Volvo brings joystick control to its sterndrives

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Four years after introducing its IPS pod drive propulsion system with joystick control, Volvo Penta announced that the same joystick technology will be available with its V8-powered sterndrives.

“We’ll have joystick technology for boats from 25 to 92 feet,” says Bob Apple, vice president of sales and marketing.

“We’ve been planning this for quite some time, but we don’t come to market with a product until it’s thoroughly tested and we know it’s right.”

The new joystick uses fly-by-wire technology to command the outdrives, which move independently and are fitted with counter-rotating propellers. “We’re very confident it compares extremely well with the competition,” says Apple, referring to MerCruiser’s Axius sterndrive system, which also has joystick capability.

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Volvo Penta’s joystick sterndrives will be available with twin-engine installations from 270 hp to 420 hp, including eight engines in three sizes: 5.0, 5.7 and 8.1 liter. The engine manufacturer had one boat with the new system on display at the Miami International Boat Show in February: a Monterey 320.

Four Winns began building boats with Volvo’s joystick sterndrives in December, according to Christophe Lavigne, Four Winns director of engineering. In addition to the V358, the company will also offer the new propulsion package in its 318, 338 and 288 models, he says.

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“It’s fantastic,” says Lavigne. “We were losing customers who want to get into bigger boats but were intimidated to drive them. Now we have a great chance of maintaining those customers.”

Pricing was unavailable at press time. www.volvo.com

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This article originally appeared in the May 2009 issue.

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