Sailfeed
August 22nd

Garmin SmartMode, and here comes Simrad Bridge

Posted by // August 22, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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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 with CRUISING, DOCKING, ANCHORING, and FISHING modes already suggested, and I’ve been adding my own in the same task-not-tool spirit…

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Another sign of Garmin’s interface smarts is the well-done SmartMode explanatory graphic that pops up when you set up a Station.…

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August 19th

Gizmo glass bridge MFD testing 2014, specs & prices

Posted by // August 19, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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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 and medium CHIRP sonar on the NSS16, CHIRP DownView and sonar on the gS125, and EchoPilot FLS via the Garmin’s video port.…

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August 14th

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 14, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

MBHH_Show_2014_Ben_on_MYC_Akalaria_Open_40_RC3_cPanbo.jpg

I knew I’d gotten Maine Yacht Center’s Brian Harris to photograph me in the comfortable driver’s seat he designed for the second Aklaria RC3 finished out at MYC, but how did the shot come out of my camera like this? Did I fall into some revery imagining reaching the 20 knots this exotic Open 40 racer is easily capable of? The 12th annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show was rich in the elegant lobster yachts and daysailors my state has become famous for, but there were also plenty of interesting surprises.…

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August 11th

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

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Boat theft is very rare in Maine, but on a recent Saturday night someone apparently “borrowed” a big twin outboard off a local dock for a “joy ride” during which something was hit hard enough to hole the topsides, and then they put the boat back on the dock and vanished! To my knowledge the mystery remains unsolved, but it sure jogged my memory about the Set feature on the Siren Marine cellular monitoring system I’ve been testing for over two years. The partial phone screen above shows what happened when Gizmo moved more than about 15 meters several days after I texted the “SET” command to the Siren.…

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August 1st

Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 1, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Bob_n_Elaine_Ebaugh_cruise_courtesy_MarAzulAdventures.jpg

Bob and Elaine Ebaugh did it, leaving Florida in April, 2011, on their DeFever 44 Mar Azul and spending more than two years cruising a big Caribbean loop. Their blog, Mar Azul Adventures, is a good read, but you might miss the fact that during the cruise Bob managed to research, assemble, test and install a 1,200 amp hour do-it-yourself lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery bank to replace the 12 golf cart batteries they’d worn out. He also wrote a thorough white paper about why he chose DIY lithium and how he put the system together…

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Here is Bob’s lithium battery blog entry, but you really should download the 14-page PDF mentioned there.

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July 31st

Edson Marine: old school, new school

Posted by // July 31, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Boats and Gear,

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 31, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I visited Edson Marine headquarters while Gizmo was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, during my cruise home in May 2013, and one vivid memory is this old catalog that co-owner Will Keene showed me. My old sloop Alice had one of those Mahogany Steering Wheels, and while I’m sure it cost more in 1946, it’s amazing to realize that you could once buy one for $15, Ebonized Rim included. I also enjoyed seeing how well Edson has kept on keeping on since Jacob Edson invented and started manufacturing the first diaphragm pump in 1859…

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Edson still makes traditional wooden wheels but also super lightweight carbon ones, too — see their wheels site here — as well as all sorts of other hardware.…

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July 29th

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

Furuno_711c_autopilot_head_SETCSE_aPanbo.jpgThe press release (PDF here) for Furuno’s new color 711C autopilot control describe it as “completely redesigned to provide an excellent match with Furuno’s flagship line of NavNet TZtouch MFD’s… right down to the control knob!” There’s no denying the similar handsome styling, and doesn’t it make you wonder if Furuno will eventually offer a color NMEA 2000 instrument display with the same standard DIN size and 4.1-inch color screen? That’s 100% speculation on my part, but doesn’t it make sense as Furuno finds itself competing with Raymarine, Garmin, and Simrad over the glass style helm that the TZT Series arguably spearheaded?…

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July 24th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 24, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_awning_AC_cPanbo.jpgToday it’s wet and gray here on a mooring float in Northeast Harbor, but we’re enjoying a distinctly non-electronic improvement to Gizmo’s gear list. It’s a new awning that stretches from the cabin brow to the bow pulpit, letting us keep the hatches open despite the rain bursts. Yesterday, when it was sunny and fairly hot, the awning shaded the forward cabin top and the main cabin’s large forward windows. If it gets really hot, I’m pretty sure that the combination of the awning plus the see-through “Florida curtains” over the other big windows and maybe a small fan will make the boat as comfortable as the air conditioning unit.…

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July 22nd

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

Simrad_RS35_testing_GPS_source_cPanb_o.jpgIt’s taken a while but I am becoming quite fond of the Simrad RS35 VHF radio and HS35 wireless handset accessory. Panbo first covered the RS35′s nice combination of full Class D VHF DSC capabilities, NMEA 2000 interface and built-in AIS receiver in late 2012. But when I received a test unit last summer, it was quickly apparent that the radio had trouble interfacing with many N2K GPS sources (as you can read about in the comments to that 2012 entry). I was slow to return the radio for the software fix, but now it’s installed at Gizmo’s lower helm and has no problem with the three GPS sources shown above and a lot more I threw at it.…

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July 17th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 17, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Navionics_Vexilar_iPad_app_aPanbo.jpgWow. Combining the Navionics Boating apps and the Vexilar SonarPhone WiFi fishfinder seems like an obvious development now, but there are so many marine electronics integration possibilities these days that even the ripe low-hanging fruit can be surprising. Announced yesterday at ICAST (PDF here) and available for iPhone/iPad in August (and Android later), the combined Navionics SonarPhone app means that a small boater can have a fairly sophisticated plotter/fishfinder for about $200, phone or tablet not included (and note the issue of screen visibility in an open boat).…

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