Monthly Archive: January 2014


Garmin VIRB “action” camera, also great on a slow boat

Garmin_VIRB_Edit_software_test_cPanbo.jpgI think that Garmin hit a home run with the VIRB action cameras they began shipping last Fall. I’ve been testing the regular model since late September and the Elite model since mid December, and I can picture all sorts of enjoyable ways to use either around a boat. I’m documenting a minor cruising adventure in the scene above, but could be remote controlling the camera to capture my crew and I playing a big fish or rounding a racing mark. However, I’ve also come to think of the entire “action camera” concept as a bit of a misnomer… 


NMEA 2000 Certification, in the Panbo crossfire

Panbo_NMEA_2000_certification_archive.jpgIt’s great that boaters on research missions are constantly (though quietly) digging through Panbo’s archives. But when one is inspired to write a detailed, articulate rebutal to a stand I took years ago on a subject that’s still relevant, it deserves special attention. Bo Collins is working hard to figure out a new electronics system for his 53-foot 1978 Hatteras LRC trawler and he takes exception to my notion that NMEA 2000 certification is not an absolute must when choosing devices that use the data standard. What follows is his argument with my retorts interspersed and plenty of room at the end for you to add your opinion…


Charlie ‘saved’…support the Coast Guard Foundation

Charlie_Doane_being_rescued_by_USCG.jpgMy friend and colleague Charlie Doane has been making the pages of Panbo since at least 2005 (sometimes even comically) and he does seem to get seriously offshore more than any other writer I can think of. But, damn, it’s unexpected to post an image of him being hoisted aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter last week. The abandonment of the very first Alpha 42 catamaran Be Good Too has been covered extensively elsewhere, probably in most accurate detail by Charlie himself, and discussions about the incident rage in various online forums. While I think that chewing over maritime casualties like this is a good thing — even if it does bring out the pedantic ass in some of us — let me also suggest an appropriate course of action for interested bystanders…


Victron Color Control GX, more than a power display

Victron_color_control_GX_in_action.jpgThe photo could be sharper but I like it for two reasons. First, it’s confirmation that an ambitious product which doesn’t even have a manual yet actually works in the field. Second, it’s doing interesting work on an intriquing new vessel that has deep Panbot roots. You’ll learn much more about the boat on Febuary 4th when we celebrate Panbo’s 10th birthday, but today please say hello to the Victron Color Control GX…


Maretron N2KView: prices slashed, architecture improved, and BNWAS

FPB-78_w_N2KView_courtesy_Dashew_Offshore.jpgI find Steve Dashew’s latest FPB 78 long-range powerboat design so intriguing that I won’t link to it until the end of this entry for fear of losing you!  The relevant detail in the rendering above is Steve’s plan to occasionally use that giant 65-inch 4K resolution TV monitor so he can still see his radar and Maretron N2KView monitoring info as he moves about the vessel’s giant main cabin while underway. I got to spend time with the Dashews on their original FPB Windhorse, and it’s one heck of an equipment endorsement to be chosen for the next one. I also know that Steve’s expert evaluation of Maretron’s hardware and software systems came before the major and excellent-sounding N2KView product changes I’m about to outline…


Maretron FFM100 fuel flow monitor test (part 1), as good as it gets?

Maretron_fuel_flow_install_cPanbo.jpgWhen I first wrote about Maretron’s FFM100 fuel flow monitor, I was enthused about both its advanced sensor technology and the possibilities of a system designed from the ground up for NMEA 2000. Now that I’ve installed the system on Gizmo and tested it a bit underway (before the weather closed in), I’m even more impressed. But I have also learned how difficult it can be to accurately measure how much fuel a diesel actually uses in real time… 


Humminbird Ion Series, GeoNav is way more than back

Humminbird_Ion_Onix_intro_FLIBS_2013_cPanbo.jpgJohnson Outdoors really wants a piece of bluewater marine electronics. I learned a lot about the long, determined history of Johnson Family Enterprises when JO was trying to make GeoNav a major brand back in 2011. But while the GeoNav G12 MFDs I saw demoed had a lot of interesting features, even autorouting using either C-Map or Navionics charts, the competition from the existing Big Four brands is daunting. Plus, the economic timing was terrible and Johnson Outdoors pulled GeoNav’s plug, saying that they’d eventually try again under their successful freshwater Humminbird brand name. So, yes, the industrial design of the new Ion series looks like the old GeoNav G Series, but Ion really is “a new species of bluewater technology”…


BoatLogger, well worth serious beta testing

BoatLogger_beta_test_Home_page_cPanbo.jpgIt’s good to start the year with a project and I’ve got one to share. I’m convinced that a new boating service called BoatLogger has a terrific concept for collecting log data, cruise photos, equipment manuals, and much more to a personal boat website they’ve made very easy to set up. But what the developers need right now is a hardy band of beta testers to create their own sites, try every feature possible, and report problems. That’s how I spent much of 1/1/2014 as you can see at www.boatlogger/gizmo. I’ll explain what I’ve learned after the break, and also detail an incentive available to the first 50 beta testers… 

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