"Builders have definitely embraced IPS technology, and their numbers are growing all the time," says VPIC manager Ed Szilagyi. "We've worked on designs ranging from 31 feet with twins up to 92 feet with quads." The latest generation IPS 3 engines, with horsepower ratings of 1,050 and 1,200, started production in May.
"By paying attention to our construction and using lighter, stronger materials, we gained up to 15 percent more efficiency," Spencer adds. "With IPS, we can add another 10 to 15 percent with comparable horsepower. On a 60-foot boat, that's an impressive savings of one gallon of fuel for every mile you go."
The learning curve swings both ways too. Spencer helped Volvo Penta improve IPS performance with input on the Sportfish Mode software, and he was instrumental in persuading the Swedish engine manufacturer to offer the above-water exhaust option to reduce white water in the wake. Those changes further advanced fishing performance.
"In Sportfish Mode, there's not a boat around that can keep up with it," Szilagyi says, based on firsthand experience. He skippers the company boat during billfish tournaments. "It's fast and totally controllable. I've had several hot fish at the back of the boat before the mate could even get to the leader."
So with all these design advancements, are conventional sterndrive diesels or straight inboards a thing of the past? Not just yet.
"Sport fishermen are superstitious and resistant to change," Spencer says. "They're also more demanding than other boat customers because they go out when it's rough. But they get on the bandwagon eventually. We have to prove this new technology works, and we're doing that every day out on the water."
The 70-foot Volvo Penta company boat, built by Spencer Yachts and powered by triple 1,200-horsepower IPS 3 engines, will be making the rounds on the East Coast tournament circuit this summer.
Custom IPS Builders
Caison Custom Yachts
Ritchie Howell CustomCarolina Yachts
Spencer Yachts Inc.