We went to the Pacific Sail Expo in Oakland California this weekend, usual mix of tried and true equipment from a multitude of vendors, good chance to play catch up with old friends in the business and an opportunity to get a look at new navigation toys on the market.
One product by MaxSea caught my attention, the combination of MaxSea Marine Software, OCENS Weather Acquisition & email software, GlobeStar Satellite phone, combines to deliver weather and current data overlaying C-Map NT charts delivers a new dimention to navigation aids.
The speed and accuracy of data is incredible, simply select the area you want to transit, press the go button, the software dials the satellite phone, logs on automatically, 30 seconds later you have the latest tide, current and weather information; plot your course and the computer will project based on your vessel, the direction to sail and when to tack to pick up the projected wind shifts. No more guessing whats up ahead, where the high or low pressure systems are, wind speeds, sea states, currents etc, all withing 30 seconds.
MaxSea software and satellite phones are projected to make UHF and Practor modems obsolete; Here is how it works, write responses to all your emails in Outlook express, hit the go button, the computer turns on the satellite phone, loggs on to system server, down loads all your emails and picks up new emails and downloads you new mail to your laptop computer, the phone disconnects when done, average time of 30 seconds, at a cost of 43 cents per minute. You can even surf the web at 56k dialup speeds from the middle of the ocean, so what you say, If your looking for that left handed square wigget to fix your watch-a-ma-call-it when you reach your next port, your can surf the web, find a vendor, send your credit card info and get it shipped and hopefully waiting for you when you arrive. I may not function that smoothly, but the concept has promise.
Unlike UHF/Practor email, if you drop your signal in mid transmission, you get to resend from the beginning and if everyone is on Sailmail at the same time, it might be a little frustrating at times. With the MaxSea system, in a worse case senario, if the call is dropped, resuming transmission will pick up where it left off, no need to start over from scratch.
No need to give up your SSB, you may still want to yack at your friends over the airways. With newer SSB you could call out a MAYDAY on 2182; with the Satellite phone, you can pick up the phone and talk to someone directly and request assistance, at the very least you could call Bob’s Used Wigget Sales and follow up on the shippment of your Left handed Wigget.
Yes, I just received our Starboard DHR oil navigation lamp today, I’m a little of a stoneage throwback in an LED world, but I love electronic wiggets that provide valuable information, especially toys that are easy to use.
We out ran a Hurricane heading out of Mexico a few years ago while sailing to Hawaii, courtsey of a weather report from a passing freighter, it was the last freighter we saw for 2,000 miles; If we didn’t have a freighter to call on, it sure would be nice to press a button and get instant weather and sea condition tracking in as little as 30 seconds.