No! The other starboard!

Well, the festive weekend is upon us. May joy be unconfined and much food and drink be taken. Merry Christmas to you all.

The fashion for surrounding the helm with electronic gadgetry got me thinking about the voice-prompting, turn-by-turn, GPS sets you get in cars and I wondered how they would work on boats.

The prompt menu couldn’t just be transferred from the car sets to marine GPS units and chartplotters – a tinny electronic voice saying, politely, “You have gone too far, make a U-turn when it is safe to do so” probably wouldn’t work.

Still, it shouldn’t be difficult to devise a new set of suitably aggressive voice prompts. Amongst them might be:

“Turn onto 217 degrees now, Mr Christian, or I’ll have you flogged!”

“Ramming speed!”
“Proceed across the shipping lane on 180 degre…OH MY GOD!”
“No, you twonk, the other starboard”
“Were you thinking of making that tack I ordered anytime this week?”

I’ve just had another great idea! Why not have the boat steered by an autopilot which is controlled by voice recognition software. Brilliant. The GPS shouts the course, the autopilot obeys. Now we just need the autopilot to get peed off and sulk, ignoring further commands until an apology is forthcoming and we’ll have electronically simulated the family cruise. The humans could stay home where they won’t get hurt.

Garmin! Raymarine! Are you listening!