Panbo

Gocycle G2, the ultimate boat bike?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 2, 2015

Ben_on_GoCycle_in_Lauderdale2_cPanbo.jpgTesting a Gocycle G2 folding electric bicycle outside a tent at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show almost cost me dearly. Aside from the beautifully clean design, I found the bike easy to learn and comfortable to use, and it's a thrill to get some power assistance when you put extra pressure on the pedals or hit the red boost button. I started picturing all the enjoyable and possibly useful trips I could make around cruising ports and the dangerous internal voice of gadget lust began murmuring about the ample credit in my wallet and how I deserve what may be the coolest boat bike around. Consider yourself warned before proceeding to the impressive details...

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Of light, pressure, Jewish DNA, and lobster trap Christmas trees

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 31, 2014

Lobster_trap_Christmas_tree_Rockland_Maine_2014-cPanbo.jpgI hope that Panbo readers everywhere enjoyed Hanukkah, the winter solstice, Christmas and/or any other way you celebrate the holiday season. We deserve all the light and cheer we can find, especially when the shortest days are as dreary as they were here on the coast of Maine this year. Instead of cold gray drizzle, my almost-Christmas-eve photo above might have shown sparkly snow highlighting the Rockland Public Landing and the islands across the Bay, but, hey, our area does lay claim to the "World's Largest Lobster Trap Tree"...

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Garmin Start Guidance, a sail racing winner?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 22, 2014

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While I haven't done much racing, I do know that the prestart maneuvering can be quite challenging if not downright scary. It's hard enough to time a sailboat to be at the right place at the right moment going maximum speed in the right direction, but you must also avoid collisions with the competition trying to make the same perfect moves. Some sailors are shy about racing because the starts can be nerve wracking, and one nice aspect of the Garmin Start Guidance software coming out in 2015 is the fact that it's simply software built into a regular multifunction display. Now that I've seen more about how it works, I'll bet that many experienced racers will also want this edge...

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Lowrance HDS Gen3, plus Elite CHIRP and SmartSteer two ways

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 18, 2014

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Lowrance put a lot of cards on the table yesterday. Foremost is a new HDS Gen3 series which combines the touch interface of the Gen2 Touch with a keypad similar to regular Gen2 models. Added are multi-touch gestures, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, dual SD card slots (though micro size), and a CHIRP option in addition to Broadband sonar. And it all fits into about the same dimensions as the original Gen2 Touch 7-, 9- and 12-models with about the same original retail prices. I don't yet buy the press release, "next revolutionary step forward," but "state of the art" sure seems appropriate...

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LinkWav, Inmarsat FB finally makes sense for intermittent users

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 14, 2014

LinkWav_website_home_page_aPanbo.jpgHo hum, just another sat coms service provider? No way! I think that LinkWav has pulled off something quite special in the daunting world of expensive marine satellite voice minutes and data megabytes. The company figured out how to offer a simple Inmarsat FleetBroadband service plan with decent rates and nearly realtime cost/budget monitoring, but without an oppressive contract. In fact, LinkWav is especially designed for the ocean racers, cruisers and small commercial operators who only need satellite communications now and then, sometimes with many months in between. The cherry on top is the high quality of the LinkWav team...

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Lessons of Vestas Volvo wreck, but what about the C-Map Grounding Alarm & similar?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 10, 2014

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The fixed camera on the stern of Vestas Wind captured the worst possible unintended jibe. That's when you're blasting along at 19 knots through a tropical offshore night, but then your Volvo Ocean 65 suddenly smashes its way up onto a reef shearing off the rudders and spinning 180° as waves and wind take total control. That is a frightened and nearly naked man beyond the limp mainsheet and when watching the video you, too, may utter involuntary curses. No one was hurt, though, and the crew has been frank about the mistakes made. This has led to some useful conversations about the dangers of electronic charting, but it also reminded me of an uncommon electronic charting feature that might have prevented this shipwreck...

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Fusion BB300 black box stereo & a peek into 2015

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 7, 2014

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It's not on the Fusion website yet, but the MS-BB300 black box marine stereo was introduced in Fort Lauderdale -- press release here -- and is scheduled to ship this month. In a way it's Fusion's first black box unit, but then again they built the trailblazing Simrad SonicHub in 2010 and then the Garmin Meteor 300 last year. In fact, the BB300 is very similar to the Meteor 300 and whereas Garmin acquired Fusion in May, the BB300 can be viewed as a statement about Fusion's continuing independence. The Meteor may integrate with non-Garmin displays over NMEA 2000, but the BB300 promises N2K Fusion-Link integration with many current MFDs from Humminbird, Murphy, B&G, Lowrance, Simrad and Garmin. A further indication that Fusion is going to keep on innovating in concert with multiple partners was a preview look at four new marine stereo heads that will be formally introduced early next year...

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Nobeltec TimeZero app 2015, Furuno DRS4W WiFi radar overlay & more!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 2, 2014

Nobeltec TimeZero app 2015 w Furuno WiFi radar cPanbo.jpg

Yes, iPad navigation fans, that is Furuno 1st Watch WiFi Radar overlaid on the Nobeltec TimeZero charting app. I wasn't even sure that an iPad could overlay radar over a simple vector chart, but here it is over a finely rendered raster chart blended with hi-res satellite photos. This is virtually the same mix of navigation data that I've found so useful on a Furuno TZT and the short demo file I saw running in Fort Lauderdale suggested that it may pan and zoom (and even go 3D) almost as smoothly on an iPad. It's a major advance in tablet navigation, I think, but the TimeZero app update coming next spring has more to brag about...

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METS 2014: Navico GoFree, Simrad IS35, Victron Bluetooth, LCJ Capteur BaroPlug & more

... written for Panbo by Kees Verruijt and posted on Nov 28, 2014

Earlier this week we published Henning Dürr's report on METS 2014 and now here's what Kees Verruijt found.

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Navico GoFree cloud content and services
The Simrad NSO evo2, NSS evo2, B&G Zeus2 and Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch MFDs will all get a January software update that allows users to buy new charts, update software, and more directly from their boat displays. Moreover, GoFree is being upgraded to a separate "brand" that covers all the cloud-enabled content and services offered by Navico on all three "hardware" brands...

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METS 2014: AIS MOB, Class A N2K, Torqeedo app, Wave WiFi router & more

... written for Panbo by Kees Verruijt and posted on Nov 26, 2014

Last week there were two Panbots roaming the annual Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) floor. Henning Dürr and Kees Verruijt were there trying to find (some) of what was new and interesting. This first entry focuses on vendors that Henning visited.

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AIS MOB and SART with DSC
AIS MOB devices were once called Personal AIS SARTs and are the baby brothers to commercial lifeboat AIS SARTs, but with lower requirements for range and operating hours. The advantage is that they can be made smaller, small enough to be carried by individuals. Since both device classes are relatively new, older displays capable of AIS targeting don't necessarily handle this type of AIS well (good behaviour illustrated here). Additionally AIS MOB beacons are not yet part of the official GMDSS, so officially the world wide SAR operations do not need to react to them and/or may not have the equipment to use them. Ocean Signal and Weatherdock showed new models with a DSC twist that aims to fix this -- as was discussed here on Panbo in 2012.

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