As pretty and comfortable as she is, Sandrine is hiding a little secret under her skin. I had reviewed the yacht's specifications and arrangement plans before my visit, and had consequently wandered through the yacht, taking in all the décor and layout details. My only clues to her secret were one line in the specifications and a few switches that I noted for their ease of understanding and functionality. The spec line read "Octoplex System" without further elaboration, but that was to come during my second visit to Sandrine. The next day, Sandy's husband Rick Sorenson, president and CEO of Carling Technologies gave me the tour. Carling makes the Carlingswitch electrical products found on so many yachts. One of the group's subsidiaries is Moritz Aerospace, developer of the Octoplex System (www.octoplex.com) referenced in the specifications.
Octoplex derives its name and logo from the octopus, and it is a multiplexing system that owes some of its design to that cephalopod, with multiple legs reaching out from a central "brain." The system remotely monitors and controls both AC and DC circuit breakers. It also enables plug-and-play installation of NMEA 2000 electronic components, allowing for future expansion or modernization of electronic installations, and is non-proprietary, so most standard marine electrical equipment can be wired into the system. It reduces the length and gauge of wire runs, lowering cost and weight during construction and reducing voltage drop.
Sandrine is Rick Sorenson's baby, the first superyacht showcase for the Octoplex system, and he was eager to reveal her secrets. Rather than beginning his tour in the elegant salon, Rick dived immediately into the lazarette, where the core of the Octoplex system resides. Here, the system is integrated with three 3-phase shorepower panels as well as an Atlas shorepower converter. The system is also set up to allow automatic start and paralleling of the two gensets based on load, and there's a substantial inverter with automatic load-shedding features that kicks in to maintain essential functions should there be an AC power failure.
The remainder of the Octoplex system, consisting of two main wiring busses and a number of subpanels, is scattered in hidden spaces around the yacht, out of sight but readily accessible. There are also touchscreen panels for control and monitoring wherever needed, and each can be preprogrammed to allow or prohibit specific functions.
As complicated as the system may be to design and install-all 177 light switches, plus most of the electrical equipment, feed through the system-conversely, it is simple to operate. Those understandable switches I noted earlier are all that the routine guest will ever see, but their simple looks belie their sophistication and capability. The bath vent-fan switches, for instance, are programmed to 65-percent power to reduce noise, and are timed at ten minutes for automatic shutoff.