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Blogs

B&G in Las Palmas: "Products for All Sailors"

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 1, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I know several sailors who have installed Lowrance MFDs as an economical way to gain access to Navico's sailboat-friendly Broadband Radar, and the scheme made sense as there wasn't really all that much difference between the fishing-focused Lowrance systems and even the sailor-centric B&G Zeus versions of the Simrad NSE and NSS displays. But those days may be over soon as one of several stories Navico presented to the boating press in Las Palmas was a simplification of its three-brand strategy. Now B&G intends to serve all sailors, from grand prix racers to weekend cruisers, and from premium to value-oriented budgets. Moreover, B&G demonstrated that it's fast putting together a suite of features that should appeal to every type of sailor...

A Day's Work

Bill Pike working on Betty Jane's engine“While installing new primary fuel filters on the ol’ Lehman recently, I realized I spend more time doing maintenance onboard the Betty Jane than I do actually cruising. But hey, we’re talking an old boat.

(Recommended) Manhattan Clam Chowder

Sandbar restaurantThis recommendation borders on travesty, I know. At all other turns New England clam is the undefeated King Kong of the chowder arena. Manhattan clam chowder has long been the redheaded stepchild of soups: overlooked, underappreciated—even scorned. And often rightly so.

Art and Craft at Mystic Seaport

Low Tide—Sandy Cove by Anthony ThompsonHave a (small) place of honor to fill on a saloon bulkhead? Mystic Seaport is selling art sized to fit on boats of virtually any LOA.

On board Gizmo, the last frontier

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

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In retrospect, it's almost funny that the very first picture of Gizmo I published on Panbo (repeated above) highlighted that mess of wiring tucked under the circuit breaker panel. In the four years since, I've at least figured out, and in many cases changed or removed, nearly every electrical component on the boat. Just before I went to the Miami show it seemed like the time had come to attack what lay behind that nice little access door, but things did not go well...

Maretron DCR100 partial install, lights on & Labels up

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 22, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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There's lots more to report on from the Miami show, but partially installing a Maretron DCR100 Direct Current Relay on Gizmo just got me so excited I want to share. This boat has never had switches for running and flood lights on the fly bridge -- especially annoying when I wanted to light myself up when crossing paths with a possibly unaware stranger -- and it didn't have a switch for the new bow LED spot at all (to be explained). Now for relatively little effort and expense, I'll not only have switching at both helms but also be able to monitor and even alarm on real-time circuit currents. The installation isn't complete but I'm fairly confident that Gizmo will trek north with that often-cited feature of digital switching, an immediate warning if any one of the four incandescent running light bulbs blows. Plus I got to experience the beauty of NMEA 2000 Labeling, a feature that Maretron has trail blazed but which will hopefully become common across brands...

MIBS 2013 Raymarine: Dragonfly, gS-Series, Evolution AP & much more!

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 19, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Raymarine was a little slow getting their Miami press releases out, but then again they have a LOT to talk about. And even with the six releases you'll find at that link, they left out what I think is a significant move: the "coming soon" Lighthouse 6 software release for all a-, c-, e-Series multifunction displays -- as well as the new gS glass bridge MFDs -- will include support for Empirebus NXT digital switching and distributed power technology. With Ray's endorsement, the fully integrated bridge just got a little more real...

Garmin GPSMAP 8000 Glass Helm series, oh yeah

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 14, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Garmin isn't messing around. The 8000 Series announced this morning includes three MFD sizes -- 8-, 12-, and 15-inch -- as well as the 8500 Black Box that can drive new Garmin monitors available in 15-, 17, and 19-inch sizes. Do click on that family photo above to not only see the whole range but also something called the GRID for Garmin Remote Input Device. I've wondered if Garmin would ever add a rotary knob or joystick to its touch screen interface and the answer is that now you can have both...

Navico: new GPS/Heading sensor & VHF/GPS handheld

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 13, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Whether it's called a Simrad GS50 or a B&G ZG100 or a Lowrance Point-1, it does not seem to be just another NMEA 2000 high-precision, high-refresh-rate GPS/Glonass sensor. Also integrated in is an "e-Compass/Gyro...heading sensor...that ensures access to stable and smooth vessel orientation" and "when used with a compatible" Navico display "greatly enhances navigational information by providing accurate course over ground (COG) data at any speed and enabling radar overlay on charts." I've quoted the press releases heavily because I'm not yet sure that the sensor actually outputs Heading data, but the releases do say that whichever brand you buy, this souped-up overlay-enabling GPS is just $199 retail, and that sounds good...