Category: Cabin & deck gear

Smörgåsboat: The tasty testing buffet installed on Gizmo for 2017

Jul 31, 2017

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While I do think that Gizmo offers a bountiful spread of delicious marine electronics these days, a more serious title for this entry might read: "Guilt: All the darn gear I've borrowed but haven't reviewed yet!" So the plan here is to share some first impressions of various new installs and thus begin discussions toward future deeper reviews. You might enjoy clicking the yummy helm photo above bigger before we dig into the details...

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LED headlamp beanie, your boat may need one

Jun 9, 2017

Ben_w_LL_Bean_LED_Beanie_cPanbo.jpgThis LED beanie has gotten a lot of use since a knowing Secret Santa gifted it to me at our family Chrismakah celebration, and I think it would make an excellent Father's Day gift for many dads I know. Or maybe you just need to buy one for yourself, in which case the magic words apply: "I need it for the boat"...

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Navico Hawks 2017: "Full boat integration into one display cluster"

Feb 27, 2017

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The Miami Boat Show was loaded with marine electronics news, but first let's visit the Navico writers event held at Hawks Cay, Florida, earlier this month. Deeper still - Mercury engine integration, B&G Zeus PredictWind weather routing, the Halo radar VelocityTrack Doppler upgrade, Navionics SonarChart Live everywhere, Simrad's new 3kW 3-channel S5100 super sonar, and Lowrance Carbon (Gen3) MFDs are some of the goodies that were demonstrated and/or discussed. But I was especially taken with CEO Leif Ottosson's opening "big picture" presentation and think it's valuable to anyone interested in the future of boating...

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Ebikes for boats, learning from a Sondors

Jan 11, 2017

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Folding bikes seem great for cruising boats. You can extend your sightseeing, fetch supplies, or simply get some rolling excercise. But I've wondered if a compactable electric bike could be even better and more fun. While that manly beast above is certainly unfit for stowing on even a mid-sized trawler, it's led me to love the ebike concept and taught me what a good one may look like for my cruising situation...

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Garmin wireless wonders #1: Virb XE and now the Virb Ultra 30

Aug 31, 2016

Garmin_Helm_app_showing_wireless_Virb_XE_cam_and_gWind_cPanbo.jpgThe multiple layers of Garmin wireless communications going on above may seem crazy, but they all work well and have endless practical and/or fun applications around a boat. Normally, for instance, it would take two people to align a fixed boat camera, plus running power and video cables. But I simply climbed up Gizmo's mast, mounted a Virb XE with an adhesive base, and aligned it using the free Garmin Helm app on my phone to see the Virb video screen running on the flybridge GPSmap 7612. It took mere minutes to get a masthead view at my helm, and while mounting the gWind sensor required tools, it too is completely wireless. Garmin is blazing several worthy wireless trails...

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Articulating display pods tested: SeaView, ScanStrut & NavPod

Aug 8, 2016

Gizmo_Glass_Bridge_II_August_2016_cPanbo.jpgThe latest multifunction displays (MFDs) look smashing on Gizmo's flybridge, I like to think. And it's not just that Raymarine, Simrad, Furuno, and Garmin -- that's the lineup, left to right -- have almost all further evolved the black glass style that promises to be with us for a long time. Those two articulating pods also contribute to the clean look, plus they make it easier for me to use the podded MFDs from different spots on the bridge. It's time to discuss the SeaView, ScanStrut and NavPod articulating pods I've tried in the last few years...

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

Jun 6, 2016

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...

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ScanStrut Rokk Mini, premium marine mount system

Apr 22, 2016

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...

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

Apr 15, 2016

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. Next week, for instance, we hope to share some startling new features that may be coming to an MFD already on your boat. Today, though, let's look at some Garmin demo highlights...

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West Marine Expo, ACR LED Searchlight, Scanstrut USB, Navico Compass & Triton Gills

Mar 29, 2016

West Marine Expo Cover 2016West Marine's first ever Marine Electronics Expo will kick off in four states (NY, FL, CA, CT) on April 8th (thru 9th) and also online. Besides some deals on electronics gear, there will be live educational seminars from Icom, Shakespeare, Lowrance, Fusion, Uniden, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Spot, Delorme, and maybe more at the select stores...

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