Staying in Reach: DeLorme SE Satellite Messenger - Sail Magazine

Staying in Reach: DeLorme SE Satellite Messenger

“Two way” doesn’t just refer to the fact that a DeLorme inReach handheld satellite messenger/tracker lets you text back and forth with people pretty much like a cellphone. I also tested the system shoreside by loaning a sample inReachSE model to friends Doug and Dale Bruce when they went on a cruise to some remote islands south of New Zealand.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Testing DeLorme’s SE satellite messenger, along with the new Explorer model and OCENS SpotCast Weather

 The inReach Explorer, photo courtesy of DeLorme

The inReach Explorer, photo courtesy of DeLorme

“Two way” doesn’t just refer to the fact that a DeLorme inReach handheld satellite messenger/tracker lets you text back and forth with people pretty much like a cellphone. I also tested the system shoreside by loaning a sample inReachSE model to friends Doug and Dale Bruce when they went on a cruise to some remote islands south of New Zealand. Yes, Doug had a little trouble with SE’s little cursor keyboard, but heck, he was in rough seas on the other side of the planet! I was pleased with how well I could follow the Bruces’ trip on the DeLorme MapShare site associated with the device. It took a while for Doug to find a place near his stateroom window where the inReach could see both the GPS and Iridium satellites it uses, but from then on fixes with speed and altitude were posted almost every 10 minutes. As a result, I was already researching the amazing geology and wildlife populations of Macquarie Island as their ship approached the place, and I “watched” as my friends went ashore at the science station and spent a night reaching back and forth in the island’s lee. It wasn’t like actually seeing and hearing half a million penguins on a cobble beach, but it definitely brought some excitement to a cold Maine winter.

I’ve been testing the inReach system since late 2011, when the first model came out, and I became even more of a fan as the software improved and the company added an iPad version of the Earthmate app. The release of inReachSE (Screen Edition) about a year ago got me pretty excited, and I’m still enthusiastic after using it a lot myself. When the inReachSE is running, my iPad mini automatically connects to it and Earthmate tracks me on freely downloadable NOAA charts and worldwide topo maps while also handling messages. Nav apps can also use the inReach GPS, and the SE is much easier to leave on for tracking purposes because of its 100-hour lithium battery and easy USB charging. I don’t use the color screen and keypad much on the boat, but it certainly extends the device’s stand-alone abilities, though it is not a stand-alone navigation tool.

The brand new inReach Explorer, on the other hand, is a stand-alone navigation tool. In addition to doing all the satellite messaging of the earlier inReaches, it has a Bluetooth app connection and a digital compass, altimeter and accelerometer sensors for better handheld navigation. I suspect it probably also has more processing power.

I’m not sure the Explorer is great for marine navigation—the Map icon, for instance, only gets you to a sketch of your track and waypoints—but it would definitely be useful on shore hikes, thanks in part to its track-back function. I’m also intrigued by the description of how a user will be able to create routes on their DeLorme Explore “portal” (website), which will presumably sync to their Explorer handheld.

 Screenshots from the author’s communications with his friends during their trip to New Zealand. Photo By Ben Ellison courtesy. Photo By Ben Ellison courtesy. Photo by Ben Ellison

Screenshots from the author’s communications with his friends during their trip to New Zealand. Photo By Ben Ellison courtesy. Photo By Ben Ellison courtesy. Photo by Ben Ellison

The inReachSE and Explorer models also now have a worldwide weather option, thanks to OCENS SpotCast (which also works with Iridium Xtreme and Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro texting). Of course, forecasts have to be quite succinct to fit the inReach’s 160-character maximum, but it looks like OCENS has designed the service cleverly. Each message covers 24 hours in four six-hour forecasts, and if you’ve purchased the 72-hour option—unlimited forecasts for $8 a month or $80 a year—you can ask for one, two or three days at once. The latter detail is nice because the messages will come out of your service plan, although DeLorme started offering a very flexible Freedom Plan earlier this year.

Editors note: For more of Ben’s insights into marine electronics, go to panbo.com

Related

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThink Deeply When chartering, I am always maddened to be told that the echo sounder is calibrated “to depth under the keel, plus a bit for safety.” Such operators seem to imagine that the instrument’s sole ...read more

180612-01 Landing lead

Painful Sailing in Volvo Leg 10

It’s looking to be a case of feast or famine for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean fleet as it continues the epic struggle that has been Leg 10, with it having been all famine thus far. Painful is the only word to describe the light-air start in Cardiff, Wales, on June 10, as the 11-boat ...read more

01-13_07_180304_JRE_03695_4605

Tips From the Boatyard

Within the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard sits a communal sail loft which provides service and repairs for all seven teams sailing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. The sail loft employs only five sailmakers who look after 56 sails in each stopover. If you’re thinking, “wow, these ...read more

sailCarwBasicsJuly18

Sail Care for Cruisers

Taking care of your canvas doesn’t just save you money, it’s central to good seamanship  Knowing how to take care of your sails and how to repair them while at sea is an important part of overall seamanship. The last thing any sailor needs is to get caught on a lee shore with ...read more

Ship-container-2048

The Danger of a Collision Offshore

This almost happened to me once. I was sailing singlehanded between Bermuda and St. Martin one fall, and one night happened to be on deck looking around at just the right time. The moon was out, the sky was clear and visibility was good. Still, when I thought I saw a large ...read more

New-MHS-Promo

Multihulls on the Horizon

Fountaine Pajot New 42The French cat powerhouse has been on a roll these last few years, cranking out new models that not only replace their older line but take a step forward in design and user-friendliness. The New 42’s “real” name had not been revealed as we went to press, but ...read more