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Product Review: Yacht Controller

Submitted onJuly 18, 2009 No comments yet, share your thoughts

For many years we have installed hardwired remotes on boats such as Glendinning’s handheld unit. They usually come with at least 15’ of cable that you plug into an outlet that is hardwired to the engine room transmitter. Most times we installed an outlet on the flybridge and one in the aft deck so the boater could use the remote at the stern as he pulls into the slip and then scoot down to the aft deck to help grab lines as he continued to steer the boat. The system is reliable and many people (including our clients) still use it today, but there are some drawbacks:

  • Labor cost to run those wires and install the plugs
  • The remote itself is very large and cumbersome requiring two hands to operate
  • Limited by the length of the cord
  • Necessity for a large cabinet to store the remote and long cable

The Yacht Controller concept is simple, take the good of the remote and eliminate the drawbacks. The result is an outstanding wireless unit the size of a cell phone and powerful enough to control your engine throttle, bow & stern thrusters and even your windlass.

  • Installation is only a few hours and can be retrofitted to ANY boat with OR without electronic engine controls. No wires to run anywhere.
  • The remote is intuitive, fits comfortably in your hands and can be easily operated by one hand freeing the other to grab a line, a fender…or a handrail!!!!
  • You can walk freely around or off the boat for quite a distance (I can attest to this)
  • It stores just about anywhere- it’s the size of a cell phone!

Additional benefits as tested by us and reported by our member users:

  • Saves relationships: No need to yell “boat-to-wall” distances to your friends and family or to stress out because of a tough current. You are free to stand where you need to be.
  • Saves anchorages: In a pinch you can actually jump in the shoreboat and fiddle with the boat and windlass controls while you fiddle with the anchor or hook onto that mooring. You should have someone at the helm of course and I should note that I don’t think the company recommends this…so disclaimer, disclaimer.
  • Saves money: Aside from the obvious installation savings, The Yacht Controller system reduces the throttle so that you can move the boat easier, without all the jerking around of the “pump the throttle” system. Save money by not “pumping” your boat into the sea wall.

Common Questions:Yacht controller

How does it install?
It’s a simple transmitter that connects between the engine controls harness and the engine connector wires. It does not splice into the OEM systems leaving your warranties unaffected.

What if the battery dies or I loose signal?
The unit is set to automatically return to neutral should the signal stop between the remote and the transmitter. The engines remain at idle so just grab the helm and do it the old-fashioned way. There’s also a low battery indicator.

Do I have to store the remote in a secure place?
The unit works just like another station with its own breaker and “take” button. This means you don’t have to worry about your 4 year old nephew turning it on and running away with the boat. Without the take command initiated the remote is just a plastic box. However, it is an expensive box so don’t give it to Fido to chew on.

What happens in a marina full of these remotes?
The unit sends a unique FCC approved band-coded digital signal between the transmitter and the receiver. Sorry- you can’t scare your neighbor…but if you both have matching Bose stereos you can raise his volume with your RF remote…fun!!

Conclusion:
I cannot attest for their claims to have been installed on over a thousand boats or about their many patents. What I can tell you is that we’ve used it, our clients have used it and it works. The only issues we had were user errors where we forgot to turn on the breaker or engage the “take” command. Training is available and installation can be done by their technicians or most local tech guys.

This product is a lot like a cell phone- the same size, intuitive, purposeful and once you have it you wonder how you ever lived without it!

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