Sailfeed
December 18th

Lowrance HDS Gen3, plus Elite CHIRP and SmartSteer two ways

Posted by // December 18, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 18, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Lowrance_HDS-9_Gen3_home_screen_a_Panbo.jpg

Lowrance put a lot of cards on the table yesterday. Foremost is a new HDS Gen3 series which combines the touch interface of the Gen2 Touch with a keypad similar to regular Gen2 models. Added are multi-touch gestures, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, dual SD card slots (though micro size), and a CHIRP option in addition to Broadband sonar. And it all fits into about the same dimensions as the original Gen2 Touch 7-, 9- and 12-models with about the same original retail prices. I don’t yet buy the press release, “next revolutionary step forward,” but “state of the art” sure seems appropriate…

Lowrance_HDS_Gen2_Touch_and_Gen3_cPanbo_.jpg

I got a peek at a prototype HDS12 Gen3 alongside the Gen2 Touch during the Fort Lauderdale show, and you can see above how they shrunk the left side of the bezel to fit in two narrow columns of control buttons.…

Read More
December 14th

LinkWav, Inmarsat FB finally makes sense for intermittent users

Posted by // December 14, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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

LinkWav_website_home_page_aPanbo.jpgHo hum, just another sat coms service provider? No way! I think that LinkWav has pulled off something quite special in the daunting world of expensive marine satellite voice minutes and data megabytes. The company figured out how to offer a simple Inmarsat FleetBroadband service plan with decent rates and nearly realtime cost/budget monitoring, but without an oppressive contract. In fact, LinkWav is especially designed for the ocean racers, cruisers and small commercial operators who only need satellite communications now and then, sometimes with many months in between.…

Read More
December 10th

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

Vestas_jibing_after_grounding_aPanbo.jpg

The fixed camera on the stern of Vestas Wind captured the worst possible unintended jibe. That’s when you’re blasting along at 19 knots through a tropical offshore night, but then your Volvo Ocean 65 suddenly smashes its way up onto a reef shearing off the rudders and spinning 180° as waves and wind take total control. That is a frightened and nearly naked man beyond the limp mainsheet and when watching the video you, too, may utter involuntary curses. No one was hurt, though, and the crew has been frank about the mistakes made.…

Read More
December 7th

Fusion BB300 black box stereo & a peek into 2015

Posted by // December 7, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, ,

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 7, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Fusion_MS-BB300_black_box_marine_stereo_aPanbo.jpg

It’s not on the Fusion website yet, but the MS-BB300 black box marine stereo was introduced in Fort Lauderdale — press release here — and is scheduled to ship this month. In a way it’s Fusion’s first black box unit, but then again they built the trailblazing Simrad SonicHub in 2010 and then the Garmin Meteor 300 last year. In fact, the BB300 is very similar to the Meteor 300 and whereas Garmin acquired Fusion in May, the BB300 can be viewed as a statement about Fusion’s continuing independence.…

Read More
December 2nd

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

Nobeltec TimeZero app 2015 w Furuno WiFi radar cPanbo.jpg

Yes, iPad navigation fans, that is Furuno 1st Watch WiFi Radar overlaid on the Nobeltec TimeZero charting app. I wasn’t even sure that an iPad could overlay radar over a simple vector chart, but here it is over a finely rendered raster chart blended with hi-res satellite photos. This is virtually the same mix of navigation data that I’ve found so useful on a Furuno TZT and the short demo file I saw running in Fort Lauderdale suggested that it may pan and zoom (and even go 3D) almost as smoothly on an iPad.…

Read More
November 18th

All-in-one WiFi & cell data: Glomex WebBoat 4G & The WiriePro

Posted by // November 18, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 18, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Glomex_WebBoat_4G_aPanbo.jpg

There are two reasons I was a little surprised to read that the Glomex WebBoat 4G won a DAME award this morning at METS. It seems like a minor update to the WebBoat 3G that Kees Verruijt covered here last year, and I thought that the DAME 2014 electronics and software nominees included several strong contenders. On the other hand, I know how hard it is to be a judge, and I thoroughly agree with their statement that WebBoat’s all-in-one approach to marine WiFi and cell communications addresses, “an area of rapidly growing interest in the marine industry.” I can’t count how many cruisers I met recently who were struggling with Internet connectivity, even along the U.S.

Read More
November 17th

Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 23, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

SeaPilot_Vector_Compact_GPS_compass_aPanbo.jpg

When I mentioned strong contenders for the 2014 DAME electronics award, one I had in mind was the SeaPilot Vector Compact GPS Compass. Yes, in many ways it’s just another GPS compass, but it’s substantially smaller, substantially less expensive, and the design seems suited to good performance on many types of boats. Before getting into the details, though, let’s deal with possible brand confusion. While True Heading, parent of the recreational SeaPilot brand, has been selling Vector GPS Compasses in Europe for some time, the core technology comes from Hemisphere and similar compasses are sold by ComNav, Si-Tex and others.…

Read More
November 14th

Mega AV: UMSI installs KVH IP MultiCast, Crestron & much more

Posted by // November 14, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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

Island_Heiress_for_sale_2014_aPanbo.jpg

Whoever buys Island Heiress will get an amazing audio video system. The 1996 Cheoy Lee has gone through a massive refit — notice how much the satellite domes have changed from the original configuration — including a $250,000 custom entertainment system put together by Unlimited Marine Services Inc. (UMSI). You can be at any one of eight large Samsung LED HDTV screens using an iPad to choose from DirectTV, Apple TV, boat cameras, navigation screens, and the world’s first install of a KVH IP MobileCast superyacht package.…

Read More
November 6th

Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 6, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Raymarine_FLIBS_2014_2_thumbs_up_cPanbo.jpgWhile I was just goofing around during the Raymarine demo cruise seen via screenshot above, in retrospect my thumbs are seriously up about both the new CP200 CHIRP SideVision sonar and the new CAM200IP marine camera. I’ve been on the water twice now with SideVision and it seems to have noticeably greater side looking range than the Navico, Garmin and Humminbird side imaging I’ve previously experienced; there are numerous factors at work here, though, and they’ll have to wait for a future discussion. Today I’m writing about advanced boat cameras, particularly the CAM200, which could be an excellent addition to most any boat running Raymarine LightHouse II software…

Raymarine_FLIBS_2014_demo_Whaler_aPanbo.jpg

Here’s the helm of the Boston Whaler demo boat (did you know Whaler is still doing that cut-in-half unsinkable thing, only at much larger scale?).…

Read More
November 3rd

Standard Horizon HX870, handheld VHF/GPS/DSC powerhouse

Posted by // November 3, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, ,

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

Standard_Horizon_HX870_vs_HS851_cPanbo.jpg

I was impressed with Standard Horizon’s original HX850 and I’ve been happily using the slightly upgraded HX851 model above for several years. It’s a fine handheld 6 Watt VHF (if you don’t mind the size) plus it’s always ready to place a DSC distress call and/or navigate a life raft (or tender or kayak or…). But, wow, look what they did with the new HX870 model: The screen is at least twice as large, the interface seems usefully updated with soft keys and icons, the battery is substantially larger, and more…

Standard_Horizon_HX870_water-on_cPanbo.jpg

Despite the change from 1,380 to 1,800 milliamp internal lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, the HX870 still floats.

Read More