August 2013 Archives

Brian's P47: "Picking a Partner"

Aug 30, 2013

Maine_Cat_P47_Audrey_Louisa_cPanbo.jpgA handsome addition to Camden Harbor recently has been the latest launch of the power catamaran design that was almost Gizmo, and darned if it doesn't have a certain gizmological flare. Check the high-low combination of solid state and magnetron radars, for instance. In fact, the gadget-loving owner, Brian Strong, is a regular Panbo reader and he wrote up an interesting explanation of his electronics choices...

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Hand's on Vesper Vision, Class B AIS superstar

Aug 27, 2013

Vesper_Marine_WatchMate_Vision_on_Gizmo_cPanbo.jpgI ended my entry about Vesper Marine's excellent AIS collision avoidance software with tentative enthusiasm about the company's next generation WatchMate Vision transponder.  Well, a test unit has been installed on Gizmo's dash since mid-July and frankly, it's spectacular. While it certainly offers the AIS target filtering and alerting genius previously discussed, now these talented developers have put maximum AIS utility into a 5.7-inch touchscreen, while also creating what could be the central WiFi link between a boat's fixed sensors and a boater's mobile apps...

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VIRB cameras, the Garmin 'ecosystem' expands

Aug 21, 2013

Garmin_VIRB_elite_Panbo.jpgYesterday Garmin big-footed into a new niche with new VIRB action cameras -- VIRB as in verb, as in action (I think). It's not a boat camera per se, but I expect that one will be useful and fun around a boat, and it's also another indication of the company's product 'ecosystem' strategy. Garmin was just getting into dedicated marine electronics when I began covering the subject in depth over a decade ago, but, nonetheless, the major players almost unanimously cited the big Kansas complex full of engineers (with its own factory in Taiwan) as their biggest competitive fear. I suspect it was capabilities like this that caused the concern. VIRB is not an assault on any marine companies, but CNet's sharp analysis is aptly titled "Garmin gets up in GoPro's grill with VIRB HD cameras"...

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WiFi MFD's, Navico GoFree promises more than met

Aug 19, 2013

Simrad_GoFree_in_action_cPanbo.jpgAfter Raymarine and Furuno introduced multifunction displays with WiFi built-in and apps that could mirror and even control the MFD screen on an iPad or Android tablet -- a great idea that caught on quickly -- I was frankly a dite dubious when various Navico folks said that they had an even better idea. Eventually, though, we got to discuss the WiFi1, their MFD network hotspot, and then the whole multi-tier GoFree concept. It's a complicated concept largely because it's so ambitious -- for instance, supporting both Navico screen control apps and multiple third party apps like the ones seen above -- but it seems to me that GoFree is now doing even more than Navico promised, and there's virtually no limit to where it's headed...

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Eva-Dry your boat interior

Aug 14, 2013

EvaDryArticle1_cDCorcoran_for_Panbo-7436l.jpgOne of the products above has proven itself a far superior option in keeping my 39-foot sailboat pleasantly dry and odor free, despite an occasional need to close up the boat with wet sails or gear down below.

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Dan Corcoran (b393capt) | Permalink | Comments (14)

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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GPS spoofing, will we ever learn?

Aug 5, 2013

GPS_spoofing_superyacht_courtesty_University_of_Texas_Austin.jpgHat's off to Professor Todd Humphreys and his grad students for not only demonstrating that GPS spoofing is possible but for doing so in such a dramatic fashion that they got the whole media world chattering about it. For instance, Fox News led their story with "The world's GPS system is vulnerable to hackers or terrorists who could use it to hijack ships -- even commercial airliners, according to a frightening new study that exposes a huge potential hole in national security."  While I think that's an overheated conclusion, I suspect that we may need an even greater scare to finally build out a secondary form of civilian electronic position fixing...

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Volvo Penta (Garmin) Glass Cockpit, just the beginning?

Aug 1, 2013

Volvo_Penta_Garmin_Glass_Bridge.jpgWhen I wrote about seeing the new Garmin 8000 Glass Helm series in Miami, several knowledgeable readers commented about how it (and the GMI 20 I'm testing) would be used as part of a complete Volvo Penta engine/helm package. They were right.  Garmin announced the VP Glass Cockpit yesterday and it's already up in detail at Volvo Penta. The main features seem to be great nav screen integration with joystick, trim, and autopilot controls plus a single vendor for all, but is this also what we're going to see from all the glass bridge/helm/cockpit systems, and will it "trickle down"?

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