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.

Nemo gateway – easy NMEA networking for your boat

By Steve Mitchell | March 14, 2018 | 19 Comments

Connecting marine electronics together is an important goal for modern boaters. The Nemo gateway from Rose Point is an easy way to connect everything together, while also easily providing high quality, frequent data to a number of sources.

Lighthouse 3.3 – radar and AIS plus more

By Steve Mitchell | February 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

Raymarine continue to come out with updates to Lighthouse v3 that include new features and bring forward items from v2. Version 3.3 was released a few weeks ago, and includes support for older eS and gS series MFDs, Navionics Plotter Sync, and new features around radar and sonar.

Portable lithium jump starter for the sailboat

By Steve Mitchell | February 21, 2018 | 6 Comments

I made a decision to have a single battery bank for both my house and starting needs on Grace. I use a NOCO Genius Boost jump starter to ensure I won’t end up dead in the water. It gives me around 20 chances to start even if my entire battery bank is dead.

Completed navigation panel

By Steve Mitchell | February 17, 2018 | 15 Comments

A few weeks ago I posted about redesigning the nav and electrical panel, and after a lot of planning and discussion, I made my final choices, placed orders, and submitted my front panel to be made. A week later everything arrived, and it was time for an epic weekend project to remove the old one, and put the new one back in.

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 | 8 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.