Easy? More so. Intuitive! What a joystick is is all too easy to explain, we’ve all had them in our hands, maybe just for a video game or for more professional reasons. How it has been applied to the nautical world is just as easy to describe, but less so if you want to explain how it works.
Let’s limit ourselves to summarising its use: in port, we can forget about the throttles and bow thruster, and the manoeuvre is entrusted to our joystick, which is able to rotate and move the boat simply by acting on its control.
Even embarrassing how easy it is: by turning it, the boat rotates on its own axis, by moving it to the right or left the boat moves sideways on both sides and by moving it forwards or backwards it slowly moves forward or backwards.
Applause moorings are guaranteed and no more ugly figures with friends hanging onto the stanchions of neighbouring boats trying to gain the coveted berth. The joystick is now destined to become a fixed tool on every dashboard, which is why boatyards are working to prepare boats with the systems and wiring already in place for easy installation at a later date should the boat not have been designed with this precise control system.
Joystick: 8 models compared
Mercury / Joystick Piloting System
The Joystick Piloting System is a Mercury patented system that provides 360° directional control of outboard motors. The boat can be rotated on its own axis. Skyhook is the function that keeps the boat firmly in position, regardless of wind and current. Active Trim is the only automatic trim programme that takes into account not only engine speed, but also GPS and boat speed to determine the best angle in the water for the thrusters. This ensures smoother sailing even at low speeds.
ZF / JMS
Joystick Maneuvering System (JMS) is the name ZF gives to its manoeuvring system dedicated to two-engine, shaft drive yachts. Interfaced with ZF’s SmartCommand electronic control system, JMS integrates additional functions beyond dynamic steering alone. For example, the iAnchor, which is activated simply by pressing the control button, keeps the boat stationary in a specific position. With this system it is possible to install up to six joysticks connected simultaneously to the same control unit.
Yacht Controller / Joystick JCS PLUS
With a simple movement of the hand, the JCS Yacht Controller Joystick enables simultaneous operation of the bow and stern engines and thrusters, allowing the boat to be manoeuvred and moved in any direction safely, precisely and easily. The system is plug-and-play and convenient to install, without any invasive and costly work in the engine room and requires no cables to be installed along the length of the boat.
Vetus / V-Docker
The intuitive operation of the V- Docker allows for professional docking in the most demanding situations. The V-Docker works with a combination of single engine, bow and stern thruster. This combination ensures optimum utilisation of the forces generated. The V-Docker system distributes the forces evenly to the front and rear of the boat. Manoeuvring the boat in a tight spot has never been easier.
Quick / QNC
An innovative range that includes a reinterpretation of the classic single and double joystick models and the button-operated control, designed to control bow or stern manoeuvring propellers. Quick has designed the new remote control controls by redesigning them entirely in terms of panel aesthetics and technology. On the technological side, Quick has replaced the digital communication protocol with the CAN-Bus backbone-based protocol. This allows more stable communication between the motor and the control panel, thus offering many advantages.
Indemar / Optimus EPS
This control radically raises the standards of comfort, control and manoeuvrability. This is achieved by customer-friendly adjustment of the steering effort and gearing. At low speeds, reduced gearing and a light actuation load make steering agile and ready to manoeuvre. As speed increases, the system increases the gearing and steering effort required for turning.
Volvo / Aquamatic Stern Drive
The Aquamatic Sterndrive joystick offers a solid, ergonomic design for comfortable operation. The Electronic Vessel Control system provides precision manoeuvrability by transforming the driver’s joystick movements into steering angles, gear changes and throttle positions. The joystick buttons put a unique combination of functions at your fingertips: Joystick Driving, Joystick Docking and High Mode, to provide enhanced handling, high comfort, improved driveability and improved safety.
Xenta / Throttle
The beautiful, compact design of the Xenta throttle combines ergonomic levers with an intuitive arrangement of buttons and indicators. The positive engagement and smooth action of the levers give the captain an outstanding feeling of control. In addition to the model shown, Xenta produces several variants, including semi-custom versions to suit the style of the boat. This option allows a boat builder to have a visually customised throttle set to suit their brand.