Marine Electronics, Sailing and Technology
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.