Panbo

Category: Safety

Simrad ForwardScan, a challenge to EchoPilot FLS?

Apr 17, 2014

Simrad_ForwardScan_concept_aPanbo.jpgWhile Simrad announced ForwardScan at the Miami Boat Show, details are scarce and the concept diagram doesn't really show what a ForwardScan screen is going to look like. Yes, like other Forward Looking Sonar (FLS) systems, the goal is to display the water column and ocean floor in front of the vessel to "help boaters eliminate the worry of potential groundings in unfamiliar waters," and yes, FowardScan is the first FLS to be fully integrated into a multifunction display system. Well, I've hounded Simrad for more information -- all of which sounds good -- and it also looks like I will get to test ForwardScan against what seems like the most similar existing product...

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eLoran is back, thanks to Kim Jong-un?

Feb 27, 2014

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When this photo went up on Panbo in early 2010, the prospect of an eLoran system to back up GPS in the USA seemed worse than dead. As the Coast Guard dismantled the old Loran C infrastructure, it would obviously get more expensive to resuscitate the eLoran concept. Well, by golly, the rebirth of eLoran USA is happening anyway! I learned about this good news in a fairly startling way earlier this month, and I'd like to share it with you...

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Iridium's GO! satellite WiFi and Globalstar's mysterious SatFi

Feb 12, 2014

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Wow! With a bounty of significant cruising electronics news on my desk, the new Iridium GO! may rank #1. Think of it as the Iridium Extreme -- arguably the most versatile, rugged, and expensive sat phone available -- with the phone interface replaced by a WiFi radio able to handle five smartphones or tablets. The GO can install semi-permanently with an external antenna, or sit on deck while you make a quiet call below, or go in your pack when you hike in Tierra del Fuego. You'll still be able to make and take phone calls anywhere, but they will be easier, less expensive, and purportedly better sounding. Plus there's global email, tracking, and so much more...

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Charlie 'saved'...support the Coast Guard Foundation

Jan 19, 2014

Charlie_Doane_being_rescued_by_USCG.jpgMy friend and colleague, Charlie Doane, has been making the pages of Panbo since at least 2005 (sometimes even comically), and he does seem to get seriously offshore more than any other active writer I can think of. But, damn, it's unexpected to post an image of him being hoisted aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter last week. The abandonment of the very first Alpha 42 catamaran, Be Good Too, has been covered extensively elsewhere, probably in most accurate detail by Charlie himself, and discussions about the incident rage in various online forums. While I think that chewing over maritime casualties like this is a good thing -- even if it does bring out the pedantic ass in some of us -- let me also suggest an appropriate course of action for interested bystanders...

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Maretron N2KView: prices slashed, architecture improved, and BNWAS

Jan 13, 2014

FPB-78_w_N2KView_courtesy_Dashew_Offshore.jpgI find Steve Dashew's latest FPB 78 long-range powerboat design so intriguing that I won't link to it until the end of this entry for fear of losing you!  The relevant detail in the rendering above is Steve's plan to occasionally use that giant 65-inch 4K resolution TV monitor so he can still see his radar and Maretron N2KView monitoring info as he moves about the vessel's giant main cabin while underway. I got to spend time with the Dashews on their original FPB Windhorse, and it's one heck of an equipment endorsement to be chosen for the next one. I also know that Steve's expert evaluation of Maretron's hardware and software systems came before the major and excellent-sounding N2KView product changes I'm about to outline...

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Iris NightRunner nav camera, too good to be true?

Nov 12, 2013

Iris_NightRunner_camera_at_FLIBS13_cPanbo.jpgIris Innovations used some magnet magic to highlight the sveltness of the NightRunner dual payload pan/tilt/zoom navigation camera system it debuted in Fort Lauderdale. The real magic, though, seems to be in the pricing. At about $5,000 including a full-featured joystick control pad, the NightRunner isn't that much more than a fixed Raymarine T200 with the same 320 x 240 thermal resolution and no daylight camera at all, and the NightRunner installation doesn't seem much harder. Meanwhile the dual payload PTZ model most similar to the NightRunner appears to be the  FLIR M-324L (or its sibling Ray T400) with a full retail price of about $15,000!  How is this possible?

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"Lessons of the BOUNTY" -- Andy nails it

Nov 10, 2013

BOUNTY_issues_--_Courtesy_Jan_Adkins_and_WoodenBoat.jpgI'll probably always associate Hurricane Sandy and the sinking of the HMS Bounty with last fall's cruise to the Carolinas and a Fort Lauderdale show that got a little scary just because Sandy's eye passed by about 160 miles to the east. Soon after flying from Lauderdale to Gizmo's super safe location in Myrtle Beach (lucky!), I was adding Bounty comments to an entry about how I'd first spotted the storm on a Furuno TZT. What I didn't mention then was that I'm one of a cohort that had more reason than most to get cold chills over the sinking of a large traditional sailing vessel, a loss that could have been so much worse if it weren't for an extraordinary USCG rescue operation. But it's relevant now because an old square rig shipmate has written a very fine analysis of the disaster and what we can learn from it...

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Summer bummer, please don't blame charts or electronics

Aug 10, 2013

East_Goose_Rock_wreck_courtesy_Leonard_Lookner.jpgWhile my friend Leonard Lookner was first to come upon this distressing scene Wednesday afternoon, he too was sailing and thus, a powerboat just behind him was first to offer assistance. But it was Leonard's iPhone photos that fueled a local PenBay Pilot news piece, which then prompted an interesting SailNet discussion. Of course, it was suggested that marine electronics or digital charts were somehow to blame - allegations I'd like to refute, and I also want to report on how well this worse-than-it-even-looks situation actually turned out. Plus, getting reminded to be careful out there is never a bad idea...

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Vesper Marine WatchMate, still the leader in AIS collision avoidance?

Jun 11, 2013
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New York Harbor demands your attention even when you have lots of great electronics including what's arguably the best recreational-level AIS target tracking system. That's my excuse for not photographing the ideal example of the Vesper Marine AIS WatchMate 850 at work in heavy traffic. A more compelling shot might be more zoomed in and would have at least one solid target icon indicating a vessel(s) that had reached the Vesper's highly configurable alarm level. But do note how the WatchMate is tracking 114 targets at this point in time though it's also filtering 102 of those off the screen so that yours truly can better see the ones that matter. That in itself is worthy of discussion... 

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Maretron SMS100, advanced NMEA 2000 monitoring via cell texts

Jun 3, 2013
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Two recent experiences make me particularly excited about the Maretron SMS100 announced today (and already shipping). During the trip north I learned to appreciate the sophisticated "Alert" features built into Maretron's various NMEA 2000 displays and I also enjoyed some benefits of the Siren Marine cellular monitoring system. In fact, Gizmo's refrigerator currently contains two temperature sensors, a Maretron probe for on board monitoring and a Siren probe so I can keep an eye on the system from afar (even from Korea, by gosh). While the standalone and economical Siren system will definitely remain appropriate for some boats (and Maretron probably has an SMS learning curve to climb), I'm really looking forward to having virtually unlimited N2K monitoring on my phone...

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