Electronics+Navigations

SOS in the Digital Age

by Adam Cort, Posted June 11, 2012
Like GPS, the emergency position-indicating radio beacons, or EPIRBs, that first came to market in the 1980s seemed nothing less than a miracle. But that didn’t stop manufacturers from continuing to refine them in an effort to make them that much more effective. 
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. 

McMurdo Fast Find

by David Schmidt, Posted August 5, 2009
McMurdo has introduced two new Fast Find emergency personal-locator beacons that broadcast on both 121.5 and 406 MHz. Once activated, the units broadcast for 24 hours. Both come loaded with an SOS LED light that flashes the Morse code SOS pattern. According to McMurdo, most emergency signals that are broadcast on the 406 MHz signal are “heard” within 3 to 45 minutes; it then takes 3 additional

Navigate in Style

by Sail Staff, Posted December 9, 2005
There’s more to navigating than gaping slack-jawed at a plotter screen. Keeping up the old skills just might save your bacon one day, and even if that day never comes, it’s fun to keep up a plot on a paper chart. This top-notch set of navigation instruments—parallel rules, dividers, compass—from Weems & Plath comes in a wooden case that’s ready for gift-wrapping. $99. Weems & Plath, 800-638-0428,

Connected Color

by Sail Staff, Posted October 18, 2007
Raymarine’s innovative ST70s instrument displays use bright 3.5-inch high-resolution color screens to display traditional instrument information (really well), plus engine, weather, and other data that’s available on the multi-manufacturer NMEA 2000 data standard. They also mark the introduction of SeaTalkNG (new generation), which is both a rugged-yet-slim plug-and-play cabling system and an

Safety in a Small Package

by Adam Cort, Posted November 15, 2011
The ResQLink 406 MHz personal locator beacon (PLB) is less than 4in long and weighs a mere 4.6 oz.

Make Your Wi-Fi Float

by Ralph Naranjo, Posted June 12, 2012
When it comes to Wi-Fi’s role in shuttling navigation and performance data around a boat, there are two schools of thought. One approach lashes a wireless router to a proven digital charting system; the other links Wi-Fi capability to an iPad or some other tablet packed with navigation apps.
The free app is available from iTunes and includes high-quality world charts, route management, wind GRIB downloads and ActiveCaptain integration. Routes, tracks and waypoints can be wirelessly transferred between your iPhone, iPad and Wi-Fi-enabled chartplotter.
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