Electronics+Navigations

A New Onboard Headset Option

by Ben Ellison, Posted December 16, 2014
SAIL electronics editor, Ben Ellison, says Bluetooth-equipped My Team Talks headsets are an outstanding piece of gear for those who want to make sure all hands know what's going on when, say, anchoring in a stiff breeze.
While your smartphone or tablet will never take the place of your other onboard electronics, it never hurts to have a backup. Loading up with a bunch of apps to help you get from point A to point B can also be a lot of fun, whether you’re underway or planning your next cruise from the comfort of your office or living room. Here are a few we’d recommend.

In Search of Budget LED Nav Lights

by Ben Ellison, Posted July 19, 2014
As much as I value LED lighting, I was hesitant to change Gizmo’s navigation light fixtures. Why spend the (significant) money and refit time to save power when a big alternator is always running at the same time as the running lights anyway? 
While Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) have been appearing on more commercial and recreational vessels, many sailors still find it to be cost-prohibitive. As an alternative, I recently used a combination of smartphone apps and AIS websites...
A day on the water revolves around wind, and there’s nothing more appealing than knowing where the next breeze will come from. Many weather apps provide current conditions, but PredictWind offers accurate and reliable wind forecasts.
AspectSolar’s EnergyBar 250 portable battery pack fits in a backpack and features a slim 20AH cell that can power anything from a USB device to a television. The device can fully recharge a laptop up to five times, or a mobile device up to 30 times on a single charge. 
Sailboats can be remarkably noisy when it comes time to dock or anchor. The wind, the rumble of the auxiliary, the chatter of the windlass: all these things and more can make it surprisingly hard to hear what the person at the other end of even a smaller boat is saying. 

Navigation Gear

by Sail Staff, Posted June 15, 2009
Despite challenging economic conditions, the range and quality of new electronic product introductions has exceeded expectations. That’s good news for sailors, because there are lots of exciting choices out there for those who want to outfit a new boat or upgrade existing equipment.Lowrance have upped the ante in the battle for supremacy in multifunction navigation

VHF Venture

by Sail Staff, Posted November 4, 2005
Navigation specialist Northstar has entered the radio market with this full-function, DSC-compliant VHF. The NS100 is a black-box unit with a remote speaker and handset. There are single ($599) or dual-station ($929) models, each with a full repertoire of U.S. and Canadian channels and an alphanumeric handset with a large display screen. Northstar; 800-628 4487;

Anti-Anxiety Machine

by Sail Staff, Posted October 18, 2007
Do you worry about your boat when you’re not aboard? Boatsense Solutions’s KISS-principle monitoring system is an easily programmable GSM cellular modem that’s potted in epoxy. Drawing only 130 milliamps, it stands perpetual watch, ready to send text messages wherever GPRS data service is available (which is along much of the world’s coastlines). It automatically monitors battery levels, plus has
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