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Old 12-26-2010, 10:29 AM   #1
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Conventional or POD Drives?

I may have missed it, but haven't seen much discussion on this. It would be interesting to hear various opinions.* Let me know if there has been a thread on this, and I will delete.
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Old 12-26-2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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Conventional or POD Drives?

I don't know of a thread on it but they have come up from time to time. We are not in the position to buy a boat with pod drives but if we were we would get one (a GB41) in a heartbeat. The ability to hold station regardless of the wind or current using the pod control computer and GPS is fabulous in my opinion. The ability to drive the boat sideways or at any angle needed into or out of dock or slip is even more fabulous in my opinion. Seamanship and boat handling skill is all fine and good, but if I have the ability to put the boat wherever I want it with the push of a button or the manipulation of no-brainer joystick, that's what I want to do. Screw this helm and rudder and shift lever crap. That's the OLD way of controlling a boat and it's time to put it in the Smithsonian.

I have not had an opportunity to drive a pod-drive boat, but I know two GB owners who have. They are both long-time boat owners, very skilled at both single and twin engine boat handling, and both of them have told me the GB41 is in their opinions the only way to go if one has the money.

On the list of "change is evil" groups, commercial fisherman are probably at the top, but recreational boaters are not far below it. Part of this is due to the fact that the boating budget of most recreational boaters, particularly in the case of larger boats like the "heavy cruisers" (to use Eric's term) most of us on this forum have, dictate the purchase and operation of an older boat, or a newer conventionally powered boat. And it's human nature to defend to the hilt whatever one happens to have, car, boat, plane, lawn mower, you name it. Hence the never-ending argument about bow thrusters, stern thrusters, etc. People who don't have them feel that having one makes one a total wuss, and all the racket they put up about how using a thruster makes a boater a limp-wristed sissy who has no business being out on the water at all is enough to put people who do have them on the defensive and feel guilty about using them. Which is total BS in my opinion.

Pod drives are the same thing. Everyone who bitches about them and how they're only for people with no ability to handle a boat probably don't have them. I think pod drives are fantastic although I doubt we will ever be in a position to buy a boat with them. They improve maneuverability, which enhances safety and makes the operation of the boat less stressful. Those all seem like Good things to me.* My wife has no qualms about conning our boat in the fog, in rough water, you name it.* She has no qualims about taking it out of our slip.* But she is very leering about docking.* If we had a boat with which she could push a button or wiggle a joystick in an intuitive manner and the boat would go where she wanted it to go, this would eliminate a stress-producing aspect of boating for her, which would make her enjoy boating that much more, which would make me enjoy boating that much more.* I don't see any downside to that.

The cons about pod drives I have seen discussed are, other than the cost, are....

They are vulnerable to debris. Well, so are the props, shafts, struts, and rudders on our boat.

Pod drives are too complex. That's not the pod drive's fault, that's the fault of the person who doesn't understand them. An iPhone is complex, too. We were at a Christmas party last night. At one point most of us were trying to show each other funny videos on our smart phones. It would have been a great Norman Rockwell painting. The younger folks, by which I mean early 20s to mid 30s or so, were zipping around on their phones, participating in conversations with the people around them, and eating. The older folks were fully concentrating on their phones in silence, occasionally asking each other how to do such and such, most of them hopelessly ensnared in a maze of menus and choices. * Complexity is not so much an attribute as it is a perception.

If a pod drive system fails it's gonna cost an arm and a leg to fix it. Well, these days you can say the same for a car. Even if the fault is curable by a black-box swap, the work might take ten minutes but the box will cost an arm and a leg. That's the way things are these days, from cars to jetliners, and it's the price of progress. The solution is not to stick with an inefficient, slow, limited-capability system but to make the new, efficient, highly-capable system reliable so you don't have to fix it (very often). Unfortunately this kind of reliability costs a lot of money, hence the out-of-my-reach price on the GB41.

So I think pod drives are the way to do if one has the bucks to spend on a boat that has them. We don't, so we'll stick with our Jurassic drive-train of FL120s, shafts, struts, cutless bearings, shaft logs, and rudders. As I've said, being out on the water in anything is better than not being out on the water at all, but that doesn't mean that I have to like or defend our ancient, inefficient, slug of a boat as being the preferred way to go.



-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 26th of December 2010 02:52:05 PM
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Old 12-26-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Marin wrote:

People who don't have them feel that having one makes one a total wuss, ... a limp-wristed sissy who has no business being out on the water at all ...
Aye, ye be right matey.

I wonder why there aren't some here (probably one is) begrudging the use of radar when a real sailorman could navigate from Seattle to Skagway and back in the fog with nothing more than a whistle, compass and clock in the good old days.

*
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Old 12-26-2010, 03:38 PM   #4
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Marin Wrote...

People who don't have them feel that having one makes one a total wuss, ... a limp-wristed sissy who has no business being out on the water at all ...
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Just like those guys who use bow thrusters. Now I understand.
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Old 12-26-2010, 04:15 PM   #5
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Wonder when we will see diesel electric pod drives. If I were going to accept all that electronic engine control as being "bullet proof reliable", why would I still want 2 engines instead of 1? When looking at the 2009 GB41 on Yacht World, I kept thinking why would I be so "Jurassic" as to have 2 engines no water maker and only 200 gallons of fresh water in a 41' boat for $825,000? I know I'm being a smart ass, but probably a $200,000 drive train and only 200 gallons of water.....c'mon.

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2009...-Bay/Hong-Kong

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Old 12-26-2010, 07:09 PM   #6
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Hopefully it changes but biggest issue I see with them is sellers that paid a mega premium for them when they bought their new boat, only to find out that the market will only pay a marginal increase in price to buy the same boat with pods vs. no pods. Big financial hits for many sellers due to the pod drives they have. Other than that it would be great fun to have them.
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:40 PM   #7
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

For planing boats it is*well established that pods result in improved performance,* decreased ER space, better fuel efficiency*and easier dock side maneuvering. But for displacement speed trawlers , advantages are few it would seem.
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:53 PM   #8
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Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Marin wrote:"We are not in the position to buy a boat with pod drives but if we were we would get one (a GB41) in a heartbeat."
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I have had the opportunity (twice) to experience pod drives from the helm. First, on a Mikelson 43 and second, on a GB 41. I like the GB 41 the best as it fits my mission more than the sport fisher does. Both, however, were fantastic and the control is exceptional. I've just reread Marin's treatise on the GB41 and can find nothing I disagree with. If you haven't had the opportunity to take the con on one, don't knock it. They are the future of yachting.

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Sunday 26th of December 2010 08:55:05 PM
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:38 PM   #9
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

I thought of having twin sail drives on Willy. That would look like a pod drive wouldn't it?
I think pod drives are great toys for people that want the latest new gadget but for normal people within a limited budget it looks like a big waste of money. I could get an escalator to my 2nd floor but it would cost a bundle and I prolly couldn't fix it. So much of our infrastructure is made up of unnecessary things but they lead us to other things that may have better real value. After all the outboard led us to the outdrive that led us to the pod and the pod will lead us to ??? What is the big advantage of pods? Is it that they can direct their thrust in any direction independent of the other pod? Could one have computer controlled stern drives that could accomplish the same thing? Prolly not. Is a sail drive a pod drive? I assume it must be the twin screws that enable the pod to achieve great maneuverability? If you hit a rock w a pod I think the whole pod could be ripped out of the bottom. But a boat could be made safe w watertight bulkheads. Like the Titanic * *right?I'm sure though when the pod drive boats get old they will tank in value due to the maintenance problems, perceived or otherwise.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:00 AM   #10
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Conventional or POD Drives?

As an ex yard operator they are what dreams are made of ,

A pair of IO drives at $6,000 each pale in comparison to a single pod replacement!

I'll stick with my 4 blade 32x32 wheel I can replace for less than the sales tax on a pod.

And since even the bride can easily dock our boat , there is little upside.

-- Edited by FF on Monday 27th of December 2010 06:01:33 AM
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:55 AM   #11
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Marin wrote:

I don't know of a thread on it but they have come up from time to time. We are not in the position to buy a boat with pod drives but if we were we would get one (a GB41) in a heartbeat. The ability to hold station regardless of the wind or current using the pod control computer and GPS is fabulous in my opinion. The ability to drive the boat sideways or at any angle needed into or out of dock or slip is even more fabulous in my opinion. Seamanship and boat handling skill is all fine and good, but if I have the ability to put the boat wherever I want it with the push of a button or the manipulation of no-brainer joystick, that's what I want to do. Screw this helm and rudder and shift lever crap. That's the OLD way of controlling a boat and it's time to put it in the Smithsonian.

I have not had an opportunity to drive a pod-drive boat, but I know two GB owners who have. They are both long-time boat owners, very skilled at both single and twin engine boat handling, and both of them have told me the GB41 is in their opinions the only way to go if one has the money.

On the list of "change is evil" groups, commercial fisherman are probably at the top, but recreational boaters are not far below it. Part of this is due to the fact that the boating budget of most recreational boaters, particularly in the case of larger boats like the "heavy cruisers" (to use Eric's term) most of us on this forum have, dictate the purchase and operation of an older boat, or a newer conventionally powered boat. And it's human nature to defend to the hilt whatever one happens to have, car, boat, plane, lawn mower, you name it. Hence the never-ending argument about bow thrusters, stern thrusters, etc. People who don't have them feel that having one makes one a total wuss, and all the racket they put up about how using a thruster makes a boater a limp-wristed sissy who has no business being out on the water at all is enough to put people who do have them on the defensive and feel guilty about using them. Which is total BS in my opinion.

Pod drives are the same thing. Everyone who bitches about them and how they're only for people with no ability to handle a boat probably don't have them. I think pod drives are fantastic although I doubt we will ever be in a position to buy a boat with them. They improve maneuverability, which enhances safety and makes the operation of the boat less stressful. Those all seem like Good things to me.* My wife has no qualms about conning our boat in the fog, in rough water, you name it.* She has no qualims about taking it out of our slip.* But she is very leering about docking.* If we had a boat with which she could push a button or wiggle a joystick in an intuitive manner and the boat would go where she wanted it to go, this would eliminate a stress-producing aspect of boating for her, which would make her enjoy boating that much more, which would make me enjoy boating that much more.* I don't see any downside to that.

The cons about pod drives I have seen discussed are, other than the cost, are....

They are vulnerable to debris. Well, so are the props, shafts, struts, and rudders on our boat.

Pod drives are too complex. That's not the pod drive's fault, that's the fault of the person who doesn't understand them. An iPhone is complex, too. We were at a Christmas party last night. At one point most of us were trying to show each other funny videos on our smart phones. It would have been a great Norman Rockwell painting. The younger folks, by which I mean early 20s to mid 30s or so, were zipping around on their phones, participating in conversations with the people around them, and eating. The older folks were fully concentrating on their phones in silence, occasionally asking each other how to do such and such, most of them hopelessly ensnared in a maze of menus and choices. * Complexity is not so much an attribute as it is a perception.

If a pod drive system fails it's gonna cost an arm and a leg to fix it. Well, these days you can say the same for a car. Even if the fault is curable by a black-box swap, the work might take ten minutes but the box will cost an arm and a leg. That's the way things are these days, from cars to jetliners, and it's the price of progress. The solution is not to stick with an inefficient, slow, limited-capability system but to make the new, efficient, highly-capable system reliable so you don't have to fix it (very often). Unfortunately this kind of reliability costs a lot of money, hence the out-of-my-reach price on the GB41.

So I think pod drives are the way to do if one has the bucks to spend on a boat that has them. We don't, so we'll stick with our Jurassic drive-train of FL120s, shafts, struts, cutless bearings, shaft logs, and rudders. As I've said, being out on the water in anything is better than not being out on the water at all, but that doesn't mean that I have to like or defend our ancient, inefficient, slug of a boat as being the preferred way to go.


Marin,** The GB41 EU is awesome,* Watching the demos on u-tube gave me goosebumps. Owning a single screw 7kt boat with no bow thruster the Pod Driven GB looks amazing.* If money were no object I would definately give her a hard look.** What is your opinion about the cross-linked poly fuel tanks GB has chosen to use in the 2010 41EU?*Sorry for going off subject.* JohnP
IG32* #25* "Adagio"
-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 26th of December 2010 02:52:05 PM
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:30 AM   #12
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Maybe I am a sucker for the advertising. In an original installation, pods have to be cheaper to install. even comparing them to an outdrive installation, where the engine room is already at the stern, they still have to be just as easy to install, and should be no more expensive.
Speaking of outdrives, no more leaking bellows and $1000 minimun annual cost to keep the leg functional. All those external elements that fail in ODs are now inside, or eliminated altogether.
No more dripping shaft logs, cutless bearing replacements, etc.
No, not for a retrofit in a tri-cabin layout. Also not for a single, although if it would replace a single outdrive, why not?
Improvements in handling and fuel economy, better performance from lower horsepower, What is to whine about. Oh ya, I can't afford to move up. That is just my personal reality, no reason to trash the concept.
The GB41 with pods is awesome. Too bad you can't call it a Trawler any more.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:00 AM   #13
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

In May of 2009,waiting in Mobile for the flow in the Tenn-Tom to slow down, beautiful Sabre came into the marina after an encounter with a semi submerged green in the Tenn-Tom. I saw the damage done to one of the pods and shuddered at what could have been. Reflecting back on our groundings and scrapes in the previous 6 months in the Cumberland and Suwannee rivers, we would have incurred significant costs and delays, or,much more likely, been scared off some of the best parts of our trip, if we had had pod drives.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:12 AM   #14
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Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Jon wrote:

In May of 2009,waiting in Mobile for the flow in the Tenn-Tom to slow down, beautiful Sabre came into the marina after an encounter with a semi submerged green in the Tenn-Tom. I saw the damage done to one of the pods and shuddered at what could have been. Reflecting back on our groundings and scrapes in the previous 6 months in the Cumberland and Suwannee rivers, we would have incurred significant costs and delays, or,much more likely, been scared off some of the best parts of our trip, if we had had pod drives.
Jon
Jon, it sounds like you were*at Dog River Marina.* I would be interested in any further info that you may have of that incident.* Did he POD break off as designed?* Did it damage the transmission?* Did it damage the hull?* Any idea of the cost of repair?* If the POD broke off, was it retrieved?

*


-- Edited by Moonstruck on Monday 27th of December 2010 10:14:29 AM
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:37 AM   #15
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Pod did not break off.collision appeared to be a glancing blow on the side of the buoy, which chewed up the front prop and bent the internal drive shaft.Factory reps were arriving as we left and the pod was repaired that day and we were passed by the Sabre the next day. We spotted the likely culprit on the way north and could see 2 patches of blue bottom paint on the buoy so it likely was a "kiss" on the pod.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:38 AM   #16
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Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Jon wrote:We spotted the likely culprit on the way north and could see 2 patches of blue bottom paint on the buoy so it likely was a "kiss" on the pod.
So Jon,

So are you saying that the*same glancing blow would have not done any damage to a*twin screwed boat?

If the Capt. ran over a*can*buoy whether it was pods or twins I'm not sure the damage would have been a whole lot different.*


-- Edited by JD on Monday 27th of December 2010 11:39:02 AM
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:35 PM   #17
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Mike wrote:By the way, where is my flying car? Growing up in the sixties I just knew that one day I would have a flying car.
It's in the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field in Seattle.* It's red.* It flies great.* They keep waiting for you to show up and collect it but so far you've been a no-show.

*
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:44 PM   #18
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Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
Jon wrote:

...beautiful Sabre came into the marina after an encounter with a semi submerged green in the Tenn-Tom. I saw the damage done to one of the pods and shuddered at what could have been.
A GB66 (a boat that never should have been built as GB finally figured out after building three of them) hit a rock in SE Alaska a few years ago that tore off one of its stabilizers.* The boat was barely prevented from sinking, and the repair bill could have bought the owner a slightly-used 737 so he wouldn't have had to endure his GB66 anymore.

The point being that hitting any part of the running gear with a boat is going to cost an arm and a leg.* I have read--- but I could well be mistaken--- that the pod drives as used on the GB are designed to shear off rather than rip a big hole in the bottom of the boat.* If this is the case, it may actually be cheaper to replace a pod drive than to replace a traditional shaft/strut setup and do all the associated hull repair that will probably be required if the collision was severe enough to rip the strut(s) off the hull.

*


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 27th of December 2010 01:45:35 PM
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:48 PM   #19
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

A single shaft fully protected by a keel sounds better all the time.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:52 PM   #20
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RE: Conventional or POD Drives?

Quote:
JohnP wrote:What is your opinion about the cross-linked poly fuel tanks GB has chosen to use in the 2010 41EU?*Sorry for going off subject.* JohnP
I don't have enough knowledge about fuel tanks and fuel tank materials to give any sort of credible answer on that one.* All I can do is parrot what I have been told by people in a position to know this stuff--- stainles tanks are Bad (we have them), aluminum tanks are often Bad, fiberglass tanks are Good unless you use certain types of biodiesel or the tanks were not made correctly in which case they are Bad, black iron tanks are Good as long as they last, and poly fuel tanks are Good if they are made correctly.

I coudn't tell you anyhing about the good and bad attributes of cross-linking. The tanks in our boat aren't so I have no experience with that sort of setup.

*
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