Panbo

The continuing search for a great boat ebike, Sondors Fold edition

11 Jul

My interest in electric assist bicycles has not waned a bit since I wrote about my boat ebike research early last year. In fact, I now own five, including the two Sondors folding models above. I’ve also learned a lot more about what to look for, especially if you are tempted to cruise with an ebike or two. I will share the possible downsides but be forewarned that I’ve become an ebike evangelist…

Just before heading south last September, I received the Sondors Fold X7 above, and after about fifteen weeks of roundtrip and onboard marina time, I had been ...

Read More

Yacht campaigning along RI beaches hits rocks, politician blames NOAA

9 Jul

Yesterday was tough for Rhode Island independent gubernatorial candidate Joseph Trillo. To me it already seemed like a poor idea to use his 65-foot yacht to campaign along the state’s summer beaches, especially with the huge banners and his “very, very big sound equipment” playing patriotic music and asking for votes. But then came the navigation issues.

This U.S. Coast Guard Northeast Facebook entry seems to report the grounding incident clearly, and let’s note that they politely named the yacht, Lady M, but not the owner. Many of the commenters — some of whom were trying ...

Read More

New B&G WS300 wired & wireless NMEA 2000 wind sensors, no N2K mast cable needed

1 Jul

B&G just announced the WS300 range “of wireless and wired wind sensors designed for cruising and club racing sailors” and the first two models seem like smart designs at reasonable prices. I also appreciate the emphasis on reliability, as in:

“As the most exposed sensor on a yacht, the wind sensor is critical for instruments and autopilot steering. Reliability of these sensors is key and to address this the WS310 and WS320 have undergone rigorous validation. We have conducted benchmarking tests against multiple different sensors in over 500 individual wind tunnel tests and conducted over 200,000 hours of field tests

... Read More

Easy Marine Traffic AIS sharing from your boat, FloatHub is first

27 Jun

The screen above may look like an app running exclusively on the boat, but actually all that data, including AIS targets, was being constantly uploaded by Gizmo’s FloatHub monitoring system and then presented in near realtime on the associated private FloatHub website. So boat-to-cloud AIS relaying is yet another new feature in the exciting but confusing world of remote boat monitoring, though you may wonder why?

For starters, the new feature could have allowed fellow FloatHub users to watch Gizmo tangle with fast ferries off New London, Connecticut, as I transited that area a few weeks ago. But there’s lots ...

Read More

Weems & Plath PRO 7×50 binoculars, customized for monocular vision

25 Jun

Several years ago I noticed that Weems & Plath had introduced a line of binoculars that seemed to offer good specifications and build quality at reasonable costs. But it took me until last fall’s Annapolis Show discount to take the plunge, and then it took some customization work to get where I hoped to. It’s an interesting story, I think, but to tell it I’ll have to reveal two more personal idiosyncracies.

First of all, and possibly not a surprise, I’m a bit cheap. And while being careful with my funds has generally served me well over the decades, I ...

Read More

Standard Horizon GX6000 VHF & wireless RAM 4W mics, finally!

18 Jun

Many readers got excited when  Panbo covered the “coming soon” Standard Horizon GX6500 and GX6000 radios in October, 2016. It looked like SH was about to blaze trail once again, especially given the full Class B AIS transponder in the 6500. But then the story got confusing, even sad, as Standard Horizon’s many hoped-for ship dates failed to materialize, frustrating potential customers and embarrassing the company.

The GX6500 remains a mystery; while it’s listed in the SH 2018 marine brochure (PDF) as “NEW for 2018”,  the company’s U.S. representatives can only shrug their shoulders when asked about actual availability.

But ...

Read More

SpotX 2-way Globalstar satellite messenger, Viuho Inmarsat too

11 Jun

I’m a longtime fan of the DeLorme inReach as a two-way messenger, tracker, and safety device for boating (and other uses), especially when we wander beyond cellular coverage. Panbo inReach coverage goes back to 2011 and I’ve tested succeeding models right up through to the Garmin inReach Explorer+.  But competition can be a great thing, and, wow, it looks like Globalstar’s new Spot X delivers.

The abilities of Spot X seem entirely different from the older Spot satellite messengers. It can not only do two-way messaging like an inReach, but it includes a U.S. phone number that should make ...

Read More

Garmin’s new ActiveCaptain Community site, what’s good and what’s not?

28 May

I am a long time fan of ActiveCaptain boating info. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my January 2007 Camden Public Landing review above was one the very first, as I was simultaneously writing about AC’s inception here (and at Power & Motoryacht). Now the AC database and user community are both huge, but many of us “captains” are struggling with Garmin’s very recent and complete rebuild of the service. In this entry I’ll share what I’ve learned about the new ACC website, hoping for more pros and cons from readers (and meanwhile, Ben Stein is working on an ...

Read More

Standing a 24 hour watch, am I nuts?

21 May

As the title suggests, I’m not confident that I should have taken Gizmo on a 24-hour solo jaunt from Norfolk to Atlantic City in what looked like dicey weather conditions. Some readers may think I endangered myself and others, and they may well have a point. Actually, I’d like to get that discussion out of the way here because I plan several other entries referencing all the real world gear testing that went on.

Why solo? I’m not antisocial, but cruising alone does mean oodles of freedom to do as I please, be it spending all day at anchor working ...

Read More

SEAiq apps replace ActiveCaptain with Waterway Guide

15 May

Actually, as you can see above, SEAiq lets you overlay both ActiveCaptain and Waterway Guide info onto its chart display (and easily turn either or both overlays on and off). But as noted on the SEAiq website, the AC data will not be updated after May 23, though “We are considering updating SEAiq support for ActiveCaptain but do not have definite plans yet.”

As Panbo has been reporting, third-party app support for AC is uncertain for a couple of reasons, but I’m hoping that it will turn out to be reasonably easy for developers to adopt Garmin’s new ...

Read More

More from the AIM Marine Group