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Technophobia

Lead Line — June 2005
By Richard Thiel

Technophobia
You can now watch a video on any boat we’ve covered, in your home—or boat.
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If there’s one thing I am not, it’s a technophile. Truth is, I suffer from technophobia. But like my fellow boaters who suffer from cymophobia (fear of waves), hominophobia (fear of fog), and talassophobia (fear of the sea), I’ve learned to subordinate my fear of technology to my love of boating.

Despite my tepidation I do have electronics aboard my boat, although my arsenal is comparitively modest. I have a Raymarine C120 that tells me exactly where I am and what course to steer to get where I want to be. It could tell me a whole lot more if I’d just read the darn manual.

It is no doubt to my dishonor that I instead rely on a saintly chap at Raymarine named Louis Chemi who can explain the most arcane matter to me in language I can actually understand. I also have a VHF—a very good one—because I consider a VHF not a piece of electronics but a piece of safety gear. I have read the manual for my Icom M602 cover to cover—not much of an accomplishment since it’s pretty short—and I feel confident I understand the unit’s capabilities, even if I don’t use all of them.

And I have a radar, an ancient Furuno about the size of a small refrigerator that looks more like a 1950’s TV. It works so well I can’t bear to part with it—and no, I’ve never cracked the manual for it. Frankly, I’m not sure I even have a manual for it.

I’ve also got an ancient digital depthsounder, which works flawlessly in deep water and not at all when it gets shallow, which is like having a PFD that looks great but doesn’t work when it gets wet. Of course, I have a really good stereo, believing that if I have good music aboard I can put up with just about anything, including a case of bathophobia (fear of depths).

One piece of electronics I do not have aboard is a TV. I actually bought a flat-panel last year but never installed it, not out of videophobia, but because one reason I love boating is the solitude it offers, and when a TV is on it feels like there are a bunch of people onboard. I’m also mesmerized by TV. If there’s one in the room, I’m glued to it, and I’d rather not practice my major addiction while I’m on my boat. For me, TVs don’t belong on boats.

Funny thing is, though, I love watching boats on TV. In fact, when I’m at home I’ll watch anything that has a boat in it—except for maybe The Love Boat. I like the do-it-yourself programs and yacht tours on Speedvision, The Travel Channel, and the like.

If that sounds like you, then you’ll like this bit of news: PMY has partnered with the cable TV giant Comcast to bring its 15 million subscribers access to PMY video boat tests and other video features, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Think of it: You can now watch a video on any boat we’ve tested, whenever you want to, in the convenience of your own home—or even on your boat.

Now that’s technology that only a cenophobe (one who fears new things) wouldn’t embrace.

This article originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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