The goal of SailBits is to tell a story about how technology and sailing work together, to share ideas about projects, and help others learn from the experience.

Fridge Optimizer now supports SignalK

By Steve Mitchell | January 27, 2018 | 2 Comments

The Stainless Lobster Fridge Optimizer still remains one of my favorite additions, mainly because of the massive power savings and visibility. Recently, the folks at Stainless Lobster released new firmware that supports output of stats via the USB port and is compatible with SignalK.

Redesigning the nav and electrical panel

By Steve Mitchell | January 21, 2018 | 18 Comments

My navigation and electrical panel has been in need of an update for a while. In addition, I have never liked the electrical circuit layout, and am out of DC circuits. I have a general design of what I would like, but still have not settled on a final solution for the electrical panel.

Raymarine ITC-5 simplifies older ST instruments

By Steve Mitchell | January 16, 2018 | 5 Comments

I am always on the look out for ways to make my instruments more reliable on Grace. One of the last instruments left that I hadn’t addressed was the Raymarine ST60 wind display. I came across the Raymarine ITC-5. It seemed perfect to help increase the quality of my network while replacing some old pieces.

Easy security cameras for the sailboat via Arlo

By Steve Mitchell | December 28, 2017 | 10 Comments

Keeping your boat secure is always a challenge. Video security is hard to do because of bandwidth and cost. Arlo cameras have solved this for my sailboat, providing high quality video day or night, low bandwidth use, and easy to install and stow while underway.

AMEC WideLink SOTDMA AIS Transponder

By Steve Mitchell | December 13, 2017 | 2 Comments

Seattle and Elliott Bay is a busy marine location, and I am always looking for a better AIS system so that others can see me clearly. AMEC has released the B600 AIS Class B transponder with more than double the transmit power, and fast 5 second updates.

NavPod to PowerPod – saving the helm station

By Steve Mitchell | November 25, 2017 | 3 Comments

My helm station has always been an area of continued improvement. When I first bought Grace in 2015, she had no chart plotter or other instruments – only older Raymarine ST series depth and wind instruments.

Lighthouse 3.2 – Navionics auto routing and Fusion audio support

By Steve Mitchell | November 16, 2017 | 3 Comments

Raymarine continues to release updates to Lighthouse 3 on a fairly aggressive schedule. The latest is version 3.2 which includes support for three things I was very interested in – Navionics dock-to-dock autorouting, Fusion audio support, and upgrading other Raymarine devices.

T-Mobile international change will affect boaters

By Steve Mitchell | October 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

T-Mobile changed the unlimited benefit while roaming – the monthly data allowance has shrunk, and the speeds have dropped from LTE to 3G once you hit that limit. Boaters will be affected who use T-Mobile, as I do, out on the water.

Replacing the head – the crew’s favorite upgrade

By Steve Mitchell | October 12, 2017 | 8 Comments

One of the most hated bits of the boat is the head. Every boat I have owned has had a unique set of steps required to make sure things “work out” for everyone involved. I replaced the head with a Raritan SeaEra electric model. The crew absolutely loves it, and considers it the best upgrade.

Raymarine Lighthouse 3.1 – autopilot goodness

By Steve Mitchell | September 13, 2017 | 7 Comments

Raymarine released LightHouse 3.1 with a number of new improvements and fixes. I installed it a few days after it was released, and tested it out. I found a number of really nice things that were added, specifically around the auto pilot integration, and some work left to do.