Panbo

Panbo test fleet adds a fast outboard: Gizmo Junior

14 Oct

I’m generally content to operate at trawler speeds these days, on and off the water. But — boy, oh, boy — taking on a new boat has definitely brought out the kid in me. Though it was only a few weeks ago when I finally realized that rebuilding the 14-foot power cat (and original Gizmo) is not in my future, the new plan has already hosted some electronics testing that would have been much more difficult with the 37-foot Gizmo, and it’s a different kind of pleasure on the water. Say hello to Gizmo Junior.

Gizmo Junior is 2000 Maritime Skiff 20-D with a 2019 Evinrude Etec HO 115
Gizmo Junior
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Digital Yacht Trinav GPS160 & NMEA 2000 MoB buttons

8 Oct

MoB alarm generated by Digital Yacht TriNav GPS160 button

When Digital Yacht announced their TriNav GPS160, I was impressed with the details. For starters, it offers high-performance GPS for $190, and it can integrate with most any navigation electronics environment because it has numerous interface options and its various user-selectable settings are done internally with good old DIP switches. But the cherry on top is support for a manual MoB alarm button that should work with most any current multifunction display, along with some PC charting programs and mobile apps.

TriNav MoB feature explained

In fact, Digital Yacht is using the specific AIS SART/MoB message that’s standard ...

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Ugo waterproof tablet and phone cases

5 Oct

At the 2017 Annapolis Sailboat Show, the two cheerful founders of Ugo gave me their original smartphone case to test. And while I find it awkward to use with the large phones I prefer, it is beautifully built and seriously waterproof. So I suspect that Ugo’s new and similarly designed tablet case will be a winner.

The Ugo Signature Collection designs function as dry bags in addition to being water and shock proof cases for precious portable electronics. I can picture this 12 by 9-inch Tablet model protecting a folded paper chart and/or guide book in the cockpit of a ...

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Panbo fun at the NMEA/RTCM Conference

30 Sep

It may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but trying the first dual-color electronic Visual Distress Signal Device (eVDSD) is how a writer trying to cover the present and future of marine electronics gets his kicks. And it happened because the annual and always valuable NMEA Conference is now also the annual RTCM Conference, and also because Panbo covered the event with dual Bens.

Ben E with Sirius Signal dual-color eVDSD

Before discussing RTCM and why we plan to give its work more coverage, the specific eVDSD I’m holding is the recently announced Sirius Signal C-1002. Third-party ...

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Bliss: 100hp diesel powers trawler, SeaKeeper, and huge battery bank

12 Sep

The goal of the makeover certainly sounded like cruising bliss, but could a 100hp Yanmar diesel really propel a 39-foot trawler while also producing gobs of 12 volt DC to feed both SeaKeeper gyrostabilization and a huge battery bank? I’m pleased to report that the dual MGDC 250 amp alternator setup seen above on the actual trawler Bliss has proven my skepticism unwarranted, and an already beloved cruiser became a “new boat” in the process.

Actually Bliss’s makeover sounds even more radical when you realize that the boat’s generator had to be removed to make room for the SeaKeeper 5...

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Chuck Berry, Ali’s butterfly, and the National Hurricane Center

1 Sep

 

Dorian is powered up and perilously close, but while the forecasting is better than ever — based almost entirely on massive data collection and modeling by NOAA — the meteorologists are still quite uncertain about the hurricane’s path. I’m thinking a lot about folks in the Abacos and in the vast areas that might be struck next, but, sorry, I’m also remembering how I managed to use Chuck Berry and Muhammad Ali in the opening paragraph of a July 2003 SAIL magazine article about visiting the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

So, yes, this entry is partially about a ...

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Sirius Signal announces new dual color & white SOS distress lights

31 Aug

Sirius Signal just announced a super bright red-orange/cyan electronic Visual Distress Signal Device (eVDSD) that promises to be vastly more effective than the current white light models, especially in coastal areas with shore lights in the background. The new model C-1002 SOS device also includes a Bluetooth app for testing, maintenance, and much more. Note, however, that the C-1002 won’t be available until next year and its advanced technology will necessitate a premium price.

Additionally, Sirius has developed an improved version of its original C-1001 white eVDSD (2015 Panbo review here), and the company is taking over distribution ...

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U.S. Navy destroyers without physical throttles?

17 Aug

 

Touchscreen throttles on US Navy Destroyer John S McCain
Section of NTSB report explaining touchscreen throttles used on USS John S McCain

Touchscreens work well for many tasks at a boat helm (and elsewhere), I think, but a touchscreen throttle never even occurred to me until I read about the Navy “reverting to physical throttles” on warships like the USS John S McCain. Holy cow! Why the heck did we deprive destroyer drivers of the excellent (electronic) control interface known as a throttle lever, and why is Wired magazine mispresenting the “reversion”?

Helm of USS Dewey with only the throttles seen on screen
Helm of USS Dewey (DDG-105) with the only throttles seen on screen

I’d be very ...

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Made in Maine: kayak rack, winter boat frame & more

14 Aug

 

I’ve gone to the Maine Boats & Homes Show in Rockland for all 16 years (so far) and never failed to discover many things of interest. I had no idea, for instance, that a floating kayak and canoe rack even existed though it was designed and built right in my home town. And this entry includes other unique products made by very small companies in Maine that you too might want to know about.

Paddle Sport Rack prototype floating kayak & canoe rack
Paddle Sport Rack prototype floating kayak & canoe rack

I had never met Glenn Ruesswick of Paddle Sport Rack but was aware of his beautifully ...

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Using your PLB/EPIRB better & testing ACR’s ResQLink View

9 Aug

 

In this dangerous world, most types of boating are quite safe activities. But when things do go wrong afloat, getting the needed help can be a lot harder than it is ashore because of poor communications. So I was pleased to learn about an easy way to make the excellent safety communication tools known as PLBs and EPIRBs a little more effective.

The situation captured on the screen above was ACR’s Mikele D’Arcangelo briefing Ben Stein and I after their ResQLink View PLB was announced last spring. It’s a superb PLB, I think, and I’ll detail that opinion below. ...

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