|Flat Out Control|
Sea Ray’s new flat-panel touch screen brings a new dimension to your helm.
By Brad Dunn — December 2000
If you think electronic chartplotters put paper charts out of a job, consider what Sea Ray's latest technology could do to your entire helm station.
This summer Sea Ray launched a 68-footer that may not only redefine the way boaters interact with their yachts, but also launch a new age of recreational boating. With the help of Digital Marine Panels of America (DMP America) and Radio Zeeland, Sea Ray gave its prototype 680 Super Sport a fully integrated helm, complete with navigational controls, engine and shipboard monitoring, and full electronics. But here's the kicker: All helm instruments, gauges, and controls are contained within two touch-screen monitors.
If the idea of controlling your boat exclusively through a computer and a few touch screens makes you a little seasick, fear not. At the heart of the system is a technology that was developed for, and proven to work in, megayachts and commercial ships over the past decade.
In fact, in PMY's February issue, we reported on the exact megayacht helm technology from which Sea Ray built its system. In the article "2001: An Odyssey We Ought to See," Mike Reischmann, who heads DMP America, a leading developer of integrated helms, foreshadowed Sea Ray's achievement. He claimed that by 2001, cutting-edge megayacht technology would begin to trickle down to the less-than-80-foot boat market. The new 680SS prototype is the first trickle.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.