Category: The future

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A cool and quiet sailboat thanks to efficient air conditioning, LiFePO4 batteries, and Integrel

I work around boats pretty much every day of my life. So, what would cause me to jump in my car and drive 28 hours round trip to go see a boat? The answer: A brand new, luxury 44-foot sailboat ordered with no generator and no air conditioning. But fear not, although it was delivered without systems many regard as required, it’s now been outfitted with arguably the best air conditioning and power systems available.

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Starlink offers new services aimed at RV and marine use

It’s been a busy couple of months for Starlink since they rolled out portability. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened with the service since then: they’ve rolled out RV service, Dish network has filed a complaint against them, their mobile license was approved by the FCC, and they’ve introduced a maritime service offering. If you’re a boater looking to get internet connectivity on board your boat, that can be a lot to wade through. So, let me help you understand the developments and what it means for us as boaters.

11

Simrad NSX, an impressive debut of Navico’s next-generation platform

The Simrad NSX may be a value-oriented chart plotter in Simrad’s lineup but “value model” doesn’t tell the story of how important NSX is to Simrad’s, and Navico’s, future. NSX is the first MFD running on Navico’s Neon operating system. I’ve been using an NSX in Panbo(at) for the last several months and I’m pleased to report NSX is an upgrade from the Simrad Go it replaced in nearly every dimension. If this is Navico’s future, the future is bright.

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Integrated docking cam explainer: Garmin Surround View vs Raymarine DockSense Alert

When Garmin introduced Surround View last fall, it seemed a lot like Raymarine’s existing DockSense Alert. A precisely engineered array of cameras network to a powerful central imaging processor that gives the helmsperson a synthesized bird’s eye view of the maneuvering situation plus individual cam views as needed. However, the underlying technologies are actually quite different, and worth understanding, I think, as Brunswick and others compete in this area…

9

Vakaros Atlas 2 RaceSense & the promise of dual-band GPS

RaceSense is such a novel concept that it’s hard to understand at a glance. While that screen looks like a virtual sail racing app that you play with your fingertips, what’s actually virtual are the folks normally needed to run a real event — plus their boats, the marks, the horn, etc. Instead, Vakaros Atlas 2 tablet-style instruments on each of the real sailboats form a meshed wireless network, and a built-in feature called RaceSense uses distributed artificial intelligence to create the course, call penalties, and name winners. Wow…

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Lost Bens? Nope, we’re in the lithium mines, finding gold!

The caption is serious, because right in front of your eyes is the most basic — and possibly dangerous — mistake anyone could make while setting up and bench testing a fully integrated lithium-powered marine electric power system. And it’s a mistake I made even though it was truly right in front of my eyes during the many hours I spent trying to figure out why Victron’s brand new and quite amazing Lynx Smart BMS would not power up. So if…

5

KVH’s TracPhone V30 announcement includes more affordable mini-VSAT service plans

It’s certainly noteworthy that KVH now offers a smaller, simpler, and less expensive VSAT antenna, but the TracPhone V30 announcement also mentioned new service rates of potential interest to those cruising and working on slimmer budgets. Although the more affordable plans only include small amounts of high-speed data, they also offer unlimited low-speed data. Is it fast enough to make working by satellite a reality at a reasonable cost? Depending on how you use the KVH mini-VSAT broadband service, it just might work for you.

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Volvo Penta Launches Industry’s First Fully Integrated Assisted Docking System

Volvo Penta today announced the commercial availability of the industry’s first fully integrated Assisted Docking system. The system gives the captain better control when docking a boat by automating his or her intentions, compensating for some dynamic variables, such as wind and current, and helping the vessel stay on its intended course…

2

EPIRB and PLB Return Link Service, what’s the holdup?

Over 15 months ago, I got excited about the first PLB with Return Link Service (RLS), a Cospas-Sarsat system improvement that would let a boater know that their distress signal had been received ashore along with their location. And it was supposed to be operational in early 2020, at least for some regions, and RLS capable EPIRBs would soon follow. But you still can’t purchase Orolia’s FastFind ReturnLink or any other RLS beacon in the USA and some of the countries that do permit them only allow RLS PLBs while others only allow RLS EPIRBs. What happened?…