Harken and Jeanneau have teamed up over the past several years to create a new computer controlled autopilot, GPS and sail trim interface system and being referred to as ASSISTED TRIM technology. The all new Jeanneau 519 is now available with this technology and described below.
We sailed this Jeanneau 509 with Harken Assisted Sail Trim technology last year in Croatia and it has some interesting possibilities for some conditions and situations. Mind you, this is not intended to be used by a non-sailor or to replace experience or practical knowledge. However, in the right hands this technology is another step in the direction of easier handling of large yachts with less effort and less able bodied crew.
For example, one nifty concept that some might appreciate is to dial in the a maximum desired heel angle which the computer will then monitor and adjust sail trim to keep her sailing in comfortable heeling angles regardless of gusts, etc. Quite often family or crew members might appreciate this whilst preparing dinner or cocktails.
Another demonstration of self tacking was also quite impressive. Self-tacking autopilot systems have been around for many years requiring the crew/helmsperson to release the working genoa sheet from the winch as the boat goes head to wind and then to grind in the new working genoa sheet. With this new Assisted Trim system the two winches will auto tack in coordination with the changing wind angle and autopilot steering. In other words the first winch will auto ease the genoa sheet as the boat approaches head to wind and then the new working winch will sheet in the genoa as the new tack is realized. Quite nifty.
There are many other features of this new Assisted Trim technology that make single handling a large yacht much easier providing you have the sailing experience to begin with. As mentioned above, this interface software and hardware are by no means a replacement for experience and knowledge, but rather a tool to assist in applying that experience.
Most impressive is the relative cost of adding this new technology is much less than expected. As of 2016 you can purchase a Jeanneau 509 with this incorporated and additional models are being configured for future orders.