December 2012 Archives

Alice remembered, and Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2012

2013 is going to be a bang up year for Panbo, I think. News about that tomorrow, and soon we'll be back to actual electronics news and reviews, I promise. But first I have one more bit of boating nostalgia to cap off 2012. I took the photo above in April, 1978, as the good sloop Alice reached along well offshore about half way to Maine from Man-O-War Cay in the Abacos (hence the conch jerky hung to dry in the rigging). We'd already endured some fairly heavy weather without problems and this was a glorious morning when Alice was taking care of herself nicely and I was further enjoying the fruits of our long relationship...

Continue Reading

Bruce Ray, a true cruiser down

Dec 27, 2012

I never would have guessed that I would last see Bruce Ray on the September day that began with this misty dawn photo of his beloved sloop Zingara in Chesapeake City, Maryland. For a guy pushing 70 and burdened with damaged lungs, Bruce seemed phenomenally hearty. In fact, he'd just run solo for two long days and a night to get here from western Long Island, which meant he'd driven right through Cape May Harbor instead of resting there like Leonard and I had. But Bruce knew how to stop and smell the coffee too. Later that morning, the three of us old coots enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Bohemian Cafe and then walked around the harbor and admired the old-time engineering on display at the nifty C&D Canal Museum...

Continue Reading

Regina Maris remembered & Merry Christmas to all

Dec 25, 2012

"The crew was pretty grumpy as we headed north out of the Panama Canal. Hopes of spending a wild reggae Christmas in Kingston, Jamaica had recently been dashed (rumor was that there was a lien on Regina in Kingston), so on the morning of 24 Dec 1979, we found ourselves dropping anchor in Bahia du Mole..." Thus begins a sweet Christmas story written and mapped by my old mate Steve Nelson on The Friends and Crew of Regina Maris Facebook page. I'm sure that many far flung cruisers will enjoy Steve's true tale, but I can practically smell the scenes ashore and on board...

Continue Reading

Aquabotix factory visit, and hand's on the HydroView

Dec 20, 2012

I believe that this gentleman -- Durval Tavares, the founder and president of Aquabotix -- earned that grin the hard way. It's no surprise that getting something as complex as a "remote controlled underwater camera vehicle" with an iPad interface to market would be a challenge, but when I visited the company HQ on Tuesday I was impressed with just how many details and disciplines are in play behind the scenes. I was also impressed with the cheerful, collaborative work environment Tavares and his team have created and I quite enjoyed taking my first HydroView driving lesson in the factory test pool (video example here)...

Continue Reading

SailTimer; the app, the GPS, & the Wind Vane

Dec 12, 2012

It's time to catch up on Dr. Craig Summers and his passion for Tacking Time to Destination (TTD). The basic idea is to calculate in advance how long it will take to tack (or jibe) a sailboat to point B in particular wind conditions, but there's a lot to it. Like how does the software program or dedicated device know exactly what your particular boat can do those conditions -- a set of performance values known as polars -- as well as what the boat and wind are doing in real time so it can perfect its predictions? And what about currents? When we last discussed SailTimer in 2009, Summers had introduced a rudimentary iPhone app and was working on something called The Sailing GPS. The latter is real now, the app is several generations advanced, and that's not all!

Continue Reading

T-SAT & SiMON Gold, mega-style multi-touch

Dec 10, 2012

A Panbo search on Palladium Technologies will show you some very jazzy big yacht technology, much of it with a distinctly Apple style, like the SiMON2 iPad-based system installed on a futuristic Cheoy Lee Alpha 76 at the Fort Lauderdale show in 2011. This year, Palladium's Lauderdale introduction was much more a prototype but it was also quite sensational. The idea behind SiMON Gold is to evolve 'traditional' SiMON monitoring and control along with video feeds, switching, and much else into a finger-gesture-managed megayacht multiple multi-touch monitor helm extravaganza. That's Palladium founder Mike Blake pulling a data source off Gold's sliding menu bar, which he could then drag and size easily to further build a particular monitoring screen, but actually that's the most obvious feature...

Continue Reading

Goodbye dGPS? Hello Virtual AtoNs?

Dec 5, 2012

No one should get overly upset quite yet, but it does seem that the U.S. Coast Guard is thinking about reducing the differential GPS (DGPS) correction stations it manages, and is also wondering if all the aids to navigation (AtoNs) it maintains are truly necessary these days. My friend Dean Travis Clark recently joined the Navigation Safety Advisory Council (NAVSAC) and he just sent around two of its working group resolutions for comments. I know he'd like to hear the opinions of Panbo readers too, and that these resolutions have not yet been finalized or presented to the USCG...

Continue Reading

Bad Elf Pro, the perfect iPad GPS (& logger too)?

Dec 3, 2012

It's amazing how small, fast, and precise GPS has gotten. I'm not saying that those accuracy figures seen on the Bad Elf GPS Pro are absolutely true -- without a physical reference point, a GPS can only estimate its own positional precision, right? -- but I have seen some very impressive real world performance. Plus this Bluetooth Elf can do much more than simply feed position data to iPads, Touch iPods, and iPhones (up to five at once). It can serve as a standalone GPS with lat/long, COG, SOG,  and altitude also displayable on that small but readable screen, and it can log up to 32 hours of detailed track data which is easy to make use of on your iThing and beyond...

Continue Reading