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Big-Boat Trends & Innovations

By Michael Vatalaro
Published: October/November 2013

New options, from propulsion to stabilization, are popping up on midsize cruising and fishing boats. Here are some features you might see at the fall boat shows.

Joysticks For All — Even Sailors

We covered the march of fly-by-wire and joystick control in powerboats from pod-driven boats, to sterndrives, and finally outboard-powered boats last year, but you may not be aware that sailors can get the benefits of joystick control as well. Beneteau introduced Dock And Go a few years back on a 50-foot model, and has steadily expanded this offering to other boats in their lineup. Dock And Go is now available on all Beneteau models longer than 40 feet. The system links an azimuthing pod capable of rotating a full 360 degrees with a bow thruster, controlling the combination through a joystick. The result is a sailboat that can spin like a top, walk sideways against wind and current, and generally bend what most sailors would think are immutable laws of docking physics.

Photo of a A Dock And Go demonstration at the Annapolis boat show draws a crowd You've never seen a sailboat go sideways before? A Dock And Go demonstration at the Annapolis boat show draws a crowd every time.

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