We had to travel a good ways to get to her, but the trip (via a long ferry boat ride and an even longer ride in the ol’ maroon Mazda) was well worth it. The newly splashed, all-aluminum Coastal Craft 65 Concord is an exceptionally elegant, precisely finished, superbly engineered (I mean, I’ve never seen a better laid-out engine room anywhere), great-running vessel. We’ll run a full test report in an upcoming issue of Power & Motoryacht, of course, and it’ll hand you the total lowdown on the engine room, the E-Plex power management system (with a literal arsenal of lithium-ion batteries that’ll keep the air-con going all night without benefit of genset), and all the other goodies we got to try out during out sea trial out of a little marina in far-flung Gibsons, British Columbia. But what I wanna talk about here is the Volvo Penta joystick driving system shown below:
When I first heard about this system I thought it allowed you to not only steer a boat but also control her speed via joystick. This double-edged possibility brought a question to mind, “Hmmmm, could Volvo have gone nuts?” I mean, controlling speed and course with a joystick seemed a tad dangerous and prone to eventual legalities.
Turns out I was wrong. The system allows you to change course by rocking the joystick from side to side, and set a new course via the rotation of the joystick’s crown, but speed is still controlled by the gearshift levers. Much safer scenario.
How does the thing work? Very nicely. I drove the boat around the pulp-stick infested waters of BC with laid-back comfort yesterday morning. Moreover, docking the boat was the most fun for me since monkeys and barrels were invented. You sit in the comfortable helm chair, with your forearm resting on the armrest of the chair and your fingers operating the joystick—I swear, it felt like I was docking the boat while I was seated in a recliner, drinking a cup of coffee. Putting the joystick control in the armrest of the chair is a spectacular idea!!!!!!!!!!!!