Sailfeed
April 10th

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 10, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin GNX 20 and GNX 21 instrument displays aPanbo.jpgThe press release for the new Garmin instruments doesn’t mention it — and I didn’t notice it at first myself — but can you see what’s quite unusual about these monochrome displays? The GNX 20 at left and its inverted GNX 21 sibling have LCD screens that are partly segmented and partly dot matrix. I didn’t even know that was possible, but I think it makes sense in terms of maximum power efficiency without completely surrendering to the readability limitations of large segments…

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The GNX 21 true wind speed/angle screen above illustrates the segment/dot matrix mix pretty well, especially if you click to make it bigger, and the inset depth/depth graph does it even better, though I don’t have a high resolution version.…

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April 10th

Maine Cat 38 quarter view

Speaking of catamarans, this is a new Maine Cat launch coming up this year that I’m looking forward to. I love cats like this–lean and mean and simple, with enough accommodations that you can really go somewhere in them, but not so much that the boat gets fat and slow. This is an open bridgedeck design, similar to the Scape 39 Sport Cruiser I sailed across the South Atlantic a few years ago, but not quite as severe, with some serious hardtop shelter on deck. Basically it looks to be an open-air saloon. Or a huge pilothouse. Take your pick.…

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April 8th

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 8, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

WaveTrax_log_history_cPanbo.jpgI wish that track was on the water, but testing WaveTrax auto boat logging over the road is impressive, nonetheless. Running on my iPad mini, the app not only collects a track point every minute, but automatically creates log entries marking my Lat/Long, COG, and SOG on the hour (and at user selectable distances). It’s fairly easy to add notes, captioned photos, engine/fuel status, and weather observations as desired, and when a trip is done, I even get to touch scribble a signature. But that’s hardly half of it…

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WaveTrax is both an app and a synchronized personal website, and in my view, that’s the way to go for tasks like this.…

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April 5th

Shaft Razor long test, with a look at the competition

Posted by // April 5, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Boats and Gear,

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 5, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Shaft_Razor_line_cutter_installed_on_Gizmo_cPanbo.jpgThere are still patches of icy snow left from a memorable March in Maine, but I enjoyed a recent afternoon wandering around the boatyard checking out shaft cutters. Pictured above is the Shaft Razor that’s been protecting Gizmo from line wraps since the spring of 2010. Like my stainless rudder it picked up a lot of barnacles last fall, but that double set of super-sharp serrated teeth were still quite effective. The Shaft Razor is also a good value that has required zero maintenance, and while I saw some interesting competition around the yard, I wouldn’t trade it…

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First, here’s a closer look at the Shaft Razor that better shows its simple one-piece design and diabolical teeth.…

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April 4th

I had a very weird dream last night that all my photos of Frankie were dissapearing from my computer and only visible on my iphone. So I thought I had better post this view of Frankie before it sails away into my iphone forever.

Kim motyored Frankie over to Shilshole Marina this morning. It was choppy and blowing 15 to 20. He hit a big tugboat wake and a freighter wake. He was very impressed at the boats’s lack of reaction to the waves. He said it was “rock steady”. I questioned him about slamming going into the steep head sea chop we get so often around here.…

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April 3rd

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 3, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Afterguard_HUD_in_action_aPanbo.jpgThe goal is to direct your focus wherever it’s needed on or beyond the boat while still having critical data in sight.  Brand spanking new today is the Afterguard heads-up display (HUD) for racing sailors. Yes, recent America’s Cup skippers apparently used HUD sunglasses, though you’re a better researcher than I if you can find detail about how they worked and what data they provided. Afterguard intends to bring this technology down at least a few levels, and that means we get a better look at what it can do.…

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April 2nd

A few words on rigs

Posted by // April 2, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Boats and Gear, ,

I wrote this for my buddies blog.
I have done several entries for him and he lets me use them here.
Rigs are always fun to discuss. Everyone is an expert. I think I am an expert too. Like any discussion of yacht design elements I engage in, my first piece of advice is not to generalize. There are good sloops and bad sloops. There are good cutters and bad cutters. You get the picture. We can discuss efficiency and we can discuss personal preferences. The two can be at odds and often are. We can talk about evolution of rigs and why they became popular in the first place, i.e.…
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April 2nd

I’m trying something new today

Posted by // April 2, 2014 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

Boats and Gear,

sails 12m.JPGThese wonderful; photos of FRANKIE were taken by our pal Boomer Dep. He and his lovely daughter spent the day on a chase boat covering every angle of FRANKIE. Thanks Boomer. Thanks Boomer’s daughter.

sail me.jpg

sails at dock.jpgHere are some photos of FRANCIS LEE on her first sail. It was a wonderful day, with no rain and just a light breeze. Maybe we saw 8 knots of wind at one time. There was a race starting so we sort of tagged along without getting on anyone’s air. Frankie is very fast, well balanced and very close winded. As far as I can tell in less than 8 knots of wind anyway.…

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April 1st

Illustration © Kiteboat Project

By Kimball Livingston Posted April 1, but we’re not joking

Four hundred sixty square miles on the surface at high tide, two trillion gallons in volume, more or less, twice a day, on the exchange of tides, that is San Francisco Bay. And a why-not ethos. As in, why not use kites to power boats? At the Kiteboat Project, the answer is, why not, indeed?

Going far beyond theory from its skunkworks on Alameda Island, on the eastern reach of San Francisco Bay, the Kiteboat Project has dazzled everyone who caught a glimpse of the results. The thing looks fast just sitting still, but it doesn’t have a mast and .…

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