Category: Editors’ Blog

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How to set up digital switching on a Garmin MFD

Garmin’s latest release of MFD software has added support for digital switching. With this update they’ve leapfrogged from the rear of the pack to class leading digital switching support. I was surprised to find the ease of configuring control on Garmin’s MFDs, so I’ve prepared a video that shows how to configure digital switching control.

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Sea Ray SLX-R 400e in Vegas & is the “helm of the future” Navico ID?

I think it’s neat that Brunswick showed off its latest marine technology at the huge Consumers Electronics Show (CES), though it’s a bit disconcerting to see the lowercase-“e”-for-electric model designation on a sport boat with three 450hp internal combustion engines hanging on its stern. But then again, the electric component of the Sea Ray SLX-R 400e really is a valuable concept that deserves more attention from all sorts of boaters…

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Panbo’s test fleet grows again with another fast outboard powered boat

I’m pleased to announce that, like Ben Ellison, I’ve added a smaller, faster, simpler boat to my test fleet. Last week I took delivery of a new-to-me 2016 22-foot Cobia 220CC center console powered by a Yamaha 150 engine. When Ben Ellison posted about his new boat last fall he teased that I was also in the market for a similar boat and though it took a while to get find the right one, I’ve done it and I’m thrilled.

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eToys: hydrofoil ebike versus efoil boards

Yes, there’s now a pedal-assisted hydrofoiling water bike. And it certainly deserves consideration as I contemplate new toys for the garage of my fantasy expedition megayacht. But while that research left me skeptical about how enjoyable the foiling ebike design really is, some related poking around the dynamic world of powered foiling boards — commonly called efoils — definitely perked up some deep winter hours…

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Class B AIS SO & CS transmit rates, truth vs confusion

Don’t always believe what you read, even on Panbo, and even when it’s sourced from the U.S. Coast Guard’s normally authoritative NavCen website! I was recently quite humbled to realize that the uncorrected version of the table above does not make sense with the rest of my 2015 entry about then-new Class B/SO AIS, and that the mistakes may have been confusing skippers choosing an AIS transceiver ever since. Deciding between CS and SO is still an issue, so let’s look closely at the real reporting rate differences…

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Bilge pump switches, tough boats, and safe 2020 wishes to all

“NO ELECTRONICS” as a product feature? Is that where we’re at as the decades turn? But I also deduced evidence that these new-to-me USS Ultra bilge pump switches actually are ultra reliable. Despite premium pricing, the excellent marine chandlery in Rockland keeps plenty of Ultras in stock, and so they’re probably installed on some of the many nearby commercial vessels. Which especially includes the growing fleet of tough, handsome, and well-equipped offshore lobster boats that I’d like to tell you about…

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ScanStrut Rokk Wireless phone charging, testing the first generation

The Scanstrut Rokk Wireless charging pad I tested practically disappears under my phone, and obviously there’s no USB charging wire involved either. But that’s the idea, and there’s even a model that I could have completely hidden under that varnished cherry surface, or the similar  counter at Gizmo’s pilothouse helm. Just put the phone down in the right spot and charging happens!..

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Aqua Map Version 20, fast scrolling and new features

Aqua Map has already established itself as an excellent app for boaters supplying valuable data at your fingertips. But one weakness has been the relatively slow rendering of charts. This made scrolling slower than you would like, but now Aqua Map is out with version 20 and an all new charting engine. The result? Lightning fast scrolling and several nice updates to make one of the leading navigation apps even better.

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Inside the DAME Design Awards, and a lovely TBS Electronics battery switch

METSTRADE opens next week at the huge RAI Amsterdam Convention Center, which also owns the show. I again look forward to joining a global crowd of marine equipment folks amidst a forest of manufacturer stands and other exhibits. But actually I already spend two October days in a RAI warehouse with fellow jurors carefully examining an interesting selection of new gear, and the goal of this entry is to shed some light on the DAME Design Awards choices that resulted…

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Snagging lobster pots & a DIY hookah solution

With winter setting in fast, it’s nice to remember summer, even a cruising hassle like snarling lobster trap gear around Gizmo’s running gear. During my 48 years in Maine waters, the catch has increased from 20 to 120 million pounds and the pot buoy systems have gotten significantly tougher; so snagging one has become much more of a hazard. But the grin above is not just because I’d finally cut away this particular mess; I think I’ve found a reliable snarl solution that will even work out in the remote Maine islands that lobsters, lobstermen, and cruisers all appreciate…