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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...

Memory Maker

The silence hurt. It wasn’t the peaceful silence of solitude you’ll find on a pre-dawn Sunday morning walk while most folks in the neighborhood are still in a deep slumber. Nor was it the hypnotic tranquility of hearing nothing but a few waves lap against the hull at night while the moon shines above through an open hatch. No, this was a silence encased in sadness and a deep void. 

Did Briartek "invent" two-way distress beacons?

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

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I really enjoyed being part of Trawler Fest last week. It was inspiring to meet relatively new cruising enthusiasts who are working to expand their skill sets, and trying to explain and demonstrate current technologies rekindled some of my own enthusiasms. I hadn't turned on the DeLorme inReach in months, for instance, but it located itself and paired with my iPad for easy backup navigation, tracking, and two-way messaging no problem, even though I was standing in front of an audience under a large aluminum-framed tent. Plus I got to see the entirely new User and Map Share web pages DeLorme recently developed for inReach, and they are sharp. However, I was also reminded of a disturbing behind-the-scenes patent issue that may hobble all SENDs (Satellite Emergency Notification Devices) and will likely tax consumers no matter what happens in court...

New Clothes Make-Up for Old Technologies

Yeah, we’ve all complained about those pesky combo washer/dryers that started showing up in all type of vessels in the mid 1980s. These machines are supposed to do everything except fluff and fold. But the truth is you leave Pine Island, cruise to Key West, spend a couple of days then head to Ft. Lauderdale, cross over to West End, spend three days and return to Stuart, Florida and those damn Levis and that long sleeve cotton “T” you picked up at Ragged Ass Saloon are still damp!