Sabre Yachts has borrowed a page from the automotive industry and is including a fully loaded 3G/WiFi iPad2 with select new boat models. Their LaunchPad, powered by Yacht.com (an online information repository and 'homeport' for your yacht), comes standard with the Sabre 40, 48, 52 Salon Express, 54 Flybridge and the newly redesigned 456 sailboat. They hope to provide information and connectivity via a sexy tool to make new owners happy.
Yacht.com ships the LaunchPad to dealers preloaded with searchable PDF manuals for everything from engines to water pumps, and also loads standard apps like MarinaLife for booking dock space and Zinio for reading boating magazines. Skype can also be set up for long distance cruisers to get technical assistance on-the-go and Navionics charts can be added as navigational backup or to assist in trip planning.
According to Bentley Collins, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Sabre, an owner can search manuals, learn onboard systems, report service issues and maintain full service records. “And when they pick up their LaunchPad to read their daily newspaper or favorite boating magazine, they will be holding something that we gifted them and will think fondly of us,” says Collins.
The push is on to load the LaunchPad with apps that can also control functionality of certain onboard equipment. Samsung TVs, for example, have an app so owners can change channels or adjust the volume without looking for the remote. Future apps include control of lighting, stereo equipment, bilge alarms and other onboard mechanical or electrical systems.
Used boat owners will eventually benefit as well because Sabre has provided an entire library of manuals for boats dating back 40 years. This kind of digital record can increase serviceability and used boat values for anyone with an iPad and a Yacht.com account. It’s very appealing to simply type out a problem issue, attach an image or video, and send it off to Sabre or your dealer for resolution.
Dealers can further customize the LaunchPad with commissioning details, like what bottom paint was used, complete wiring diagrams, and manuals of electronics and other added equipment. “We’re also adding some really neat stuff like Windfinder and BuoyData among other apps so sailors can check nearby tide and weather conditions,” says West Coast Sabre dealer Jeff Brown from JK3 Yachts in San Diego, where the first iPad2 for hull #2 of the Sabre 456 sailboat is being put together. “And JK3 is picking up five years of the Yacht.com subscription fee ($34/year) so our owners stay connected and happy.”