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Monthly Archive: November 2011

10

DeLorme inReach, hand’s on #1

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Click on this photo for a close look at the new age of satellite messaging, tracking, and distress handhelds, or at least three of the early contenders. I was cautiously keen on the DeLorme inReach when it first surfaced, but then I had to bite my tongue. Though I was experiencing its reasonably fast and affordable two-way global messaging back in August, I couldn’t discuss it because of the beta testing NDA. Fair enough, as the inReach system evolved substantially during the beta process. Plus I’ve now had a chance to compare it with the less expensive Spot Connect, whose one-way custom messaging via Globalstar was discussed here in January. Not to mention the pro-oriented BriarTek Cerberus system, which also appeared here last January and uses the same Iridium 9602 data modem as the inReach. The news is pretty much all good for anyone who boats (or hikes, or whatever) beyond cell service, but it’s going to take several entries just to lay out what I’ve learned so far…

43

ActiveCaptain route sharing: dangerous, useful, or perfection?

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When I first heard about ActiveCaptain’s plan to enable route sharing amongst it users, it was via a group email from a very experienced bluewater cruiser “in absolute shock that a boat owner/skipper navigating a boat through unfamiliar waters would use somebody else’s waypoints.” I posted the whole note for discussion in the Forum, but only AC developer Jeff Siegel and I participated. Well, now route sharing is fully enabled at the ActiveCaptain site, as illustrated in the screen shot collage above, and I still don’t understand why anyone would object, particularly given AC’s careful implementation…

4

AC34, Garmin & the support fleet

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Given that the Golden Gate Yacht Club — home club of Larry Ellison and his team BMW Oracle Racing — couldn’t confidently start on America’s Cup 34 until they won the much-litigated AC33 in February, 2010, it’s pretty amazing that they got the new World Series program running last August. Besides the raft of new behind-the-scenes technology discussed here recently, the organizers put together a large fleet of support vessels and a core shore infrastructure that could all travel around the world packed into a cargo ship. And the AC34 folks do not seem to do anything halfway. For instance, click on the photo and see how the ACRM (Race Management) containers were stacked and accessorized on the San Diego Navy Pier to make a two-story Base with decks and awnings (and even wheelchair access). Consider too the sleek camera-toting power catamaran Cambria

5

America’s Cup 34, a tech overview

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Stan Honey has not always been grinning during the San Diego session of the AC World Series, but it’s staggering what he and the many tech teams behind the scenes have already accomplished. As I had hoped. In fact, while I came mostly to see the technology, I’ve become enthralled by the racing itself, which — almost ironically, and a far cry from previous AC’s — is all about sailing skills rather than competing design and gear technologies. The fleet of AC45 catamarans is nearly pure one design (they have some latitude over the “soft” sail designs) and I understand that the only racing electronics the crews are using are GPS speedos. What all the gadgetry and software supports are remarkably agile race management, fast and fair umpiring, and phenomenal audio video broadcast coverage…

8

METS 2011, a Kees Verruijt report

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Today I {Kees Verruijt} did a one day tour of the 2011 Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam. I knew before I started that it would be a hopeless task to cover everything so this is just my own take on things… This year is the first year that Ben had introduced me as the official Panbo representative and I was surprised at how much ‘clout’ I was carrying. This turned out to be both positive (people take you seriously) and a negative — some manufacturers clearly stated that some things were under embargo and they did not care for publication just yet…

Today I {Kees Verrujit} did a one day tour of the 2011 Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam. I knew before I started that it would be a hopeless task to cover everything so this is just my own take on things… This year is the first year that Ben had introduced me as the official Panbo representative and I was surprised at how much ‘clout’ I was carrying. This turned out to be both positive (people take you seriously) and a negative — some manufacturers clearly stated that some things were under embargo and they did not care for publication just yet…

11

EarthNC: routing, NEXRAD, & Baron XMWX

EarthNC_routing_cPanbo.jpg

I use the iPad version of EarthNC fairly often because I still like how it can overlay and detail NOAA weather buoy and forecast info, a feature it had when I first tried it. I also like how the quilted NOAA raster charts look on a pad (but then again I’m an old guy). Now EarthNC has added a pretty full featured route-making routine to its iOS version, as I tried to illustrate above by laying out the San Diego America’s Cup course I’ll be seeing up close later this week (I’m so excited). Note how I was able to easily type in waypoint names, and what you can’t see is how easy it is to move one, or delete it, or add a new one along a track line…

8

Rally season: trackers, goggles, and a weather router issue

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Of course I admire another boating writer willing to put weird things on his head for the sake of research and a little levity. But consider me dubious regarding the anti-seasickness goggles Charlie Doane modeled aboard a yacht he almost crewed aboard for the Carib 1500 rally. The rally — which runs from Hampton, Virginia, to the Virgin Islands — got delayed by what became tropical storm Sean, and Charlie had to bail, but he still came up with an interesting story about the rally organizers and weather routers who try to help passage makers in this difficult season…