With some of the weather conditions that are experienced around Port Lincoln boaties often need all the help they can get in maneuvering their vessels in that part of the world and Maritimo 56 Motor Yacht owner Roy Wells is one step ahead of all his counterparts.
In fact Roy and his family are the first people in the world to be experiencing the benefits of a new addition to the joystick control system phenomena that has swept the marine industry in recent years and he says it takes vessel control to a whole new level.
An addition to the traditional joystick system called Express Positioning System (EPS) now enables skippers to manoeuvre their vessels to a desired position and heading and at the press of a button the system then controls automatically the propellers and proportional thrusters to maintain the desired position regardless of wind and tide conditions.
Roy’s Maritimo is the first vessel in the world to have the system fitted.
About to be released globally by Twin Disc the EPS system is an option exclusively for shaft drive boat owners who have the company’s Express Joystick System (EJS) in place and it can be supplied with a new build or can be retro fitted.
The EPS operates off a roof mounted GPS receiver and has a colour display at the main helm. It enables boat owners to ‘virtually park’ their vessels in what ever position they like and the system will maintain station.
For Roy the benefits have been amazing. “We can all get into a bit of trouble docking in big weather and we get a lot of that around Port Lincoln,” he said.
“Even in a strong wind I can hold this big boat close to the dock for as long as I wish, it’s invaluable even when alone without a crew, press the hold station and you have time to set your fenders, sort the ropes all knowing you will stay were you have selected. The hold system buys you time even in a strong wind “I also use the system when I am out tuna fishing. “I have joystick controls in the cockpit and I can finesse the boat to keep the fish exactly where I want it with just my thumb and forefinger then hold the boat when and where I choose by a simple press of a button.
“The EPS option also enables me to position the boat right above a deep fishing hole and hold it there regardless of wind and tide without any need to anchor or keep drifting over a reef or select hot spot and returning to do another drift. “I can now position the boat much closer to those rocks to lay a cray pot down knowing I that I am safe and will stay in position selected. “I would never consider without the hold station. “Imagine all those times you would just like to freeze the boat where it is, now it’s available, it makes boating more enjoyable and safer. It is remarkable.”
Twin Disc’s Pacific Managing Director, Glenn Frettingham said the company’s Express Joystick System released in 2011 was widely regarded as the smoothest and most precise joystick system on the market.
“The extension of this system is now the Express Positioning System and with our patented Quickshift transmissions we can proportionally control propeller and hydraulic thruster speeds and activate fast and smooth direction changes,” he said.
“The response is instant so the EPS can react quickly to change in wind and current. “ It enables skippers to maintain station in a wide range of conditions.”
Maritimo sales and marketing manager Greg Haines said the systems by Twin Disc made boat handling a breeze for all owners no matter what their experience.
“Many of our buyers are multiple boat owners and they are quite comfortable handling their vessels using engine controls only, but these new systems provide a level of precision and easy of operation that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago,” he said.
“The give shaft drive vessels a level of maneuverability that is superior to anything else on the market.”
Mr Haines said the response to the new systems by Roy Wells was testimony to the benefits they provided.
“It means that coming in and out of the dock, picking up a mooring buoy, maintaining position over a fishing hot spot, holding station to position fenders before docking and boating in bad weather are all now a breeze thanks to the combination of the joystick and the EPS option,” he said.
“I think you will see a lot more Maritimo owners looking at this addition to their vessels.”