NEWS – Skyhook jags prestigious award

NEWS - Skyhook jags prestigious award

The Skyhook Electronic Anchor auto positioning system feature on Cummins MerCruiser Diesel’s (CMD) Zeus and Axius propulsion systems, has received the Best of the Year Award from American marine industry publication, MotorBoating Magazine, at a special event held last week in conjunction with the Miami International Boat Show.

Skyhook combines a GPS for the boat’s position and an electronic compass for heading in applying steering angle and propeller thrust automatically to a hold boat on station. With the press of a button, the operator can engage Skyhook, and the vessel will maintain both the position and heading at the moment of engagement, even in the presence of wind and current.

The feature is said by its creators to allow a sportsfish captain to stay directly on top of a preferred fishing spot, lets a pleasure boater easily wait for an opening at the fuel dock, and keeps cruisers from drifting while waiting in the current for a bridge to open — all without constantly working the wheel and throttles as has been the case since the advent of mechanised propulsion.

As co-developer of Zeus, Axius, and Skyhook, Mercury Marine — one of CMD’s parent companies — shares the award, and said its MerCruiser petrol version of Axius is the only other recreational marine propulsion system to offer such a feature. Coincidentally, MotorBoating Magazine awarded CMD a previous Best of the Year in 2007 for Zeus.

According to CMD, its flagship Zeus 3000 propulsion system is a revolutionary concept that marries a 355hp to 715hp CMD engine to a tunnel-mounted pod. The system consists of two to four such engine/pod units, which allow it to power vessels less than 40 feet in length, up to yachts approaching 100 feet.

Joystick control, for tight-quarters maneuverability, is standard on all Zeus-powered vessels, as well as Axius, a twin sterndrive-based system with functionality analogous to Zeus. CMD said its diesel Axius is the combination of a pair of 220hp to 350hp CMD engines and twin-propeller Bravo 3 sterndrives for boats up to about 40 feet in length.

American boatbuilder Sea Ray says it offers Axius drive technology in their 310, 330 and 350 Sundancer models, and Zeus pod technology in their 38, 40 and 48 Sundancer models, while Zeus is standard on the all-new Sea Ray 43 Sundancer which won the Best of the Year Award from MotorBoating Magazine for Best Cruiser 2009. Sea Ray added that the soon to be released 540 Sundancer will also come standard with Zeus pod drives.

Sydney’s Andrew Short Marine says it was the first Australian Sea Ray dealer to embrace the new drive technology and currently have both Axius and Zeus powered vessels in stock for inspection and demonstration.

For more information, phone Andrew Short Marine Taren Point Showroom on (02)9524 2699 for vessels under 35ft and Fergusons Marina on (02) 9969 1017 for the Sea Ray Sports Yachts and Yachts range from 36 to 60ft.

Photos: SmartCraft gauge showing Skyhook display; Sea Ray 43 Sundancer