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Blogs

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...

Tune In

Photo: Anti- Records

What do Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Johnny Depp, Keith Richards, and Iggy Pop have in common? Other than leading lives that are way cooler than mine, they also all lend their voices to the new album Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys, out now.

Yacht Phone, A 'Burner' For The Boat

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

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I'm apologetic to all the manufacturers who've loaned me products I still haven't tested or written about -- so many gizmos, so little time! -- but maybe it was a good thing in the case of the Yacht Phone which I first saw (floating) at the Lauderdale Show. Because the $20 three-month 50 minute prepaid card included with the sample had run out, I bought another 50 minutes at yachtphone.net. The purchase process turned out to be easy, in a few minutes the phone was able to make calls (aside from 911), and customer service even answered a few questions within an hour on a Saturday.  Plus the phone itself exceeded expectations...

Garcia GT54 Le Trawler, a Furuno winner

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 7, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I did get to tour a couple of yachts during my Trawler Fest engagement and the one that got my attention was the Garcia GT54 hull #1, which was built in France and motored to the U.S. on her own bottom...during hurricane season!  "Le Trawler" is both stylish and practical in numerous ways, and it's also a good example of a full-on Furuno NavNet 3D system...