Category: The future

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The future of outboard steering? Dometic Optimus All-Electric Steering system

Dometic’s Optimus All-Electric Steering represents a major change to a critical system onboard the highest volume sector of boating and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call it the future of outboard steering. I’ve now tested Dometic’s steering and my enthusiasm for the system has only grown. It has delivered on the promise of simple installation and operation while allowing precise control without hydraulics. Be warned, all this excellence comes at a higher price but probably not forever.

6

MIBS2020: Sharrow MX-1

The Sharrow propeller design definitely has the potential to revolutionize propellers. Sharrow says — and BoatTest’s independent review agrees — that their MX-1 propeller can increase efficiency by up to 15 percent. But they also say the prop will increase top speed, reduce vibration, improve handling, and plane at lower speeds.

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Sea Ray SLX-R 400e in Vegas & is the “helm of the future” Navico ID?

I think it’s neat that Brunswick showed off its latest marine technology at the huge Consumers Electronics Show (CES), though it’s a bit disconcerting to see the lowercase-“e”-for-electric model designation on a sport boat with three 450hp internal combustion engines hanging on its stern. But then again, the electric component of the Sea Ray SLX-R 400e really is a valuable concept that deserves more attention from all sorts of boaters…

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eToys: hydrofoil ebike versus efoil boards

Yes, there’s now a pedal-assisted hydrofoiling water bike. And it certainly deserves consideration as I contemplate new toys for the garage of my fantasy expedition megayacht. But while that research left me skeptical about how enjoyable the foiling ebike design really is, some related poking around the dynamic world of powered foiling boards — commonly called efoils — definitely perked up some deep winter hours…

5

Return Link Service, a major PLB & EPIRB improvement

Many of us carry an EPIRB or PLB satellite distress beacon for worst-case emergencies at sea, and while they’ve earned an excellent success record, they also have a nerve-racking drawback. The rare boater who actually activates one will not know if the distress message was received until the search and rescue heroes actually show up. Or don’t show up! But that intensely tense uncertainty is about to change thanks to a newly revealed technology called the Return Link Service (RLS)…

NOAA will stop updating charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner 14

NOAA will sunset traditional nautical charts, sad but inevitable

Things are just things, right, and they don’t really die. But during a recent conference call with NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, a genuine feeling of grief bubbled up within me. And since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I learned that some of our “Nation’s Nautical Chartmakers” are also feeling the pain. The demise of the traditional chart is going to be sad for many of us, no doubt about it. But please don’t jump to dire conclusions until you know all that NOAA plans…

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Bliss: 100hp diesel powers trawler, Seakeeper, and huge battery bank

The goal of the makeover certainly sounded like cruising bliss, but could a 100hp Yanmar diesel really propel a 39-foot trawler while also producing gobs of 12 volt DC to feed both SeaKeeper gyrostabilization and a huge battery bank? I’m pleased to report that the dual MGDC 250 amp alternator setup seen above on the actual trawler Bliss has proven my skepticism unwarranted, and an already beloved cruiser became a “new boat” in the process.

Siren Marine, Boat Command, Nautic-On and BoatFix's apps 1

Monitored boats, connected boats and smart boats, what does it all mean?

If you’ve been reading Panbo, boating magazines, or spent any time at a boat show you’ve likely seen boat monitors, connected boat products and smart boat products. But, you may well not know what these things are or how they’re different from each other. Hopefully, I can help shed some clarity on this latest collection of buzzwords.

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Flir thermal cameras get Raymarine ClearCruise Augmented Reality

Raymarine’s ClearCruise AR (augmented reality) is very cool technology and it’s getting even cooler with support for pan and tilt thermal cameras. Clear Cruise AR overlays information about chart objects, AIS targets, and waypoints over a camera image displayed on Raymarine MFDs. Though the first version — unveiled at IBEX in the fall of 2018 — only supported fixed visible light cameras, I’ve thought its greatest value would come when overlayed on thermal images.