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Sheldon Haynie

Platform for "Expedition" sailing software

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Looking for a suggestion on a laptop/notebook/tablet to support Expedition software, running off a wifi link to a B&G H5000/Hercules system. Primary use will be putzing around SFBay and club racing, with future use as passage maker down the coast. Main interest is in use to plot optimum courses for racing/cruising including wind/tide routing and optimization of polars and trim/sail selection via "testing". Lacking any better recommendations, I am leaning towards a Surface 4 Pro, in some type of a case, with a docking station on nav table, and a good case when in cockpit.

Ipad(s) will be available for alternative displays off the Zeus2 MFD, which can also be a video display for expedition.

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  • S4P does look like the right size, weight, quality etc. but it still has a fan.

    With the new Skylake processors there are options coming to market that have no fan but do have a Core processor. Atom is too slow for Expedition.

  • Plotting optimum course for racing (while underway) using wireless protocols (requires wind info, etc.), that is a very tall order.

    I believe SignalK and future software will provide some of the answer for a low cost solution.

    Using a tablet in a bouncing sailboat while racing, I have not seen any device up to the challenge.

    Then there are brightness issues, S4P display rated for 377 nits, not near bright enough. The new Raymarine chart plotter is 1250 nits.

  • Thanks for the inputs, had not thought about fan issues, that's a good point to consider. "Lioness" is a bit to massive to bounce, more of a gentle rolling motion, so not worried about ruggedness for a totally solid state device, the brightness issue is resolvable with use of the cabin/dodger where the Navigator (wife) would be more likely to be situated.

    There's a B&G 12" Zeus2 MFD at forward end of cockpit next to companionway, with Port/Starboard H5000 GFD's outboard for ready helm reference, running off the hard wired Hercules & sensors for real-time tactical feedback on VMC, target speed etc.

    Expedition use will be "Strategic";
    ==> to pick side of course based on wind/tide forecast
    ==> do "weather/tide routing" for events such as the Three Bridges Fiasco and Delta Ditch Run
    ==> to readily call up Route from sequence of way points that constitute the YRA permanent courses.

    Longer run will be for coastal passages and planning cruises. (Massive overkill, as is putting > $25k of B&G on a 50 yr old Bermuda 40 yawl :) )

  • Overkill, that explains everything :-)

    Scroll to the bottom of this article to see all the many displays on Breeze Pleeze cockpit and mast
    https://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/09/installing_raymarine_i70_and_p70_displays.html


    While your at massive overkill, consider the Airmar Weather station. Of all the things I did to my 39 foot cruising sailboat to make her race better, its contributed the most towards improving the quality data on my displays.

    Next up was the solid state compass, here is an article on how I feel it makes a difference.
    https://www.panbo.com/archives/2009/11/airmar_h2183_improves_situational_awareness_feature_on_raymarine.html

  • Dan,

    I thought about putting an Airmar on the Mizzen for "downwind" wind sensor, to provide pressure/temp and as a backup compass/gps etc. I was steered to the "Baroplug" for pressure/air temp for minimal cash and ended up going with the 12" Zeus vs 9" and so far that's the budget.

    I will be skipping the radome leveling mount & second Zeus at helm at this time, but at future date, the Mizzen is only a 20' hoist and I can install the leveling mount, spot a forward looking video atop it, toss the Airmar on top of mast and go to town pretty easily if I find I need a 2nd wind instrument.

    For what it's worth: while the Airmar corrects TWA and TWD internally, the Hercules does it with accessible calibration for non linear speed/heading effects and integrates the heading, heading rate and roll sensors into the wind calcs, leeway calc and feeds them to Hercules pilot, which will auto tack/gybe in hairy seas/weather (auto gust response) allowing safer short handed operation.

    I had an older B&G Hydra/Hercules/ACP Pilot from ca 2003 that was pretty good without the dynamic heading/roll, I expect this to be substantially better. That system had a 4kW Raymarine radar/plotter, and an Interphase Sonar with the Legacy B&G analogs and a KVH Sailcomp 102 as well.

    That many vendors/interfaces and slightly different tools were enough to scare away the crew.

    There's the premise of value of a single vendor (B&G), and local level 3 dealer (Farallon.us) who knows the instruments and is able to get the value out of them by best practices on siting, installation and calibration and stand behind them. I want to get all this working, have my wife and crew get comfortable before making it more complex. We are retaining the Interphase forward scanning sonar to display as video on Zeus, as the Sacramento Delta has a lot of silt and we want to push up the Napa River.

  • Just wanted to let you know that the bottom of the range Surface Pro 4 does *not* have a fan. Which is why I got it.

  • Went with the Macbook Retina 12" which has a Core M, and NO FAN... with a Bootcamp 32 GB partition it runs Expd just fine.

  • Surface 3 or 4 Pro is great

    just take An I5 .. then you do NOT have a fan issue.

    you can get a direct 12v charger.. !!

  • Surface 4 Pro still, i5 without fan, still a leading contender for running expedition from a nav table down below? What to use as a keypad/touchpad with it? What is a great mount for it?

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