In May of 2018, Yamaha released a bunch of upgrades to their Helm Master® and their touchscreen display, known as the CL7. At the point of this article being written (June 2019), there are still recreational fisherman who haven’t heard of the new Yamaha Helm Master SetPoint® updates, so we thought we’d write you this friendly article. Even if you haven’t ever owned a Yamaha outboard, this article is for you guys too. We will be talking about the system’s basic features, as well as the 2018 upgrades.
Yamaha’s Helm Master® is a fully equipped system and makes captaining a breeze. Yamaha’s control system includes it all: innovative joystick control, RFID key fob, enhanced binnacle control, CL7 Digital Touchscreen display, and push-button start & stop switches; and now with the new SetPoint® Suite, you can automatically lock down your heading and/or position.
The SetPoint® Suite
The newest SetPoint® updates allow for full joystick control of your vessel, no matter what mode you are in. Whether inshore or offshore, maneuvering your vessel has never been easier.
Why Use FishPoint®: This functionality is meant to be used when you want to fish stationary, directly below your boat. This feature quiets your motors and allows you to stay stationary without dropping an anchor and disrupting the water.
How it works: Point either your bow or stern into the current stream to help lessen your vessels diagonal movement. Then, select FishPoint® – Bow or FishPoint® – Stern (whichever one is pointed into the current) to maintain your position while using the least RPM’s needed to do so.
What’s new: When in FishPoint® mode, a new feature allows for a single forward/rearward or sideward bump to the joystick to move your boat’s position. Each nudge of the joystick will move the position 10 feet to the direction you moved your joystick. The max range per initial FishPoint® position is 100 feet. If you want to move more than 100 feet, you will want to turn off FishPoint® mode, reposition your vessel and then re-engage FishPoint®.
Why Use DriftPoint®: DriftPoint® is exactly that, it allows you to drift slightly while maintaining your heading. Use this feature when you want to watch a sunset while you head inshore, want to go kite fishing or when you want to drift-fish over a wreck or reef.
How it works: Point your bow in the direction you would like to slowly drift. Then, select DriftPoint® Mode. This functionality uses a GPS equipped with dual antennas to keep you heading.
What’s new: Now, just one twist of the joystick will allow you to adjust your bows heading angle by 5 degrees. In an initial DriftPoint® position set, you are only allowed to apply enough joystick twists to move your heading by up to 50 degrees. If you wish to adjust your angle by more than 50 degrees, you will need to cancel DriftPoint® mode, adjust your bow’s angle and then reset your DriftPoint® heading.
Why Use StayPoint®: This SetPoint® mode is best used when you are waiting for a drawbridge to open, your turn at a fuel station or your turn to access a docking slip.
How it works: When in StayPoint®, your position and heading are marked by Yamaha’s Helm Master dual antenna GPS. The independent outboard propulsion is used to maintain your position within 10 feet of your ‘marked’ location. However, in less than ideal conditions such as high winds and powerful currents, StayPoint® will maintain your position within a 75-foot circle of your position.
What’s new: The new joystick feature allows for a single forward/rearward or sideward bump of the stick to move your boat in 10-foot increments. Just like FishPoint®, the max range per initial position is 100 feet. If you want to move more than 100 feet, you will want to turn off StayPoint® and reposition your vessel and then re-engage your mode. Since your heading angle is also marked, you can also twist the joystick. This will allow you to adjust your bow’s heading angle by 5 degrees. Just like while in DriftPoint®, you can only apply enough twists to move your heading by up to 50 degrees at a time. If you need to adjust your angle by more than 50 degrees, you will need to exit your current mode, adjust your bow’s angle and then turn StayPoint® back on.
The Yamaha Helm Master System Basics
Yamaha’s intuitive joystick allows you to move your boat forwards, backward, laterally or in a complete 360° circle. Simply twist or nudge the joystick in any given direction and your engines will respond automatically. Be careful though because your engines thrust power will mirror the amount of movement you impart on the joystick.
Independent Outboard Propulsion
The Helm Master system uses forward and reverse propulsions and steering control simultaneously to move your vessel or set its position. Use of the joystick allows for seemingly simple movement, but below the water, independent outboard propulsions mean all your motors could be using different gears, different RPM’s and even different angles.
Multiple Key Switch Panels
When you have more than 1 outboard, you can use a single switch panel (for up to 4 outboards). With Yamaha’s RFID key fob, you can powerup all your outboards separately using a single key, or you can use the ‘All Start’ button to automatically start all your engines in sequential order.
Y-COP® Theft System
Yamaha’s RFID key fob will not only start your multiple outboards, it will also activate the Y-COP® outboard theft system. Y-COP® will disable your fuel systems and your ignition. Use this while your boat is unattended at a dock or fueling station.
Enhanced Dual Binnacle
Yamaha’s enhanced dual binnacle features station selector, speed control, trim assist, free throttle center engine and single level usage. The newest update includes pattern shift. This update allows the captain to troll well below the standard in-gear trolling speed. You can now shift into or out of gear to hit your desired target speed. In calm water, you can set your speed as low as or less than .5 MPH.
CL7 Touchscreen Display
The CL7 7-inch display allows you to monitor up to 4 boats at a time and manage the new SetPoint® modes, all on one screen. Since Helm Master® uses independent outboard functions, all 4 engines can be running at different speeds and gears. With this display, you can monitor them all from one convenient screen. With a touch of the screen you can customize various settings and display options. New upgrades now include Command Link® capability, including gauge integrations and NMEA 2000™ networking. Additionally, you can view detailed freshwater and saltwater maps that have been built-in to the CL7 Display.