Gizmo’s awning AC and Muvman sit-stand stool

Gizmo_awning_AC_cPanbo.jpgToday it’s wet and gray here on a mooring float in Northeast Harbor, but we’re enjoying a distinctly non-electronic improvement to Gizmo’s gear list. It’s a new awning that stretches from the cabin brow to the bow pulpit, letting us keep the hatches open despite the rain bursts. Yesterday, when it was sunny and fairly hot, the awning shaded the forward cabin top and the main cabin’s large forward windows. If it gets really hot, I’m pretty sure that the combination of the awning plus the see-through “Florida curtains” over the other big windows and maybe a small fan will make the boat as comfortable as the air conditioning unit. Actually, more so at anchor or moored, since we won’t have to run the generator (that’s no longer aboard anyway)…


Sailors, especially those who’ve spent time in the tropics, know all about the value of awnings, but for some reason you rarely see anything like this on a powerboat. I’m proud to have designed it with lots of help from Will Dennett of Aurora Sails & Canvas, who then proceeded to build it super strong and with a perfect fit out of light gray Sunbrella. I can put it up or take it down in about 10 minutes, and I’m confident that it will handle quite severe weather.

Now for some side notes called for by a full photo of Gizmo 2014: The Pettit Hydrocoat Eco bottom paint and Ocean Armor topsides polish are still looking good after two months. The former has collected just a shadow of the waterline slime that proliferates in Camden Harbor and the latter is still gleaming except for that surprising yellowing near the bow, which I’ll monitor and hit with Davis FSR at some point. Yesterday’s project was installing the trailboards with their new Aqua Signal Series 33 LED nav lights. Unfortunately, installing them made me like them less than when I wrote about them (see comment on that entry). Finally, the antenna mast is nowhere near finished. Soon I’ll be installing a custom aluminum cap plate along with an Edson Vision Series mount for the FLIR M-Series nav camera, and there will also be a Garmin 24xHD radome, new cellular antennas, and more to test. And I’ll be reviewing the powerful WiFi Ranger Marine2 that’s up at the spreaders now.


Back to the awning: A benefit I hadn’t anticipated are the dry, clear forward windows I can see well out of even in the rain. I took this photo at my 5’10” standing eye height; sitting at my desk or at the lower helm I can see the horizon in all directions and might even drive the boat a modest distance with the awning up…

Muvman_sit-stand_stool_at_Gizmo_desk_cPanbo.jpgwhich is a heck of a good segue to discussing Gizmo’s fabulous new Muvman sit-stand stool. I’ve been struggling with a possibly arthritic left hip over the last year or so, which led me to investigate a sit-stand desk for my home office. I bought an ErgoDepot AD125 and while I was at it, thought I’d try their Muvman (with a 45 no-hassle return policy). Well, now I’m a sit-stand desk zealot! Even if lots of sitting isn’t causing any obvious pain (yet), I believe that standing is a natural way to work at a desk for at least part of the day.

I also kept the Muvman despite the $600 price tag. It was great to use part of a desk day, between standing and my Aeron chair, but also seemed perfect for the boat. And so it is. The 20- to 33-inch seat height adjustment means it works at both desk and helm, its springiness means I’m getting a little exercise with my feet spread and firmly planted — it is just right on an underway rolling boat. It’s also quite compact and has a built-in handle. I suspect that Muvman has a boat market the German manufacturer Swopper may not know about.


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.

5 Responses

  1. John K says:

    I’ve been waiting for you to install an Aegis flat plate radar system, that would complete the look. 🙂
    P.S. – Someone put your hatches on backwards.

  2. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Is there a rendezvous this year ?

  3. Felipe López says:

    I’d be interest to know how the Movman behaves in rolly seas and whether you’ve anchored it in any way to prevent its movement while underway. ?
    Tks Rgds
    Felipe Lopez
    MV AlterEgo

  4. Richard Howard says:

    Funny you mention your hip problem. I too have been having hip problems. I thought I was facing hip replacement surgery down the road. However, I observed my habits and realized that i was sitting for many hours at a hard bar stool while working at a computer. The result was that this sitting position was, to a slight degree, forcing my hips out of socket. This caused lots of pain while standing on hard surfaces later in the day. The pain was becoming somewhat debilitating. After completely changing my habits and sitting in a reclining chair instead, I am happy to say my hip problems have completely disappeared. This has taught me that I need to observe my habits more closely as I grow older and consider the possibility that something I am doing is causing my pain issues. I am done with hard bar stool type chairs.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Felipe,
    I got to try the Muvman yesterday in short seas with some quick rolls maybe 15 degrees. Worked well as I expected. As noted, the natural Muvman sitting position is feet widely spaced and firmly placed, which is just what you do with any non fixed chair on a rolling boat. Only Muvman gives you some spring loaded play dealing with the motion, and even some shock absorption.
    Plus the stool didn’t fall over when I wasn’t using it, and never came close. If I ever do get in such extreme conditions, I’ll just tie it to the table leg (it goes low enough to stow under the table, another feature).
    But I’m not saying that a Muvman is a substitute for a fixed helm seat like I have on Gizmo’s fly bridge. It’s not, but Gizmo has no room for fixed seats at the nav table or helm in the main cabin. The boat came with wooden stools that could be turnbuckled to the deck, but were horribly uncomfortable. I used a high (foldable) captain’s chair for a couple of seasons but it was worthless in any kind of sea and also hurt my hip. Muvman is the best solution yet.

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