Monthly Archive: August 2011

Garmin GTU 10, a remote anchor watch? 10

Garmin GTU 10, a remote anchor watch?


I’m pretty impressed with the Garmin GTU10 I’ve been testing this summer. Inside that little IPx7 waterproof case is a sensitive GPS, a GSM cell modem, and a fairly able lithium ion battery. For $200 you get the hardware, a cute case (meant primarily for hanging on a dog collar), and a one year standard data subscription which normally costs $50. The subscription doesn’t get you much in terms of remote tracking — just the last ten points, whose spacing will vary with settings — but you do get unlimited notifications about when the GTU 10 enters and/or leaves up to 10 geofence areas that you can define at, or with the free Android and iOS Garmin Tracker apps. And aren’t geofences the key to knowing that your boat or tender are where they’re supposed to be, especially when anchored?…

Hurricane Irene, the long anchor watch #1 11

Hurricane Irene, the long anchor watch #1

So it’s Sunday morning and the early signs of Irene are here in the form of 100% humidity and easterlies in the high teens. That wonderfully large Fortress 55 anchor seen above in my tender yesterday afternoon is set about 150 feet to weather in 20-30 feet of water and Gizmo’s regular hook, a Kingston K-45, is about the same distance to the southwest. The best part, though, is that I’m snugged into Pulpit Harbor where it’s quite unlikely that I’ll experience any significant wave action. In my experience it’s that action and the resulting line chafe that usually causes boats to go ashore in conditions like we’re expecting. You can see Gizmo’s position on this Spot share map, and I’m also using this situation to try out a number of other electronics…

Maretron FFM100, positive displacement fuel flow metering 13

Maretron FFM100, positive displacement fuel flow metering


As illustrated above, the fuel cost for cruising Gizmo varies enormously with speed. It’s fortunate that we like poking along at 6 to 8 knots in most conditions because knocking off miles on a 16-17 knot semi-plane is 4-5 times more expensive. But as suggested by the lumpy lines, those fuel-flow versus boat-speed numbers are not necessarily precise, and since I was only able to collect them on one day, they definitely don’t reflect changes in vessel trim, bottom cleanliness, engine condition, etc. I’d love to have accurate real time fuel flow data flowing around Gizmo’s NMEA 2000 network and thus am excited about Maretron’s FFM100 system, which was recently introduced with bold claims…

Navionics Mobile 2, with NewStand & more 12

Navionics Mobile 2, with NewStand & more


Months ago I heard that Navionics was planning to add boating magazine content to its mobile charting apps, but I didn’t know until the new 2.0 version came out that “my” Bonnier Marine Group was a lead participant! The implementation is pretty slick too. As long as your iPad or iPhone is online you can browse the “NewsStand” for cruising pieces relevant to your location or for articles listed by various subject categories or even ranked by reviews from fellow Navionics Mobile users. And you can download and read them two ways…

Racing capsizes, did satellite beacons help? 9

Racing capsizes, did satellite beacons help?


Man, can you imagine how many scary moments preceded this photo? The remarkable thing is that all 21 crew members of Rambler 100 survived her capsize in rough and foggy conditions just after rounding Fastnet Rock on Monday evening. The yacht — which I gawked at as Speedboat in Newport last fall — purportedly turned turtle just 30 seconds after her keel snapped off, leaving several crew caught inside and upside down. EPIRBs and PLBs had something to do with the 100% successful rescue, though it’s hard tell which and how…

Automated VHF radio checks, Sea Tow & USCG 25

Automated VHF radio checks, Sea Tow & USCG


Sea Tow recently announced that all its franchises have now installed an automated radio check (ARC) service, and it seems very easy to use. Just check out Sea Tow’s ARC page for the active channel in your area — usually the old Marine Operator channel still managed by its communications partner Maritel — and make a call. If you’re in range you should hear an automated response telling you the location of the receiving base station followed by a recording of your call so you can confirm beyond doubt that your VHF is transmitting. Unfortunately I can’t try the system myself, as the active service map above correctly indicates that ARC doesn’t quite reach Penobscot Bay yet, but I’m hoping that readers who boat in active (yellow) areas will report about how it works…

Conepatus, tricked-out Rosborough cruising RHIB 5

Conepatus, tricked-out Rosborough cruising RHIB


That’s Craig Owings and he’s justifiably proud of what may be the world’s first trailerable cruising RHIB. But if you check out builder Rosborough Boats, you’ll see that it is not actually a custom boat, but rather a clever combination of its production 25′ sedan cruiser and the 29-foot deep vee inflatable it builds for marine professionals. I got a tantalizing glimpse of Conepatus early last week as it zipped around Mt. Desert island and was pleased to find her being used as the Rosborough exhibit at the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show this weekend…

OceanView’s SteadyView, camera stabilization by software 6

OceanView’s SteadyView, camera stabilization by software


As if thermal cameras weren’t expensive enough, what you really want when the going gets rough is a gyroscopic mount so that the image doesn’t make you ill. But such mounts need fast motion sensors and involve lots of expensive and repair-prone moving parts. So OceanView has come up with an interesting technology called SteadyView which corrects for motion with a completely self-contained video processor. The best way to see the results is in this YouTube video

Yellowbrick 3, the Iridium 9602 strikes again 14

Yellowbrick 3, the Iridium 9602 strikes again


The UK company Yellowbrick has made a name for itself primarily by supplying offshore racing fleets with self-contained tracking devices based on Iridium’s original 9601 short burst data modem. But the new Yellowbrick 3 hardware announced this week is build around the smaller, less expensive, and more able 9602 modem and Yellowbrick intends to sell it as a standalone marine safety, tracking, and communications product as well as use it for fleet rentals. Yes, the Yellowbrick 3 is similar to the DeLorme inReach announced earlier this summer, but it’s got more features and flexibility, and it costs more…

Raymarine e7, hand’s on #1 32

Raymarine e7, hand’s on #1

The new e7 multifunction display seen above is a pre-production unit running incomplete software, but last week I got some freckly hands-on time with it thanks to a visit from Raymarine marketing director Jim Hands. In...