Rob & Annette Scard provided input into the development, trials and install of the new Twin Disc Express Joystick System (EJS®) DC System and have kindly offered their feedback on the product and their experience.
Where do you do most of your boating?
We liveaboard our boat at Tin Can Bay Marina in the Great Sandy Straits. Most of our boating occurs in and around the waters of Hervey Bay and the Sandy Straits, and we regularly trek north spending time at many of the wonderful boating locations including The Whitsundays.
What boats have you owned previously?
We’ve been boating most of our lives and started with Cruise Craft trailer boats when we lived in Sydney. We moved to Caloundra and bought a Caribbean Crusader which we used for regular fishing and camping trips. When we retired we bought a Riviera 37 and spent a lot of time travelling up and down the east coast over the 7 years we owned the boat. With a love of boating and the boating lifestyle we decided to upgrade to a larger boat to liveaboard and searched for a 47 Riviera. Many of our trips inspecting boats found us visiting WA and it was while we in Fremantle that we discovered a 51 Riviera was for sale, so we bought the boat and Escapade is now our home based in Tin Can Bay Marina.
How did you hear about EJS DC?
We’d been on the Twin Disc demonstration boat Revolution at a boat show and had a demo of the EJS and we were very impressed with the responsiveness and performance of the system. Annette tried the system at the time and just found it so easy to use, so we then decided that the next boat we bought had to have the Twin Disc EJS or a Quickshift transmission to allow us to install the EJS.
What impressed you most about the concept?The finite control, sensitivity and responsiveness was just so impressive. You only have to move the joystick marginally and you get an immediate and accurate response. Being a Helicopter pilot I was impressed with the comparisons when it comes to control, with small inputs leading to accurate outputs, similar to what you experience when flying an aircraft.
Has the system performed to your expectations?
Exceeded our expectations. When we leave the marina at Tin Can Bay there is some close-quarters navigating through tight channels, so I prefer to use the EJS when heading out because of the level of control versus the throttles and the steering. But it really comes into its own when we berth. I can move the boat on a dime and when berthing I simply hold Escapade close to the marina allowing Annette to safely and easily hop off the boat and prepare the ropes, regardless of wind, current etc, it’s just so responsive and takes all the hassle out of berthing. I don’t like to leave the helm anytime, but I have such confidence in the EJS system that I can engage the thrusters to hold against the marina and I’m more than happy to leave the helm and tie up if need be.
Being a pilot and having an appreciation for optimal performance from your engineering, are there similarities to the performance of EJS DC?
When operating aircraft you know the equipment is very responsive and precise, with small inputs leading to accurate outputs as I mentioned before, and you can rely on the performance. The EJS is very similar and being involved in the development of the product I know that the engineering that sits behind the system is designed, built and installed to achieve this.
What was your sales, install and service experience like with Twin Disc?
Seamless. The whole process was seamless from the install, testing to commissioning. Annette was so impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of the install team. During testing we found we needed a bigger thruster motor so the guys contacted Side Power, arranged the bigger motor and it was picked up and installed within a few hours. I’ve also had to ring the guys a few times to ask questions and get information and I can call any of the team anytime and they are only too happy to take my calls. The whole team is there for you. Great examples of the service and responsiveness of the team.
Has it changed the way you use and handle your boat?
It hasn’t changed the way we use our boat it’s just made using our boat so much easier and hassle free, particular when navigating in tight channels or especially when berthing. “It just makes my life so much easier and stress free when preparing the ropes and tieing up. I can get on and off easily when we come into the berth and I have the confidence to know I’m not going to hurt myself”, said Annette.
What would you say to someone considering EJS DC?
Sensational system, just do it. Takes any of the hassles out of berthing and gives you great control. People in the marina always comment that they can’t believe how much control the system gives you of the boat.
EC300 Express Joystick System® released for use with non-Twin Disc proportional DC thruster systemsThe Express Joystick System is now available to be integrated with non-Twin Disc proportionally controlled DC thrusters. Twin Disc has developed a protocol translating module (Communications Module) to allow communicating with SAE J1939 (CAN) based thruster systems. This release includes a communication module for Side Power S-Link™ proportionally controlled DC thruster systems. These systems require a unique module, S1035527, in order to meet their specific CAN messaging requirements for DC thrusters.An EJS® system used with a Side Power thruster system requires the new communication module and the same adapter harnesses previously published for Side Power Hydraulic thrusters, to interface the EC300JS controller to the thruster system. (see diagram below) The thruster system is supplied complete from the thruster manufacturer, eliminating thrusters, control panels and harnesses from EJS scope. This makes retrofitting an EJS system to vessels with Quickshift® marine transmissions and EC300 controls much less complicated and less costly. When fitted to DC Thrusters, the Express Positioning feature is not available. EJS performance is limited by the DC thruster model, size, and battery supply; DC thrusters have limited operating time. All EJS applications must be reviewed by Twin Disc in order to confirm proper thruster Make, Model and Sizing to meet expected Joystick performance. This release is only for use with Side Power S-Link™ proportionally controlled DC thruster systems. Communications Modules for additional thruster systems will become available in the future.