Electra & Panbo V2, psyched for the weekend


That’s the mighty 94’ Electra being shown at Lyman Morse’s grand open house last weekend. The boat is still being finished but she’s already shown high performance and is said to have “a fantastic, state-of-the-art electrical and electronics system.” I got a peek at the opening plus met the man responsible, Electra’s owner/engineer, and was just now invited to join a sea trial tomorrow. I don’t believe I could have said “yes” any faster!

But it will be a busy weekend as I’ll also be helping Lee Heidel switch Panbo over to a new server, new blogging software, and a new design. I think—sure hope—you’re going like it, but no doubt mistakes will be made. In fact, I have to go silent for a day or two, and there may be trouble carrying the last comments over. Please bear with us, and be sure to come back next week.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

10 Responses

  1. Aaron says:

    In an age when people are finally becoming more aware of climate change and our addiction to nonrenewable energy sources, I really wish we could see less celebration of the stinkpot scene here on Panbo. One of the reasons people are drawn to the sea is the allure of a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle. That simply isn’t possible when you’ve got huge diesels to feed at all times.

  2. Dan (b393capt) says:

    Huh? This is a marine electronics blog. The power boat market is the economic engine that drives much more than 50% of the demand for many of the gadgets discussed on this site. Many gadgets wouldn’t exist or would not be affordable to recreational users of sailboats if not for the power boat market.
    To the extent the content on this blog might be insulting to environmentalist tendencies of the sailing readers on this site, I think we need to recognize this fact.
    Fellow Sailing Enthusiast

  3. Eliboat says:

    b393capt is correct I think. Well over 50% of boater are powerboaters, and many of us sailors enjoy the use of a stinkpot from time to time. The other important fact you seem to be missing is that most sailor consumers of marine electronics are sailing on auxiliaries which rely on diesel engines to generate the necessary power to run those electronics. These engines are also used fairly extensively to power the boats when the wind dies or if a situation warrants. The notion that there is a significant population of people out on the water trying to be “off the grid” is a little misguided. In my experience, many of these types live on boats that have little to no M-E on board. The electronics that they do have are usually pretty dated. This is not to say that there aren’t some innovators out there, and Ben has certainly done his part to highlight these folks when he gets the chance, but this is quite far from the norm.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is this the new look for Panbo? I like it. It takes a lot of work to upgrade a site, but it takes a lot more to make it seamless!

  5. neuromancer says:

    It is interesting that Aaron assumes that he is in the majority of people attracted to the sea in his attitudes about power propulsion. Sailboats are among the least popular form of boating craft overall, used by http://www.uscgboating.org/statistics/USCG_NRBS%202002-Report.pdf for details). The most popular forms of boating are open powerboating, canoing and personal watercraft. Cabin powerboating is twice as popular as sailing, and open powerboats are at least 5 times as popular as sailing. So Panbo is emphasizing equipment for the boats that most people use.

  6. Aaron says:

    First off, I just want to say that I love this blog and that I think Ben (and previously Eli) have done a great job. I meant for my comment to seem like more of a request than a mean-spirited criticism. I also wanted to say that I’m a realist, and it is patently obvious to anyone who boats that the majority of boaters use motors and that electronics are affordable to sailors because of people who use internal combustion.
    That said, I think there’s a difference between recognizing this fact and becoming an apologist for motoryachting. Yes, sailors do use internal combustion from time to time, but they use such engines for a fraction of the amount of time that motoryacht operators do. With the emergence of open protocols, multifunction displays, and PC software, it is becoming increasingly possible to enjoy modern marine electronics on a limited power budget. (such as that provided by solar, wind, fuel cells, or light genset use)
    I must say that Electra is certainly one of the better appointed, more tasteful motoryachts I have seen, but too often motorboating is a dream for the nouveau riche gold-chain set who mistake sail propulsion for a socially and technologically inferior means of enjoying the water. Perhaps we can instigate a cultural shift among boaters away from fossil fuel combustion.
    In my case, I’m an armchair cruiser with a background in alternative energy systems. I own a 23′, heavy, inefficient 1960s lapstrake wooden stinkpot myself (which I rarely use and which should probably be dismantled with the wood, cables and electronics reclaimed) and my only sailboat is a 420 dinghy from my teenage years, so my hands aren’t entirely clean and I apologize as I came across as self-righteous. (I did build a solar-electric propulsion system for the dinghy I use to get out to the moorings, however!)
    Going forward, though, I dream about efficient DC refrigeration systems, decks plastered with PV cells, charge controllers, long-life battery systems, Ethernet-connected radar antennas, NMEA2000, electric auxiliary propulsion, hybrid propulsion, fuel cells, integrated open source navigation suites, and a host of other technologies that might make my future pirate ship both comfortable and sustainable.

  7. Dan (b393capt) says:

    Little tiny bug … I noticed If I forget to login into type key, and I leave the name field blank as well, the site still accepts comments with a notice that it is being held for review.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    It’s not a bug; the idea is to permit comments by people who don’t want to mess with TypeKey. But using TypeKey is better for me, and commenters, especially when I go offtosea/offline next week :-).
    Do you want me to put your name on that comment, b393?

  9. Dan (b393capt) says:

    Ben, still a little tiny bug, that no error box popped up reminding the commenter that they left the name field blank, no ? Not a big deal … it was just entirely unexpected when I looked back at my comment “A vendor can get NMEA2000 certification with such limited functionality. What does that say for the certification process ? ” … and saw the name was listed as Anonymous.

  10. Preston Calvert says:

    You still managed to seem self-righteous in your second comment, I’m afraid. The comment about the “nouveau riche gold-chain set” certainly doesn’t apply to any of the powerboaters on my dock at the largest marina on the Maryland Chesapeake Bay western shore. Most of my dock-mates are skilled pilots, who use their boats regularly for fishing and cruising, and spend a significant amount of their time on the water avoiding collisions in the channel with incompetently piloted sailboats under power.
    Some people share your sailor’s ethic, and some don’t. I enjoy both sailing and powerboating, but choose a powerboat for family use because I like to actually go places by boat, and then come home, and don’t have weeks to do so. I can afford my fossil fuel bill, and would submit that all the recreational boating fossil fuel use is a drop in the bucket of the national consumption of fuels and CO2 production.

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