SeaTalk High-Speed Crossover Coupler. To connect more than two devices, up to eight, a Raymarine SeaTalk High-Speed Switch (Ethernet hub) is required. The use of a Raymarine SeaTalk HighSpeed Interface card and Raytech Raymarine Navigation System Software (RNS) provides laptop applications.
Raymarine's HSB and HSB2 were based on a system called ARCnet, which utilizes a software "token" that's passed from unit to unit to control network access. They're similar but not identical to each other, and units won't talk to each other if not both HSB or HSB2. They're not at all similar to the SeaTalk High-Speed Ethernet system.
IEC 61162-4 is an approved international standard employing dual redundant Ethernet networks that operates at speeds greater than 10 Mbits/ / second. It's intend- / ed to provide bi-directional data ^ communications for high-level interconnection of ship control and monitoring systems.
It's intoxicating, this synergy, with central control of lighting and alarms, sensors for GPS and depth sounders plugging into a cable ending up eventually at several remote displays, and steering controlled by a joystick or trackball next to simulated engine gauges on an LCD. Enjoy the convenience and benefits of data integration and control, but when all else fails, keep a direct-reading GPS and depth sounder handy for that spooky reef entrance.
Frank Cassidy was chairman of the NMEA Standards Committee from 1989 to 1999.
Continued from page 51 hardware, let's look first at Garmin, which this year alone launched 20 new units that run the gamut from chart plotters to fish-finders to combination units to black-box sounders and, finally, new cartography. Its BlueChart g2 cartography, due for release this month, will be available on data cards starting at $200. Features include three-dimensional perspective, tide and current overlays, coastal-road detail, marine-service information, and symbols for navigation
GO-ANYWHERE DESIGN: A tilt-and-swivel mounting bracket and removable face plate make the Cobra MC 600 Cx easy to install.
aids. All cartography is prein-stalled on Garmin's latest-generation chart plotters. Garmin's GPSmap 492 ($900), like the 392 and 292, are prewired for Garmin's new CANet, which allows users to connect two chart plotters and sonar devices over a 1-megabit network.
Cobra Marine has introduced a new chart plotter with built-in GPS called the MC 600 Cx ($700), which runs C-Map Max or NT+ cartography. Its 6-inch color screen has an antireflective coating to reduce glare. A tilt and swivel-mounting bracket
BIG-SCREEN NAVIGATION: With the 8120 multifunction display, Navman brings its user-friendly design to a 12-inch screen.
and removable face plate extend installation options.
The electronics designers at Brunswick Corporation have been busy this year, if we take as evidence the new releases in their Navman and North-star lines of navigation displays. The Navman 8120 (MSRP $2,500) is that brand's first large-screen multifunction navigation system. While the 12-inch screen is its first most notable detail, what's more interesting are the chart-plotter, sonar, and video capabilities installed inside. And by next fall, Navman plans to add radar to that mix. Large keys for easy identification of the menus and a bright SVGA display for viewing angles up to 170 degrees are a couple of the hardware highlights; functional highlights include a four-way split screen and a set of keys that you can define for your favorite settings. The chart plotter runs C-Map NT Max charts.
A newsmaker at this year's Miami boat show is the Northstar 8000i touchscreen PC-based integrated navigation system. It's available with a 12-inch (MSRP $7,000) or a 15-inch screen (MSRP $11,000). Taking the networking theme to its outer limits, the 8000i brings chart plotter, radar, fish-finder, DVD player, CD player, and digital-music jukebox into a single system that you can customize for your own boat. Sending a radar image to a big, separate, flat-screen television is all part of the program. One of the coups of this unit is the creation of a touch screen that's also viewable in sunlight. Screens and keys can be fully customized.
A SUITE OF NEW TOOLS: The GPSmap 492 is just one of about 20 new items from Garmin.
Thanks to the spirit behind the marine electronics industry's push for an open standard, formerly impossible combinations of such different tools can coexist peacefully and cooperatively aboard your boat.
Executive editor Tim Murphy writes about electronics for Cruising World.
BY CAP'N FATTY GOODLANDER
Well, it took three times longer than we expected, we had two major repairs, we partied with friends, and we mightve seen an international drug deal, so perhaps it was more of a casual slog
s our Wild Card dipped, swayed, and curtsied to the first of the ocean swells, I felt like I was being transformed. I looked behind me: Land was fading to dull gray. I looked ahead: The blue of the ocean was rich with promise. Adventure loomed. I felt lighter, freer, happier. I could feel my shore-induced cares and woes slipping away into our gurgling wake.
I excitedly paced the storm-battered decks of Wild Card while marveling at my good fortune: I was heading out to sea again. With the woman I loved. In God's own cathedral. Yeah! The Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean beckoned, a mere thousand miles to the west-southwest.
"Ready on the jib," Carolyn said. "Lazy sheet is clear!"
I pulled out the jib, flicked three wraps onto our Barlow 28, and put out my hand. Carolyn slapped the winch handle into it and took the bitter end of the sheet in one seamless motion. I cranked the jib home in an instant—actually, a tad too far.
"Ease a touch," I said, then, "Good!"
Wild Card heeled and bounded off like an eager dog with a bone in its teeth. A halyard tattooed an ancient rhythm on the mast. Our ensign snapped smartly. I grinned. Carolyn grinned back. "Happy now?" she asked as we did our housekeeping chores of coiling the sheets and connecting our self-steering gear.
"Very," I said, with understatement.
We were leaving St. Thomas late, endlessly delayed by the shoreside vexations. Hurricane season was almost upon us. Tropical wave after tropical wave had marched by. We had to go now or wait another season. We went. I expected heavy air off the northern coast of Colombia. There, I'd once made 150 miles in 24 hours under bare poles; the seas had been huge. So I was ready, peering over my shoulder at the low-pressure systems rolling off Africa.
As usual, I was wrong. A large tropical wave veered northward as it approached the Lesser Antilles and sucked all the wind out of the trades.
Wild Card was late leaving the U.S. Virgins, but that didn't deter her crew from banging a left off Panama for some partying in the San Blas islands.
briskly up to us and stopped dead in the water. It was disconcerting. There it was, blazing light. Just a mile away. Hours went by. It just stood there, only engaging its engine occasionally to stay in its exact position. "I don't like this," Carolyn said. "Let's crank up. We can sleep on deck."
"The entire interior will be ruined," I said. "Remember in the late 1960s when Corina's exhaust fractured? How we couldn't scrub the thick grime off, and even after repainting, it showed through?"
I tried desperately to sail away, but we had no wind, no steerage— no luck. If anything, we'd drifted
The Kuna paddle their little canoes (above) for many miles to show their molas to cruisers who venture into the remote Archipiélago de San Blas. Carolyn and Fatty (right) ease their way to Colón and the entrance to the Canal.
Instead of bare poles, for the first six days I was hoisting large jibs, big drifters, and gigantic spinnakers. So much for vast experience, eh?"Well, we have the technology," Carolyn joked as she hit the starter button, and our faithful Perkins M30 sprang to life. While she busied herself attaching the tiny, electric auto-tiller pilot to our Monitor windvane, I dashed below for my Bose2 noise-canceling headphones. Unfortunately, I "'melled a 'mell," as I used to say as a child. "Shut it down," I told Carolyn. "I think we still have an exhaust leak.
This was unfortunate. I'd just replaced the entire (galvy pipe, alas) system from manifold to transom, but I must not have sealed one of the pipe joints properly because I could distinctly smell exhaust fumes below. And the one place in the Caribbean I'd rather not spend too much time is off the coast of Colombia. I don't believe I'm overly paranoid, just prudent. Weird things happen here. People go missing. Speedboats brandish weapons. Fine yachts pass by with their sails poorly trimmed and extremely bad, hand-brushed enamel paint jobs. It makes you wonder, and I'd prefer to wonder from afar.
But that's life—filled with irony and surprise. I'd told Carolyn we'd avoid that crime-ridden coast. I'd promised myself we'd stay a minimum of 50 miles off. So there we were, bobbing around on a moonless, windless night with neither steerage nor engine just 28 miles from a very dangerous place.
At precisely 2000, at exactly 11 degrees 20 minutes north and 76 degrees 30 minutes west, a large, rusty freighter steamed
closer. Damn. They must know we're here. I tensed, hearing outboards cranking up. At midnight, they lit a bright strobe on the aft deck. Within 15 minutes, the low-throated roar of a large lumbering aircraft could be heard. It was going slow, very slow. No lights. It passed directly over the freighter. Outboards revved, then silence. Twenty-five minutes later, the same thing: airplane, outboards, silence. Twenty-five minutes later, same thing again, only this time the freighter shut off the strobe, doused all its deck lights and steamed away rapidly within five minutes of the final pass. Carolyn and I heaved a tense sigh of relief.
"Fatty," she said, "this is not a fun place to loiter."
"OK," I agreed. "Tomorrow, if it's calm, we'll repair the exhaust system at sea."
I didn't want to do this for several reasons: It would take a long time. The boat would be an utter mess during the repair. I hate lifting the floorboards at sea so that we or things can fall into the bilge/engine room. I'm basically a lazy guy who equates sailing with leisure; wrestling with large, heavy pipes in a seaway isn't my idea of a good time. And the entire galvy pipe system would have to be disassembled from aft to forward so that all the joints could
Don't Get Lax in the Locks
It took 52 million gallons of water, $600, and two days to spit Wild Card into the Pacific Ocean. The passage was quick, and we could have transited within three days of our arrival in Colon. It was easy. Everything you need—fenders, approved transit lines, and, if need be, professional line handlers—is available at the Panama Canal Yacht Club (PCYC) for a price.
On top of the $600 it cost us to transit, we had to make an additional $800 deposit. (Use VISA, as they merely put a short hold on your money). We also rented four lines at $60 and bought 15 plastic-wrapped tire/fenders for $45. The same people who sell the tires for $3 each charge $1 each to "dispose" of them by selling them to the next guy. We paid our taxi/agent $30 and the Panama government about $120 in various fees. Thus, we spent around $875. Most vessels spend around $1,000, slightly more if they hire professional line handlers from the PCYC.
We flew in Momo the Astrophysicist (boy, is his head in the clouds) as our primary line handler, and we kidnapped Bud and Judy Kennedy off the Out Island 41 Gonzo!! for the two-day party through the Canal. Carolyn baked a cake for the occasion. Most crews "do reciprocals," being line handlers for those who crewed for them. Since Bud and Judy had, in part, cruised to Panama in hopes of"getting a free ride" on the Canal, not to transit it, this was a win-win. Six people—a captain, an advisor, and four line handlers—are required to transit, even on the smallest boats.
Besides the normal stuff you know you'll need, you must provide shade for your pilot, plus toilet and cooking facilities. We were asked if we had a holding tank; we said yes, and we used it during the transit. However, no one checked the tank, if it worked, or if it was in use. Make sure your cleats are strong and your lines can be led to winches. There will be extraordinary, nearly vertical loads on them. Your line handlers don't have to be body builders, but they should be physically fit and focused every second you're in the locks.
Both pilots we had were OK; we even got the notoriously solemn Jimmy Wong to loosen up and laugh at some fat jokes. Edgar, our favorite, truly cared about our sel in question damaged its port side within minutes of the lock doors closing.
For Wild Card, transiting the Panama Canal, some 40 miles of it, was easy and fascinating. The locks are engineering marvels, and the large lake in the middle, Lake Gatun, is spooky with its sunken trees, strange birds, and slotted hill range. Recently, we've heard negative reports of the transit, including 10- to 19-day waits to pass through and the charging of expensive fees for delays, launch use (to ferry advisors back and forth), and mooring in Lake Gatun, but our transit in 2005 was a
If you play your cards right, the Panama Canal transit can be just as pleasant as the cruise down to it.
vessel, its crew, and our transit. He was extremely safety oriented and explained things simply and thoroughly long before they happened.
We were supposed to lock through with a large, slab-sided steel vessel whose wild-acting, hard-drinking crew gave me bad vibes. I mentioned this to Edgar, concerned that my rig might hit the vessel's 18-foot-high sides. He immediately concurred, and he had us raft up for the transit with a lovely little Lyle Hess-designed sloop named Whisper. The large steel ves delight. Every skipper planning to transit the Canal should do his or her own homework well beforehand, and two good places to start are Noonsite (www.noon site.com), Jimmy Cornell's "Global Site for Cruising Sailors," and the website of the Panama Canal Authority (Autoridad del Canal de Panama, or ACP; www.pancanal. com). Perhaps your trip from ocean to ocean will prove to be pure fun, too, if you plan ahead, use common sense, and don't get lax in the locks.
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