Monthly Archive: July 2013

Raymarine 2013 demo boat: gS165, the RMK-9 keypad & more 13

Raymarine 2013 demo boat: gS165, the RMK-9 keypad & more

Raymarine_2013_demo_boat_cPanbo.jpgYesterday I enjoyed a few hours on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, aboard a Boston Whaler 280 Outrage recently fitted out as a Raymarine demo boat.  Much of what I first saw introduced in Miami last February is now shipping and working in impressive ways.  Note, for instance, how the “low end” Dragonfly sonar/plotter is holding bottom in DownVision mode at more than 75 feet and 28 knots. And if it weren’t for the camera-exaggerated glare you could also see how bright and sharp the “high end” gS125 Glass Bridge display was looking.  I became particularly enamored of the new RMK-9 keypad that gave us hybrid-style control of not just the gS but also the two a6x MFDs…

Smart Chart AIS needs our help, Uncle Sam’s too! 10

Smart Chart AIS needs our help, Uncle Sam’s too!

SmartChart_AIS_web_splash.jpgThe first Smart Chart AIS app, a result of the very interesting U.S. government-funded Class E AIS project discussed here last August, is looking fo 100 Panbo beta testers.  Volunteers need to have an Android smartphone or tablet and should be boating in U.S. waters or at least spending time on the coast.  Here’s the Smart Chart web site and here’s the beta sign up site.  Beta feedback will happen on the SC forum, not in this entry’s comments, please.  I’ve been in the test program for a few weeks and will illustrate some of the app’s features below.  I’ll warn you, however, that there’s a major dissappointment which has nothing to do with Smart Chart’s developers…

Cruising with Garmin wireless: BCM, 741, HomePort & quatix 12

Cruising with Garmin wireless: BCM, 741, HomePort & quatix

Garmin_BCM_underway.jpgSome of Garmin’s many wireless strategies are coming together on Gizmo and there have been some nice surprises.  Since there’s now a GPSMap 741 with built-in WiFi mounted at the lower helm and networked via NMEA 2000 with the 7212 on the fly bridge, one of the first things I did when we began our cruise last week was to see what that meant in terms of route planning on an iPad running BlueChart Mobile (BCM).  It was a minor thrill to realize that I could spec out the day’s plan on the pad, send it to the 741, and have it pop right up on the 7212 as the active route my sweet mate was using to steer by…

Testing iPad cases & mounts: Lifeproof, Lifedge, Life Jacket, RAM & Tallon 21

Testing iPad cases & mounts: Lifeproof, Lifedge, Life Jacket, RAM & Tallon


I’ve been testing three waterproof iPad cases that all have “Life” in their name for some reason (anyone?). Frankly, none got me excited until I recently snapped my iPad mini in the Lifeproof frē case above (running Garmin BlueChart Mobile).  The design is stellar, I think.  The LifeProof is so light and snug that the mini still feels mini, but it now has has a protective rubbery edge and non-slip back and it survived 30 minutes submerged in my sink though all the buttons plus the charge port still work fine. I suspect I’ll always use this case on the boat, and maybe everywhere.  But that’s not to say that I know everything about the ever-changing world of pad cases.  Let’s review the testing and discuss…

Fingers on Raymarine a65, and hello a68, a75, a77 & a78! 13

Fingers on Raymarine a65, and hello a68, a75, a77 & a78!


There’s been a small Raymarine a65 MFD installed at Gizmo’s lower helm since early last fall (as seen here) and I’ve used it a lot. Frankly, I wasn’t at all sure I’d like the all-touchscreen interface as much as I liked the “hybrid” mix of touchscreen, buttons, knob, and cursor joystick I use on the nearby Ray e7 (tested here) or the similar Simrad NSS8 hybrid interface (compared here).  Didn’t Steve Jobs say that touch couldn’t work on less than a 10-inch screen?  Well, surprise, the a65’s 5.7-inch touchscreen interface works quite well, even on a moving boat, and it’s getting better as Raymarine rapidly introduces new versions of its Lighthouse MFD software (v5 discussed here, v7 just about to drop!). And today we learn that the all-touch “a” is not just an interesting oddity in Ray’s now-huge a, c, e, and g display lineup…

Seapilot & True Heading, AIS in Sweden #2 19

Seapilot & True Heading, AIS in Sweden #2


I’m not sure that anyone has made such an effort to show me his marine electronics products as Anders Bergström, and it worked. I left Sweden very impressed with the Seapilot charting/AIS app and the AIS expertise of True Heading. But Sweden itself played a part. The country has built out an AIS-friendly infrastructure that I hope other nations will replicate, and its complex waterways often highlight why we should want them to. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to sail around a high island and find yourself in a tight channel with a large fast-moving ship…

AF Race 2013, learning AIS Swedish style 11

AF Race 2013, learning AIS Swedish style


The AF Offshore Race 2013 — in which all boats are required to carry AIS — began in Stockholm Harbor on Sunday and the screen above shows how it looked on the Swedish-made ipad app SeaPilot. Note how the group at the right, already racing, is hard on the (light) wind while the next class stalks the starting line. SeaPilot was even set up to show the race marks as well as the country’s many AIS weather-reporting bouys. But actually my iPad went largely ignored at this point because lucky me was perched high on a historic citadel with an incredible eyeball view of the whole scene…