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C-Maps in Coastal Explorer, never enough charts!

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 11, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Yes, it sure looks like overkill -- and this shot doesn't even include the iPad that's often mounted here at Gizmo's lower helm -- but I've definitely found ways to put all these screens to work. In this particular scene the boat is crawling out of a very shallow back creek (actually called Back Creek) where we'd hidden from the worst of a cold gusty low that had me wondering if spring would ever materialize. It was still gusting in the high 20's and that's only 2.8 feet under the StructureScan transducer that's fastened to the keel forward. If you look closely you'll see many chart types, including the C-Map Max format now well supported by Coastal Explorer. The day before I'd gotten a serious reminder about the value of multi charting...

inReach SE, will the screen do it?

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 4, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I was so focused on finally heading north that I forgot the April 1 announcement of DeLorme's new inReach SE, even though one standard step in getting Gizmo underway these days is firing up the original inReach for tracking, messaging, and much more (as discussed here last fall). But my forgetfulness does not indicate a lack of appreciation for the new model (which I've already handled briefly in prototype form). To the contrary, I think the SE (Screen Edition)  will likely make a lot of boaters as enthusiastic about the whole inReach concept as I've already become...

Paul's Cape Dory 25, just doing it!

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 26, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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What the heck? This morning In Myrtle Beach it was the same frosty 36 degrees as it was in Camden, Maine. I've got lots more install work I can do before heading north, but it's fun to check out the odd lot of early ICW cruisers who turn into Osprey Marina's narrow entrance channel. Particularly curious was this venerable Cape Dory 25 that came in looking like it had been knocking around at sea. In fact it had just come non-stop and single-handed from St. Augustine, Florida,  and had gotten there mostly offshore from Cape May, New Jersey, just last month. Yes, in February, and the owner's previous sailing experience was aboard a Sunfish on a lake. I had to know more!

Metal Shark Keeps Chomping Away

Metal Shark Fearless boatMetal Shark, the Jeanerette, Louisiana-based builder of military, law enforcement, and recreational boats, recently announced it is investing more than $1.5 million dollars to expand its shipyard and hire 88 new employees. What’s more, Louisiana Economic Development estimates that the investment will result in 134 indirect jobs, for a grand total of 222 new jobs created.

Gizmo's antenna mast 2013: FLIR, Rogue, Wilson & more

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I've heard it said that if you heeded all the manufacturer advice about antenna placement, you'd need a boat 100-feet long with four or five masts. I've been meaning to ask Panbo readers about how to best use Gizmo's single (though beefy) antenna mast, but instead I went and rejiggered everything last week and your advice will have to wait for the next revision. What mainly drove the change is the long term loan of a FLIR M-Series camera system, which certainly deserves the premier masthead position...

The Equinox, celestial mechanics & pesky "True Wind"

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 20, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I'm not a pagan but my first wedding was on the Summer Solstice in 1976 and the second was on the Vernal Equinox in 1993. So, yes indeed, today we're celebrating twenty years wonderfully together (though right now about a thousand miles physically apart). But I want to write about what largely drove those wedding date decisions: my fascination with celestial mechanics, largely acquired through marine navigation, particularly the celestial kind. I learned about the apparent and true motions of the heavenly bodies, the foundations of geography, and what makes this such a balanced day on earth... 

Faster, Farther … Wider

The Wider 42 is like no boat I’ve ever seen. Same goes for you too, I bet.

Wider 42 in Key Largo - photo by Kevin KoenigI recently got to test the Wider 42 down in Key Largo. Whew! What a boat. The thing is nearly all carbon fiber, and, of course, has those pontoons hidden away inside its hull.

Brokerage Market for the Grand Banks 42 Classic

By Jason Y. Wood

We spoke to three brokers who each had a Grand Banks 42 listed on BoatQuest.com. Here’s what they had to say about the boats and the market for buying and selling them.

MIBS CZone tour, enabling the car-like boat

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 18, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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In Miami Actuant Electrical invited a few boating writers like Ed Sherman, Steve D'Antonio and myself to tour several production boats that have chosen to use BEP CZone distributed power and digital switching systems. A highlight for me was getting to hear the founder of Scout Boats explain why he would do such a crazy thing. I joke of course -- and there's an argument that you have to be a little nuts to build boats anyway -- but Steve Potts (seen to the right of BEP's Jarrod Sagar above and interviewed here in Soundings) made a compelling case for why systems like CZone are critical to creating boats that really truly modern customers...

Video: Big Surprise in Small Viking Liferaft Box (Hint: It Seats 200)

When you’re looking at safety equipment for your boat, two things should come to mind: The number of people you need to protect from harm and the space you have on your boat. A new commercial liferaft turns the geometry of those figures on its head. The raft is stored in a box that measures roughly 3 feet wide, 3 feet tall, and 15 feet long. But it expands into a covered raft that seats 200 persons. It also has four electric motors, the better to steer out of trouble. Check out its first-ever deployment at Lauderdale Marina in Ft. Lauderdale.