Technical

Control apps on tablets and smartphones - Keep an eye on your multihull!

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While they frightened users somewhat a few years ago, digital control interfaces are now widely used on the latest multihulls. They allow fingertip access to all the data and functions on board by replacing analogue gauges and push buttons with interactive icons on a touch screen. By pressing your app’s icon, you have access to all the functions that can be useful for life on board: lighting, air conditioning, sound system, power supply and bilge pumps. It is also possible to check the levels of batteries, liquids (water, fuel, black water) and engine data. More recently, they have been integrated into our multifunction navigation consoles, allowing you to switch from the navigation page to the aforementioned control screen with a single swipe. From the helm or the flybridge, you can interact with the on-board controls via repeaters, activate a bilge pump, switch off cabin lights or activate the windlass. Based on multiplexing, the principle is to have functions that are connected to a brain; they are then managed electronically. Depending upon the setup, these can be electrical impulses connected to an NMEA or Ethernet system. During this same period, we have seen our tablets and smartphones, already equipped with independent navigation apps, receive interfaces that replicate the on-board navigation instruments via a Wi-Fi connection. It has to be said, this is very intuitive and increases the pleasure of use. I think that everyone has noticed the difference!

TECHNOLOGIES DEVELOPED FOR MANUFACTURERS

So why not benefit from both interfaces - navigation and on-board management - on your smartphone or tablet simultaneously? The answer is obvious. It already exists for the automotive industry, and this technology, which first appeared on racing yachts and large custom-built vessels, is now trickling down to smaller production multihulls - although still at the top end of the range. For pleasure boating, this innovation aims to make the sailor’s life easier. Paradoxically the equipment on the boats is becoming increasingly complex. The major shipyards have taken up the task: we are seeing control apps developed in partnership with specialized players flourishing, on the new Lagoons, Excess, and also Nautitech and Outremer models. On the latest SIXTY 7 a very complete Yacht Management application has been developed with the Scheiber company thanks to its network called Multibloc. Visualizing the stock levels, collecting and centralizing all measurements and controlling and ordering equipment from your tablet wherever you are on board becomes child’s play. The interface is configurable and you can add whatever you want. With most manufacturers, the autopilot or throttle levers are not activated for safety reasons but switching on a refrigerator or emptying the black water tank is possible, provided the control wire for this function has been connected to the central control unit. The choice of functions is established by the shipyard with ...

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