By Fabrizio Loi Lazzara Yachts Technical Director
Machinery (engine room) space has always been a premium on megayachts, but the new technology of a pod system will reduce equipment size and footprints of an engine room. For the past 4 years we have been working on how we could add more value to the consumer by increasing lower deck accommodation space. Boats have escalated in price over the past years, but in the end they had the same interior space. The challenge for us is how to reduce the engine room size without compromising functionality and serviceability. With the introduction of the pod systems (Volvo IPS and Cummins Zeus)in the small pleasure craft industry, a paradigm shift happened, even for the megayacht industry.
The multi-pods installation allows us as designers to considerably move aft the engine room bulkhead, and gain on average 20% more for interior accommodation space on the lower deck. It’s a major competitive advantage. For example a boat 75 feet long will have an interior space of an 85’, or in the case of our LSX 92, it has an interior space of a 100’ plus vessel.
The megayacht industry has to understand that pod installations are not just for cruise ships or for smaller pleasure crafts, but it opens a wide variety of options to the designers and customers to introduce fresh innovation in our industry from 70’ – 130’. When we presented the LSX 75 with 4 IPS Volvo, some people in the industry were skeptical of having 4 engines. The consumer saw the value of added interior space, no vibrations, no exhaust fumes, and 30% better fuel efficiency. Today we’ve sold almost 20 vessels with this system.
Having triple or quads is the key: using smaller engines in multiple numbers allows us to shorten the engine room space. Soon we will have available pods for 1200HP and up, it’s just matter of time. However this larger horsepower should be used by designers in multiple numbers to power vessels 120’ and up, not smaller boats. If you were to use two 1,200HP pods in a boat smaller than the 120’, the size of the engines would negate the interior space advantage you gain by using multiple smaller engines (like we do in our LSX75, LMY76 and LSX92)
In the past 3 years we have not designed a new project without pods. The traditional inboard shaft arrangement is history for us. It’s too good for the customer as well as for the boat builder. Using the pod system takes us 8 hours to install, align and test 4 engines and drives. It used to take us weeks to do an inboard installation, and then we would hope that the shaft would keep alignment once splashed.
The increase in fuel efficiency is a direct result of the counter-rotating propellers and a “zero degree” thrust line. The pod technology paired to specifically designed hull lines can bring 20%-30% more fuel efficiency. Soon pods will be able to be powered directly from generators, creating hybrid vessels that will have the top speed of a motor yacht with the long range of a trawler.
There is no doubt that the pod systems are the future and you will see more to come from Lazzara in the months ahead.