Category: What's on board...

Smörgåsboat 2: More tasty test electronics southbound on Gizmo

Oct 17, 2017

Passagemaker_Who_is_Ben_Ellison_article_opening_spread.jpgThe jury is still out. Brian Lind may have written a blushingly laudatory profile of Panbo and me for PassageMaker magazine -- and you can now check out "Who is Ben Ellison?" online -- but I agree with regular readers who may rightfully doubt my 'authoritative' 'expertise'! This site is not the "arbitrator of marine electronics" -- no such thing exists -- and evidence is building that I've become a bumbling old boat guy barely in command of all the gear he's installed, plus very darn slow to write about it...

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MV Dirona: deep cruising, deeply shared

Apr 5, 2017

MV_Dirona_with_Jen_and_James_cPanbo.jpgIf there were a lifetime award for cruising excellence, I think that Jennifer and James Hamilton would deserve at least a nomination. I mean excellence at the core practical cruising skills -- seamanship and boat care -- plus inspirational levels of curiosity about the vast world cruising makes accessible, and perhaps at the top of my imagined award criteria: distinction at sharing all of the above with the rest of us. Visiting M/V Dirona in Belfast, Maine, last October was a treat, but you too can ride along as this Nordhavn heads to Ireland and beyond...

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Hobie/Lowrance fishing "kayak" & Simrad TripIntel

Feb 18, 2016

Lowrance_Ready_Hobie_Pro_Angler_14_BenE_cPanbo.jpgAfter four marine events (and three round trips to Florida) in five weeks, I've toured or ridden a lot of nice boats or at least interestingly equipped ones. But some solo time on a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 during the Navico writer's event at Hawk's Cay easily stands out. I think the design is only filed in Hobie's kayak section because "fishing kayaks" have evolved so fast a better category name hasn't emerged yet, and that thought doesn't include the unusual Mirage pedal-to-fin propulsion. Whatever you call it, this is a cool boat, and not just for fishing (though it must be a blast to play a big one from that low throne)...

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Kees' cool sloop Merrimac, home of CANboat and more

Jan 19, 2016

Kees_Stadtship_Merrimac_cPanbo.jpgA memorable moment of 2015 was waking up in Kees Verruijt's attic guestroom in Harlingen, Netherlands. If my lens were wider, you'd see the thick thatch capping his sturdy brick home. And if I'd waited a bit, the photo might include one of the family-owned-and-operated cargo vessels that often motor by enroute to or from the Wadden Sea. What you can see clearly, though, is Kees's own dream boat Merrimac, which I would soon tour. I'd been following this boat project for years, knew that it motivated Kees's valuable CANboat work, and given that CANboat helped birth Signal K, I figure that Merrimac may earn a special spot in marine electronics history...

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Furuno NavNet TZ Touch 2, First Impressions on the Water

Aug 24, 2015

Helm_with_TZT_2_15L_displays_courtesy_F_Khedouri_aPanbo.jpgWritten by Fred Khedouri

A few days ago, just about every square inch of panel space on the main helm of my 32-foot Carolina Classic express-style sportfishing boat got covered over with the shiny black glass of two new Furuno TZTL 15F multifunction displays, the newly launched second generation of the Furuno TZ Touch series. The rest of the system includes a 12kW four-foot open array radar, a DFF1-UHD black box sonar, a smaller first-generation TZT 9 display mounted on the tower helm, and a Furuno 711C autopilot.

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Joe's 1969 Allied 42 yawl, fully problem solved & awaiting owner #3

Aug 20, 2015

Allied_42_Furly_B_cPanbo.jpgFull disclosure: a major motivation for this entry is to help sell my old friend Joe McCarty's boat by describing how well he rebuilt it, particularly in terms of reliable systems. The Furly B is being brokered by Robinhood Marine, where Joe was general manager for 20 years, and I had a good look at her just before the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show opened last Friday. The visit confirmed what I pretty much already knew; Joe bought an excellent old boat and he made her better than new. Actually, the background story for a new owner is far better than that...

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Foggy, Brooklin Boat Yard builds an artful automated sloop

Jul 4, 2015

FOGGY_at_BBY_6-2015_cPanbo.jpgMaine is rightfully well known for boatbuilding but the craft was largely dormant when I got here in the early 70's, and it stayed that way for quite a while. In the late 80's many of the talented builders I worked with at WoodenBoat School were doing repairs and restorations. A commission for most anything larger than a sailing skiff was a big deal. But wow, did that change. It's been wonderful to witness remarkably crafted custom vessels launch at yards like Lyman Morse (now also in Camden!), Rockport Marine, and Hodgdon Yachts to name a few. In fact, I only learned on June 20th that Brooklin Boat Yard -- already masters at composite "Spirit of Tradition" beauties -- was working on the extraordinary sloop above...

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Appreciating fuel management, wanting more

Sep 18, 2014

Gizmo_running_down_LIS_cPanbo.jpg

Gizmo is fenders down, awning up, in bustling Baltimore Harbor, and I have tales to tell. This old powerboat sails! That's no surprise given her windage, but now I have precise data about how much wind (and current) can help her along, thanks to a fuel management system. In this photo, for instance, we were making around 10 knots over the ground at 1,350 RPM but still getting over three miles to a gallon, thanks to a stiff easterly wind pushing us down Long Island Sound. That's a wake-pulling, inefficient RPM when running on flat summer water in Maine, but is much easier on crew and autopilot when in seas like these. While I'm usually willing to spend more fuel money to shoulder through conditions like this, I was pleased to learn that the dollar difference wasn't great...

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MBHH Show 2014: Akalaria RC3, Dock Works utility cat & other surprises

Aug 14, 2014

MBHH_Show_2014_Ben_on_MYC_Akalaria_Open_40_RC3_cPanbo.jpg

I knew I'd gotten Maine Yacht Center's Brian Harris to photograph me in the comfortable driver's seat he designed for the second Aklaria RC3 finished out at MYC, but how did the shot come out of my camera like this? Did I fall into some revery imagining reaching the 20 knots this exotic Open 40 racer is easily capable of? The 12th annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show was rich in the elegant lobster yachts and daysailors my state has become famous for, but there were also plenty of interesting surprises. Even Mainiac boat nuts don't realize how versatile we are...

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Gizmo 2014, glass bridge shakedown cruising #1

Jun 30, 2014

Gizmo_2014_fly_bridge_cPanbo.jpgRedoing almost all of Gizmo's electronics has taken longer than I would have guessed last fall, when it seemed like a good idea to rip everything off the boat. And sadly, I'm not done yet. But the hoped-for glass bridge theme is revealing itself and I like it a lot. But then again, new equipment and even just re-installed old gear also means fresh opportunities for things not to work together correctly. In this entry I'll go over much of Gizmo's test setup for the next year and a half -- though by design there's room for more -- and also note a couple of features that have worked well and not so well during recent shakedown cruises...

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