Boats and Gear

Many thanks folks!

15 Sep

Thanks for all the kind and encouraging words about my early drawings. They were labors of love.  The “client” names you see in some of the title blocks are usually names of my friends or people I made up. I was trying to look “official”.

People have been asking if the drawings are for sale or are prints available. Yes on both counts. The original will sell for $2,500 each and prints can be had for $100 a print. While I am not keen to part with the originals I’d rather see them mounted and framed rather than just to ...
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2014 NEWPORT INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW: Gunboat 55, Varianta 37, Salona 33, C&C Redline 41

12 Sep

Gunboat 55

I spent yesterday cruising the docks at the show in Newport and was particularly pleased to have a chance to get aboard the new Gunboat 55. You’ve got to hand it to Peter Johnstone–he is not one to rest on his laurels. After sailing the Gunboat 60 last year at Annapolis, I was impressed by how willing he’s been to rethink what a Gunboat might be. Given the great success of the first generation of boats, a lot of builders would have been very happy to just do more of the same. The 60 is definitely a different ...

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Antenna masts: Edson Vision & more

11 Sep

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 11, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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So far, so good. Finishing up Gizmo’s antenna mast was the last minute task before heading south, but nothing fell on our heads during the often lively passage to the Cape Cod Canal and around into Long Island Sound. Most of the new installs up there worked too, though we experienced a couple of very odd MFD issues that I’ll write up once I understand them better. For the time being I’ll just repeat a venerable adage: Do not rely on any one source of navigation ...

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International Canoes and the Individual Touch

10 Sep

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Here’s a class that holds a world championship every three years—only.

Here’s a class that’s not right for everyone.

And here’s a class that’s addictive for a certain few. Their newsletter is called The Sliding Seat.

Erik Simonson/PressureDrop.US has been following the action, hosted by the Richmond Yacht Club. There’s a “Richmond Riviera” thing going on, but the breeze has touched twenty at times, so everyone will go home knowing they have sailed on San Francisco Bay . . .

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This video is a few years old, but if you’re intrigued, here’s where you will find the International ...

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Gizmo south: TFU, IBEX, NMEA, HSR & other self promotions

2 Sep

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 2, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I didn’t write the seminar title, but I do understand the value of a grabby headline and I’m excited about being part of the entirely revised TrawlerFest in Baltimore. Paul Comyns and I will make a valiant attempt to cover all the important electronics bases for the knowledge-hungry, long-range-cruisers-to-be that tend to take the all-day “TF University” courses. An interesting added challenge for the presenters is to provide money-saving tips. I’m already working on concepts like how GPS, AIS, and improved signal processing have made ...

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EchoPilot Platinum FLS, better than expected

29 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 29, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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She: “HEY! Do you realize you’re steering right at a ledge?!?” He: “Yes, dear.” While it was a tough cruise for my lovely first mate, I did learn a lot about what an EchoPilot FLS Platinum Video Engine can actually do. If you click the photo above to full size, for instance, note how the FLS in the Garmin video window is showing especially shallow water about 55 feet ahead, though in a rather vague, pixilated manner. Note, too, that the more conventional and less expensive ...

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Cruising Solutions headsets, testing the Bluetooth update

26 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 26, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Apparently, the folks at Cruising Solutions have not forgotten that I once characterized their useful and still popular Mariner 500 intercom headsets as “making a boater look unfashionably similar to a Soviet tank driver,” and hence asked me to test their latest solution to the problem of verbal communications when captain and crew are in different areas of a boat. They are called “My Team Talks” Bluetooth headsets and they’re much more than modern looking intercoms. “Bring state-of-the-art multiplex communication technology to your boat” is not ...

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Garmin SmartMode, and here comes Simrad Bridge

22 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 22, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Garmin’s SmartMode station control seemed like an obviously great idea when introduced with the 8000 Glass Helm series in early 2013. The basic feature simply lets you group 8000 displays at a helm (station) and control what the various screens are showing all at once. But the interface designers went a smart step further by naming the default SmartModes after the overall tasks at hand, instead of the conventional specifics about the tools needed, like “chart/radar/cam”. Thus the 8212 now being tested on Gizmo came ...

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There’s this boat: Mary Powell

20 Aug

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It takes many years of diligent saving and personal sacrifice to afford the boat of your dreams and cruising adventure. Or, you can limit your selection set to what fits into a ready budget, and trade years of anticipation for years of cruising.

That’s what Steve Dolman did. His modest sloop, Mary Powell, was not a candidate for swagging at a boat show or splashing across a magazine cover. But the simple monohull was kinder to the budget, and it meant he could go- soon. We met Steve in Mexico, hung out again in Tonga, and caught up recently once ...

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Gizmo glass bridge MFD testing 2014, specs & prices

19 Aug

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 19, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Now we’re talking. Gizmo’s flybridge feels like the starship Enterprise now that the Simrad NSS16 evo2 is installed in its Seaview Power Pod and the Garmin 8212 has been moved closer to the helm since I first discussed the 2014 glass bridge install. Recent visitors tended to break into giddy laughter, but the marine electronics horsepower at my fingertips is truly phenomenal. In this scene, for instance, I’m exploring a dicey area of Camden outer harbor — hence the lack of moorings — using StructureScan ...

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