Panbo

DeLorme inReach gets weather & goes to Cuba

21 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 21, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

DeLorme_inReach_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgI’ve long felt that the DeLorme inReach is a valuable safety and communications tool for boats that sometimes go beyond reliable cellular (and/or VHF) contact with friends, families and rescue centers. But one gripe for skippers hoping to use an inReach as their only offshore communications device was the lack of weather forecasting. There were some necessarily crude third party solutions, but now DeLorme itself is offering easy-to-use and understand forecasts, both marine and terrestrial. I’ve just been testing this and many other inReach features in Cuba, though the legality of taking a satellite messenger/tracker there is uncertain…

DeLorme_inReach_EarthMate_iPad_weather_feature_cPanbo.jpgThe new weather feature works with either the $300 inReach SE or the $380 Explorer model (which adds routing and high res tracking to the handheld).…

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Thermal boat phones: Boat Beacon AIS, Flir One & the Cat S60

6 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 6, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Boat_Beacon_Flir_One_ship_test_1_aPanbo.jpgThe Boat Beacon app running on the iPhone screen above looks like a fairly ordinary AIS target display app that can also show your own vessel. In this specific example your 28-foot sailboat is plotted on center as you head south at 5 knots into the Solent with the ship Morning Calm overtaking you to starboard. But, hey, it’s pitch dark, the iPhone has a Flir One thermal camera attached, and Boat Beacon’s “Live View” augmented reality feature can now make use of this night vision device…

Boat_Beacon_Flir_One_ship_test_2_aPanbo.jpgNow here’s a truly different boating app screen.…

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Land Rover BAR, can this AC35 tech partnership “bring the Cup home”?

31 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 31, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Land_Rover_BAR_tech_press_conference_NYC_cPanbo.jpgAt this press conference in New York City on Saturday, May 7th, the UK’s largest automobile manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, made the case that their support of Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) in America’s Cup 35 is not just about marketing. It’s also a technology partnership that may be critical to finally bringing the Cup back to England, which both parties would really, really like to do. I completely bought the story and I was especially feeling my inner Brit after taking in the rest of the weekend’s AC World Series pageantry off lower Manhattan…

The_Yacht_'America'_Winning_the_International_Race_Fitz_Hugh_Lane_1851.jpegI vaguely knew the story of the “Auld Mug” that is now the oldest international sporting trophy, but the Land Rover BAR managers were willing to go into embarrassing detail.…

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Gizmo’s new Firefly battery bank, working out the details

6 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 6, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_Firefly_Carbon_Foam_AGM_battery_bank_cPanbo.jpgWhen I wrote about replacing Gizmo’s house battery bank, I was already inclined to try Firefly Oasis AGMs, and my enthusiasm has only grown. It certainly helped to have RC Collins and Nigel Calder testify further in that entry’s comments about how deeply they’ve “abused” these batteries in ways that boaters like me tend to do. I’m excited about gaining significantly more usable, easy-to-replace power capacity, and the Firefly’s smart, colorful exterior design is a nice bonus. But the switch from two conventional 8D AGMs to a four Firefly bank naturally led me to rethink Gizmo’s battery storage, cabling, charging, and monitoring systems.…

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SSECN and MITA cruising info apps, Doyle Bon Voyage, and Cuba Ho!

26 Apr

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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ScanStrut Rokk Mini, premium marine mount system

22 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 22, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

ScanStrut_Rokk_Mini_cable_tie_mount_fishing_cPanbo.jpgI used the Garmin demos in Miami to also test the new Rokk Mini mounting system recently introduced by ScanStrut. There are many ways to attach a Virb XE camera to a boat, as I’ll detail further down, and almost all are less expensive than the system of three Rokk components at work above. But I doubt that there’s any mount with so much range of motion and yet so rock solid when you find the position you want. The Rokk Mini system is also exceptionally well made and can solidly mount phones, tablets, smallish marine displays and more…

I’m pretty sure that the rock solid Rokk Mini mount is partially responsible for the smooth quality of this boat video, which also shows off Virb data integration and which I originally posted at the end of last week’s Garmin demo entry.…

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Garmin demos: GPSMAP 8600, ForwardVu, Fantom, Virb XE, Quatix3 & more

15 Apr

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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TBF: Modeling NY40 Marilee, Weems & Plath magnifier & young Mr. Harding

25 Mar

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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Gizmo’s house battery replacement: consulting with Cole, Collins, Calder, Schwab & you {draft Fri}

18 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 18, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_2X_8D_AGM_house_battery_bank_cPanbo.jpg

The time has come. Actually, it was a specific day late last October when I Torqeedoed out to Gizmo only to find a dead ship. Not even a modest LED light nor the panel voltmeter would power up, and this dual Deka 8D house bank measured 5 volts at the studs. While I later figured out that only one had suffered a catastrophic malfunction, I’d already sensed that these AGM batteries were on borrowed time. They’d been on the boat at least a season when she became mine in early 2009, and at least occasionally mistreated since.…

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Flash: C-Map and Navico become sister companies

16 Mar

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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