OceanLines Has a New Look and Focus

OceanLines.biz homepage screen capture

OceanLines Home Page as of New Year 2014

If this is the first time you’ve been here in a while, you might notice our new look and our new focus.  Since its first post in 2007, OceanLines has focused on the boats we like to live and cruise on, whether for the day or for long, ocean-crossing passages.  Since the Great Recession fully landed on the boating world in 2009, the appearance and sale of new boats gradually diminished, until it almost disappeared.  There has been a small resurgence over the last year, but frankly, new boats and designs in our cruising category are still rather scarce.

One thing that remains true, and which is a field that has continued much more steadily to innovate and produce new products for boaters, is the marine electronics and boating systems industry.  Ok, those are two industries really, but together they represent what we put IN our boats and what helps us to use our boats safely and efficiently.

So here at OceanLines, we’re going to focus on covering the developments in those two industries, bringing you all the latest news on marine electronics, software, and boat systems ranging from propulsion to electrical, hydraulic and sanitary.  If you can buy it to be installed aboard or fitted to your boat, we’ll cover it.

If there are new cruising boats developed and launched, we’ll cover them too, no worries.

There’s a lot of water to cover.  Consider the following:

  • Touch screens are the wave of the present and future.  But how you implement them and how you handle them when seas are rough are the sticky points.  We’ll look into the latest offerings, such as the chartplotters from Garmin, Raymarine, the Navico brands – Simrad, Lowrance and B&G, and Furuno, and any others we can find that we think might deserve your attention.
  • Radios are not the simple units of the past.  Most you’d want to consider are GPS-equipped and include hailing and sometimes a host of other features, including wireless mics, integrated AIS receivers, even constant recording so you can replay the last received communication (now THAT would be handy).
  • Depthfinders and other sonar units are as capable as the military technology of not so long ago.  Multi-frequency transducers adapt to conditions and requirements and many units now often side-scan capabilities.
  • Radars are decidedly more capable than the units of even five years ago.  High definition units make close-in navigation much safer and use significantly less energy and pose almost no radiation risk to boaters or crewmen on deck.
  • The “glass helm” has finally arrived in recreational boating and there’s a long list of new technology and products to consider.  These systems can integrate information from your propulsion, electrical and safety systems and display as much or as little as you want.  Multiple screens can serve to expand information or provide redundancy, although the reliability of today’s displays is much improved, too.
  • Propulsion options have all gained joystick control options, something I actually predicted back in 2007 (eh, I don’t publicize the predictions I get wrong).  Whether you have pod drives, inboards or outboards, they can all be controlled (sometimes requiring a bow thruster) with a joystick via computerized controls.
  • Other boat systems have kept pace (some more so, some less so) with the revolution in marine electronics — some can now be monitored by your helm displays, for example.  Tankage monitoring continues to get ever-so-slowly better.  We have systems now to better charge and maintain our batteries, not to mention the proliferation of new battery technology.  Everything from lighting (LED) and galley appliances (high-efficiency induction) have changed our power requirements.
  • There are new services available, too.  Consider Vessel Vanguard, a company that offers boat owners a comprehensive cloud-based portal to help manage and log maintenance requirements for all of their boat’s onboard systems..  And if you aren’t already a member of the ActiveCaptain crowdsource, you’re missing out on some pretty profound resources for cruising.

So, there’s a lot to review and a lot to discuss with you.  We’d appreciate any heads-up or tips you can send us on new products — and services — that might interest your fellow boaters.  Use our contact form to send us ideas, or email us at info at OceanLines dot biz.

Copyright © 2013 by OceanLines, a publication of OceanLines, LLC.

Posted by Tom in Boat Systems, Boats, Electrical Systems, Marine Electronics, Propulsion, Technology, Website news

Nobeltec Releases Admiral and VNS 11.1 Service Pack

Nobeltec said today it has released a free service pack update for users of the new (January 2011) version of Admiral and VNS.  The service pack offers integration with Furuno’s popular Digital Fish Finder (DFF1) Sounder, as well as a number of NMEA 2000 integration improvements.  While I don’t often simply reprint a press release, Nobeltec is a pretty straightforward company and it makes more sense to just quote it here.  I am also planning a full review of the Nobeltec TimeZero Trident software, to which I believe most boaters will eventually want to move.

Herewith the Nobeltec News:

“Nobeltec announces new hardware integration and software functionality with the service pack release of Admiral 11.1 and VNS 11.1. VNS and Admiral are optimized for safe and accurate navigation on recreational boats, commercial vessels, and mega yachts. This newest service pack adds value to Nobeltec navigation systems. One of the most significant updates to the marine navigational software is the ability to integrate with the Furuno Digital Fish Finder (DFF1) Sounder.

“Integration with the Furuno DFF1 sounder is a natural addition to our Nobeltec software suite,” Nobeltec General Manager Bill Washburn said. “We’re glad boaters can take advantage of the integration of two great products: the Furuno DFF1 Sounder and Nobeltec VNS and Admiral software.”

Improvements to NMEA 2000 integration also enhance functionality in the Admiral and VNS software. The new release supports NMEA 2000 AIS Device Priority, and the real time weather functionality has been upgraded to include Pressure, Air Temperature and Humidity inputs from NMEA 2000 sensors.

Admiral and VNS 11.1 showcase improved AIS target filtering. In the Admiral software, the service pack adds the ability to filter AIS targets based on class and both VNS and Admiral offer the option to display a target’s class (A or B).

The latest version will also, for the first time, include NV. Charts digital chart integration and support. These raster charts cover Europe, Bahamas, Cuba, and other areas in the Caribbean. The integration of NV. Charts digital charts is in addition to many other types of raster charts as well as C-MAP® MAX Pro™ vector charts already supported by VNS and Admiral.

This is the first service pack for the software since the successful release of Admiral 11 and VNS 11 in January 2011. The new release is available as a free download to customers currently running the latest version of Admiral or VNS. Customers can visit the Nobeltec website (www.nobeltec.com) to access the new service pack.”

Copyright ©2011 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Technology
Nobeltec:  The Future Has No Dongle

Nobeltec: The Future Has No Dongle

Screenshot of Nobeltec Time Zero Trident 3D Nav View

Screenshot of Nobeltec Time Zero Trident 3D Nav View

I have seen the future of Nobeltec, and it has no. . . okay, okay, I couldn’t resist.  But c’mon, let’s admit, that dongle was the only real thing we hated about Nobeltec navigation software.  And yes, I know all the reasons they had for using it, but it really got in the way.  And now that you know that the future Nobeltec nav software won’t require a dongle, let me tell you that that is the least important of all the improvements coming.  Nobeltec gave journalists and industry insiders at the Miami Boat Show a  peak at the next-generation software, code-named Trident, that has been under development for some time at the company.  The future is very bright, indeed.

In fact, Nobeltec liked the code-name so much they kept it for the new product, married to a term that underlies the technical philosophy of the new products — “TimeZero.”  The full name will be TimeZero Trident.  The TimeZero moniker refers to the high-speed chart-drawing engine that will be the basis for all Nobeltec software going forward.  This is the result of the purchase of Nobeltec by Signet S.A., in October of 2009.  The TimeZero codebase is shared between Nobeltec, MaxSea and Furuno (who is a 49% shareholder of Signet).

What does this mean to you?

The major benefit to you as a navigator using software based on this chart engine is the nearly instantaneous, seamless chart re-draws, no matter what you’re trying to do — pan, zoom in or zoom out. You don’t wait for anything.  And when that kind of speed is available, then integrating full-time 3D is easy to do. In fact you can fuse photos into the 3D view as well and with a feature called Depth Shading, you can keep the high resolution satellite photos in place and watch it become more transparent with increasing water depth, allowing you to see where shallow water ends and deeper water begins.

The Charts?

TimeZero Trident will run MapMedia 3D charts, including official S-57 vector and raster charts from hydrographic offices around the world, as well as vector charts from C-MAP by Jeppesen and DataCore by Navionics.  The bottom line on this feature is that you will have access to the best cartography available and you can run in and out of the different charts without any work on your part.

The software is fully integrated, as you might expect, with the latest Furuno hardware, including NavNet 3D and the FAR 2XX7 series of radars, as well as a host of other Furuno and Insight (Nobeltec) hardware.  There are nice integrations of NMEA data streams, too, so a real glass bridge can be even more flexible and functional.

The Best Part

Despite all the previous gushing, what I liked best about the Trident product is the new user interface.  A couple of extremely useful and flexible toolbars are placed around the periphery of the screen, allowing you to configure your activity and views with nearly limitless customization.  But you don’t have to dig through a foggy manual to learn how to do it.  For example, in the screenshot at the top of this piece, you can see a small ribbon at the top of the screen, which allows you to select the “workspace” that you are in.  You can move with a single click from an active navigation (monitoring) workspace, to a planning workspace, without disrupting the former to get to the latter.

On the right side of the screen above you can see a transparent sidebar with a new key instrument view.  This, too, is customizable.  To read all about the features in TimeZero Trident, download the attached brochure PDF (6+MB).

You can see the screenshots in this special OceanLines Gallery 


The Future

While TimeZero Trident will be a stand-alone product, distinct from the current Nobeltec VNS and Admiral 11 software, eventually, its TimeZero engine will be the basis for all Nobeltec software in the future.  I think it’s fair to say you can expect to see TimeZero VNS and Admiral versions, which do still have somewhat different feature sets from Trident.  The Nobeltec folks didn’t say so, but it seems logical to me that at some point down the road, I don’t know when, everything will become Trident labeled (hey, it’s a cooler name, right?).  Nobeltec expects TZ Trident to be available later this spring.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology

Furuno’s New WS200 Brings NMEA 2000 Ultrasonic Weather to Your Helm

Furuno WS200 Ultrasonic Weather Instrument

Furuno WS200 Ultrasonic Weather Instrument

Actually, it brings ultrasonic weather data to your helm. Are we straight with that now?  Okay. The basic ultrasonic instrument has been around for several years — the most recent version, still available, is the PB150, a NMEA 0183-compatible unit —  but the WS200 is a significant upgrade, both in sensors and networking. It’s also a little more expensive, with the listed retail price of $1,395.

New Features

These include a three-axis compass (used for internal true wind calculations), a three-axis accelerometer (for pitch & roll), a yaw rate gyro (for rate of turn), as well as integrating the latest generation Furuno GPS/WAAS receiver. Another key feature of the WS200 is the capability to output weather information in either NMEA0183 or NMEA2000. According to Furuno,

“We’ve also incorporated a unique in-line terminating resistor, allowing the WS200 sensor to be directly connected to any NavNet 3D DRS Radar. This feature allows for a simpler and more flexible installation, without the need to run cables all the way to the main processor. Using this configuration, NMEA2000 data is easily converted and distributed throughout the NavNet 3D Ethernet network. (Please note that while the WS200 has passed NMEA2000 Protocol Certification, we classify it as a CANBUS product, as it is not fully NMEA2000 Certified, due to the fact that we enhanced the product by adding this terminating resistor capability.)”

Complete Feature List

Here’s the rundown on the complete feature set:

True wind speed and direction
Apparent wind speed and direction
Barometric pressure
Air temperature
Wind chill temperature
Measures wind speed and direction ultrasonically
Three-axis solid-state compass (used for internal wind calculations)
Three-axis accelerometer provides stabilized pitch and roll info
Yaw rate gyro provides rate of turn data
Outputs both NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 data
Plastic housing is less prone to lightning strikes
WeatherCaster software
Simplified, flexible installation w/unique terminating resistor
Maintenance-free operation with no moving parts

If you’d like to see some suggested wiring diagrames of Furuno-related installations, you can download this pdf file.  For more info on the system, check out the product page on Furuno’s website.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology
Furuno Announces NavNet 3D Rebates And Freebates

Furuno Announces NavNet 3D Rebates And Freebates

Furuno 12.1" NavNet 3D MFD Installed in a Viking

Furuno 12.1" NavNet 3D MFD Installed in a Viking

Buy a new Furuno NavNet 3D display, like the 8.4″, 12.1″, or Black Box Multi Function Display and get a $200 rebate. If you’re buying a NavNet 3D system, you can also get a free C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia chart, valued at $300.  The company is also offering rebates from $100 to $300 on a variety of NavNet 3D sensors and accessories, including DRS Radars, UHD Fish Finders, MU Monitors.

More from the Furuno USA press release:

“The NavNet 3D Rebate + FREEbate event runs from now until July 31, 2010. For complete details on the Rebate + FREEbate event, go to their web site at www.FurunoUSA.com or visit your local Authorized Furuno Dealer. With the addition of C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia Charts, NavNet 3D is now the ONLY chart plotter on the market that allows you to display NOAA Raster or Vector charts, C-MAP by Jeppesen Vector Charts, Navionics Datacore Vector Charts and High-Resolution Satellite photos.

For more information on the new NavNet 3D Rebate + FREEbate event or the complete line of Furuno Marine Electronics, contact: Furuno U.S.A., 4400 N.W. Pacific Rim Blvd., Camas, WA 98607. Phone: (360) 834-9300. Fax: (360) 834-9400. www.FurunoUSA.com .”

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology
Jeppesen Announces C-MAP Charts for Furuno NavNet 3D

Jeppesen Announces C-MAP Charts for Furuno NavNet 3D

Furuno NavNet 3D Displaying New C-MAP Charts

Furuno NavNet 3D Displaying New C-MAP Charts

Jeppesen said today that selected C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia charts are available for the Furuno NavNet 3D chartplotters. The charts come pre-installed on U.S.-based, newly purchased NavNet 3D units and the company said older NavNet 3D plotters can be updated with a free software update to be compatible with the new charts.

Jeppesen said boaters “can select from eight Wide chart regions for $300 each, including the pre-loaded WM73 (USA East Coast & Bahamas), WM74 (Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes & Rivers) and WM47 (USA West Coast & Hawaii).  Additional available Wide coverage regions include WM 72 (Canada North & East), WM48 (Canada West Coast), WM75 (Great Lakes & Maritimes), WM76 (Central America & Caribbean) and WM49 (Alaska).  Boaters can also choose from two expansive Mega Wide regions for $600:  MWM17 (Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean) and MWM18 (Pacific Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean).”

More from the Jeppesen release:

“C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia charts can easily be viewed in traditional 2D or life-like 3D presentation using Furuno’s patented TimeZero technology for a realistic and seamless navigation experience. “Boaters have long recognized Furuno’s NavNet 3D system as a revolutionary navigation tool — but one that has been unavailable until now to legions of loyal C-MAP users,” said Jeppesen Light Marine Division Director James Detar. “We’re proud of the work we’ve done with Furuno to once again bring this powerful combination of technologies to boaters and look forward to getting it into their hands,” he added.
Boaters have a couple of options to purchase new C-MAP by Jeppesen MapMedia charts for Furuno NavNet 3D. They can work through their local Authorized Furuno or Jeppesen dealer. Consumers can also purchase charts and unlock codes directly from Jeppesen by calling (508) 477-8010, faxing to (508) 539-4381 or emailing [email protected]

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology

Fort Lauderdale 2009: First Stop – Toys for the Boat

The 50th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show opened Thursday to a relatively good VIP turnout and a cautiously optimistic mood among the exhibitors.  By Monday we will know if any boat buyers showed up, but just from the first day, it seems like component and accessory suppliers might do fairly well.  I spent the day looking at new “stuff” for the boat.  Here’s a quick look at a couple; with more to come over the next several days.

MaxSea TimeZero 3D Chart View

MaxSea TimeZero 3D Chart View

TimeZero Technology for Your MaxSea Navigation Software


Furuno announced that MaxSea has incorporated the TimeZero display technology into its own navigation programs, giving PC navigators the same high-speed functionality available on NavNet 3D chartplotters.  The updated program, available in two versions, referred to as MaxSea TimeZero Navigator and MaxSea TimeZero Explorer, includes an all-new graphics engine, new tool sets and Work Spaces.  Each package includes a DVD set loaded with NOAA raster and vector charts for the entire U.S. coastline. In addition, you can load high-resolution satellite photos to further enhance the charts.

According to the company, “one of the key new features of MaxSea TimeZero is the ability to switch from a traditional 2D chart display to an incredibly realistic 3D view with a click of the mouse. MaxSea TimeZero runs in a native 3D environment, which means there is no mode or trick to make the charts look like they are in 3-dimensions. This new 3D environment offers you a true perspective and wider area of view around the vessel, which will allow you to better plan your routes and navigation.”

MaxSea TimeZero Navigator has a list price of $450, while MaxSea TimeZero Explorer has a list price of $1,250.

SeaBob Water Sled In Action

SeaBob Water Sled In Action

A SeaBob as a New Water Toy for the Boat

Cayago AG, a German company, builds a line of luxury water toys, at the center of which is the SeaBob water sled.  This is something you have to see to believe.  It’s basically a battery-powered propulsion device to enable a swimmer to race through the water at up to 22 km/hr, approximately 12 mph, which is unbelievably fast.  The devices can dive and are perfect for extending a snorkel or SCUBA trek.

SeaBob V7 in Red

SeaBob V7 in Red

There is a range of models available, varying in levels of thrust from the motor and trim and accessory complements.  A top-of-the-line model includes a sonar system for navigation through murky water.  Prices are on the company’s website, listed in Euros, and range from approximately $10K to $16K; not cheap but for the boater looking for truly unique waterborne entertainment, worth thinking about.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Industry News, Technology

Furuno Outfits the New Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition

A Furuno NavNet 3D System Installed on a 57' Riviera

A Furuno NavNet 3D System Installed on a 57' Riviera

For more than sixty years, since the commercialization of the first electric fish-finder, Furuno has been a pioneer in the development of marine electronics.  OceanLines asked Furuno USA to participate in our hypothetical outfitting of the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition trawler.  The company responded with a proposal from Matt Wood, Sales Manager for Furuno USA.  Furuno’s proposal represents a state-of-the-art suite of multifunction units, sensors and networking technology, focused around the company’s NavNet 3D product line.

Wood and his colleagues responded specifically to our hypothetical buyers’ Request For Proposal, which outlined how they plan to use the boat and the general capabilities they would like to have from their marine electronics aboard.  Kadey-Krogen does not have an exclusive arrangement with any marine electronics supplier, so its owners can examine the offerings from all suppliers. Our fictional couple intends to cruise extensively in coastal regions but may also consider a transatlantic voyage at some time in the not-too-distant future.  You can take a look at the complete Furuno package — the Response to the RFP, as well as a spreadsheet file that includes an extremely detailed list of the proposed basic and high-end electronics suite.  Here’s an overview.


Wood notes in his letter to our fictional boat-buying couple that Furuno has a long history of equipment installation on Kadey-Krogen yachts all over the world and is familiar with the requirements of cruisers in this segment.  The Furuno proposal offers a basic package, which our couple asked for, as well as a top-of-the-line outfitting package that adds capabilities, as well as redundancies.  The proposal also highlights the seamless connectivity not only of the Furuno-branded NavNet products, but, using the NMEA 2000 networking protocol, the many other systems and sensors available in the marketplace.

Furuno Recommended Equipment and Pricelist for Krogen 55' Expedition

Furuno Recommended Equipment and Pricelist for Krogen 55' Expedition

The Furuno proposal notes that its equipment was the exclusive choice for the lead vessel in the PAE/Nordhavn North Atlantic Rally in 2004, when several trawlers made a group crossing from Florida to Gibraltar.



In his letter, Wood notes that 

“Since the plotter and radar functions are so seamlessly connected in the current era, Furuno will propose the integrated NavNet3D system.  For the basic layout this will include two NavNet 3D MFD12, 12-inch LCD multifunction displays.  According to Furuno, “These full-function plotters include both raster and vector chart databases for the entire US coastline and offer true three-dimensional navigation.  The NavNet 3D (or “NN3D”) MFD series offers complete chart plotter, radar and sounder integration.  Additionally, the MFD12 and other displays offer radar ARPA, AIS, Sirius weather, weatherfax and other interfaces such as display of camera information and NMEA2000 instrumentation.

Two MFD12 units side-by-side in the main panel of your Kadey’s dash will provide one screen for plotter navigation with or without radar overlay, and an additional/redundant screen for alternate chart views, route planning, instrumentation, cameras – the options are virtually limitless.

The basic installation includes a DRS4D, 24-inch 4KW 36-mile radar antenna.  This compact and lightweight radome antenna will be perfectly adequate for the coastal navigation you propose from Alaska to Florida and beyond.  The DRS antenna series uses Ultra High-Definition signal processing to give a remarkably clear radar picture.  In fact, it’s like having two radars in one – the Navnet 3D MFD series offer true, dual-range radar capability.  One range can look far for weather and coastline, while one range can be set close in for collision avoidance.  In a fishing application, one range can be set to look for birds diving on bait, while one can be set close in for safe navigation.

All NN3D units include a built-in 30-target ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotter Aid – so it’s not a mere MARPA, or mini-ARPA.  The ARPA will use the data from radar, GPS and the autopilot’s heading sensor to generate rock-solid target lock on up to 30 targets, either manually or in auto-acquire mode.
The MFD12 unit offer both video input for external video sources (such as a camera) as well as video output.  The video output from either or both MFD12 would be used in the stateroom and salon monitors.  In this configuration, that video presentation would be “static” – or not controlled in the stateroom or salon – unless and additional MFD unit was installed in either location.  See notes on the FMD8 second-station below.”

Furuno says that in the higher-end package, they would recommend replacing the two MFD12s with a single NN3D MFDBB — “Black Box” — plotter processor.  In this option, the display chores would be handled by two 17-inch MU170C color, sunlight-bright LCD units.  Furuno refers to these as “glass bridge” monitors.  They have multiple video inputs and so can display data from several different sources, including in Picture-in-Picture (PIP) format.  Furuno says the black box processor is unique in the industry in that it can operate in an “Extended Display” mode, which uses the single processor to drive two separate displays.  While the NavNet 3D MFDs can also display video inputs, the plethora of video input operations on the black-box-driven LCDs will accommodate more separate sources.


For radar, Furuno suggests a 6kW open-array radar, using a 6-foot antenna.  “While many vessels have crossed oceans with less radar or with none, we recommend the 6kW or even 12kW radar sets for long-range cruising.  The increased power and longer antenna array give increased range and better ARPA performance — both desirable when out on the Big Blue.”

Furuno Radar Installation

Furuno Radar Installation

The company suggest for both installation options the use of a smaller, 8.4-inch MFD8 display for use at a remote station.  “Given the layout of the [Krogen 55′} we propose that the MFD8 be centrally located on the back deck for use at a remote steering station.  Visual access from the back deck will come in handy when fishing as well, as the MFD8 can be used as a network sounder display for reeling in the big one!”


Furuno proposes a suite of network sensors, operating across the integrated NavNet 3D and NMEA 2000 network.  For example, they propose to fit both a GP330B NMEA 2000 network GPS sensor as well as a GP32 stand-alone GPS/WAAS navigator.  “Both position fixes can be input to the NN3D system and the NMEA 2000 network will automatically switch GPS sources if position fix should be lost…”

 Furuno says that one of the advantages of  its DRS (digital radar) antenna units is that “multiple Furuno sensors can be installed on a MNEA 200 backbone “stub,” which then connects directly to the DRS antenna.  The DRS converts the data for use in the NN3D display — so only one cable needs to be run down the mastfor the NN3D sensor suite.”  Furuno claims rightly that the simplified installation will save significantly on labor costs for running the cable as well as the wiring and data integration.

Known for many years in the commercial fishing industry for its fishfinders, Furunoproposes to install a digital, black-box sounder module — the DFF1  — to provide depth and bottom information to the NN3D suite.  Furuno would pair the sounder module with a 1kW thru-hull transducer to ensure deep-water performance.

For realtime weather, Furuno proposes the BBWX1 satellite receiver, which provides subscription-based Sirius weather info for use in the network as well as any shipboard PC systems.  As with all marine realtime weather products, various subscription packages are available from the weather service provider, now Sirius/XM after the corporate merger.  To enhance the overall weather awareness, Furuno would also install its FAX30 dual-duty black-box unit for providing weather fax reception and storage as well as NAVTEX safety messages.


Furuno believes some form of AIS is essential for our hypothetical cruisers.  In a basic package, Furunocould provide its FA30 receive-only AIS unit.  But the company believes strongly that for both the basic and high-end installations that a true AIS transponder system be utilized.  Furuno proposes its FA50 Class B AIS, which will both transmit your own vessel information to others as well as show you the information of other AIS-equipped vessels.  Wood puts it convincingly in the proposal:  “While a receive-only AIS unit enables YOU to see THEM, in the cse of a tanker in the fog in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, don’t you want to be sure that THEY see YOU?”  Given that the price differential between simple receive-only Class A units and full duplex Class B transponders is likely to continue to diminish, it seems prudent to outfit our cruisers with the full capability.

Interestingly, and logically, Furuno proposes that our couple equip their tender with an FA50 AIS as well.  A watch stander can keep track of the tender’s whereabouts even on the vessel’s chartplotter displays.  Might not be a bad idea if the tender wanders around too many headlands.  As long as it’s still wtihin clear VHF range, the folks aboard their Krogen55′ will still see it and can guide it home.

As befits its status as one of the oldest marine electronics companies still in the marketplace, Furuno has fulll proposals for communications, autopilot and additional instrument capabilities.  Furuno’s proposal suggests two of its FM3000 Class D VHF radios, each fitted with a remote mike/speaker for use in other areas of the boat.  Furuno also has an SSB radio for long-distance communications; the FS1503EM has a modification for direct connection of a modem for e-mail.  Furuno would also install its LH3000 loudhailer for those times when a loud voice, or foghorn just has to be used.

Furuno also gets into the use of a PC aboard ship, noting that most long-distance cruisers nowadays, and not infrequently for navigation as well as the more traditional PC duties such as e-mail and home office activities.  Furuno says its MaxSea Time Zero Explorer program can be employed on a shipboard PC, and has the advantage of using the same charts as the NN3D system.  A tender-tracking module can be included in the MaxSea TZ installation.


Autopilot duties will be handled by the NavPilot 500, complemented by some state-of-the-art heading sensor technology.  The company’s new SC30 Satellite Compass is a dual-antenna GPS compass that offers “gyrocompass-equivalent heading information,” according to Furuno.  The upgraded SC50 unit offers even more precise steering information.  The satellite compasses offer pitch and roll correction, which can be used by keel stabilizers.  Heave compensation can be used to stabilize the echosounder presentation, as well.

As with most of the other equipment categories, Furuno has a plethora of additional instruments to choose from.  In particular, the company suggests at least an RD30 unit for use as a navigation information repeater, and redundant depth indicator.  The PB150 ultrasonic wind and weather sensor can connect to the RD30 and a PC.  One interesting note is that the NN3D network can easily display digital engine information, which is likely to come from newer engines over a J1939 buss.  Converters to translate that information to NMEA 2000 format are available from many suppliers.

For cruisers who want to fish seriously, or perhaps navigate tricky channels or perhaps, iceberg-studded waters, Furuno can even supply its CH250 or CH300 series searchlight sonar.


The truth is, Furuno has such an extensive line of recreational and commercial grade marine electronics, that the sky is the limit when outfitting a boat with the company’s products.  The company’s long history and reputation for reliability in the commercial segment gives it a big leg up in the recreational market.  That is not to say the recreational products are somehow inferior to the commercial units.  In fact, the NavNetvx2 series is the standard U.S. Coast Guard navigation product for all vessels under 85 feet.  Matt Wood notes in his letter to our buyers that it is even possible to integrate much more powerful radar units, such as some of the commercial grade (which usually means certified for oceangoing use) FAR radar series.

As with most of the other electronics companies, Furuno does not offer entertainment systems or satellite TV units as part of its product mix, but these are widely available and relatively easy to integrate to the extent that is necessary.

Check out the links above in the story to see the full proposal from Furuno as well as its bill of materials and price estimates.  Here at OceanLines, we would like to thank Matt Wood, Jeff Kauzlaric and all the systems specialists at Furuno USA for participating in this project. 

If you would like to talk to Furuno about their proposal for the Krogen 55′ Expedition or any of their other marine products, you can visit them at the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail, at booth # 1617 at the Miami Beach Convention Center site.  If you’re going to the show, stop by and see the actual Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition at the Sea Isle Marina in  Miami at dock 808, slips a, b and c.

Copyright ©  2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Technology

Let’s Outfit the Helm of the new Kadey-Krogen 55′ Expedition

Kadey-Krogen 55' Expedition Helm

The helm of the new Kadey-Krogen 55 Expedition Awaits Outfitting

On Monday, February 2, 2009, OceanLines will publish the first in a unique series of articles intended to demonstrate the current state-of-the-art of passagemaking-level marine electronics.  We have been working with Kadey-Krogen Yachts and its vice president, Larry Polster, to demonstrate how each of four of the top marine electronics companies would outfit the newest Kadey-Krogen Yacht — the 55′ Expedition, which just arrived here in the U.S. and made its public debut at the Stuart Trawlerfest last weekend.  The 55 Expedition will be on prominent display at the upcoming Miami International Boatshow.

For this series, we asked Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine and Simrad to give us their recommendations, based on a fictional Request For Proposal (RFP) from a a fictional couple just acquiring their new 55 Expedition.  The RFP — which you can read in detail HERE — discusses the couple’s cruising plans, their general preferences in equipment, and the specific capabilities they require from the new electronics installed on board.

In order to help the marine electronics OEMs, Kadey-Krogen provided detailed drawings and specifications on the 55 Expedition, converting CAD files directly from the design into more portable document formats.  The OEMs were each given the RFP and the boat documentation early this month and they have responded with their recommendations and rationale.  Beginning Monday, we will present each individual response — one at a time, each day next week, concluding on Friday with a wrap-up and analysis of the series.

So, have a good look at this pristine helm station onboard one of the newest passagemaking yachts available and come back on Monday to see how Garmin proposes our fictional couple outfit the helm.

Copyright ©  2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Technology