Ben Stein

Panbo’s test fleet grows again with another fast outboard powered boat

19 Jan

I’m pleased to announce that, like Ben Ellison, I’ve added a smaller, faster, simpler boat to my test fleet. Last week I took delivery of a new-to-me 2016 22-foot Cobia 220CC center console powered by a Yamaha 150 engine. When Ben Ellison posted about his new boat last fall he teased that I was also in the market for a similar boat and though it took a while to find the right one, I’ve done it and I’m thrilled.

I’m like a kid with a new toy, disappointed when the days activities don’t include the opportunity to play with my ...

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Digital Switching gets easier, cheaper, and more compelling

14 Jan

Until recently digital switching has only been seen on newly built, high-end boats. Now, Maretron and CZone both have digital switching products that can be retrofitted by a boat owner or pro installer and cost under $500. But, are these products easy to install and will the boat owner benefit from the installation? Read on to find out.

Digital switching is a complex topic and there are quite a few systems from several different manufacturers available today with more coming. This entry won’t be able to cover all the capabilities of the systems covered nor the specifics of installing each ...

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Aqua Map Version 20, fast scrolling and new features

12 Dec


Aqua Map 20 showing the Port Everglades inlet with ACOE surveys, satellite images, and gauge data from WiFi

Aqua Map has already established itself as an excellent app for boaters supplying valuable data at your fingertips. But one weakness has been the relatively slow rendering of charts. This made scrolling slower than you would like, but now Aqua Map is out with version 20 and an all new charting engine. The result? Lightning fast scrolling and several nice updates to make one of the leading navigation apps even better.

Aqua Map version 20 with satellite images set to about
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Garmin GPSMap 86sci: inReach, GPS and a plethora of tools for boaters

10 Dec


The Garmin GPSMAp 86 family is a powerhouse of communications and connectivity. The dizzying array of technology inside this handheld provides two-way satellite messaging, GPS chart plotting, and integrations with many onboard electronics, all in a compact, weather-resistant, floating case. The marriage of a marine GPS unit with inReach satellite messaging could be the perfect tool for boaters. Can this many capabilities work in one little package? Read on to find out.

The GPSMap 86 series replaces a few products in Garmin’s product line. It serves as both the update to the venerable GPSMap 78 and the inReach Explorer+...

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Dometic E-Actuator steering promises better outboard steering with no hydraulics

2 Dec

A sample transom showing off the clean rigging of Dometic’s E-actuator

Dometic’s Optimus Electric Steering Actuator has had quite a successful show season since its early 2019 introduction. It’s won major awards at IBEX, METS Trade and from Boating Industry Magazine. But what captured the attention of those award committees? It’s the promise of more precise handling, reduced weight, easier installations, and reduced maintenance. A few minutes spent with Dometic Marine representatives makes clear the engineering and innovation required to make this system possible.

Brian Dudra and Eric Fetchko of Dometic Marine with the E-Actuator and the demo helm at
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Foulfree from Propspeed, clean transducers without biocide

13 Nov

Boats that spend a lot of time in the water typically have bottom paint applied to reduce fouling growth. Transducers are in the same water as the rest of the boat, but most bottom paint can’t be used on transducers. Unfortunately, the paints compatible with transducers aren’t as effective. Propspeed, the New Zealand based company that makes coatings for props, shafts, and underwater lights, has introduced Foulfree for transducers. Foulfree is a foul-release product, not a biocide and it’s the first product certified by Airmar for use on their transducers.

Transducers are made from materials that can be harmed by ...

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A few valuable boating apps, and what’s your favorite?

11 Nov


Most boaters carry around an impressively powerful and easy to use computer in their pockets: their smartphone. Smartphones have enough processing power, sensors and capabilities to augment or possibly even replace dedicated navigation equipment onboard your boat. Mobile phone and tablet apps for boating have steadily improved and today offer a compelling set of functionalities that can make boating both safer and easier.

To me, one of the key benefits of mobile apps at the helm is the ability to use multiple brands of charts. Using different chart providers helps avoid falling victim to any issue with your charts. ...

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Broad IP camera support, a Raymarine advantage

23 Oct

When I outfitted Have Another Day to begin cruising I wanted better visibility of several areas of the boat. IP cameras are the natural way to tackle this but once I realized I wanted five or more cams the cost of MFD manufacturer branded models quickly became prohibitive. Fortunately, I’d already decided to go with Raymarine MFDs and some digging revealed strong support for a commonly used IP video standard.

The back of an 8617 with ample network ports as well as CVBS (analog video) input

MFDs have support for a varying mix of IP and analogue cameras. Most MFDs ...

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My Island WiFi offers U.S. service – $110 / month for unlimited internet

11 Oct

When Have Another Day visited the Bahamas in 2017 internet connectivity was complex and pricey. In 2018 My Island WiFi began renting mobile hotspots with unlimited data; the raves of simplicity and cost-effectiveness from those cruising the Bahamas could be heard all the way back in the states. Many commented that the service was so much better than what they could get in U.S. providers that they wished they could use My Island WiFi’s service in the U.S. Well, now they can, My Island WiFi has started offering service in the U.S.

My Island WiFi is now offering a $110 ...

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Better waste tank monitoring with Maretron

10 Oct


The Maretron FPM100 installed on the ceiling of Have Another Day’s engine room

Have Another Day’s waste tank monitors have never been very accurate and that’s only gotten worse as time has gone by. In well over 10,000 nautical miles of cruising we’ve only overflowed a waste tank once, but that’s once too many. So, when the gauges on both tanks recently seemed to completely stop working, I decided it was time to find a new solution.

Have Another Day’s now defunct TankWatch 4

When Carver built Have Another Day she was equipped with TankWatch 4 monitors on both ...

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