Ray 500 Sedan Bridge — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Born to Run
Eat Your Heart Out, Columbus
Although he thought he’d discovered a shortcut to the Far East when he first sighted the Bahamas, Columbus was a decent navigator, but not nearly as grand as the Sea Ray Navigator II, marketed by Sea Ray in conjunction with MapTech. Introduced in January as an update to the Navigator I, the two-screen system on our test boat dang near knocked my socks off.
The essence of the Navigator II is a new, high-powered P3 processor that offers Windows XP-based capabilities in conjunction with MapTech electronic cartography, aerial photography, topographic coastal maps, and loads of other stuff, including e-mail and weather monitoring. Additionally, our machines were interfaced with a Koden PC radar and a Koden WAAS GPS sensor.
The upshot? Precise overlays featuring radar, cartographic and photographic imagery, as well as split-screen juxtapositions. Other virtues abound as well—like I-don’t-need-to-know-much-about-computers user-friendliness and resolution that’s bell-clear. The photo below, for example, shows a low-range radar picture of Cowpen’s Cut near Key Largo on the left with our test boat’s icon in red and our wake streaming off. On the right is the same image overlaid on aerial photography, although I could have used MapTech cartography, of course. Both images were mind-blowers, mostly because detail in the first and overlay alignment in the second remained rock-steady as long as I cared to look. Moreover, I took the photo in bright sunlight.
One final groovy feature: I operated the Koden radar by dabbing the screens with my index finger. Touchscreen radar is a cutting-edge development certainly, but I had some difficulty being precise while bopping through three-foot seas at speed. I’m not a true believer... yet. —B.P.
MapTech Phone: (888) 839-5551. www.maptech.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.