Mercury details joystick system features at IBEX

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Mercury Marine says its Joystick Piloting for Outboards will work on boats with twin, triple or quad Mercury Verado 250- and 300-hp outboards.

Mercury announced last week that it will introduce its Joystick Piloting at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference, which starts today in Louisville, Ky. The system also will be shown Oct. 25-29 at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Operating without the need for a bow thruster, Joystick Piloting uses independently articulating outboards with counter-rotating propellers. It will utilize the joystick components — such as the actual joystick unit — found in the Zeus and Axius systems.

“We leverage things we’ve learned in the past with new systems, but our Joystick Piloting for Outboards was designed specifically for the Verado engines — new installations or full repower projects,” Mercury product manager for digital controls and rigging Louis Miller says. “We’re very excited about this product.”

Mercury expects the product to hit the market during the second fiscal quarter of 2013. In a display at IBEX, Mercury will show the system’s components — hooked up to twin 300-hp Verados — and how it all works, Miller says. Mercury will have the same type of booth display at FLIBS.

“The key to achieving the joystick input is each engine being able to articulate, or move, independently to achieve the necessary thrust vectoring so that you can generate the desired boat movement,” Miller says. “Typically you’d have — depending on the input to the joystick — the engines articulating in opposite directions, and to gain that desired thrust you might have one engine in forward and the other in reverse to achieve the movement.”

In addition to Joystick Piloting for Outboards, Mercury and Navico are introducing the next generation of VesselView (an engine information monitoring system and display), a new console-mounted electronic remote control with a single or dual handle — and a free “Ship’s Log” app. Mercury has been working with Navico, the parent of Simrad, B&G, MX Marine and Lowrance, since VesselView was introduced in 2006.

— Chris Landry

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