Panbo turns 10, and founder Yme's Arviro 10 project

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 4, 2014

Arviro_10_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpgIf you browse to the bottom of the Panbo monthly archives, you'll see that the very first entry went up on February 4, 2004. So Panbo is 10 years old today, which may be a century in Internet years?  In fact, one motivation for founder Yme Bosma was an interest in what was then the new-fangled "blog" content management format. While he soon had to focus back on his high tech work and I took over Panbo in 2005, the boating geek bug is often incurable, as many of us know. It seems more than coincidental -- and very cool -- that Panbo's 120th month is also the debut of Yme's all electric, solar powered, and iPad instrumented cruiser design, the Arviro 10.

Arviro_10_drawing_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpgYou can learn a lot about Yme's design at, but you may also enjoy browsing the blog of hull #1 Drift Away as it evolved from a pile of aluminum plates to test cruising around Holland in January (the blog is written in Dutch, but Google does fairly well at the translation). The design goal is a trailerable pocket cruiser with a 7.5Kw steerable pod drive that can propel her at about 5 knots for 50 miles from a 30Kw lithium battery bank that lives in her hollow keel. Added range and a nice complement of comfort appliances at anchor are powered by 1500W of walkable SolbianFlex solar panels almost invisible on the salon roof. Actual performance seems pretty good so far, even in wind and waves.

Arviro_10_cruising_Friesland_via_Marine_Traffic.jpgI particularly enjoyed watching Drift Away on Marine Traffic as Yme quietly worked his way up through the interior of Friesland last weekend. I know it's not so green now at 54° North, but what a perfect vessel for wandering those historic and beautiful waterways. Imagine trailering it behind your (large) vehicle to other exotic waterways, camping aboard along the way! That concept remains untested, but right now the first Aviro 10 has been hauled into the big trade center in Leeuwarden where apparently she'll be playing a special part in the grand opening of Boot Holland this Friday.

Arviro_10_Drift_Away_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpgJust because the boat is raw (but easy to maintain) aluminum on the outside doesn't mean it can't be classy and comfy on the inside. And note the blank-looking helm forward of young Jesse Bosma. His dad tells me that "everything should work only through tablets, phones and an LED TV screen" and he added that Drift Away "has a 4G/wifi router on board for permanent connectivity and facilitating the boat network."

Arviro_10_Victron_install_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpgOf course, there's much technology tucked away on this boat, and I think a lot of it is Victron blue. In fact, when I wrote about Victron's powerful new Color Monitor GX, the lead photo showed an early unit at work under Drift Away's helm seat. I gather that Yme mainly intends to view the monitor data via its Internet or direct browser connections... 

Arviro_10_Chetco_vDash_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpg...and I know that he's also working with Chetco Digital's SeaSmart gear and vDash software to get the Aviro's NMEA 2000 data out to apps. But at least some of the monitoring and control is not yet finished, and more detailed coverage will come in a later entry. The great news there is that Panbo correspondent Kees Verruijt lives right down the canal from Leeuwarden, plans to be at Boot Holland, and has already had a ride on Drift Away. "I liked it lot," he wrote me, adding that Yme's design is "brimming with good ideas, both electronic and not."

Arviro_10_profile_courtesy_Yme_Bosma.jpgI look forward to what I'm sure will be detailed systems coverage by Kees, and I understand that Victron is working on a video. In the meantime, I encourage readers to dig deep into the Drift Away blog and Aviro site. Mainly, though, I want to thank Yme for starting Panbo 10 years ago and wish him well with both his new boat business and his new cruising machine.



Posted by: Anonymous at February 4, 2014 2:45 PM | Reply

Yeah, and I guess it's true that FaceBook has done a bit better than Panbo. The boating industry, marine electronics included, is no place to make a fortune.

But let's also note that Yme's first Panbo entry showed Ockam Eye running on a Palm Pilot. Things could be worse. Besides, I'm pretty happy in my work, and I suspect Yme is too.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Anonymous at February 4, 2014 2:54 PM | Reply

I don't use Facebook, by choice, but I have gotten a great deal out of Panbo. Keep up the great work Ben!

Posted by: Jeff H at February 4, 2014 5:28 PM | Reply

Thanks, Jeff! When Panbo has its IPO, you won't be forgotten.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Jeff H at February 4, 2014 7:25 PM | Reply


Ditto to Jeff H in all respects.

Regds John

Posted by: millsiteman at February 5, 2014 2:25 AM | Reply

Hi Ben (and Yme ofcourse),

congratulations on 10 year Panbo!

Am I expected to go back to work after reading above post? As opposed to reading all those interesting other blogs and websites?

Perhaps doing that reading is work any way. :)

Matthijs / Victron

Posted by: Matthijs Vader - Victron at February 5, 2014 6:24 AM | Reply

Congrats Ben on the anniversary. I should be no problem finding things to write about in the marine electronics industry. I have been playing about with webcams this winter and using the setup of a old Olympus camera and laptop from the recycle center. Working to find a place in Camden Harbor for one. Wayfarer maybe.
see the setup in Portsmouth NH esp the tugboats. At home here is
Got any ideas for a place?

Posted by: Allan Seymour at February 5, 2014 8:20 AM | Reply

Clearly my PANBO addiction rehab program isn't working. As soon as I get Internet access while cruising, I check PANBO to see whether GIZMO has sunk yet from all the stuff being tested. Then I read about your take on the latest and greatest. Thanks for it all and I forgive you for indirectly lightening my wallet when your enthusiasm is too irresistible..

All the best


Posted by: Don Joyce at February 5, 2014 9:33 AM | Reply

Congratulations on 10 years, Panbo! Thanks for all the great entries, Ben. Keep up the great work.

Posted by: John Murch at February 5, 2014 9:50 AM | Reply

Congratulations, Ben! I didn't know the Panbo history but you're part of this past roaring(for me)internet decade. Facebook, a small part, and just 10 years old, highlights how the internet has changed my world.

As a Panbo visitor, I've become less overwhelmed by today's boat tech. Plus, projects like DRIFTAWAY make me think while we're still roaring forward on tech, we're entering a simpler era for the user in a shift to tablet tech on boats.

This new tablet avenue suits me and my simple sailing style perfectly. I'm lucky to have kids that drag me up the 'steep curves', including Facebook. I don't want them to leave me behind!

Posted by: Tom Young at February 5, 2014 10:28 AM | Reply

What makes Panbo different and valuable is Ben’s honesty in calling it like it is. Most publications will not say anything negative about a new product. The Panbo reviews and discussions often send engineers back to the drawing board which results in a second generation product immensely improved. Not only does this benefit the boat owner - consumer, but also the Marine Electronics industry.

Reading Panbo for the past several years has saved me from making many buying mistakes and at the same time cost me a fortune as I feel compelled to get the latest NMEA 2000 connected VHF radio, Broadband radar or WiFi AIS. I guess I just love trying the next great gizmo - a vice I can live with.

Happy birthday Panbo.

Posted by: Richard C at February 5, 2014 10:37 AM | Reply

Wow! 10 years. Congratulations. That's 100 in internet years! :)

Posted by: ValkyrieYachts at February 5, 2014 11:47 AM | Reply

Thanks, all!

A birthday bonus is that PassageMaker has just started putting all Panbo entries in full on their Web site and editor Peter Swanson introduced the new feature nicely (I think):

Panbo is already published in full on the PMY site and on Sail's blog garden SailFeed. All these sites clearly identify the source as Panbo and readers there get a link back to here to read or add comments at the end of every entry. I was hoping for this sort of syndication treatment when I signed with AIM Marine Group starting 1/1/2013 and they've exceeded my hopes.

Some of the magazines, PMY in particular, are also excerpting Panbo entries for print. It still startles me to see my blog writing style on paper, but apparently it's working fine with their readers.

So the worlds of enthusiast magazines and enthusiastic bloggers are not as different as they once were. The times they are achanging...

Posted by: Ben at February 5, 2014 11:49 AM | Reply

Ben, congratulations on the 10 years anniversary. I've been a loyal reader from the very beginning;-)

Thanks for the nice post on my latest project, hope to (finally) meet you in real life one day!

Posted by: Yme Bosma at February 5, 2014 1:33 PM | Reply

That would be nice, Yme, preferably on the waterways of Friesland.

But I did get to go sailing in Keys for a bit last week and I've got evidence thanks to Charlie Doane's great coverage of the Navico writer's event:

I'll be adding my two cents on the event soon.

Posted by: Ben at February 5, 2014 2:35 PM | Reply

Good stuff Ben. Yme couldn't have chosen a better person to carry Panbo forward. While this particular interest is somewhat esoteric, it is hard to believe that 10 years on, this blog is as unique in its coverage of marine electronics as it was back then. The nature of the Internet so far has been for content to continually expand, but Panbo has remained the best place by far to go and learn about the latest and greatest, and we all have you to thank. Cheers

Posted by: Eliboat at February 5, 2014 11:23 PM | Reply

Belated Congrats, Ben, I'm a little behind on my inbox... Your blog has been invaluable over the years. Many times, when faced with inquiries on new technologies, I find myself asking folks "Have you ever followed the blog There was a great post just a while back on exactly that issue...." Your work has helped more than you know. All the best going forward,

Posted by: Grant at February 7, 2014 11:59 AM | Reply

Yme did great at today's boat show opening.

Electrical boating is getting a lot of attention here, which why Friesland province (~ US state) wanted to show the new Arviro as a showcase of local engineering.

For a boat intended to travel down canals and lakes at a leisurely pace full electric power makes a lot of sense.

Yme, here's to you! Thank you for starting Panbo all those years ago...

Ben, here's to ten more years of Panbo! Hurrah!

Posted by: Kees at February 7, 2014 6:04 PM | Reply

Hurrah indeed!

Check "Eye Catcher" at bottom of this page:

Posted by: Ben at February 7, 2014 9:43 PM | Reply

Happy Panbo-day, Ben! Congratulations!
the eletric boat story is a great one to mark the anniversary -- especially interesting for me since I have to do a concept design for a diesel-elecric boat.

Posted by: Michael at February 9, 2014 1:25 PM | Reply

Hi Ben, Happy Birthday to Panbo and it is a great reflection on you and on Yme too.

I love reading it and have for many years and which had a link to Panbo recently. is a sailing website.

I am keen on electric boats and hope one day to have my own alloy Catamaran powered by solar on the decks and roof, with masts supporting multiple small wind generators for night or less sunny days.

At the moment though the boats we have are all diesil or petrol powered. Our cars though are getting part electric with two being Priuses, the small ones, like a sports hatch, great handling and cheap to run.

Saving up now for a Tesla Model S. !.

Hoping to have the boats, cars and house all solar powered eventually.

Kind Regards,

Posted by: Michael at February 21, 2014 6:05 PM | Reply

Congratulations Ben !

Posted by: svDeepPlaya at February 22, 2014 4:36 PM | Reply

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