Monthly Archive: July 2011

Raymarine e7, a major refresh! 24

Raymarine e7, a major refresh!


The Raymarine e7 being announced today may be the most important launch of the year, because it’s not only a hot new 7-inch MFD design but it also marks a complete refresh of Ray’s multifunction display software. While it uses the “hybridtouch” mix of touchscreen and keypad controls introduced in the E Wide Series — though with notably fewer and bigger buttons — I understand that the underlying code began at zero serveral years ago. And I see a lot of fresh interface ideas in the many product photos you’ll find after the break. But while the e7 will network with up to five other e7s and all sorts of existing Raymarine sensors and black boxes, it apparently will not network with existing Ray MFDs, which may be the downside of a complete software rewrite. But then again, it surely can make some interesting new connections…

Life Gear LED Glow Sticks, a nav light solution for tenders? 17

Life Gear LED Glow Sticks, a nav light solution for tenders?


As much as it bugs me that 34 out of 35 sailboats in the Northeast don’t use radar reflectors, I am entirely willing to cut us all some slack for not using navigation lights on dinghies and tenders. But while a serious nav light install is hard to pull off on small boats, I’m having surprisingly good luck with the inexpensive 200 Hour LED Glow Sticks pictured above…

Poly-Planar MRD80i, another safe spot for digital audio 3

Poly-Planar MRD80i, another safe spot for digital audio


My photograph could be better, but hopefully it’s clear that the Poly-Planar MRD80i has its own solution for docking iPods and iPhones safely inside a waterproof marine stereo. Instead of supplying a variety of sleeves so that different-size iThings can be inserted into the dock, like Fusion does, the 80i uses a drawer with a cushioned pad, a hook’n’loop hold down, and a wired connector. The docking process takes a tad longer but you’ll never have to look for a box of sleeves when a guest brings a different model of iPod aboard, or you change up. And that’s just the beginning of what makes this digital-media-friendly stereo different from Fusion’s…

The Travel 1003, a serious case of Torqeedo love 176

The Travel 1003, a serious case of Torqeedo love


About two months ago I received a Torqeedo Travel 1003 for long term testing, I’ve used it almost every day since, and, well, the title tells the story. I simply adore this electric outboard! Admittedly certain personal traits may be in play. Historically small gas outboards are a significant exception to my generally high success rate with mechanical boating issues; possibly related is my annoyance with the smell and noise of the damn things (and the hearing aids don’t help); and, finally, a faulty shoulder makes starting even a lawn mower somewhat painful. But then again I did not fall so hard for the original Travel 801 model that I tried in 2009…

Inmarsat FleetBroadband airtime changes, bad news for the little guys? 16

Inmarsat FleetBroadband airtime changes, bad news for the little guys?


It seems that on July 1 Inmarsat rather harshly changed the game for boaters who have a Fleet Broadband system but only use its data and/or voice services occasionally. I emphasize “seems” because the intricacies of satellite airtime rates are daunting. That’s largely because Inmarsat wholesales airtime to distribution partners like Stratos and Vizada who then resell it to service providers like KVH, the SatPhoneStore, and many others who finally package it up in innumerable ways for the masses. It’s hard to figure out what’s going on, let alone who’s responsible…

The Passive Radar Reflector Solution for Sailboats 34

The Passive Radar Reflector Solution for Sailboats


July 2006, Block Island Sound is enveloped in patchy fog, two radar-equipped sailboats pass within 20 feet after failing to detect each other despite calm waters. Neither vessel had a radar reflector hoisted. July 2009, chaos on Block Island Sound as fog descends on hundreds of recreational boaters, skippers constantly calling out on VHF 9 & 16 in attempts to avoid collision. A ferry and a coast guard ship actually do collide. In the melee, just 1 of every 35 boats is sporting a radar reflector. July 2010, dozens of boats make their way through hours of heavy rain and thunderstorms into Nantucket Island, and only 2 have radar reflectors.  May 30, 2011, 30 sailboats travel in heavy fog across Long Island Sound from Huntington to Saugatuck, the heavy fog was forecast…the number of boats sporting radar reflectors…just one.
   Geez, when did safety slip to the bottom of sailor’s priority list?  Are radar reflectors so difficult to use?  Too confusing maybe?   Or is there an overall lack of faith they are worth the effort to hoist?  

Raymarine AIS650 & AIS350: smaller, better, and somewhat familiar 22

Raymarine AIS650 & AIS350: smaller, better, and somewhat familiar


Yesterday Raymarine issued a press release announcing replacements for its existing AIS receiver and Class B transponder, which I’ll link to when possible. But, in fact, some online dealers are already offering the AIS650 Class B transponder, as well as the AIS350 receiver, and they also bear a family resemblance to the new generation SRT OEM gear discussed in June, which is not a bad thing (and no big surprise given that SRT announced a strategic agreement with one of “the world’s top three marine electronics companies” last February). Let’s see if we can figure out what’s new and different…

First Mate MS thermal camera, FLIR does it again! 9

First Mate MS thermal camera, FLIR does it again!


When FLIR introduced the original First Mate in late 2009, it was a breakthrough product as it was the first true marine handheld thermal camera and the base model could be had for only $3,000. Well, holy cow, check out the First Mate MS version being introduced today: it’s the same core thermal technology in a much smaller package with several significant improvements and a $1,000 price reduction!  But those who purchased one of the original HM models shouldn’t cry just yet, as they retain a unique mode of use that you may not have even tried yet…

Sabre LaunchPad, the cloud idea 24

Sabre LaunchPad, the cloud idea

It hasn’t gotten much press yet, but Sabre Yachts recently introduced something called LaunchPad, which is a collection of boat specific apps and services that purchasers of certain Sabre models will receive on an...