The Optimus 360 is designed to allow easy manoeuvring of craft fitted with twin outboard engines in confined docking areas or when fighting gamefish. At the heart of the system is the Joystick Control which, when coupled with the Optimus Electronic Power Steering and Electronic Shift/Throttle Systems, allows each motor to respond independently, steering, engaging forward or reverse gear, and applying throttle as needed to move the boat exactly where the skipper wants it to go. A nine metre Sensation Offshore 30 slowly rotating on its axis in the middle of the Vaal River on a calm morning was my first introduction to the SeaStar Optimus 360.
When André van Helsdingen of Twin Boats then started moving the boat sideways against the river’s gentle current I knew I had to find out more about this system. The three-axis joystick allows the skipper to move the boat forwards or backwards, diagonally, sideways or rotate it on its own axis. Normally this is done with the motors running at a moderate idle but, in cases where the wind or current necessitates a bit more power; boost mode can be engaged using a button on the joystick. This increases engine revolutions to a fast idle.