixed buoys, the marker vessels can easily and quickly be repositioned as needed to alter the racecourse for changing weather conditions.”