Of course, an iPhone screen isn’t quite the size or complexity you’d want at your yacht’s helm station. To view fully integrated systems properly, there’s another megayacht component that is working its way down to smaller vessels: Full-glass monitors, such as those from companies like Hatteland (858-753-1959) and AAdaptiv (954-302-8675). These high-resolution monitors are not only aesthetically pleasing (see photos on previous page), but they are also generally capable of more integration than conventional monitors.
“You can actually run SiMON and something like [Furuno’s] NavNet 3D on the same monitor,” says Hatteland U.S. sales manager David Neal. And your standard computer-interface connectors work, too. “You can plug in DVI, VGA, and USB systems [into one monitor] and scroll between them. We also have the ability to do picture-in-a-picture and split screen.”
So what’s preventing integrated systems from becoming standard on all production boats? Cost is one obvious answer. But according to Furuno (360-834-9300) engineer Eric Kunz, there are a few other prohibitory factors: “I find that the level of sophistication requires a lot of knowledge on the side of the captains. Most of these guys don’t have the time to deal with all of the systems together. You get an alarm, and you don’t know whether it’s a software-interface issue or a hardware problem.”
Kunz acknowledged that fail-safe procedures are also a concern and relays an anecdote about a fully integrated system that had a minor glitch—one that managed to shut down an entire vessel. “We were all pretty scared for a moment,” he recalls.
But while some people are cautious, benefits like the ability to scale systems to fit any vessel are attracting some high-end production builders. One example is Viking Yachts, which has put the Octoplex System on some of its sportfishermen over the past few years. As the marine industry begins to follow the trend towards systems integration, you can bet a few more enterprising builders will make the leap, and that’s all it takes for a system to work its way into the mainstream. Just look at what happened with azipods.
This article originally appeared in the May 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.