Teleflex Marine has launched Optimus 360 by SeaStar, an innovative joystick steering/shift/throttle control system designed for powerboats with mechanically controlled twin outboards. With Optimus 360 by SeaStar, boat owners can now upgrade their control systems and enjoy easy, precise, intuitive control of their boat.

Years in development and testing, Optimus 360 by SeaStar uses state-of-the-art electronics to provide easy 360-degree manoeuvring capabilities when docking, negotiating crowded areas or loading a vessel onto a trailer. Even less experienced owners using the Optimus 360 Joystick Control can confidently move the boat forwards, backwards or diagonally, rotate it on its own centre, or even move sideways to accomplish a tricky docking manoeuvre. As the driver easily moves the joystick, a series of actuators and SmartCylinders respond instantly to independently steer each outboard, engage forward, neutral or reverse gears and apply throttle as needed to move the boat exactly where its wanted – without the use of bow thrusters.

This ease of control has never before been offered on boats powered by twin mechanically controlled outboard engines. Now, owners of RIBs, centre consoles, power catamarans, high performance cruisers and other popular boats can enjoy their time on the water without the stresses that often accompany pulling in for fuel, squeezing into a narrow slipway or launching/retrieving at a busy slipway.

“We’ve applied our most sophisticated technology yet to help make boating simpler and more enjoyable for a key segment of the recreational powerboat market,” said Teleflex Marine Vice President of Sales, Tom Douglass. “This product will have widespread appeal for the industry and boating enthusiasts everywhere. We developed Optimus 360 for easy installation on twin-outboard boats with conventional mechanical controls, so we can bring the benefits of fingertip control to an ever broader audience,” Douglass added.

The first key to this advanced system is the new Optimus Electronic Power Steering System (EPS) that replaces the traditional hydraulic steering system on boats with twin outboard engines. The patented Optimus electronic helm connects to the Pump Control Module (PCM) that operates individual hydraulic pumps installed below deck. These pumps are connected to specially-engineered electro-hydraulic “SmartCylinders” that control individual movement of the outboards.

Teleflex Marine’s Optimus EPS is designed for precise control and ease of handling while underway. The speed-sensitive helm, wheel resistance and lock-to-lock steering travel are all adjustable letting the operator electronically fine tune boat handling performance to provide a custom match for the boat and its owner. Optimus EPS makes it easier than ever to turn at speed, maintain course and otherwise manoeuvre during long days on the water. Additionally, Optimus EPS easily interfaces with third-party autopilot systems, including models from Garmin and Raymarine, and eliminates the need for a second pump and the lengthy installation and purging procedure.

The Optimus 360 system builds on the Optimus EPS system. In addition to the EPS electronic helm, the Pump Control Module is also connected with Teleflex’s redesigned Optimus Electronic Shift/Throttle Control and new Optimus 360 Joystick that replace the boat’s conventional controls and cables. Sensors in the new helm are all synchronised for instantaneous response to operator input and true fingertip control of the vessel.

While the Optimus 360 system is a breakthrough approach to controlling outboard powered boats, it is rooted in Teleflex Marine’s long tradition of proven, reliable marine steering and control products. Both the Optimus EPS and Optimus 360 systems exceed both North American ABYC and European ISO Standards — recognised symbols of quality assurance.

Starting in North America only at this time, Teleflex Marine’s Optimus Electronic Power Steering will be made available to boat builders and authorised dealers beginning in April, 2012, while the Optimus 360 Joystick Control System will be available through authorised dealers in July, 2012.

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