Category: Editors’ Blog

15

Three-strand or plait anchor rode? And which windlass?

Gizmo needs a new anchor rode and windlass, and in my experience replacing boat gear is a lot more satisfying if it’s also an improvement. That’s how I got interested in the somewhat new plaited 8-strand rodes that seem to offer multiple advantages over the 3-strand nylon line I’ve used all of my boating life. But, wait, does plait have its own problems…

8

Mercury unveils 350 and 400 hp Verado V10 motors, but the real story is the alternator!

This morning, Mercury unveiled their new 350 and 400 horsepower, Verado V10 engines. These engines follow the introduction of the highly successful, judging from transoms at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Verado 600 horsepower, V12 engine. I’ve just spent the day at Mercury’s Lake X facility and I can tell you these are really impressive engines, but for many Panbo readers, that’s not the story. The story is the dual voltage, 12 and 48-volt, alternator!

3

How do you test three radars on a 22-foot boat?

Things in Fort Myers are starting to get back to normal after hurricane Ian. For me, that means getting back out on the water and testing marine electronics. One of my first post-hurricane on-the-water tests will be comparing the current crop of solid-state, enclosed dome radar units. I’ve planned this comparison test for an embarrassingly long time. But I haven’t been able to figure out how to mount all three units on my 22-foot test boat.

15

Ben Stein & family lose their boat to Hurricane Ian

Ben Stein and his family evacuated from Fort Myers on Tuesday night, that’s the great news. But at about 7 pm last night their beloved boat and home on the water Have Another Day sank in her slip at a well-engineered marina 14 miles up the Caloosahatchee River as Ben watched the aft bilge pump try to keep up via remote monitoring. Here in Maine I’m near tears at their loss…

57

ABYC Ratifies E-13, their first lithium battery standard

The ABYC has ratified standard E-13 covering the installation of lithium batteries on boats. E-13 replaces TE-13, a technical note that provided a preview of the direction the ABYC was headed with the standard. But, not having an approved standard for lithium battery installs presented some challenges. The main one comes from insurance companies not having an approved standard they could reference. Now that we have a standard let’s look at what it means for new installs and those who have already installed lithium batteries.

32

Is now the time for a move to 48 volt DC systems?

r as long as I’ve been covering marine technology, I’ve heard consistent talk of a move to a higher voltage than the defacto 12-volt standard. 48 volts is often cited as the sweet spot between efficiency, safety, and reduced weight. But, why make a change? 12-volt has served boats well for a long time, why change? Let’s take a look at the reasons for a change and perhaps some reasons to move cautiously.

20

Chart wars? Post acquisitions, what’s the status of charts?

It’s been four and a half years since Garmin bought Navionics and just under four years since Navico and C-Map’s corporate parents merged them. In both cases, there were statements made promising continued availability of the data on competing brands. But, would it? I’ve read comments from and talked to many boaters who are understandably nervous about access to their chart provider of choice on their navigation equipment brand of choice.

All these AIS targets were being sent to Marine Traffic by one vessel's DataHub, with little effort or cost 22

Share your boat’s AIS info, easy with DataHub by PredictWind

Do you use an AIS tracking website or app to follow cruising friends, check that your own AIS is transmitting, hunt for Russian oligarchs, and/or simply to identify an interesting vessel from your seaside restaurant table? Indeed, some of the services like Marine Traffic and FleetMon are now rich with photos, added vessel info, and features like extended track histories. But perhaps you’re also aware that volunteer receiving stations provide most of the data, and a lot more stations are needed to cover even just the planet’s coastal areas. So I’m pleased to report…

7

Starlink Portability announced and available

It’s been a little unclear how Starlink would handle their dishes moving from place to place. Would they take steps to stop this? Would they embrace it? Would it be a separate offering? This week they’ve unveiled portability mode, a $25 per month add-on, and a little more clarity about how they handle mobile users.