SHOW STARTERS - A look at some innovate products from the 2016 IBEX Show that may show up on the TT35
few weeks ago, we went down to Tampa to wander the aisles of the 2016 IBEX Show. This exhibition of boating equipment and boat building materials is a great place to catch up on innovative products and processes. For us, it was like being kids in a candy store. And though we ultimately had to leave a day early due to the looming approach of Hurricane Mathew, we did come away with some great ideas. Here are three that are likely to show up on the TT35.
A Touch of Glass
We've long been a fan of integrated touch-screen displays at the helm. In fact, we introduced the first Glass Helm in our Great Habour line nearly 15 years ago. Our own Travis, who was age 15 at the time, created this proprietary system from a CPU, a pair of ATM-style touch screens and some smart programming and hardware that tied the various inputs together. In the years since, the major marine electronics manufacturers have caught up, and as we strolled the aisles of IBEX, it became obvious that there are now a wide range of integrated touch-screen display and control systems to choose from.
For the new TT35, we've settled on a Garmin touch screen system, either the GPSMAP 7610 or 7612, which feature 10- or 12-inch screens respectively. In addition to their primary functions as advance chart plotters and sonars, with both down-looking and side-scan capabilities, the units can report and control an impressive array of onboard electronics, including radar, autopilots, engine diagnostics, entertainment systems and even wireless video cameras. The system can even be controlled via a smart phone link. You can learn more at the Garmin website, so we won't take up more space on the specifics here. The short version is that this level of integrated function is extremely space- and cost-effective, and will streamline and greatly enhance the operating experience.
An Introduction to Induction
Like many people, we hadn't been paying much attention to the phenomenon of induction cooking. That changed when we stopped by the Kenyon booth, were we had our eyes opened as to just how well this cooking technology could work in a marine environment.
We've always put electric cooktops on our Great Harbours. Induction cooking is also electric, but with a difference. Conventional electric stoves generate heat by running electrical current through a wire that creates high levels of resistance. That resistance takes the form of heat energy, which is transferred to pots and pans through conductive transfer, It's a process that generates a lot of extra heat, much of which goes into the air rather than the food being cooked.
An induction cook top substitutes the heated wire for a magnetic copper coil, which sits beneath the ceramic cooktop surface. When an electrical current is passed through this coil it creates an electromagnetic field of energy. When an iron core pan is placed on the cooktop, it is heated by the electromagnetic energy. Meanwhile, the underlying surface remains cool. As compared to a gas burner or conventional electric heating element, which are 50 to 60 percent efficient, an induction stove channels 90 percent of its energy into cooking.
Energy efficiency alone might seem reason enough to opt for an induction stove, but there's more. Having a cook top that remains cool to the touch can be a major safety factor in the galley of a moving boat. It's also easier to clean, because anything spilled on the cool surface won't get baked on. And then there's the mat. Turns out you can place a soft silicon mat right over the ceramic surface of an induction cooker during operation. This mat provides enough surface friction to keep pans stable at tilt angles as high as 45 degrees. It also removes easily for fast cleaning.
Our one concern with induction cooking was the need for special pans. But it turns out that quite a few companies make induction-ready pans, and there's a chance that some already in your pantry will work. If not, you can add a simple, griddle-like induction element under your favorite pot, and it will do the heating. We're pretty excited about the possibilities of this technology, and once we have one aboard and have made a few pots of gumbo or boiled some shrimp, we'll let you know how things worked out.
Adding Joy to the Stick
At the show's in-water display, the big news was the joystick control systems that have migrated to outboards. It was pretty amazing to watch a quad-engine center console slide in and out of a slip by pivoting and shifting pairs of outboard in independent directions. But is that something that would ever make sense on our TT35? The answer is maybe.
We are confident that this boat will be easy to maneuver with throttles alone. The twin outboards sit all the way outboard, well beyond the usual dual-outboard pairings, and also wider than the typical twin inboard. This should provide significant twisting thrust when engines are cross controlled, allowing the helmsman to spin and maneuver with a high degree of precision.
That being said, we've already had some requests for bow thrusters. We're hesitant to tack that feature on to the base price, but we are looking at systems that will combine reliability and performance with reasonable cost, and when we settle on a design, it will likely be offered as an option. Once you opt for a bow thruster, the next step up the convenience ladder would be an integrated joystick controller that links the outboards and thruster with fly-by-wire software that allows the operate to maneuver around the dock with surgical precision. It's too early in the process to put an exact number on the cost of such a system, but again, it would be offered as an option for owners who felt the convenience justified the cost.