Yamaha’s Helm Master EX Auto-Pilot Capability


By Capt. Dave Lear


Whether it’s a long run to The Bahamas, distant rigs in the Gulf, or just hands-free trolling along a productive rip, autopilots are a welcome control option for any helm. And now, the new autopilot features of the Yamaha Helm Master EX integrated boat control system gives boat owners even more flexibility. Here’s how:

The Helm Master EX autopilot is a required component of the full system. It includes a small console panel, a heading sensor (underneath the console), an antenna, and a control unit. Using single-touch control, operators can access features like heading and course holds, pattern steering, and heading/course adjustments.

Heading Hold is an automatic adjustment to help maintain the desired set compass heading. It does allow for drift, however. This feature is also useful in a reverse pattern shift for back-trolling at slower-than-idle speeds.

The Course Hold function keeps the boat on course regardless of current and/or wind.

To thoroughly work a potential fishing zone, operators can select the Pattern Steer option. In this mode, the boat steers in one of two pre-set patterns without needing set waypoints. The patterns are either a zig-zag and expanding circle course. The Pattern Steer function allows for Speed Control, and Pattern Shift for slow trolling as well.

Helm Master EX autopilot Track Point enables the boat to automatically steer along a route of waypoints selected by the operator. If a change of direction is required, a manual override shifts control back to the operator.

As a key component of the Helm Master EX system, the autopilot integrates seamlessly with Speed Control, Trim Assist, and the other system functions.

Another safety aspect of the autopilot is the Waypoint Arrival function. This feature automatically decelerates the engines when the boat approaches the final waypoint in a set route. The outboards shift into neutral on arrival. The operator can also use the SetPoint function to return the controls to neutral. Regardless of the automation, it’s always prudent to pay close attention when the final waypoint nears.

For more details about all aspects of Yamaha’s new Helm Master EX integrated boat control system, please visit: Yamaha Outboards.com

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