I suspect the old school advocates don't feel the same way about aircraft, or do you?
Perhaps if we ever reach the point when a private individual can purchase a $350K airplane, and immediately begin flying it without any demonstration of prior experience or competence whatsoever, then such analogies between aviation and recreational boating might have a bit more validity... Hopefully, it will never come to that, nor hopefully will I ever wind up in an airplane being flown by someone with a level of flying experience equivalent to a sailor who has never docked a boat without resorting to the use of a joystick docking system... (grin)
Funny, but I've never considered myself to be an "old school advocate"... Some might be surprised at the amount of 'gadgets' I have on my own boat, and certainly when I'm delivering a motor yacht with both bow and stern thrusters, for example, I will make use of them all... Perhaps I've simply been extremely unlucky over the years, but my experience has led me to distrust the needless complexity that is becoming increasingly commonplace on today's boats.
So if Joystick use is seamanship in ships with hundreds of thousands of tons of Oil, or cargo, or passengers why shouldn't it be the same for a Jeanneau 45????
Well, perhaps the fact that a Jeanneau 45 can be easily docked by any reasonably competent skipper using the boat's conventional propulsion and steering system alone, but a 1,000 foot cruise ship displacing 150,000 tons - well, not so much...
And then, there's this:
I have a marina neighbor with a Jeanneau that has it. Five of six (serious) rounds of "fixes" and adds of batteries, bigger alternator, hardware, software, etc. -- it still "locks-up" at the worst times. UFB.
However if the computer joystick thingo blows up the Captain can not and will not attempt the same maneuvers by direct command.
Is that supposed to be a compelling argument for introducing such a complex system into small, easily managed vessels that are sailed for pleasure?
He will have to wait outside port, or wait in port until the gizmo is fixed by an expensive Gizmo Fixer.
Again, is that supposed to support the argument in favor of Expensive Gizmos?
I suppose that's fine for those who sail from one marina to the next, never beyond the reach of Sea-Tow, or always in close proximity to their Authorized Dealers/Service Centers...
But, good luck getting your friendly neighborhood Jeanneau Joystick Repairman to make a service call to a place like Baracoa, Cuba, for example...
One definition of Seamanship, to me, involves the continual consideration of the matters posed by the question "What If?" Perhaps the most egregious breach of seamanship by Captain Walbridge of the BOUNTY was his refusal to honestly consider what his Plan B would be in the likely event of a failure of the generators that powered the continual running of the pumps required to keep that pig afloat...
In my view, any crew who puts to sea in a small boat, should have the capability of either completing the voyage, or returning to port safely, in the event of a complete power failure... Those who choose to sail boats whose basic operation is so heavily dependent upon such a complex system, and ignore the value of a KISS approach in favor of convenience, might someday pay the price...
Detachable helm wheels too. Just have one in the lazarette in case of emergency, but the rest of the time you just have the joystick and auto pilot and have a clearer cockpit space.
Hmmm, I wonder how effectively something like weather helm would be felt through a joystick?
What's to prevent you from removing your wheel now, when running on autopilot? Other than the fact that a costly, gear-busting accidental jibe might some day be averted by a quick hand on the wheel, should your autopilot or joystick suddenly decide to filp out?