Raymarine E-Series Widescreen, mission accomplished!


It’s a cruddy image, for sure…a screen shot taken at my desk as Raymarine’s Jim McGowan used a web cam at his desk to walk me through a beta version of the new E Wide series which is being previewed today worldwide.  But it does illustrate two critically important features.  The E Wides are touch screen, using a much gussied up new interface, while they also retain the same soft/command key set that Ray developed for the C Wide Series (and will come in the same three screen sizes).  You can do everything by touch if you like, and the weather permits, or run things the old fashioned way; Raymarine calls it “hybridTouch”.  Perhaps even better in terms of user choice: The E Wides can display both Jeppesen C-Map and Navionics cartography, of any format level, and even simultaneously…

Yes, you’ll be able to use the Navionics or C-Map format of your preference, or the one that offers the best data for the waters you’re boating.  Moreover, E Wides will ship preloaded with extraordinarily wide built-in chart coverage, North American models including all of the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Central America.  These ‘base’ charts will be from Jeppesen C-Maps, a reunion both companies seem excited about, and they’ll include a system for regular data updates.  E-Series Widescreen will also be the first MFD to support an interesting new C-Map format called 4D which seems to include all the features of Navionics Platinum Plus (excepting perhaps TurboView, which E Wide will support), plus a paper-chart-like NOAA raster layer (U.S. only) and automated routing. Cool!
    There’s more to the new E Wides than good interface and chart choices, particularly in regard to radar; you’ll find some hints at Ray’s new hybridtouch.com site, and I’ll have more coverage here soon.  But I do think we’ve got the answer to the obvious question that came up when the C Wides were introduced last February.  When the C-Series got features previously reserved for the now ‘Classic’ E-Series, like multi-station networking and dual radar support, you had to wonder how Ray could truly distinguish the coming E Wides.  It looks to me like they thoroughly accomplished the mission.  But of course now there’s a new queston:  What happens with Raymarine E Wides and the Garmin 5000 series they obviously compete against if the two companies become one, a possible deal still simmering (I think)?  I don’t have clue. You?


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.

29 Responses

  1. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    What is automated routing ?

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I believe it’s similar to what Garmin calls “Guidance”, whereby you select a destination and the MFD figures out a route based on depths, bridge clearances, etc. I’ve become quite fond of the feature on the 5212 (you need a Vision card too), even though it ignores nav aids. In other words, it will guide you between a hazard buoy and the hazard if the water is deep enough and the path keeps you far enough from land (you get to set overall minimum depth and distance).
    I understand that C-Map’s “voyage planning” does understand nav aids to some degree (it would take some really sophisticated algorithms to handle some situations along the coast of Maine). It may be based on an auto routing function that’s been in Nobeltec software for a while, though I also recall that C-Map has human built and verified routes for many common big ship passages.

  3. SanderO says:

    The graphical user interface is one of the main failings of the MFDs I have used and even most plotters.
    The seem to be packed with commands buried in menus which are not (to me) intuitive.
    I don’t know how to access so much information/options/decisions with so few buttons, rocker switches or soft keys, but maybe they should get the folks at Apple to help as the defined the concept of “graphical user interface”.
    Touch screens feel moire intuitive because you literally point at what interests you. But that would be if that option is visible on screen.

  4. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    This is a big surprise.
    I am impressed with the Raymarine video introduction you provided a link for. The video is well done, good work Jim!
    Bird view in the top 8 features? Do I sense that the commercial fisherman were a key demographic considered in this version? Or, is it that “bird view” and “auto routing” made the cut of top features to highlight because it is just a bit easier to describe than say “enhanced display of target true motion in MARPA” ?

  5. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Following up on auto routing: Considering that estimated arrival time is a feature of e-series routes today, I wonder if auto routing implies that we can have close to point and click (point and press) functionality to answer the age old question from our crew �when are we going to get there Dad ?�
    If it would do that without dropping my current goto waypoint selection (that the auto pilot is currently using), that could be a great use of auto routing to take some of the tension out of the cockpit when Dad doesn�t want to answer what the crew thinks is a reasonable question.

  6. SanderO says:

    Routes are dangerous in plotters connected to autopilots. This feature facilitates skippers to let the lectronix get me there – gee mom no hands approach to operating a boat.
    Route planning and what if are fine as useful tools. But in my opinion linking to an autopilot to a computer/plotter/GOS is a very irresponsible thing to do and while it can be done and there is some benefits in so doing it is largely a very dumb and ultimately dangerous idea.
    There will be lawsuits when two vessels collide and life is lost as a result of this. Disclaimers on instruction manuals will probably not aid in defending against what amounts to criminal negligence.
    I don’t know what this feature is promoted by any responsible person or boater. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
    And it will happen.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Pardon me, SanderO, but that’s poppycock. One of my favorite boat rides this summer was going out with Bruce Kessler who showed me different ways he can the get Spirit of Zopolite to auto steer routes. Bruce is one of the most experienced operator/owners on the planet.
    If you want to worry about products that people with poor judgement can use to easily hurt themselves and/or others — futile as such worrying may be — how about the zillions of trailerable high speed outboard boats? Easy to buy, easy to launch, real easy to do dumb things with. And no license required in most cases.

  8. bluewaterpirate says:

    It should be illegal to litigate stupidity. They’re even putting warning labels on hammers these days. I use the Auto Route feature associated with my Garmin all the time ….. but I do check it before engaging it ….. imagine that.
    Be safe but if you can’t get lucky.

  9. SanderO says:

    I am sorry but having been on the water for the past 25 years I seen that this feature opens up the possibility for disaster. Refusing to see that possibility is denying the obvious.
    Clearly this feature is not in use and thousands of hours have perhaps not seen more than a close call. But automation of decision making by machines which don’t have ALL the inputs what a human may have is not prudent.
    When you are talking about very complex algorithms and decisions such as in aviation or rockets a human navigator cannot process the inputs in a timely manner, but on a boat they can.
    Sure the prudent skipper is standing watch and will take over when need be. But how prudent and how skilled are all the people operating boats?
    Nothing personal Ben, I love your work but this is something which almost killed me so it’s personal.

  10. Benoit says:

    (another subject) Is that a multipoints screen touch ? to make better than Garmin and like Apple 😉

  11. Sandy Daugherty says:

    SanderO, you are a devout contrarian! Let me assure you from a professional point of view that this will make absolutely no difference in real accident statistics, what so ever. I have learned (from 25 years as a Federal accident investigator) that only 10 percent of all accidents are attributable to mechanical and or design failures. The remaining 80% of all aircraft, automobile, boating, occupational or recreational passtime accidents are caused by people. They will happen regardless of the warnings, precautions, safeguards and failsafes ever invented. They will happen with or without the collusion of politicians, doctors, designers or engineers. They happened in the good old days of sextants and sounding lines, and they will happen when we are all wrapped in shockproof sanitized cocoons and limited to two knots transiting padded-wall parks. We can’t seem to make it any better, and (judging from the days before the FDA) we can’t make it any worse. Strange stupidities, incomprehensible idiocies and blythe ignorance will find ways to circumvent any and all safety measures. So whatever almost killed you will be back, or you will find to your horror that you are the culprit in the next episode.
    Just relax and accept the fact that to err is human, or possibly a factor in genetic selection, and omniscience is the exclusive domain of the Almighty except for those whose eyes are glued to the rear view mirror!

  12. SanderO says:

    I hear ya. And I don’t doubt that most crashes are due to some human or operator error.
    However, a new layer is being added to this in recreational boating where it is more common than not that one person is in control and operating the vessel.
    We don’t have roads and cops to enforce the “rules of the road” on the water. We don’t have a licensing requirement either. But what concerns me is we are enabling more people who are unskilled and unqualified to ply the waters. You don’t have to understand navigation to get from here to there. Anyone who plays a video game or uses an iphone can run a boat! And this is possible because sophisticated and integrated navigation and steering equipment is available to anyone who can pay for it.
    In the hands of the prudent skipper these are assets, freeing him to do the many other things on board which require attention, and giving him time to rest a bit. I love my auto pilot.
    But my concerns are valid and real and are largely ignored by a profit driven industry and a recreation boating community that resists licensing and regulation.

  13. 'The PIRATE' says:

    Permit me to “change the channel”, if for only a brief period of time.
    Keeping in mind how extremely expensive RM’s ‘G’ series are, what will be the cost of these new wide-screen ‘E’ series?
    Will they cost ~ the same as the non-wide ‘E’ series? (which would upset me as I have 2 new non-wide ‘E120s’) or at a price point considerably higher than the non-wide screens???
    Anyone have any insights on this they could share???

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Pirate, if you buy any sort of electronics late in their model cycle, you best get a really good deal or be prepared for a little “damn, I wish I’d waited” angst, or sometimes both.

  15. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Yo, Raymarine is also announcing new HD radomes, and supplying more technical info than we normally see:

  16. Peter Coupland says:

    Garmin touch screens are about $1000 more than the button ones…expect the e wides to be $1000 over the c-wides.
    I’m glad they kept the buttons…touchscreen is nice for some things, rotary dial and curser better for others.I like the option of both.
    I am glad I didn’t break down and buy a c-wide…
    Main reason I waited ..the e-wide faster cpu
    chip,the classic e series laboured with platinum plus with overlay etc..too slow,the c-wide is way better and I expect the e-wide to be even faster.
    looks like my Shadowfax will get a e120 wide and a hd digital 18inch array dome.I presume they are compatible with the dsm300 etc?

  17. r2d2 says:

    @ The PIRATE
    from the press release, http://www.raymarine.co.uk/news-and-events/press-releases/raymarine-previews-its-touch-of-genius/
    “from �2295 ex tax.” That is close to the current E80 list price but you will not get the deep discounts that are available in the non-wide E series.

  18. Rich Andrews says:

    We had this debate about auto-pilots being driven by the chart plotter on the UK based blog hosted by YBW.
    My personal view is entirely in accord with SanderO, although I am also a believer in natural selection as opposed to over-legislation. If I keep a proper watch then I figure the danger of being hit by one who doesn’t really belong on the water, is minimal.
    To get to the point, opinion on the YBW blog was fairly evenly split. Interestingly there are a lot of aircraft pilots who are also boaters – as a body they were united in favour of automated systems. Other old salts like myself held the same view so eloquently expressed here by Sander. I’ve nothing to add to the debate now – I rather lost the will – the inevitable will happen in the name of progress and sooner or later someone will die.
    It used to be a legal requirement in this country to have a man walking in front of your motor car holding a flag. Sooth-sayers at the time said that to do away with this safety precaution would cost lives. Perhaps everyone is right – especially Darwin!

  19. This is a strange moment for this debate to resurface — people have been using their GPS to guide the autopilot for years, and no doubt the practice has caused some accidents (I am inclined to agree with SanderO). Every year, for example, there are a few boats that ground, sometimes spectacularly, in the AICW because of following the chartplotter instead of the (perhaps changed) buoyage.
    There are a lot more, however, that do get where they intended to go, and this horse is by now firmly out of the barn and long gone.

  20. Rich Andrews says:

    All agreed Michael. The debate re-surfaced, prompted by the rather spectacular-looking new Multi-Everything gadget from Raymarine.
    Sure GPS’s have effectively been guiding pilots now for some years. That’s OK. The DIFFERENCE in recent technology is the ability to ALTER course without any input from the skipper. That is asking the thing to follow a track, with all the twists and turns, as planned by the skipper over a glass of wine the night before. This conjours up the terrifying spectre of a boat rounding a mark, with nobody on deck, and ploughing into some unfortunate vessel which last time the skipper checked was clear to proceed!
    To be fair I’m not at all sure the Raymarine kit allows this. I THINK they always ask for a prompt at the waypoint, ie input from the skipper, but there is certainly kit out there which is less circumspect.

  21. Chris H says:

    I would love to get rid of my C80 for a new widescreen model, however I am stuck with my little C80 or E80, as I don’t have anywhere on the dash that I can mount such a long MFD. While its great that the electronics manufactures are updateing things, now the boat builders need to update the flush mount spaces to mount such long / wide units. Well maybe I can get a deal on a E80 in a few months!

  22. AaronH says:

    Echoing what Chris H said,
    The C80 or E80 was a great replacement for Pathfinder displays, with a little bit of massaging you could get the new displays in place without having to re-work the entire dash. That can’t happen with the new Widescreen models, raising the cost and time of an upgrade substantially.
    As nice as the widescreen displays are, Raymarine’s lack of smaller screens may force some boaters into competitors smaller MFDs such as the Lowrance HDS, since the A-series can’t do radar.

  23. OceanFroggie says:

    The big question is the possible Garmin/Raymarine takeover. Which product gets canned post take over? Could take 12-18months anyway so mid product life cycle anyway.
    I’ve no problem with AP linked to plotter to follow a course, every flight we’ve all been on in the past 25 years has had this. BUT, I’m not so sure about “Auto Guidance” for an automatic route on boats. On of the biggest factors in choosing a marine route is weather and tides, not just safe depth and shortest distance between two points steering around obsticales and hazards. Vessel type, hull form and speed are also factors, so I don’t see Nuvi style “Where do you want to go?” calculated routes working out as well for boat use. Wind and tide a big factor in passage planning.

  24. In a curious reversal, a boat sunk here on Saturday after hitting rocks outside the clearly marked entrance channel. Two powerboats… the first went down, the second, following, lost the prop. 2 people in the water were rescued.
    Reportedly, the excuse given was that the GPS was not working.

  25. Rich Andrews says:

    Ocean Froggie – you have used the same logic for pilots following plotter as many others: aircraft do it so why can’t boats.
    The facts are that (a) aircraft are monitored and directed continuously by a team of ground staff, (b) aircraft operate in 3 dimensions – something boats only do when it’s all gone wrong and the only way is down! Finally (c) there is always at least one well trained pair of eyes sitting in the cockpit of an aircraft keeping watch.
    I respectfully suggest that the aircraft / boat guidance comparison is somewhat flawed.

  26. TJ says:

    Why don’t we move the frivilious discussions on AP’s over to a Garmin AP forum-last I checked their AP used the auto guidance first and honestly, I’m tired of this discussion.
    Ben, I greatly look forward to your review of this new E Wide Series unit. Lets hope the Ray fellas can batton down the hatches till the units are released!

  27. ronbo says:

    Has anyone seen specs on the E wide series?

  28. ronbo says:

    Raymarine responded to my question saying the E-wide series have the same dimensions as the C-wide series.

  29. Peter says:

    I saw an old comment of mine.
    I actually went with Simrad NSE’s.
    The technician in me likes the metal case for a start.
    This makes cooling CPU’s and bright screens much easier.
    They haven’t seen much use outside the marina yet but so far I am very happy.

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