Monthly Archive: October 2009

18″ radomes #6, MARPA & True Wakes edition 7

18″ radomes #6, MARPA & True Wakes edition


Though it’s been a while since I wrote about the radome testing, I still feel overwhelmed with what I’ve learned to date, and not done yet.  And at this point — harbor emptying out, cold and dreary — the images are becoming nostalgic.  On the beautiful day above I was off Camden as the area’s fleet of “dude schooners” gathered for the Windjammer Festival.  Besides enjoying the scene (note the gentle sailing breeze, and also the indication that True Wind and Ground Wind are indeed different, as recently discussed), I intented to use the fleet as MARPA targets.  But I got sidetracked by a feature that partially does the work of MARPA without having to cursor around and select targets.  Click on the screen above and I’ll explain…

Cruising with Dan in Annapolis 7

Cruising with Dan in Annapolis


Guest Entry by Dan Corcoran

My family and I took a road trip to the Annapolis Boat show this weekend, where I took up a challenge from Ben to write on some products I find, and do so with a conservation of words (rather than my normal verbose style).  Disclaimer: These are not my normal on the water reviews, everything appearing below has not been evaluated or researched by your humble correspondent in the slightest bit!

AIS, raves & rants 39

AIS, raves & rants


The iPhone AIS app Ship Finder got updated a few weeks back, and darned if it didn’t add a large Eastern Seaboard feed that even includes the Penobscot Bay listening stations set up by the local pilots.  That feed hasn’t been public for some time, and I’m tickled to have it in my pocket, even if the data is delayed an hour.  Ship Finder is improved in several other ways, too, and has become one of my favorites.  Red Sky, incidentally, is a handsome 30m Swan that’s been hanging around Camden this summer.  Now I know she’s at Lyman Morse in Thomaston, which is near enough to the Rockland listening tower that her 2 watt Class B transponder gets picked up.  The same tower doesn’t see even 12 watt Class A’s in Camden, largely because of the hills, but if I get down the Bay next week (hoping), maybe I can engage in some AIS-style navel gazing?  And, now, for more serious matters…

FLIR First Mate, thermal in your hand 13

FLIR First Mate, thermal in your hand

FLIR FirstMate.jpg

A significant product introduction at the NMEA Conference was the FLIR First Mate, a hand held thermal camera that’s truly designed for marine use and will list for a hair under $3,000.  Mind you, it does not use light intensification technology, or a near IR illuminator, like most every other marine night vision monocular.  This is the real thermal deal, able to see long wave infrared radiation that has nothing to do with visible, or near visible, light.  Like the FLIR M-636 I’ve begun testing, it can see in total darkness, and even in broad daylight it often sees in a usefully different way than your eye.  For instance, an MOB is going stand out like a light bulb regardless of water or skin color.  FLIR being FLIR, they took us all out on San Carlos Bay with a boat load of First Mates and other thermal cams…

VOJ to NZ, with OpenPort, FB150, & more 20

VOJ to NZ, with OpenPort, FB150, & more


Anyone with an interest in cutting edge satellite communications should get excited about this photo.  You’re seeing the 62′ sloop Visions of Johanna (VOJ) almost all set to compare Iridium OpenPort and KVH Inmarsat FB150 systems in real blue water conditions.  When Bill Strassberg and Gram Schweikert began finalizing plans for The Big Trip from Maine to New Zealand and back, they wanted a voice and Internet system more reliable than the Globalstar set up they’ve used for years, and more powerful than the Iridium handset service I brought along on our Bermuda to Maine passage.  They decided to purchase the OpenPort system themselves, but knowing how able and fair Gram is as an electronics tester, I helped introduce him to KVH, who kindly loaned VOJ the TracPhone 150 above.  Gram just finished the FB install in Panama, where they’re about to transit the canal, and he plans to write up a series of short- and long-term tests as they cruise the Pacific.  You’ll read all about the project here and hopefully in longer articles for Yachting and Cruising World.  In fact, here’s Gram setting the scene: 

Garmin HomePort, finally the planner 3

Garmin HomePort, finally the planner

Being a natural born optimist, the longer Garmin took to solve its route planning problem, the cooler I hoped the solution would be.  We won’t know for sure until the November release, but HomePort...

MaxSea buys Nobeltec, now what? 24

MaxSea buys Nobeltec, now what?


Heads are still being scratched. Why would SigNet S.A. — the French holding company that owns MaxSea and MapMedia, and is itself 48% owned by Furuno — buy Jeppesen’s Nobeltec division?  And what does this mean for VNS and Admiral users, and marine electronics?  I got to talk with all the companies involved yesterday, and am optimistic that Nobeltec customers will benefit from this deal, at least in the short term, and agree with many that the overall possibilities are, um, “interesting”…