SPOT on, Sail’s innovation awards
Friday’s entry may not have been clear; I only meant to snipe at the New York Times (lightly), and not at Spot. In fact, Spot was one of my four picks for the electronics section of Sail’s annual Freeman K. Pittman Innovation Awards, mentioned earlier with other M.E. awards and now out in the February issue (though sadly not on line). While it is certainly not a PLB, I think Spot could be pretty useful on a boat, or ashore. But understanding well how it compares to PLBs is critical, and hence why I’m sniping at confused coverage.
Another pick was Furuno’s FI50 instruments, based on their power efficient and automatic OLED screens and their nifty implementation of standard NMEA 2000 with daisy chaining and bridging to an analog wind sensor (via the third plug seen on the the close hauled dial above, and first discussed here). I also thought the FI50’s would be out sooner than NavNet 3D (which I think of as a contender for next year’s awards), but now I’m not sure (our picks are supposed to be available at least early this year). Another winner, the unique Simrad A150 Class B AIS, may have the same problem, but it will the FCC’s fault not Simrad’s (I’m told they’re stacked up in Tulsa, ready to ship). Finally, I gave Garmin an award for the new interface seen on all its new displays, particularly the “Where To?” approach to routing, which I think will become the norm.
Other contenders? Well, I made my choices back in November, but recall that ClearPoint Weather and Raymarine’s ST70 and HD radar were all my scratch list. High Def radar, which is apparently being introduced in steps, is definitely on my 2009 list.