Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 21, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Furuno’s new multi-touch MUxxxT monitors are intended to play nicely with NavNet TZtouch MFDs. Using its DVI output, the TZT9 or TZT14 can send a screen mirror to the wopping 24-inch widescreen MU240T above — at 800×480 and 1280×800 pixels, respectively — and USB takes the touch commands back to the TZT (using a standard Windows driver). Meanwhile, the TZT Black Box has enough DVI and USB ports to drive two of these glass-bridge-style monitors (and two keypads, like the one KEP recently introduced or the one Furuno is purportedly working on)…
The Furuno MUxxxT monitors support multiple video inputs and have both Picture in Picture (PIP) and Picture by Picture (PBP) so that you can, say, navigate “while also keeping track of the news or your favorite sports team, when connected to an on-board TV/DVD player.” They’re also optically bonded and have a “typical” viewing angle of about 89° in all directions (which seems amazing) and they can be powered by both AC and DC with uninterrupted fail over to the latter.
It doesn’t take much sleuthing to learn that Furuno’s monitors are at least based on Hattleland Series X displays like the ones above on display at the NMEA Conference, and that’s not a bad thing. The two companies have a long term relationship (as does Raymarine and Hatteland, though I’m not sure we’ve seen results yet), and Hatteland quietly manufactures a lot of high-end marine monitors.
Interestingly, Hatteland also offers X Series panel computers, which are essentially the same displays with a PC fitted to the back. I can’t help but notice that one of these X Series computers is shown as the PC of choice for Furuno Deutchland’s MaxSea PC Radar package, which has expanded to include open-array DRS radars since Kees covered this no-MFD-required concept last winter. I haven’t asked Furuno USA about PC Radar since then, but they seemed confident then that it’s not doing very well in Europe and wouldn’t garner much interest here in the States.
Besides, Furuno and even its software sibling, Nobeltec, have been focused on the commercial market recently and one very interesting result is TimeZero Coastal Monitoring. It’s essentially a small VTS system that’s unusually easy and economical to install, because it’s based on Furuno hardware and Nobeltec software that’s relatively mass produced (check this PDF for detail on what a more official VTS involves). There’s some neat extra sauce, though, like the ability to play back four VHF audio streams along with vessel tracks, radar and FLIR video recordings. The software also has impressive facilities for setting up custom monitoring zones and sophisticated alerting, which are well illustrated toward the end of the demo video.
I know that some boaters dislike the idea of more surveillance, but I prefer to look at the bright side, like the opportunity for more coastal authorities to be able to help me better if I get in trouble and the chance that some of the new aspects of this system will trickle down to regular boating.
Finally got a chance to see this over the weekend, so now I can throw in my two cents. Problem is if you’re a sailor, you spend the whole film scratching your head, wondering what the hell is going on. Just how much did this annoy me? O, let me count the ways:
Mystery 1: Who is this guy? Where is he coming from? Where is he going to? Why is he in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Why should we care about him?
Mystery 2: The sea is absolutely flat calm, not a breath of wind, our Mystery Man is sleeping below (up forward, if you can believe it), without his engine running, and is struck amidships by a floating container… hard enough that it knocks a huge hole in the boat right where his nav station is. How could this possibly have happened? Was the container self-propelled?
Mystery 3: Mystery Man must somehow push the evil container away from his boat. He tries with a boathook. No go. Aha! The sea anchor! He attaches this to the container (remember again, we are in absolutely flat calm conditions), and it instantly pulls the container away from the boat. How does that work? Where can I get a sea anchor like that?
Mystery 4: Repairing the hole! Mystery Man does this with some fiberglass cloth, a few sticks, and some West System epoxy (nice product placement there!), while sailing with the boat well heeled over in a flat calm in almost no wind. How is that possible?
Mystery 5: Finally it dawns on us–the container hit in the nav station must be an important plot device. Mystery Man’s electronics have been completely saturated. He opens up his portable satellite phone and his VHF radio, rinses them in fresh water, and leaves them to dry. Once they’re dry, he focusses exclusively on trying to get the VHF (range maybe 30 miles max) to work and ignores the much more useful sat phone (range global) completely. Say what?
Mystery 6: That weird thing hanging on the back of his boat, what the heck is that? A Hollywood version of a windvane? Are those lines we see wrapped around the axle of the steering wheel supposed to be control lines? The bottom of the device, when we see it underwater, presents simply as a big rail that is bolted to underside of the hull. Say what? What did they spend on this film? Couldn’t they afford to buy a real windvane?
You can see the Mystery Object That is Presumably a Windvane, which is bolted vertically to the boat’s transom, off on the right side in this photo
Mystery 7: What’s wrong with the jib??? It never looks like it is even fully hoisted. And whenever it is deployed, it is always luffing and is never trimmed.
Mystery 8: Mystery Man hears a VHF transmission on his radio, but can’t transmit. He climbs the mast to check the antenna, which turns out to be badly broken and disconnected. How could the radio possibly receive a transmission with the antenna like that? How was the antenna broken? Did the self-propelled container somehow fly up there and whack it before shooting back down into the hull amidships?
Mystery 9: While up the mast, Mystery Man sees an enormous storm just a few miles away. It has turned half the sky all black. Why didn’t he notice this while on deck?
Mystery 10: During the two storms he sails through during the film, we notice that Mystery Man has a habit of always closing the companionway completely when he is below, but always leaves it wide open when he is on deck. When his boat is rolled and completely capsized with the companionway wide open, how is it that very little water gets below?
During his first storm, Mystery Man goes forward to bend on the storm jib (before the storm, after he finally noticed it, he spent his time shaving instead of doing this). While on the foredeck he is swept overboard. Fortunately, he is clipped on–to the top lifeline, as you can see here. Amazingly, the lifeline and stanchion post do not break away under the load, and Mystery Man is strong enough to instantly hoist himself back aboard!
Here we see Mystery Man surviving his second capsize. He has no problem staying with the boat, even though he is not tethered to it. Note also the wide open companionway, which evidently did not result in any catastrophic downflooding
Mystery 11: The boat of Mystery Man loses its rig the second time it is rolled, and the broken mast ends up in the water on the boat’s port side. This somehow creates a new hole in the boat, up forward on the starboard side. Where’d that hole come from? If the plot demands there be a hole, why not just use the first one? The repair on that one was so patently flimsy it looks like you could easily poke a finger through it. How could it possibly have survived two violent capsizes?
Mystery 12: The new hole is sinking Mystery Man’s boat, so he takes to his liferaft. He leaves the raft tethered to the boat and falls asleep. Shouldn’t he be worried that the boat will drag the raft down with it?
Mystery 13: After his nap, Mystery Man has plenty of time to reboard his boat and gather supplies. How long was that nap? Why does the boat take so long to sink? Did the ballast keel fall off or something?
Mystery 14: Just how does Mystery Man stay so dry all the time?
Mystery 15: Mystery Man, since losing his electronics, has been brushing up on his celestial navigation. Once adrift in his raft he displays uncanny ability. He takes a sun sight, looks in a book, stares at his (perfectly dry) chart for a few seconds, and makes a mark at his location–no timepiece, no parallel rules, no dividers, no math, no worksheet required. Where can I learn to do this?
Mystery 16: Why does Mystery Man have no EPIRB?
Mystery 17: Why is Mystery Man’s liferaft moving so quickly? Judging from those marks he makes on his chart, he’s covering about 100 miles a day.
ANYWAY… I think you get the point. I could go on and on like this. Pretty much everything that happens to Mystery Man, and everything he does, is inexplicable to anyone who knows anything about ocean sailing.
I asked my wife, who doesn’t know much about sailing, if any of this bothered her, and she said she did wonder about Mystery Man’s ability to stay dry and the rapidly drifting liferaft. Otherwise she thought Robert Redford gave a great performance as the Mystery Man.
Frankly, I didn’t see that. All I saw was a man who looked confused, aggravated, and worried for over an hour and a half. I had exactly the same expression on my face the entire time.
The Biggest Mystery, of course, is why didn’t the filmmakers hire someone to advise them on what ocean sailing is really like? Reading through this very detailed precis on the film, I find only references to liferaft and marine electronics consultants. I know you can’t expect Hollywood’s version of reality to be much like real reality, but they could have done much better than this.
If you haven’t seen the film, I say give it a pass. Watch this trailer instead:
It’s not just cute cruising families and well-intentioned retirees out there, folks. Charlie has written a few fascinating posts on crime at sea. Here’s my contribution. I wrote a few days ago about our experience clearing customs in Bermuda and the story we were told about a cruiser who was discovered with an undeclared gun and $48 million dollars worth of cocaine on his boat. Sailfeed reader Steve Burrows then pointed me to some newspaper articles on the trial. They make for fascinating reading.
The circumstances were these. In July of 2011 Latvian single-hander Janis Zegelis limped into Bermuda on his 38′ sloop after encountering heavy weather and breaking his mast. His stated intentions were to make quick repairs and be on his way home to Latvia. He easily cleared customs. Eleven days later he was still in St George’s Harbor making repairs when customs boarded and searched his boat, finding 166 kilograms of cocaine and gun.Photo Credit: The Royal Gazette
This is when stories diverge. The tale we were told by an officer at Bermuda Radio was that this search was prompted by an outside tip from another nation’s law enforcement. He said that the drugs and gun were barely concealed and that when they were discovered Zegelis calmly declared that there should be no problem because he was a yacht in transport and had no intentions to import this stuff into Bermuda!
Zegelis tells the story differently. In his disposition in front of a Bermudian jury Zegelis claims that we was sailing the yacht on a delivery contract for a Russian man (whom he refused to name). He claims to have had no knowledge of the contraband until a mid-passage discovery while searching for some spare parts. If he is to be believed, he immediately called the yacht’s owner to declare that he would have no part in the plot but was cowed into cooperation when the man threatened to kill his children. Soon after, Zegelis says he encountered the storm and was forced to make landfall in Bermuda where he kept his trap shut out of fear that the Russian mobster would harm his family if he turned the drugs in.
His story sounds quite believable, and makes the result of his trial all the more chilling for anyone who makes their living helping to sail stranger’s boats – Zegelis was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.
There is yet another version of events, however, one which paints Zegelis in a very different light. In
this version he is a complicit, if rather desperate criminal. It seems the prosecution was able to dig up a series of emails between Zegelis and his mother which make for quite the damning indictment. Though it’s hard not to feel a little empathy for Zegelis, these emails are also pretty hilarious in their clumsy attempts at subterfuge. After it becomes clear that he will need to stopover in Bermuda Zegelis and his mother repeatedly email each other about whether or not to jettison “the sausages” and the “iron toy” from the boat. A couple highlights:
Zegelis: “So I go in with the sausages and the iron toy, OK?”
Mom: “Son dear, take the sausages.”
Zegelis: “Plan to go in with the sausages and if someone says anything will pretend a victim”
Just to be clear, prosecutor Cindy Clarke did ask the customs officers who searched the ship whether they found a load of sausages along with the cocaine. The vessel was bratwurst-free.
Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 19, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
At METS this morning, Simrad announced an evo2 update to the NSS Series and quite an update it is. The new multi-touch wide screen models will come in 7-, 9-, 12- and 16-inch sizes, and since they are close family in every way to the recently discussed NSO evo2, a boater will be able to mix and match bright, glass-bridge-style displays from 7 to 24-inches. And while NSS evo2 can network with Simrad’s radars, sonars, SonicHub audio, WiFi 1 etc., all four sizes come with “embedded CHIRP enabled Broadband sounder and StructureScan” (which can probably network out to the whole family)…
All six new NSS evo2 models are now online and you’ll see that the two extras are 7- and 9-inch “m” versions without the built-in sonar. Other new features across the line are embedded 10Hz GPS/GLONASS receivers, a “best in class” faster processor and HDMI video output. And, yes, the NSS will now do 4G dual range radar like the NSE can. In fact, it seems like the larger NSS models replace NSE, though I gather that the NSE line won’t be discontinued largely because it’s popular on the commercial scene.
NSS (and NSO) evo2 also include a redesigned interface that looks intriguing, I think. Note, for instance, how nicely autopilot and SonicHub are presented on (and probably accessible from) the data sidebar in the top photo. Plus, there’s the Home screen above that seems to offer quick, easy access to data/settings, main functions, and favorite combo screens. I don’t yet know what multi-touch gestures are supported, but hopefully, Kees Verruijt will get fingers on an evo2 when he visits the show on Thursday.
I also like the look of this evo2 go-to screen (even if that’s clearly demo data), but hat’s off to Garmin for coming up with the big corner number design (I think) and to Humminbird for the clever 3D horizon compass. I mean no criticism as I think borrowing good ideas is often a good idea. (Incidentally, I also think that the new Humminbird ION saltwater MFD system — which I got on the water in Lauderdale and will detail soon — includes a number of multi-touch and other features that will turn heads.)
Also, introduced today was B&G’s version of the new NSS hardware, Zeus 2 or Zeus (squared). Of course, it includes sailing features like SailTime and SailSteer, but perhaps even more interesting is how those useful data graphics are moving up into B&G’s new H5000 instrument and autopilot system. H5000 seems to be a massive redesign that integrates lots of new and existing B&G gear with Zeus and NMEA 2000, but I’ll leave it at that as Kees has taken a serious interest.
At METS Simrad is also highlighting two advanced GoFree developers, TripCon (PC Log) and Pocket Mariner (SeaNav 2.0). Fortunately, I’ve been testing both — wind, depth, AIS, and more on my Pebble watch (holy cow!) – and will report. Oh, and Navico announced that it is acquiring Consilium’s professional radar business including products, R&D facility, engineering team – the works.
All this news, plus Garmin’s huge product launch and much more METS not covered yet, confirms my feeling that marine electronics is growing faster and better than ever. And is even more fun, which is my excuse for closing with the NSS8 screen photograph I took last spring in the ICW. Helping me find my way is 4G radar, which is going to work even better with evo2, and that’s StructureScan letting me know that I’m over smooth bottom, but, wow, those white images I scrolled back to are dolphin that played in Gizmo’s bow wave.Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.
“Hello. This is Boat French. Would you like to go with us to Le parc provincial de la Rivière Bleue for a picnic on Sunday?
“Bon. See you at 0900 on Sunday.”
“Hello. This is Boat Swiss-German. Would you like to go with us to Le parc provincial de la Rivière Bleue for a picnic on Sunday?
“We’d love to, but Boat French just asked us. How about Tuesday?”
“Toll. See you at 0900 on Tuesday.”
Sunday: French picnic
0530 Get up. Roast a chicken.
0700 Pack a picnic bag with heaps of cheese, baguette, olives, chicken, cookies, drinks, apples, etc.
0930 Meet friends (late).
0945 Drive to Rivière Bleue, an enormous provincial park.
1100 Arrive at Rivière Bleue. Stop at friends’ favorite picnic area beside river.
1100 – 1600 Eat continuously while children play in the river.
1601 Depart Rivière Bleue.
1730 Arrive in Noumea.
1745 Arrive at Papillon.
1750 Friends on American boat not seen since New Zealand anchor next door.
1755 Friends arrive on Papillon.
1800-0000 Eat, drink and tell loud stories. Move children to the V-berth and away from the noise as necessary.
Take-home message: French picnics are about picnicking. You go, you sit, you talk, you eat.
Bonus message: Even passage-tired Americans will say yes to a beer with friends.
Tuesday: Swiss-German picnic
0530 Get up. Roast a chicken.
0700 Pack a picnic bag with heaps of cheese, baguette, olives, chicken, cookies, drinks, apples, etc.
1000 Meet friends (late).
1005 Drive to Rivière Bleue.
1130 Arrive at Rivière Bleue. Discover it is closed because it rained a little this morning.
1131 Drive to nearby waterfall: la Chute de la Madeleine.
1210 Arrive at waterfall. Discover that neither picnicing nor swimming are permitted.
1210-1215 Eat a snack in the parking lot.
1215-1345 Look at the waterfall, then hike along the trails.
1345 Drive to nearby village of Prony, under the pretense of finally eating lunch.
1400-1430 Discover your sneaky husband just wanted to read the 800,000 plaques in this historical village… where there is no picnic area. Watch kids throw rocks into the water while you wait.
1431 Walk back to the car while ignoring distant cries of: “Wait, there’s just one more plaque, wait for me!”
1432 Insist that it is now time to eat. Eat or die, your choice.
1445 Arrive at nearby beach. Unpack food.
1450 Watch Germanic males make a fire. “Hey, look!” shouts Erik. “A piece of roofing tin! We can cook sausages!”
1500-1730 Eat and swim, swim and eat. Admire canal/harbour system built by kids.
1800 Pack up and head home.
1930-2030 Drop friends off. Say goodbye for an hour.
2050 Arrive at Papillon.
2051 Shovel kids into bed.
2052 Hear distant shout: “Erik! Amy! Heeeeyyyy! Guys!” Discover American friends are having a party. Agree Erik should represent.
2053 “I’m so tired,” says Erik. Pause. “Can I have three cold beers?”
2055 Listen to torrential rain that lasts only for the 90 seconds while Erik is going next door.
2056 – 2300 Listen to distant sounds of hilarity on neighboring boat while writing this post.
Take-home message: Germans will delay lunch forever if there is walking involved. (How did I forget that?) Carry a snack.
Bonus message: Even picnic-tired Erik will say yes to a beer with friends.
Jamie and I co-author the cruising column for 48° North, a Pacific Northwest regional boating magazine. Our article for November is based on lessons learned while Jamie worked to help our friends on sv Tahina recover from a lightning strike.
Flash, Crack! And Ozone
Tioman Island in Malaysia, with its mountainous interior and great snorkeling was the perfect destination after months in muddy Borneo. At Tioman we reconnected with Tahina, a St. Francis 50 catamaran, and owners Frank and Karen. After a few days of startling reef fish with Tahina’s remote operated vehicle (ROV) submarine, she sailed from Tioman for Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Then an email from Frank arrived, describing a flash of lightning followed instantly by an earsplitting crack of thunder and the strong smell of ozone. Shocked by the shock, but they couldn’t pause because their anchor windlass spontaneously came to life and began pulling the anchor up!
The strike was probably indirect, inflicting no structural damage, although the missing masthead VHF antenna was an interesting feature. Electrical and electronic devices suffered badly with windlass reversing solenoid and remote, inverter / charger, most LED lights, and all navigation and sailing electronics (from autopilot to VHF) destined for trash bin. Tahina’s plan to cross the Indian Ocean in a few months was suddenly tenuous, so Frank asked me for help getting the boat passage ready again.
After a month of work, without a chandlery for hundreds of miles, Tahina is again ready to cruise. From this, and past, experience I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help make it easier and safer to manage the mess of wires that end up on most boats. That said, electricity is lethal so understanding electrical hazards and practicing all precautions with 12 volt and AC systems are a must. Always disconnect shore power before doing any electrical work.
Wire organization- If you’re going to have scores of wires aboard, it’s good practice to keep them organized and secure. Often this isn’t done well, but a tangle of wires will macramé together to form a mess that looks darn secure. Problems arise when fishing out a wire from the tangle resembles removing duct tape from someone’s hair. It’s going to hurt and probably require cutting.
Over-bundling- The reverse also happens. Some boats have wires bundled together nicely. Then zip ties are applied every few inches, followed by nylon wire wrap (the stuff that spirals around wires to keep them together) and then finished off with more zip ties. This armor-clad approach does secure wires, but too much so. Anyone tasked with adding or removing one wire from the bundle may well find it easier to sell the boat as is.
Strain relief – All wires must be secure to prevent any pulling force against its terminal connectors (a mechanism for connecting wire at its ends). Wire connections at the top of the mast and wire bundles with small and large diameter wires especially, since the wire weight alone will break any terminal connection.
Chafe prevention –Wires passing through a pulpit, mast, or bulkhead can chafe through their protective insulation quickly. A rubber grommet, length of plastic tubing, or silicone sealant will protect the wire.
Conduit – A conduit such as thin walled PVC pipe is a great way to protect and neaten wires as they snake to and from different areas of the boat. A lack of conduit access holes makes it difficult to run new wires and causes longer than necessary wire runs. Access holes can be cut if the conduit isn’t too full. Using a hacksaw blade, saw with short movements and only deep enough to break through the pipe wall.
Zip-ties – Whether cinched tightly around a wire bundle or used to anchor wires to a fixed point, zip ties are cheap and effective. Sometimes the clipped end can be sharp enough to slice skin, so carefully cut the excess end off flush with a utility knife. Zip ties are nylon and rot after a year two in the sun, so avoid using them for above deck applications such as masthead wire strain relief.
Wire wrap – These don’t really secure wires and are slow to add or remove, but they do protect and bundle wires nicely. They’re best for small bundles that aren’t likely to require changes, such as an engine wiring harness.
Electrical tape – Don’t use electrical tape to wrap wires together because it will leave a sticky mess if removed. Also, shrink tube is a better choice than tape for sealing the wire to terminal connection. Electrical tape is adequate for labeling wires or any number of temporary uses.
Corrosion – Another form of connection problem is corrosion. Quality wire and connectors sealed with heat shrink go a long way to reducing corrosion, but it’s hard to eliminate altogether. I recently discovered that an inline fuse and holder, below decks and dry, developed a little surface corrosion. Even though it appeared minor it was enough to cause electrical resistance and heat sufficient to melt the fuse holder until the fuse blew. Wet areas such as anchor locker, bilge, and above deck locations require inspection and maintenance to ensure wire connections don’t become a problem.
Fuses – As a practical rule, I find the spade type fuses easiest to read the amp rating and to see if it is good or blown. Fuses, unlike circuit breakers lined up on a distribution panel, are wired inline somewhere along the length of the positive wire. Therefore, they can be hard to find. On Tahina, I found an inline fuse installed by the boat builder in the middle of huge wire bundle, all inside of a conduit. It’s a good idea to document all inline fuse locations at the dock instead of when you have a problem on a rough day.
Circuit breakers – A circuit breaker rated for 15 amps on a circuit requiring a maximum of three amps isn’t really providing enough protection. It would take up to five times the circuits required amps to trip the breaker, enough to cause much heat and potentially fire. Match a circuit breakers rating to just above maximum required amps for the devices on that circuit. Alternatively, each device can have an inline fuse with appropriate amperage rating.
Fuse block – A good way to free up circuit breakers and reduce wires to the distribution panel is to use a fuse block. Every device needs circuit protection, but it doesn’t have to be a circuit breaker as long as the device has its own on /off switch. A fuse block enables one circuit breaker to provide power to multiple devices, with each device being protected on its owned fused circuit. For example, a chartplotter, radar, VHF, and sailing instruments are often wired to four different circuit breakers. Instead, connect them to a fuse block and then to one circuit breaker.
Bus bar – The negative bus bar is often overcrowded with wires. Instead, install small negative bus bars in several places around the boat. Negative wires in the area can attach to a small bus bar, which is then connected to the main bus bar with one heavy gauge wire. This greatly cuts down the amount of negative wires running throughout the boat.
A planned wiring upgrade or even simply installing a new device can be challenging enough. With basic knowledge and electrical precautions, it’s not hard to incrementally improve any onboard electrical system to be reliable and easily maintained. An unplanned rewiring halfway around the world with no chandleries for hundreds of miles was an interesting experience. As Totem makes her way up lightning alley, towards Thailand, we really hope to avoid the smell of ozone.
Puget Sound residents can pick up 48° North in boaty outlets, but anyone can read the full issue free online.