with a joystick at the Miami Boat Show, and it was absolutely phenomenal. I think that’s the future of boating. I can literally move the boat sideways down a channel. . . . Even not having the joystick, the boat was a great pleasure to drive. You put the joystick on and it’s unbelievable.” As the owner of four new Cruisers yachts over the years, Mr. Mundy is an experienced helmsman. Regarding his new set up, he says, “It’s so much easier to control and handle and the fuel economy is so much better than any other system.” And it’s not only he, the captain, who likes the system. “My wife, who doesn’t like to drive a boat, can drive this boat,” he says. “The older boats, it takes time to get used to that. This boat, the IPS system makes it much easier for her to drive it. . . . I think the things the IPS system does is give you the confidence that you can back up the boat easily, whether you’re in a current or a wind.” “I think this is the future of boating,” Mr. Mundy continues. “Not just for the control, but also the fuel economy. We probably get 25 percent better fuel economy on this boat. For instance, I came back across the lake last year from Charlevoix [to Sturgeon Bay], and I used maybe a quarter tank of fuel.” Though Mr. Mundy is clearly a big proponent of the IPS, he’s one of thousands of boaters who have tried the system. When you consider that more than 100 manufacturers throughout the world are incorporating IPS into new models, that older vessels have been retrofitted to incorporate it and that so many people have tried it, you would expect there to be a wide diversity of opinions about how well this innovative new system works. In fact, however, the assessments are surprisingly consistent.
Peter Sears has been boating for 50 years. His current boat is a Tiara 3500 Sovran. It’s his eighth Tiara, and his first with IPS, which he admits caused him some initial apprehension. “I spent 50 years learning how to drive with a standard drive and everything else,” he says of his new IPS-equipped boat, “and now I’m on a new learning curve.” Fortunately, that curve has been pretty smooth. “I have had the boat now about two months and I find myself coming in with the conventional wheel and then when I get into the harbor I’m switching over right away to the IPS. . . . I feel totally comfortable with it now.” As with Mr. Mundy, the ease of use has allowed his wife to get involved at the helm, though that has had one unexpected drawback. “My wife stepped in and drove it perfectly with the IPS, and then she told me to go out and get the lines. I said that’s not the agenda.” He may have to spend some time away from the helm of his fireengine-red Sovran, but he’s enjoying the time he does have at the controls. “Once you get the feel,” he says, “it’s easy.” Mr. Boyce, owner of a Cruisers 390 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, also likes the IPS’s ease of operation, as do his passengers. A friend of his “docked it the first time he ever touched the joystick, with no experience at all on it.” When IPS was first unveiled, expectations were big. The boating industry has been flagging for the past few years, and many saw this new system as a potential boost for everyone. It was hoped that if IPS could make captaining—and docking, in particular— easier, then more people might be tempted to try boating. In the case of Mr. Wiener, it seems to have worked.
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