Category: Gadgets

Afterguard heads-up display, the Recon Jet goes sailboat racing 9

Afterguard heads-up display, the Recon Jet goes sailboat racing

Afterguard_HUD_in_action_aPanbo.jpgThe goal is to direct your focus wherever it’s needed on or beyond the boat while still having critical data in sight.  Brand spanking new today is the Afterguard heads-up display (HUD) for racing sailors. Yes, recent America’s Cup skippers apparently used HUD sunglasses, though you’re a better researcher than I if you can find detail about how they worked and what data they provided. Afterguard intends to bring this technology down at least a few levels, and that means we get a better look at what it can do. This sort of product is more than a little out of my wheelhouse, so to speak, but it looks like this new company did its homework and made some smart decisions…

Bad Elf Pro, the perfect iPad GPS (& logger too)? 28

Bad Elf Pro, the perfect iPad GPS (& logger too)?


It’s amazing how small, fast, and precise GPS has gotten. I’m not saying that those accuracy figures seen on the Bad Elf GPS Pro are absolutely true — without a physical reference point, a GPS can only estimate its own positional precision, right? — but I have seen some very impressive real world performance. Plus this Bluetooth Elf can do much more than simply feed position data to iPads, Touch iPods, and iPhones (up to five at once). It can serve as a standalone GPS with lat/long, COG, SOG,  and altitude also displayable on that small but readable screen, and it can log up to 32 hours of detailed track data which is easy to make use of on your iThing and beyond…

Nortek Doppler Velocity Log, measuring Puma’s leeway across the pond 3

Nortek Doppler Velocity Log, measuring Puma’s leeway across the pond


I learned that the Volvo Ocean Racer Puma had a very special speedo when the race started off around the planet last Fall, but was hoping that I or a Panbo guest blogger would get to see the other end of the system when the fleet visited Miami. Well, right now Puma is leaving Bermuda to starboard as it zips across the Atlantic toward Lisbon, and while Panbot Jeffrey Schwartz witnessed her Florida first place and did get some time with major VOR supporter Inmarsat, he was not able to wrangle his way into any racer’s nav station. But let me tell you what I do know about the Nortek Doppler Velocity Log

Minn Kota’s i-Pilot robot, & Geonav for real 2

Minn Kota’s i-Pilot robot, & Geonav for real


The Miami demo of Minn Kota’s new i-Pilot technology got somewhat humorous.  After some time with that trolling motor head turning this way and that as it automatically retraced a GPS track or pulled us along to a waypoint — where it could even maintain station — I started thinking of it as a faithful, friendly robot.  If I owned one, I might paint eyes and a smile on it to heighten the sensation.  And in retrospect it might have been whispering, “Hey, bub, I represent Johnson Outdoors technology prowess; wait until you see Geonav!”

SpeedWatch, wireless wireless STW 3

SpeedWatch, wireless wireless STW


That’s my goose-bumped knee and I’m rowing at 2.2 knots through the water, which is my true speed in terms of performance, as opposed to speed over ground (SOG), which would be my true speed in terms of getting somewhere.  The distinction relates to endless discussions about what true True Wind is, which depends, but more relevantly to that JDC SpeedWatch strapped to my thigh.  It would be fairly unremarkable gadget if it was a GPS (showing SOG) but in fact it’s talking wirelessly to a tough little transmitter under the boat’s bow seat, which in turn is wirelessly collecting STW data from a tiny magnetized propeller mounted on the hull a few inches away…

Underwater lights, stupid & offensive? 30

Underwater lights, stupid & offensive?


I was surprised when Tim Flanagan went all Glen Beck on underwater lights last week. It hadn’t occurred to me that “no boat owner with an ounce of sense” would drill a hole below his or her waterline just to “make the water glow pretty colors”.  In fact, senseless me has long considered going for the dramatic effect above (compliments DeepSea Power & Light) on Li’l Gizmo, which has become fairly reasonable and easy thanks to gear like OceanLED’s Amphibians

JDC Seawatch, gift for a fair-haired fool? 1

JDC Seawatch, gift for a fair-haired fool?


Maybe, like me, you’ve been even lamer than usual about Christmas shopping? And maybe someone on your list is a fair-haired fool who’s lame about proper skin protection, also like me? Well, consider the Seawatch, the first ever with a built-in UV sensor…

Gear puzzle, and Gitana Eighty’s nav station 15

Gear puzzle, and Gitana Eighty’s nav station


So Sail Editor Peter Nielsen sends me this shot wondering who makes that articulated stalky thing holding up the B&G autopilot, and where he can get some for his boat. I have no idea, and I’m interested too. Can anyone fill us in?  Of course I asked Peter where he’d seen it, and damned if he hasn’t …