Ten years ago, Volvo Penta revolutionized leisure boating with its Volvo Penta IPS forward-facing propulsion system. Now, the company is opening up a new realm for recreational water sports with the new Volvo Penta FWD. The system’s patented design — forward-facing dual counter-rotating props and adjustable-trim drive — pulls the boat through the water rather than pushing, with an undisturbed water flow to the propellers.
The clean and efficient FWD propulsion system delivers superior responsiveness, acceleration, fuel economy and versatility, and is ideal for water sports that take place behind the boat, including wakeboarding and wakesurfing — a sport rapidly gaining in popularity in North America. Similar to wakeboarding but without the use of a rope and handle, wakesurfing provides a surfer with a perpetual wave in the wake of a boat for a much longer ride than in traditional surfing.
With the FWD, drivers are able to customize the wake for different watersport ability levels and feel the difference in tighter high-speed turns, as well as more responsive slow-speed maneuvering and docking. Additionally, the forward-facing Duoprop, with counter-rotating propellers, offers a unique and industry-first symmetrical wakeboarding wake and equally shaped wave on your side of choice.
“‘Les sports de glisse,’ while not central to the French or even the European boating experience, are certainly of high importance and growing quickly, especially for younger generations — who are Volvo Penta’s future customers,” says Pascal Jamet, Volvo Penta’s vice president of marine engines for Region Europe. “As these sports are gaining in popularity, the FWD is arriving at just the right time, conducive to the needs of water sports enthusiasts, while delivering excellent power and efficiency.”
Not just for sports
But since its release in February 2015, the FWD has also proved appealing to a wide variety of customers — not just fans of water sports — for its versatility. “The FWD is far from being a single-purpose system,” says Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas. “Customers have been calling their dealers to say how fun and responsive their boats are with FWD installed — in addition to raving about the low emissions and quieter ride.”
FWD reduces noise and vibration, and virtually eliminates exhaust fumes on deck since engine exhaust is expelled underwater beneath the boat. The adjustable tilt makes it easy to trim the boat for optimum flexibility, fuel efficiency and comfort when cruising. When at rest with the drive trimmed down, the forward-facing propellers are inboard of the boat, making activities like fishing and swimming more practical astern of the boat.
The proven Volvo Penta Duoprop system promotes better efficiency, with two propellers eliminating side forces, improving handling and reducing cavitation. Tested and developed with several key boat builder partners, the Volvo Penta FWD provides higher speeds and better performance with a smaller, lighter engine. High-speed turns are tighter, and slow-speed maneuvering and docking are more effective than with a traditional inboard motor.
Dealers and boat owners will benefit from the commonality of parts across the full range of engines and drives. Most importantly, the builder, dealer and customer have the peace of mind that comes with a fully integrated helm-to-prop solution designed, built and supported by a single manufacturer with an unmatched reputation for customer satisfaction and after-the-sale customer service. The new Volvo Penta FWD is also covered by Volvo Penta’s industry-leading warranty with five years of factory protection.
FWD at Cannes
New boat models featuring FWD are currently available only from US boat builders, including Four Winns and Regal, which are showing off the system at the Cannes Boat Show, September 8-13. Due to high demand for the system in the US, its entry into the European boat market is yet to be determined.
Volvo Penta will be celebrating the European debut of the FWD at Cannes on stand QML 234, where visitors can take a closer look at the system, as well as the company’s V6 and V8 gas engines. To take the FWD-equipped Four Winns TS 222 and Regal 2100 Surf Edition for a test drive, visit stand QML 072.
Forward drive, high resolution image >>