Oct 2nd, 2018

Webasto at the DockThe Webasto Breeze-equipped Four Winns HD 270 at Sarasota.

At the recent Groupe Beneteau Cadillac dealer meeting in Sarasota, John Armstrong and I were introduced to the industry’s first A/C and heating system for open cockpit boats. The Webasto Breeze system was inspired by Christophe Lavigne, Groupe Beneteau VP of Engineering and Customer Service.

He told the anecdote of driving along the highway on a sunny day in his Mini convertible with the air conditioning running. Why not have A/C in boats?

About three to four years ago, Webasto Thermo & Comfort North America and Volvo Penta of the Americas teamed up to develop a solution. At the Sarasota meeting, we drove a Four Winns HD 270, the company’s largest bow rider equipped with a Volvo Penta 350 V8 stern drive. Not only did the system deliver an impressive stream of cool air for the driver and passengers, this system can also generate heat for those who have just come from skiing or swimming, of for those cool nights on the water.

Webasto PanelThe Webasto Breeze is a new fully integrated engine-driven air conditioner and optional heating system designed specifically for open-cockpit sterndrive boats.

Developed as a collaborative effort, Webasto Breeze will be marketed to builders as an OEM-installed option and through dealers as an add-on.

Silver coloured compressor and higher output alternator are installed on the engine.

The modular system is designed for easy turnkey installation into new boats. Volvo Penta supplies an upsized alternator and mounting bracket, and Webasto provides the belt-driven compressor, evaporator, condenser, seawater pump and dash-mounted controls. The entire system is 12VDC, eliminating the need for an auxiliary generator.

Specifically designed for the marine industry, Webasto Breeze provides ambient cooling and heating for many scenarios. Webasto Breeze puts out 7,000 BTU of ambient comfort at idle or slow speeds and up to 30,000 BTU at higher engine rpms. It is controlled by a simple dash-mounted unit with three fan speeds and a mode switch.

Webasto LayoutThe first US boatbuilder to offer Webasto Breeze is Four Winns, which is introducing it as an option on the HD270 model. "We were totally blown away by this new product," said Andy Lindsay, Four Winns Vice President of Sales. "Our dealers love it. We were so impressed that we presented our first-ever Suppliers Innovation Award jointly to Webasto and Volvo Penta at our dealer meeting this month."

"We value the creativity of our customers and appreciate the trust they place in us for providing solutions to problems they face," said David Wollard, Webasto Thermo & Comfort North America senior director of leisure markets. "Webasto Breeze is a perfect example of how user-driven requests can ignite innovation, especially when collaborating with other forward-thinking companies like Volvo Penta."

Simple controls and vents can be installed where convenient.

"Volvo Penta has a long and storied history of innovations in the boating industry, and this collaborative development program with Webasto has produced yet another industry first," said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas.

"Our innovations are driven by our Easy Boating strategy, which aims to make it easier for more families to enjoy the boating experience. With Webasto Breeze, boat builders can offer their customers the convenience of automotive air conditioning for the first time in an open cockpit boat."