The superyacht Air, the first yacht equipped with Azipod propulsors (in the form of a pair of 2,500kW Compact Azipod units), has successfully completed an initial six months of operation, as Azipod manufacturer ABB Marine reported recently.
Azipod have been adopted by many of the world’s ships in recent years, but the move into yachting may signal changes in the general yachting world in the future.
Describing the yacht's trials, ABB Marine said the results of the initial trials with the Compact Azipods — steering trials — were extremely successful, and subsequent sea trials showed many of the benefits of the Azipod podded propulsor, particularly when leaving the dock for the first time.
'With one Azipod ahead and one angled outwards at 90 degrees the vessel moved off the dock smoothly with increasing speed and then pivoted 180 degrees about midships with impressive thrust from the Azipod units forcing the stern around,' said the yacht's chief engineer Steven Lloyd in the most recent issue of ABB Marine's The Frontrunner, published late last month.
The company said that the lack of noise and vibration was also noticeable, both from the Azipod motor and the propeller.
Air has cruised extensively since departing the Lürssen shipyard last year, and has cruised from Bremen to the Northern Isles of Scotland, down to Palma and on the Mediterranean. 'In all this time the Azipod drives have proven to be extremely reliable, and cruising has proven to be very comfortable with the low levels of vibration, even at higher speeds,' said ABB Marine, noting that it was looking forward to 'more installations in yachts in the very near future.'