55 Motoryacht — By George L. Petrie
— January 2003
High Tech, Low Stress, More Fun
|State-of-the-art monitoring and control systems complement an equally impressive Uniesse 55.|
For most owners, yachting is a source of relaxation, a getaway from stress and a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. So the very act of owning and operating a yacht should be as stress-free as possible. Maneuvering in and out of a tight slip should be an occasion for the owner to impress friends and family, not a cause of domestic discord. Electronics should be configured so that if any component fails, a backup will seamlessly come online. The status of mechanical and electrical systems should be instantly viewable at the helm, and in the event of malfunction, meaningful diagnostics should be displayed and the appropriate manuals should be readily at hand. And for good measure, there should be easy access to factory technicians for consultation.
Sound like a pipe dream? For sure, several builders do offer systems that provide some of this futuristic functionality. But as the owner of a forward-thinking technology applications firm, Marc Trachtenberg wanted his new Uniesse 55 to do it all. His criteria seemed simple: a sturdy, well-constructed hull, a finely crafted interior, and the ability to fulfill his wishes. But "his wishes" included all the functionality set forth above, with redundancy for every critical system on the yacht, plus several other high-tech wrinkles.
The project evolved as a joint effort. Trachtenberg and his company masterminded the electronics, monitoring, and control systems, while Uniesse integrated the mind-boggling array of equipment with the yacht, flawlessly and without compromising the yacht's aesthetics. The result is a singularly impressive blending of design, craft, and technology.
I've seen many fancy electronics installations, but none that even come close to the system on this Uniesse 55. For starters, there are two complete radar systems, one with a 4K dome and the other with a 10K open array. There are two independent plotter systems, a Raymarine 631 chartplotter and a Raymarine L1250 depthsounder/plotter, both viewable at either the upper or the lower helm station. And there are three GPS systems: two Raymarine 120 WAAS units (one a backup) plus a Raymarine 114 DGPS. Both are live, with WAAS as the primary on SeaTalk and DGPS as secondary on NEMA. A computer continuously monitors both systems, and if the WAAS should fail or become inaccurate (due to momentary interruption in the augmentation signal), the DGPS output automatically intercedes.
Between the twin chartplotters (at both the upper and lower helms), there's a digital display console that runs a full suite of PC-based navigation and cartography software, supporting both vector and raster formats. The PC screen also allows access to the yacht's monitoring and control systems, along with full Internet connectivity. Thus, in the event of a problem, operating parameters and engine diagnostics can be readily uploaded to a Web site for review by factory technicians.
Perhaps the capstone on this high-tech tour de force is a small, wireless, touch-screen device slightly bigger than palm-size but easily handheld. With it, Trachtenberg can display and control any system from anywhere on the yacht. It's pretty neat, doing everything from changing waypoints to checking engine temperatures, literally in the palm of his hand. Radar, plotter, navigation, or Internet--even a complete set of engine manuals is accessible.
But Trachtenberg's high-tech innovations aren't limited to just computers and electronics. For peace of mind, a panel to the left of the lower helm station puts all A.C. and D.C. breakers within easy reach. A Mastervolt battery-management system regulates all 12 of the yacht's batteries, and a Mastervolt inverter provides A.C. power when the gensets are offline. Even the genset controls are at the helm, with digital readouts of all critical operating parameters.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.