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by Ben Ellison

Raymarine ST70

By Ben Ellison | Posted September 2007 | Add a Comment

Raymarine ST70I believe strongly that bright, well-designed color screens can communicate information much better than the grayscale ones that we are generally used to seeing on the smaller devices around our helms. So if Raymarine's about-to-be-released ST70 instrument heads look anywhere near as crisp in real boat conditions as

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Raymarine A60

By Ben Ellison | Posted September 2007 | Add a Comment

Raymarine A60The 5.7-inch, dual-function A60 is only a minor model shift from 2006's 6.5-inch A65, but electronics designs can age well, particularly when software and value improve. It was interesting to test an A60 side by side with the fairly equivalent, if adolescent, Garmin 545s. The A60 has all the dedicated and soft keys

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Where To?

By Ben Ellison | Posted September 2007 | Add a Comment

The four units displayed in my test lab below—ranging from the diminutive 440 all the way up to the touch-screen 5212—are a good representation of the five multifunction series that Garmin rolled out this year. Actually there are some 20 new models within those series, depending on what's included in terms of charts and functions like sounder and XM weather/radio and how you count

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

By Ben EllisonPhotos by Billy... | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

I can so easily gush about the cabinetry and carpentry coming out of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, but truthfully no amount of gush suffices. While some of the photographs here reveal the razor-tight joints, panel perfection, and carved and inlaid highlights that grace the company's projects, you have to tour a fleet of Lyman-Morse builds to realize the astonishing variety of styles and construction

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Riding on Penobscot Pilot

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

Huge freighters and tankers may frighten us small boaters, but they're also fascinating. I mean, how do you maneuver and dock a single-screw mountain of steel that's optimized for running long, straight legs? The answer, of course, is "very, very carefully," and it also applies to the way the pilots who specialize in this demanding task get to or from their work. I know a lot more about all this,

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ACR Nauticast B AIS Transponder

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

As you may recall from my March column, “Here Comes Class B,” I think yacht-level AIS transponders will be a valuable safety tool (even if there are a few glitches to overcome). Now I've had my first at-sea experience with one, an ACR Nauticast B, and I like it! First of

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Rendez-vous Tender Tracking

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

Rendez-vous uses 100-watt digital radios to create a private network amongst a yacht and her tenders. The technology, proven in the railway industry, has a 20-mile range from the mothership and farther if another tender is in between. Basic tracking information is cleverly sent in AIS data format so that any AIS-enabled plotter/computer that's also wired to any

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Tiki Navigator Pro

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

Tiki Navigator is a particularly straightforward charting program with a clean, colorful interface. All sorts of help facilities, like those shown, are available but only show when you need them. The program just displays BSB raster charts, but that's the format NOAA makes available for free download (inexpensive DVD compilations are also available), and Tiki

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Magellan Crossover

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

In some ways Magellan's Crossover fulfills the navigate-anywhere promise even better than the Lowrance iWay 600c reviewed here last month. Compact, tough, and battery-powered, it can guide you on foot as well as in your car or boat. In fact, this 8.5-ounce PND (Personal

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Franson GpsGate 2.5

By Ben Ellison | Posted August 2007 | Add a Comment

GpsGate started as a simple utility that let GPS data coming into a PC or PDA serial port work with many programs simultaneously. The latest $30 version extends the concept to things like Bluetooth and Internet, often simplifying their use in the process—and lets groups share their locations on the Web. Members can see where his/her buddies are at

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