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New Electronics: The Cutting Edge

Mobile apps for navigation and communication, plus the latest in electronic charts.

October 21, 2011

Raymarine In Sync

Navionics embraced the world of mobile apps a few years ago, and that move finally seems to be getting traction. the latest Navionics Mobile app includes Plotter Sync, technology that allows the wireless exchange of navigation data between Raymarine’s E-Series Widescreen and G-Series navigation displays and mobile devices, such as Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Waypoints and routes can be synchronized among these devices via Wi-Fi, allowing Raymarine users to easily plan their next voyage directly within the Navionics app. to get started, boaters need to add a Wi-Fi router to their Raymarine network. Raymarine offers full instructions on how to set up Plotter sync at www.raymarine.com/plottersync.

Lowrance in the Baja

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Lowrance announced the release of its new Nautic Insight charts for the Baja Peninsula. Lowrance Baja cartography was developed in partnership with Baja Directions, creator and publisher of fishing charts for southern California and Baja California, Mexico. It incorporates data from Baja Directions paper charts and Mexican hydrographic offices as well as information about marinas and fuel docks, fishery profiles, tides and currents. Lowrance Nautic Insight HD Baja ($169) is available from Lowrance dealers and distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Electronic- and paper-chart combo packs are also available directly from Baja Directions and Baja-area retailers. www.lowrance.com; www.bajadirections.com

Explorer Paper to Screen

Explorer charts are an essential tool. Now, sister navigation software companies MaxSea and Nobeltec have incorporated explorer charts in raster form. Using their Time Zero chart engine, Nobeltec and MaxSea allow the skipper to render an Explorer raster chart in 3-D, which can improve situational awareness. Another enhancement blends the explorer chart with satellite imagery, which is effective in rendering the shallow waters of the Bahamas banks. Furuno is a part owner of MaxSea, so anyone with a Furuno NavNet also gets these raster charts. www.nobeltec.com; www.maxsea.com; www.furunousa.com

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Raymarine e7

The “e” may be small but the e7 multifunction display is a big deal. It retains the effective combination of touchscreen and dedicated controls that Raymarine introduced with the E-Series Widescreen, though with fewer and larger buttons, and the underlying interface is purportedly all new and very friendly. And while it’s compatible with many existing Ray components — autopilots, HD radars, etc. — the addition of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth relationships with iPhones and iPads is why that “e” went lowercase. The Wi-Fi link lets live e7 screens stream wirelessly to a raymarine viewing app running on an Apple screen, and also lets Navionics Mobile charting apps share routing and track data with the e7. Meanwhile, Bluetooth lets you send basic audio commands, like pause or next track, to an Apple or other compatible player that might be safely tucked below and plugged into your boat’s stereo. Raymarine is also introducing a Bluetooth RCU-3 remote, which can command the e7, including the audio player, while clipped to the wheel or on a lanyard. the basic e7 with its LED backlit, 7-inch, 800 x 480 pixel screen and built-in GPS is $1,500; the e7D with digital sonar also inside the slim casing is $1,800. And, yes, the e7’s innovations are destined for bigger Raymarine MFDs to come. Raymarine, 603-881-5200; www.raymarine.comBen Ellison

DeLorme inReach

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The name of DeLorme’s new inReach satellite communicator references the big news that this device lets you stay in reach of family, associates and rescue authorities wherever you wander. While the inReach looks like the popular SPOT communicator — and can similarly send tracking data, canned “I’m OK” messages and SOS calls ashore with simple button taps — it contains an Iridium innovation called the 9602 modem that’s capable of fast two-way texting anywhere it has a sky view. Even if you use only the waterproof inReach base unit, which is less than 3.5 inches tall, LEDs will confirm message delivery, or that someone is trying to reach you. But the magic begins when you pair it via Bluetooth with the inReach app running on an Android phone or pad and start trading texts up to 160 characters long. (DeLorme hasn’t committed to a similar iPhone/iPad app yet, but consumers are already crying out for one.) The inReach costs $250 and an annual data subscription is required, but users can move freely between serious cruising plans and the basic $10 a month safety package, which includes a mix of up to 15 messages or 75 track points. Note that the inReach is not the only Iridium 9602-based product about to hit the market, and that I’ll soon be testing it and the competition for a review in the November issue of Yachting. DeLorme, 800-561-5105; www.delorme.comBen Ellison

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