The buzz of the distant street cleaner tasked with washing away the sins of the night before percolated in the background. High-fashion photo shoots of models with legs as long as I am tall dotted several nearby corners. The waitstaff scurried around us with full pots of coffee, dressed in their obligatory all-black uniforms—a rather harsh requirement for a sidewalk cafe in South Beach, Miami, I must say.
Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 14, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
This was Thursday's little challenge. It's what I've starting calling a "trawler bridge": a span high enough to let motor cruisers get at some good anchoring and/or gunkholing, but not so high that they have to share it with pesky sailboats. I kid, of course, but I had spied out a great little spot on Norfolk's Lafayette River (Google Map here) to ride out the frontal passage and it would likely be free because there's only 24-feet under this bridge at high tide. However, I wasn't absolutely sure that Gizmo's mighty antenna farm met that requirement...
Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 11, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
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...
Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 4, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
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...
Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 26, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
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, 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.
Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
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...
Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 20, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
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...
The Wider 42 is like no boat I’ve ever seen. Same goes for you too, I bet.
I 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.