Sailfeed
April 26th

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 26, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

SSECN_app_for_ICW_cPanbo.jpg

If I was once again in New Bern, North Carolina, about to cruise north with spring — instead of watching late April freaking snow fall in Maine — I’d certainly have the new Cruisers’ Net app loaded on my iPad and might well use it all day every day while I was still in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). It’s absolutely loaded with solid, well presented information, and I’m happy to add that the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) has done something similar for my local cruising waters…

SSECN_app_Bridge_Pointe_marina_cPanbo.jpgWhile the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net website has long offered a vast trove of ICW cruising info that’s edited by obviously caring professionals, the ambitious-yet-free SSECN iOS app may display all the info even better (especially on a fast iPad).…

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April 15th

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 15, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin_GPSMAP_8617_on_Contender_25_aPanbo.jpgAt this moment in time, the Garmin GPSMAP 8600 multifunction display announced in February may be the most powerful premium MFD available. That’s the “little” 8617 model of the series above — apparently now shipping at $7,500 retail — and that Quatix 3 smart/fitness/boat watch is not trivial technology either. So even given two full days with four Garmin-loaded boats, I feel like I only grazed the surface of all that’s going on. And frankly, the story is similar across the four major electronics brands and beyond.…

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March 25th

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Stephens_Waring_proposed_Marilee_design_aPanbo.jpg(Bits are back, if you know what I mean.) I skim a lot of email newsletters but this recent Stephens Waring Yacht Design creation brought the process to a quiet halt. I clicked up this image as big as possible and became mesmerized, and it later turned out that even the newsletter text is only a sketch of the bigger story. Before we get into that, I suggest you get mesmerized, and I snagged even higher resolution images. Clicking them big may be slow, but you should be getting yourself stilled and ready to simpy wonder…

Stephens Waring proposed Marilee design nav station aPanbo.jpgWonder about the unusual grayish paneling?

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March 16th

Flash: C-Map and Navico become sister companies

Posted by // March 16, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 16, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Boeing_sells_C-Map_to_Altor_(Navico)_aPanbo.jpgHere’s some big news in the small world of marine electronics. Boeing company Jeppesen just sold its marine cartography division to a formerly unknown entity named Digital Marine Solutions (DMS) and it “will trade under the C-Map brand name” (as it did before Jeppesen came along and as many of us could never stop calling it). DMS belongs to the “Nordic-based Altor family of private equity funds” which also owns the Navico family of Lowrance, B&G, Simrad, and GoFree brands. Interesting?

I should not be awake at 2am — a caffeine related miscalculation — but what a lark to receive the Digital Marine Solutions press release and the Jeppesen press release almost simultaneously.…

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October 20th

Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 20, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

NMEA_2015_Signal_K_cPanbo.jpgWhile the big manufacturers showed off some great stuff at the NMEA 2015 Conference, there was also a lot to get excited about in the seminars and expo hall. Discussion of the open source Signal K marine data protocol, for instance, was not just a NMEA first but drew a standing-room-only crowd, twice. Soon I hope to list some of the interesting small and medium-size developers who are adopting SK and also share some good news about how interested boaters can get involved in the first public gateway project.…

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October 6th

NMEA Conference 2015, back-to-back good times with the Big Four

Posted by // October 6, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 6, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

NMEA Conference Schedule 9-27-15 cPanbo.jpgThose early morning Google Calender notifications above indicate my awesome Wednesday schedule during last week’s 2015 NMEA Conference. It’s tempting to presume that the back-to-back demo trips around Baltimore Harbor with the Big Four manufacturers mark peak intensity for my career as a marine electronics pundit, but actually the whole industry seems to be in good shape with the pace of innovation quickening…

NMEA2015_demo_boats_cPanbo.jpgMaybe Jim McGowan of FLIR Raymarine was smiling because this demo morning was relatively calm and dry during a very weathery week. If you click the photo bigger, you’ll see that Simrad and Garmin also had center consoles while Furuno, perhaps appropriately, had a larger cabin boat.…

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August 17th

Pilot Line autopilot, unfinished business

Posted by // August 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 17, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Pilot_Line_autopilot_patent_aPanbo.jpgI hesitate to write about a marine technology that isn’t an actual product yet, especially when I don’t understand it! However, there may be a story here worth telling. At the end of his career, a very experienced engineer came up with what he believes to be a superior autopilot technology, but it will never become available to boaters unless someone new carries the project forward…

Pilot_Line_autopilot_claims_aPanbo.jpgI first heard about Pilot Line a few years ago when Will Pease and his family hired a guy quite experienced in the current marine electronics industry to market Pease’s 2012 patent.…

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August 4th

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 4, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Bliss_anchoring_in_Pulpit_Harbor_cPanbo.jpgBehold the 39-foot trawler Bliss about to anchor behind Gizmo in Pulpit Harbor. She’s a custom Jay Benford design (based on a Cascade sailboat hull) that already turns heads, but note the cabin top presence of both Inmarsat FB150 and Iridium Pilot antennas (the latter formerly known as OpenPort, and tested for Panbo on VOJ). The serious satellite communications — and there are more devices less visible — are because owner/operators Luis and Kim Soltero have spent much of their thirty year marriage creating a remarkable portfolio of satcom services and devices, and they’re still at it.…

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July 4th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 4, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

FOGGY_at_BBY_6-2015_cPanbo.jpgMaine is rightfully well known for boatbuilding but the craft was largely dormant when I got here in the early 70’s, and it stayed that way for quite a while. In the late 80’s many of the talented builders I worked with at WoodenBoat School were doing repairs and restorations. A commission for most anything larger than a sailing skiff was a big deal. But wow, did that change. It’s been wonderful to witness remarkably crafted custom vessels launch at yards like Lyman Morse (now also in Camden!

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July 1st

SRT acquires Class B AIS patent, consequences uncertain

Posted by // July 1, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 1, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

SRT_Acquisition_of_Patent_release_clips_aPanbo.jpgFor me, this story began with a March 5th email titled “AIS patent wars – a tax on safety?” It referenced the SRT stock market announcement partially shown above and went on to say:

The whole point of using CSTDMA instead of SoTDMA in the original design of Class B was to avoid any problems with patents to ensure the successful uptake of the system by manufacturers. I see this as a tax on safety and a desperate attempt by SRT to force manufacturers to use their solutions rather than those from competitors and so create a pseudo-monopoly in the Class B world, which cannot be good for competition or the end user.

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