Raymarine buys Tacktick, the big get bigger
A few weeks ago I tweeted about how I’d had a nice dinner meeting with Raymarine and that they had all sorts of interesting product news that I couldn’t write about yet. But, dang, they didn’t even mention that they were in acquisition mode, let alone that they were quite close to sealing the deal to buy Tacktick announced earlier today. This move has to feel good for the Ray folks who were around during the hard times before FLIR bought the company, and also for the innovators who created Tacktick’s neat wireless instrument systems and struggled against much larger marine electronics manufacturers — like Raymarine — before joining Suunto, which didn’t appear to make much sense in terms of product integration…
I believe that Tacktick’s founders and designers, the brothers Clive and Mark Johnson, are still around and I imagine that they’re pretty excited about the possibilities of, say, marrying their wireless sensor technology to Ray’s color instruments and/or its existing wireless MOB system and autopilot controls. That, of course, may involve the evolution of Tacktick technology to NMEA 2000 — or SeaTalkNG, as Raymarine likes to call it — which is something the Johnsons talked about for a long time, though apparently it never made the top of the to-do list. And there must be sailors out there with ideas about how Raymarine can integrate Tacktick besides the important aspect of global distribution, marketing, and support. (Incidentally, below is an illustration of one of Tacktick’s recent clever ideas, the portable Coach Boat Pack.)
But this is also a story of the big getting bigger in marine electronics, which happens to be the subject of my June column in Yachting. It’s a natural phenomenon given all the functions multi-function displays are acquiring. And it’s not a bad phenomenon given how powerful and seamless all that functionality is getting for boaters. But it does mean that boaters have to make one big nav system choice instead of several smaller ones (and the fierce competition can be hard on standards organizations like NMEA). At any rate, I’ll try to post a link when the Yachting article goes online, and how about a round of congratulations to Tacktick and Raymarine. Now, any good guesses on what other acquisitions we might see in this industry?