Meteor, and other Camden Harbor curiosities

Meteor_in_Camden_cPanbo

The 18′ Annie G. must have looked comical, not to mention bedraggled, circling the 169′ schooner Meteor as she varoomed her 100 kW bow thruster to set twin 600 lb CQRs in the Outer Harbor yesterday. But my mate Max (once owner of his own noteworthy schooner) and I had never seen this superyacht before and had to gawk. In fact if it weren’t for a later Google search—hello Meteor!—I wouldn’t know a thing about her, and still can’t figure out what all those domes on the carbon spreaders do.

Meteor_Domes_cPanboRoyal Huisman’s Meteor site has a specifications PDF, but the only dome-related gear I see are a Sea Tel 4006 VSat and probably the vague “integrated entertainment, based on Microsoft Media center.” She also carries Nobeltec “radar/chart,&rdquo Northstar 6000i “GPS”, and PC-based monitoring and control system…all apparently secreted behind teak and mahogany cabinetry. So what are all those satellite antennae, and, if it blows stink, does Meteor’s large crew have to reef them?
   Timely as it may be, the day was too nice to grumble about how superyachts became much more frequent visitors here over the last decade, while the number of normal-size cruisers remained stagnant, then shrank this summer. Besides, we also watched the two unusual and much-tinier-than-us “watercraft” below venture out into the Bay. Now I know that they are a whole niche called stand up paddle (SUP) flatwater. Who knew? And couldn’t a GPS/VHF handheld be a SUP’s entire electronics package?

SUP_in_Camden_cPanbo

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

14 Responses

  1. Kees says:

    Iridium (satcom) and satellite TV bring the total up to three domes, maybe the others are just to make the rig symmetric ?
    I have heard that some sailors report that the mast may get in the way — this way that problem is prevented, but at what cost!

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Nice try, Kees, but Iridium doesn’t need or use a stabilized directional antenna. Even the new OpenPort is solid state and low profile, and it’s not shipping yet. My best guess is two each VSat and Satellite TV antennas, both for redundancy and to get around mast shadowing.

  3. Kees says:

    I was thinking about the smaller dome in the other mast.
    The redundancy theme seems to be in vogue on Meteor given that they have two radar scanners side-by-side as well.

  4. norse says:

    Here is what I think should be in one of those domes (but probably isn’t) — a radar reflector, or even a stabilized radar reflector. The more an owner cares about his boat’s looks the less likely it is to have a radar reflector.
    Almost all fishing boats have one, almost no power boats have one, almost no mega-yachts have one. Putting a reflector in a dome would make it trendy-looking and therefore acceptable to the fashion-conscious.

  5. Steve Prees says:

    The 2 outboard smaller domes are Sea Tel 3004 TV receivers. The 2 inboard large domes are Sea Tel 4007 Vsat receivers. We are the first vessel to have an automated switching system between the two Vsat domes, meaning we maintain reception on either tack when sailing and the sails do not block the signal when set.
    Ben was right !
    Regards
    Steve Prees
    1st Officer
    Schooner METEOR.

  6. Meteor Engineer says:

    Hey guys
    Ben is correct in his assumption of redundancy for mast (and Sail) shadowing. The inboard 2 are VSat – giving us 24hr internet and 2 VoIP lines even while sailing. The smaller outboard 2 are TV antennas which is distributed via a multiswitch throughout the boat’s cabins. The smaller one on the fore mast is for a Fleet 55. The other really small ones are for the WxWorx (weather) and AIS (Automatic Identification System).
    The Radar’s are duplicated for the same reason, with a blanking sector so they don’t interfere with each other. We do not have a Radar reflector, because if your radar doesn’t pick us up without one you should probably get it checked.
    Any other questions, feel free to post them.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    How cool is that! Not only did the crew of Meteor somehow find Panbo, but it turns out my guess was correct!

  8. norse says:

    I’d like to know more about Meteor’s electronics. Perhaps you could offer Ben a tour and he could feature it.
    As for radar reflectors, I don’t know how large a FG boat needs to be to have a good radar signature. I do know that most practical sized radar reflectors do not have a good radar signature. The US regulations on radar reflectors are quite slack compared to other countries. But then, radar doesn’t seem to solve the collisions at sea problem. Maybe AIS can do better. With radar, that blip on the screen, is it a bird, a bouy, a boat, a ship? Or just noise to ignore? At least with AIS you know that all the targets are real.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I tried on Thursday, Norse, but they’d left already, and couldn’t have me aboard anyway. What in particular are you interested in?

  10. Meteor Engineer says:

    Hey guys, I’m still monitoring this post if you have any questions. I’m afraid that you’ll have to be more specific than ‘electronics’, as that is a pretty broad topic onboard here.

  11. norse says:

    I’m fishing. It looks like Meteor might have some interesting innovations. How do you deal with the displays from two radars? Does your “bridge” look like the bridge of a modern ship, or like that of a traditional schooner, or something in between?

  12. Meteor Engineer says:

    It is definitely something in between. The bridge is split between the Pilot house and the cockpit (You have to steer the boat from outside) with 3 of 7 navigation and monitoring computers. There are 2 more inside the Pilot House – just aft of the cockpit – 1 in the engine room and 1 in the crew mess. All seven run the Ships monitoring system, custom from Royal Huisman, which controls everything from Alarms to Tanks to Main Engine gauges to Nav Lights etc. The 4 aft machines run Nobeltec 8 (We are the first boat to have it installed) with the Nobeltec Radar intergrated into the system. This makes switching between or integrating the chart and the 2 radars pretty easy.
    Effectively any of the displays at the helm Station can display either chart, Radar or the monitoring system. Allowing plenty or options and redundency.
    We more or less have all the gadgets of a modern ship set in a pretty varnished package…

  13. robert says:

    Someone has to ask it..
    What’s she like under sail in a Force 7+ gale?
    What kinda noises does she make?
    =)

  14. Meteor Engineer says:

    Awesome. We try and maintain at least 10knts over the ground while under way. We need about 20knots apparent to achieve that or the engine running at 1700 RPM. Our normal sailing speeds are around 12 to 15 knots with a max speed through the water of 18 knots on our last transatlantic. Being big and heavy (248 ton net) she is really smooth underway. We have been reefed down in 40-50 knots with 12ft seas and she handled it fine. Not too noisy underway, besides a couple of creaks while using winches and the low hum of the wind blowing through the rigging. I have one of the 2 cabins back aft so it is a really smooth ride, with only the noise of the engine room door opening for the checks.
    She is a fantastic compromise between luxury and sailing. We have done over 28 000 nm since her launch in May 07.

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