The New Caterpillar C8.7

Strange Bedfellows

Some Engine builders are finding they need to partner up if they’re going to meet stringent new emissions regulations.

When I heard from Caterpillar that it would display its new pod drive with its newest engine, the C8.7, at the 2013 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, I was intrigued. Both had been out for nearly a year, although I’d yet to see one or hear of one being installed. I remember thinking, well, I guess CAT’s  finally found a home for its new engine. That alone made it worth covering, which I did in a recent column (Power & Propulsion, November 2013 ➤) that filled you in on new engine-related products for 2014.

The C8.7 was intriguing. It seemed to come out of nowhere and then, for a year, go nowhere. So this most recent information motivated me to do a little digging. I quickly discovered that the engine was not only not derived from another Caterpillar marine engine; it wasn’t derived from any Caterpillar engine. That certainly explained its unique (for CAT anyway) technology. The C8.7 combines a second-generation common-rail fuel system, a belt-driven supercharger, and a turbocharger to generate 650 metric horsepower at 2300 rpm while meeting EPA’s Tier 3 emissions regulations. Both the turbo and supercharger are operational from idle, but the turbo doesn’t produce significant boost until the engine is around 1200 rpm (the threshold is adjustable). Being mechanically driven, the supercharger produces boost whenever the engine is running. Once the turbo makes positive pressure, an electromagnetic clutch automatically disengages the supercharger to prevent overboost. The result is very fast torque rise—and it is torque that puts a boat on plane.

Caterpillar C8.7Something else unusual is that CAT is apparently offering the C8.7 only mated to its Three60 Pod 650 drive system, not as a straight inboard. The allure of the pod is obvious, but it’s hard to imagine why CAT wouldn’t amortize development costs by offering it also as an inboard.

Then there was nomenclature: What’s with the decimal point? For all other CAT engines, the integer following “C” signifies total displacement in liters, rounded to the nearest whole. So, for example, while the C12 displaces 12 liters, the C15 displaces 14.6 liters, not 15 liters, and it is not designated the C14.6.

Obviously the best place to sort this out would be on the CAT Marine Web site: But guess what? The C8.7 isn’t listed—or at least wasn’t at press time. Since according to CAT the engine was developed “in tandem with Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT),” I tried searching Fiat’s Web site, and that of IVECO, the Fiat subsidiary that makes diesel engines and such. Nothing.

Finally I tried typing “C8.7 marine diesel engine” into Google. Among the results I got a CAT press release dated February 2013 announcing the C8.7 and including this quote from David Shannon, Caterpillar Marine Power Systems marine pleasurecraft global sales manager: “The C8.7 … will replace the 575-metric-horsepower C9 with a common-rail fuel system and a new air-management system, allowing us to produce 650 metric horsepower from a smaller and lighter package.” With more digging I discovered that apparently CAT chose not to invest in the upgrades required for the C9 to meet Tier 3, even though it needed to be in that market segment.

So instead it partnered with Fiat, which is widely credited with developing the common-rail fuel system, to adapt a model from Fiat’s Cursor engine line. That would reduce development costs, but of course, CAT didn’t get it for free: It can offer the engine in only one recreational rating that meets Tier 3 and cannot sell commercial variants. But why offer the C8.7 only with CAT’s pod? According to one source, finding the right engine to power this pod—while meeting Tier 3—was the primary reason CAT went looking for a partner in the first place. Apparently the company is betting big on big pods.

The expense of meeting Tier 3 also killed a C12 upgrade. Again, CAT and Fiat partnered on a compliant replacement called the C12.9 (ah, the decimal explained!), which uses Fiat’s second-generation common-rail technology and, in the 1,000-horsepower version, its supercharger-turbocharger combo, to meet the emissions limits.

And if all this isn’t complex enough, let’s throw one more name into the mix: Volvo Penta. The company introduced a supercharger-cum-turbocharger diesel engine way back in 1991. But common-rail injection was only a dream at the time, and anyway the idea was faster planing, not lower emissions. Volvo’s KAMD42 really has little in common with the new C8.7.

So this is what the future most likely will hold: big pods and clean diesels that have been developed by multiple partners to minimize costs. The only question is how boaters are going to feel about having a yacht powered by Fiat.


The New Caterpillar C8.7.


Our Bluewater January – February 2014 Upcoming Event Reminder

Viking VIP Preview

January 31 and February 1, 2014

Viking 55C
Viking 76 EB
Viking 42 Open
The invitation-only Viking VIP will be held at the Viking Yacht Service Center in Riviera Beach, Florida on January 31 and February 1, 2014. In addition to Viking’s Vendor Village featuring preferred vendors offering the latest products and new technology in the marine industry, Viking will also have on display over a dozen new model boats. From the Viking Convertible line will be the4246, 50, 525562667076, and 82. Viking will also be featuring the following Enclosed Bridge models: 627076, and 82. In addition,Viking will be debuting their all new 42 Open42SCand 42ST during this event. Please contact your Bluewater sales rep for additional information and entry to this exclusive event.

Raleigh Convention Boat Show

Come join us at the Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show at 500 South Salisbury Street in Raleigh on Thursday, February 6th through Sunday, February 9th featuring all new models from Regulator including the2528 and 34Click here for discounted tickets and contact your Bluewater salesperson for more information regarding this event.

Mid-Atlantic Sports & Boat Show in Virginia Beach

For those farther North, come out to the Virginia Beach Convention Center located at 1000 19th Street in Virginia Beach on Friday, February 7th through Sunday, February 9thfor the Mid-Atlantic Sports and Boat Show. We will be featuring all new models from Regulator including the 2528 and34SS. Parking for this event will be free. For further information contact your Bluewater sales rep.

Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show

Enjoy the warm weather this Valentine’s Day in sunny South Florida during the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show on Collins Avenue in Miami. We will be on-site featuring several vessels off Ramp 12 at Slips 619 through 622. The show starts Thursday February 13thand runs through Monday, February 17th. Contact your Bluewater salesperson for more information regarding this event.
New Boats
New model product from the manufacturers will be limited for 2014, so check out our inventory of new in-stock models and vessels that are on order.
Yamaha Promo
Purchase any eligible Yamaha four-stroke outboard engine equipped boat, and receive three years of Yamaha limited warranty coverage, along with the additional protection of a Yamaha Extended Service (Y.E.S.) plan! Or you may choose to receive up to $2,000 in credit towards goods and services from your authorized Yamaha outboard dealer. Learn More.Contact Us today for more information! Other restrictions and conditions may apply. Offer Valid from January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014.

Recent Happenings

Princess S72
Renderings of the all new Princess Yachts S-Class set to debut at the Miami Boat Show
Jarrett Bay 34 Express
The Jarrett Bay 34 nearing completion before heading to Bluewater
Swordfish Sportfishing
Swordfish Sportfishing at Bluewater Service Yard receiving maintenance
Viking 92C
Continued progress on the hull of Viking 92C set to debut at FLIBS 2014

Do Not Be Late to The Viking Yachts VIP on January 31, 2014


The 18th Annual Viking VIP Boat Show Preview begins its two-day run on Thursday, January 31, 2014 at the Viking Yacht Service Center in Riviera Beach, Florida. This event is extra special this year because it is our 50th Anniversary. We will have 20 spectacular Viking yachts on display and available for sea trials through your Viking dealer. If you have not responded to attend the VIP, we encourage you to do so without delay because the slots are filling up quickly. Don’t forget, we will also have 50 vendors on hand displaying marine accessories, specialty items, engines, electronics, and marine services for your convenience. We look forward to seeing you there!

Seven Marine Adds Bluewater Network to Service Program

Only Authorized Service Centers in North Carolina & Virginia


Seven Marine has appointed the Bluewater Network of world-class service facilities in Virginia and North Carolina as the only Authorized Service Centers for this region. Comprised of the Bluewater Yacht Yards in Hampton, Virginia & Wanchese, North Carolina and Jarrett Bay Boatworks in Beaufort, North Carolina, the Bluewater Network was hand-picked to service the most powerful outboard motors on the planet for the expertise, ingenuity and outboard service accomplishments of all three facilities.


With some of the most highly trained and certified outboard technicians in the region on their teams, Seven Marine customers can expect the highest level of professionalism from the Bluewater Network. Factory-trained and all sharing Seven Marine’s “no-excuses” attitude, Bluewater Network technicians have the tools, technology, know-how and focus on minimizing down-time, keeping Seven Marine customers on the water and on the fish.

Bluewater President Jan Boone stated, “It is our goal to ensure that no matter what your boating need may be, that it can be met by Bluewater. We are honored to be recognized for our team’s service excellence and look forward to providing exceptional experiences for Seven Marine customers.”

For Service…

In Virginia, contact 757-723-0793
In Wanchese, contact 252-475-1420
In Beaufort, contact 252.728. 2690 x.232

About Seven Marine

Seven Marine was founded in 2010 by a team of proven innovators with decades of experience in the marine marketplace. The Seven Marine 557 revolutionizes the market by creating for the first time an opportunity for enthusiasts to experience the power, refinement, features, and conveniences previously exclusive to inboard, luxury sport yachts, but with all the performance, efficiency, and ease of use inherent to outboards. Thanks to its unprecedented 557 horsepower and myriad technological “firsts,” the Seven Marine 557, with its General Motors supercharged LSA V8 (Cadillac CTS-V, Camaro ZL1), stands boldly alone in the outboard market.

About The Bluewater Network

Through old fashioned determination, superior products and friendly service, Jarrett Bay and Bluewater grew individually into multi-faceted and wildly successful groups of companies. The 2012 merger of Jarrett Bay Yacht Sales and Bluewater Yacht Sales doubled the sales operation and united some of the most well regarded service facilities on the East Coast – the Jarrett Bay Marine Park in Beaufort, NC and Bluewater Yacht Yards in Wanchese, NC and Hampton, VA. Continuing to be guided by the same hands-on, founding ownership teams, The Bluewater Network boasts immeasurable amounts of combined marine sales and service experience.

The Truth About Shafts and Pods

For nearly a decade, pod propulsion looked like it would render inboards obsolete.
boat shaft and podSo why hasn’t it happened?

At the 2005 Miami Boat Show Volvo Penta introduced its Inboard Performance System (IPS) and changed forever not only the way we run our boats but the way we think about running them. Before, maneuvering required forethought, logic, coordination, and strategizing; after, it became mere intuition: Look where you want to go and point the joystick that way. They said it was so easy a child could do it, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before a lad barely out of kindergarten deftly maneuvered a 40-footer into a slip all by himself.

But point and shoot was only part of it; IPS also claimed more speed and better fuel efficiency (the precise amount of each is still up for discussion), and thanks to its aft engine placement, more interior space and lower interior sound levels. Still, many boaters weren’t convinced. One described his skepticism like this: “It’s just too good to be true. There’s no free lunch, so there must be a hidden cost that no one’s factored in.”

Is there some X Factor or Factors that negates the pod’s proven advantages? You need go no farther than your marina to hear a list of suspects.

The Unknown

Everyone fears the unknown, especially boaters, many of whom still consider pod drives something alien. Hang around a boatyard, and you’ll hear at least one horror story about some unfortunate soul who was stranded, or worse, because his pods failed. These are often second- or third-told tales with a questionable provenance and few verifiable facts. Over the years, I’ve found online forums to be some of the most ready places for first-hand accounts of engine-related problems. Sure the stories are one-sided, but as an aggregate source of information, they’ve led me to conclude that pods are no more prone to failure than inboards but that when a pod breaks, the repair bill’s going to be higher.

Yes, pods have sheared off upon striking something immovable (as they’re designed to do), leaving the hull intact and the owner with a five-figure repair bill. Such tales are grist for boaters’ imaginations, as is the mere idea of components made of expensive, finely machined alloys dangling below the boat, protected by neither keel nor shaft. Yet catastrophic groundings are rare for all boats, although again, the financial consequences for the pod owner are usually steeper. (Power & Motoryacht once had a company boat powered by inboards with which the publisher at the time rammed a sunken fuel barge at a healthy clip. The bill to undo the resulting carnage came to $46,000, a figure that couldn’t have been much worse if pods had been involved.) 

Pods are comprised of some very costly components, but theoretically, their modular design should yield some countervailing savings in labor costs. Theoretically. 


Pods have more parts, both mechanical and electronic, and conventional wisdom says that means more problems. The inboard has simplicity and ubiquity. Pull into any port in the world, and there’s probably a guy there who can fix it. (Stranded in Guaymas, Mexico, I watched a guy true up a dinged prop using just a single jack and anvil. We didn’t have to touch it until we got back to San Diego.)

But conventional wisdom no longer applies. Today electronics are inextricably entwined with every aspect of our lives, and whether it’s commercial jet engines, cars, home appliances, or chartplotters, we expect and receive virtually bulletproof reliability. So the fact that pod systems are loaded with electronics actually makes them less prone to failure—and unfortunately an unfathomable mystery to most mechanics. Alas, the fact that electronics don’t respond well to brute force may mean some service challenges, at least in the short term, which is why long-distance cruisers have, as a group, been wary of pods. 


Inboards are virtually maintenance-free, while pods require lots of servicing. Of course neither of these statements is true. Inboards require sacrificial-anode replacement, prop adjustment, cutless bearing repair, shaft alignment, and a method of controlling marine growth. Pods require drive-oil changes every 250 hours or annually. Also demanding periodic attention are hydraulic steering, transmission, and lower-unit oils. All told, figure $500 per engine annually, plus haul-out fees.

Most pods also require periodic removal and inspection of prop sets and seals, and re-greasing of the propshafts—figure $250 per pod. (It’s not a bad idea to do the same—minus the seals—for inboards.) 

Sacrificial anode maintenance is both cheap and easily performed by the average inboard boat owner. Fifty dollars per prop should do it. Each IPS has anodes as well, one up inside the exhaust tunnel (the other is on the transom); both Zeus anodes are on the trim tabs where they’re easy to reach. Allow $450 per IPS pod, $350 per Zeus. Finally there’s antifoulant for the drive. Ignore it and you can forget about that edge in fuel efficiency over inboards. Most yards will repaint a pod for $300.  

All up, pod owners can expect to pony up something like an additional $2,500 for scheduled maintenance. That’s not chump change, but neither is it likely to produce heart palpitations in the owner of a million-dollar vessel. And while it’s hard to nail down the amount of that fuel-efficiency edge, everyone agrees it does exist and can compensate you for at least some of the additional maintenance costs. 

Oh, and if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you’ll discover that a lot of pod maintenance requires specialized tools and training. Disappointing, but then again when’s the last time you worked on your car?


Like long-distance cruisers, sportfishermen have been slow to accept pods, in this case not because of perceived deficiencies but rather a reluctance to try anything that might reduce chances of success. Better fuel efficiency? More interior room? If they don’t increase the odds of hooking up, who cares? And maneuverability—well, any good sportfishing captain can put his ride wherever he wants—without a joystick.

Nevertheless, pods are making inroads. Viking offers four versions of its 42, all with pods, and according to company director of communications Peter Frederiksen, they sell well. “The 42 Convertible is up to Hull number 10 but we are up to 36 hulls for the Open version,” he says. 

Initial Cost

Pods cost more, period. But how do you compare boats? Imagine a 44-footer with three cabins, two heads, and inboards priced $20,000 less than an identical 44-footer with pods that, thanks to its aft-engine placement, has one more cabin or head. Wouldn’t accommodations be the more relevant yardstick? And what of resale? How much of the additional initial cost will you get back at trade-in time? We’re still trying to sort through the answer to that one.

There are many reasons why everyone’s not on the pod bandwagon. But tick them off and it’s hard not to conclude that the trend is undeniable: More boaters prefer them every year, and while they’ll never completely replace inboards, they are the future of boating. As one broker told me, “It’s like automatic transmissions. At first no one trusted them; now you can hardly sell a car without one.”


Power and Motoryacht: Six boats you may want to know about-Back Cove 41

Back Cove 41

By Kevin Koenig

February 2014 New Boats Notebook

We tracked down the inside scoop on what boatbuilders are up to next.

Back Cove 41 profile

  • Builder: Back Cove
  • Model: Back Cove 41
  • 2014


“The focus of the Back Cove 41 is on long-range cruising; loopers and the like,” says Bentley Collins of Back Cove Yachts. “She’s got two queen-sized berths and two heads on the lower level, then the galley and main saloon on the helm deck. This is the first Back Cove with a helm-deck door to the starboard side deck, a nod to the cruising couples who we expect will be using this design.”

This seems like the perfect boat for a couple to take around the loop, or just down a section of it. She’s also got two staterooms below, so the owner can bring another couple, or maybe the grandkids. Nicely executed design here.Back Cove 41 deck plans

Click here for Back Cove’s contact information and index of articles

Join Princess Yachts for the World Premiere of the S72 and the North American Premiere of the 98 Motor Yacht at the 2014 Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show


The 2014 edition of the Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show, which runs February 13th to the 17th, promises to be one of the most extraordinary to date for Princess.  Preparations are underway for the world premiere showing of the S72, the first of a new 
range of Sportbridge yachts that exemplify all the ability, quality, and design expected from our FLYBRIDGE and V CLASS models while injecting a new level of performance, style, and on-water attitude.


S72 Salon Rendering

Fitted with twin Caterpillar or MAN engines from 1622hp to 1800hp, the S72 will handle every bit as well as she looks. A proven deep-V hull and low center of gravity will deliver class-leading ride quality, with speeds expected to pass 37 knots, along with a highly efficient cruising range. Sleek and aggressive exterior styling will be a feature of S CLASS, from the dark wraparound superstructure glass and angled hull windows to the raked profile that flows into a strong architectural section in the cockpit.  Fitting of her front and center Miami Beach premiere, the S72 will be shown with a special matte metallic aluminum hull wrap for added style during the show.

S72 Master Stateroom Rendering

Alongside the S72, we are pleased to announce the North American premiere showing of the stunning 98 Motor Yacht, which highlights an eight model display that also includes the V39, V62-S, Princess 56, 72 Motor Yacht, and the Miami premiere showings of the recently introduced Princess V48 and 82 Motor Yacht.   

Princess 98 Motor Yacht


98 Motor Yacht Salon


98 Motor Yacht Master Stateroom

The Princess Showcase is located at Ramp 33 between the 4200 and 4300 Blocks of Collins Avenue.

For show hours and information, visit  We look forward to welcoming you aboard!