By Andy Adams

Elect Open 2High winds and driving rain ripped through Sturgeon Bay on Lake Michigan while we were out reviewing the Cruisers Yachts 60 Fly.

Bringing light to the darkness – adding safety and convenience

While many boat owners simply choose not to venture out after dark, there are occasions when you may need to “see” under adverse circumstances like mist, fog or heavy rain and of course, at night.

You may prefer not to take your boat out after dark but this past summer, we got caught out in a mid-day storm and the daylight really dropped as the unexpectedly high winds and heavy rain ripped through Sturgeon Bay on Lake Michigan. Visibility was down to about 1,000 feet and the four-lane black iron bridge just ahead of us simply vanished from view.

Stanley NXTThis Stanley aluminum boat with a Yamaha outboard was fitted with the Furuno DRS4D-NXT broadband Doppler radar system.

So did another boat that was an older cabin cruiser of about 36 feet. Gone. Behind us, a Tiara express cruiser with just one person aboard struggled to get to the relative shelter of the quay in the lee of the bridge and that all-white boat only showed up on our radar. We couldn’t see it until it was literally beside us.

Radar was a huge help that day onboard the new Cruisers Yachts 60 Fly, but that’s a two million dollar yacht. What about older boats and smaller boats?

OPP GuysKen Harrison is at the helm and you can see the chart on the screen is the channel we are taking north from Honey Harbour to demonstrate the Furuno NXT to the OPP team.

Is there radar for a modest budget?

Ken Harrison,Canadian Furuno Representativeinvited me to join him on a demonstration ride with three gentlemen from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). They wanted to see the affordable and feature-packed new Furuno DRS4D-NXTsolid-stateDoppler radar system. It’s currently priced at $3,395 and it’s powerful as well as user friendly.

The OPP folks were not patrol officers, they were part of the team that buys and maintains the equipment the police officers use. You can imagine, they hear the horror stories, the challenges and the problems the officers face when they have to go out on a search and rescue call, usually under the worst conditions.

Speeding BoatsThis speeding boat is typical of the traffic in the southern end of Georgian Bay – day and night.

They told me that the OPP have about 150 vessels of various types on the water and that the officers often have many other duties, work shifts and may need to use a variety of boats. They don’t just have one boat that they can really get to know, so it’s best that the equipment they will rely on is common across many boats and it is best if that equipment is really easy to use.

Accidents and illness happens. Occasionally, the forecast for rain turns into a wild localized storm like the one we experienced on Lake Michigan.

In British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec especially, there are many island owners and their boats are not just for pleasure. They are a vital link to shore and occasionally, emergency medical services.

Elect MistYup! There’s a lake down there but early morning mist will make the other fishermen invisible unless you have radar.

Recently, solid-stateradar systems from many marine electronics manufacturers have come onto the market and this has brought the safety and convenience of radar to much smaller boats, at a price that is far more affordable than a traditional open array system.

One of the latest and most affordable systems, considering the performance and features is the Furuno DRS4D-NXT. This is a solid-state radar with pulse compression, their Target Analyzer™ and Fast Target Tracking™ features, utilizing Doppler technology. Combined with Furuno's exclusive RezBoost™ technology, the DRS4D-NXT packs the performance of an open array radar, in a compact 24” radome.

The Furuno DRS4D-NXT recently won the 2016 NMEA Technology Award at the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) 45th annual conference and expo in Naples, Florida in September, so it has the attention of the industry for sure.

A big part of the excitement is the price point and that the Furuno DRS4D-NXT will work nicely on smaller boats. The solid-state electronics do not require the big power supply that an open array radar does and it does not need a warm-up either. It comes right on or “instant on” .

User simplicity was what was interesting to the OPP. One of the game changing features is Target Analyzer. This function instantly identifies targets that are approaching your vessel and automatically changestheir color to help you identify when they are hazardous. Green echoes are targets that stay stationary, or are moving away from you while red echoes are hazardous targets that are moving towards your vessel.This makes it extremely easy to monitor the target’s course and allows you to avoid a collision. Target Analyzer improves situational awareness and can increase safety by showing you which targets to look out for.The NXT Radar cantrack up to 100 targets simultaneously.

Furuno ScreenEven on the relatively small dashboard of the Stanley we were out on, the Furuno screen is crisp and easily viewed.

Ken Harrison took us out from Honey Harbour on Georgian Bay and the boat traffic there can be really hectic, especially in the dark.

Another feature is RezBoost™ beam sharpening and when set to MAX, the sharpness equivalent of a 2 degree beam width can be achieved. You will see more detailed targets, with less clutter, even small and highly detailed targets such as kayaks and dinghies show up nicely separated. That still works even when the target is very close to you, like when you come into the harbour docks.There is even a Rain Mode, that will show rain on the MDF display in blue while keeping the targets identified in green (safe) and red (a threat).

While radar is a great safety and convenience feature, the fishermen look for a “bird mode” that helps identify birds that are gathering around schools of fish. On the Furuno DRS4D-NXT, bird mode adjusts the gain and sea settings automatically for optimal visibility.

Night vision for every boater - FLIR

As impressive as the Furuno DRS4D-NXT is for the price, you still need a place to mount the radome, the screen and you need a power supply, so what if you just have an open runabout (and maybe $5,000 isn’t in the budget) but you still might have to navigate in darkness?

P0049Night sailing could be far safer with a FLIR Ocean Scout TK.

We spent some time trying out the new FLIR Ocean Scout TK and for well under a grand, this light weight device simply hangs around your neck and in seconds, starts up and sees through even total darkness.

FLIR Systems, Inc.,announced the Ocean Scout TK thermal camera at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show so this is still quite new.

The technology was developed for the US military and it is now coming down to consumer price levels. A sub-$600 (in the US), pocket-sized thermal vision monocular, the Ocean Scout TK features FLIR’s revolutionary low-cost Lepton micro camera core, making thermal imaging technology even more accessible to boaters.

P0043You can select different colours for the display to best capture the image. Here are two kayaks in the night.

This is the smallest and most affordable model in the FLIR Ocean Scout series. The Ocean Scout TK creates high-contrast images using heat, rather than visible light. As a result, Ocean Scout TK makes it possible to see the differences in temperature and heat emitted by boats, buoys, and landmarks in total darkness.

An Ocean Scout TK for example, can reveal people overboard or marine mammals breaking the surface of the water.

Pocket-sized and designed for one-handed use, the Ocean Scout TK is designed to withstand rain, wind, and even a drop in shallow water. The neck cord allows even a kayaker to have it handy.
MOB BlackhotLet’s hope you never have a man overboard, especially at night. This is using the “black hot” image option to make the hot object (the MOB) black, giving a very clear black and white picture of what is happening.

And yes – I agree a kayaker should not be out in darkness, but the Ocean Scout thermal imaging also works right through fog and mist. It’s not an optical system. Another use would be anyone who sails overnight. I would not leave shore without one of these around my neck if I was sailing a night passage, especially to see my way around onboard.

On top of that, an Ocean Scout TK can also store up to 1,000 JPEG images and four hours of video. With a five-hour rechargeable internal battery, you can keep it on as needed and start up is just seconds anyway. We could not believe the images we got when we tried it out.

BinoX 4Looking like ordinary rubberized binoculars, the ATN BinoX HD 4 x 16 are in fact a high-powered computer that can see in day or night conditions.

Plus – if you are looking for that amazing holiday gift idea, the Ocean Scout TK could be the perfect thing!

Day / night binoculars – ATN BinoX HD

Working on different technology but still delivering amazing vision in the dark is the ATN BinoX HD binocular and the features and versatility are remarkable.

First, these are binoculars and the ATN BinoX HDs are usable in daylight as well as at night. Unlike optical binoculars, these are really a high-powered computer with significant processing power.

Binox The daytime screen image on the BinoX HD features compass heading, time, magnification and more. Geotag your location and download images and video with WiFi – you can even share it live to an iPad or other screen! 

The left side front objective lens is actually infrared while the right side is a separate monocular and the two sides work together to display the image on the two diopters that you look into. Magnification is 4x optical and then 16x digital.

Both front objectives are adjustable; the left for infrared and the right side for focus. Then, inside is essentially an HD camera sys6em and the ATN BinoX HD can take both still images and video, just as the Ocean Scout can.

A micro SD card inside makes it easy to download images or video but ATN takes this further and those who enjoy cruising will have a lot of fun with this. The ATN BinoX HD is equipped with GPS and WiFi so you can geotag images and using an app that ATN makes available for free, you can download without even a connector.

The eyepieces slide in and out to adjust for different faces and each has a diopter adjustment for your vision. When you turn the ATN BinoX HD on, you get an internal screen that has numerous features displayed. One of these is a way of using the ATN BinoX HD as a range finder – very handy when navigating or noting things on your charts.

Binox 17Using the night vision infrared mode, you can get a surprisingly detailed image but this was shot using the tripod mount to hold it steady.

Talk about amazing technology! The ATN BinoX HD includes a suite of “environmental sensors”.There is an Ultra Low Power computing subsystem that provides continuous information about the environment and positioning of the ATN BinoX HD device in the 3 spatial axis. This subsystem works independently from the main processor and includes a microcontroller, a 3D accelerometer that measures speed, a 3D magnetometer that gives compass heading, and a 3D gyroscope.

Again, the price is equally amazing; we found the ATN BinoX HD on a Canadian online retail site for $800. Both the FLIR Ocean Scout TK and the ATN BinoX HD are boating accessories that will provide hours of interesting entertainment and then, when darkness falls, they could be life-savers.

For the boating family, these are outstanding Christmas gifts or investments in safety and convenience for the summer of 2017. Have a look at the websites:
Furuno 
FLIR
ATN

 

 

Destinations

  • Prev
The Schooner Cove Yacht Club is situated between Nanaimo and Parksville, on the east coast of ...
After months of planning my trip to Prince Edward Island in my CL16 open sailing dinghy Celtic ...
Bridgetown, Barbados:With just four days to go before the start of the 2017 Mount Gay Round ...
The first time we sailed to Madeira we wondered if the island had vanished. Or at least that's how ...
A year ago, it’s quite possible that if someone gave me an outline of Canada and asked me to ...
You've all heard of the “Backpacker's Guide to Europe” and the “Hitchhiker's ...
We were cruising for two weeks in Gwaii Haanas. Spread out among three boats, (a Campion, a ...
When we (an Ontario couple) both raised sailing on the Great Lakes and Lake Simcoe,  decided to ...
I was ruined...completely and utterly ruined. At the young age of 22, my very first trip to the ...

Cape Breton – My Personal Playground

Cape Breton - St Peters MarinaBy Elizabeth Ann Kerr

A year ago, it’s quite possible that if someone gave me an outline of Canada and asked me to point to Cape Breton Island, I would have failed, at least on my first attempt. Now, its shape, topography and waypoint remain indelibly emblazoned on my heart.

It is also quite possible that Celtic Colours – an annual gathering of more than 200 local and internationally renowned musicians, performing 49 concerts in 32communities– helped to kick start Cape Breton’s tourism industry 20 years ago.

Read more of Cape Breton.....

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
After we published a picture of a cute doggie in a life jacket we got some great dog-onboard photos ...
After ten weeks in George Town, aka Adult Summer Camp, we have left the harbour and started north. ...
Last time we published a picture of a cute doggie in a life jacket (my pup btw) and we received a ...
This picture is of the vessel Puffins II a 1947 30' Taylor Craft. This vessel has been the pride of ...
This shot came to us via Cat Ward of Toronto, although it was her friend Laurie who took it from ...
“This is in Shoal Channel off the town of Gibsons BC. We are awaiting the start of a second ...
When the three day weather window we needed to cross to the Bahamas opened up, we were ready to ...
Hello Photo of the Week enthusiasts and welcome to a superb album to kick off 2017.
You can’t possibly pack in more national history associated with a yacht club than what you ...
Adamant 1 has had a busy month. We only stayed in Mobile long enough to get the mast put up and get ...

Armdale Yacht ClubBy Katherine Stone

You can’t possibly pack in more national history associated with a yacht club than what you can find on Deadman’s Island in Nova Scotia. This is what Halloween legends were made of, as it was not uncommon once upon a time, to have an arm appear out of the ground in winter with the remainder of the poor skeleton not being reunited with its appendage until the spring thaw.

Many years after the Micmacs discovered Melville Island, the spot they called “end of the water,” the site was used for storehouses and then was purchased by the British, where a prisoner-of-war camp was built to house captives in the Napoleonic Wars and then later during the War of 1812.

Read more about Armdale Yacht Club...

 

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
The Rossiter 23 Classic Day Boatis both a logical extension of the Canadian-built Rossiter line and ...
It's rare for Canadian Yachting magazine to report on the same boat twice, but that is how ...
When French naval architect Philippe Briandand the Jeanneau design team started working on the ...
Canadian Yachting magazine readers will certainly be familiar with the Cruisers Yachts line of ...
You can count yourself lucky to be able to go for a sail on Lake Ontario in mid-October when the ...
We met the new Cruisers Yachts 54 Cantius under almost ideal circumstances, on the beautiful Trent ...
The Chris-Craft Scorpion 210F is a sport boat with a unique combination of a midship motor and an ...
There must be a healthy market for the perfect 30-foot cruiser/racer – the boat that combines ...
At the last Miami International Boat Show, we had the pleasure of interviewing Delphine Andre, ...
In today's world marketplace choices abound. In some way, every manufacturer tries to make their ...

Vanquish 24 RunaboutBy Andy Adams

Big, elegant, and capable

Families with young people who are seriously into waterskiing or wake boarding face a difficult choice: Buy a dedicated tow sports boat and make the kids happy or buy a more traditional family boat and make everyone comfortable.

In our opinion, the Vanquish 24 Runabout offers up a big, elegant, and capable solution that could make everybody happy. This is not a cheap solution, but it's an impressive one. Last August, we traveled to Gravenhurst, Ontario, and got our first look at the Vanquish 24 Runabout, tied up at Muskoka Wharf Marine. One glance told us this was a special boat.

Read More of the Vanquish 24 Review.....

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Before leaving on an extended cruise, it is critical to inspect and maintain all systems on your ...
In this second of three parts, we will explore preparing for a longer cruise from the people side. ...
Informed estimates are that barely 10% of Canadian pleasure craft have underwater lighting but in ...
Comfort and convenience are important factors both to keep boaters enjoying boating as well as to ...
Sunshine flooded the waters separating California’s Catalina Island from Channel Islands Harbor, ...
Winterizing your boat in the fall is important and may be a daunting task for some boat owners.  ...

Seamasters Inflatables

Always a major exhibitor at the Halifax International Boat Show, Seamaster’s sales manager Dave Trott tells us they will have several news products on display including the new Stingray 206cc and the 186cc.

Seamaster Services of Dartmouth is a diversified company with roots in the marine safety business. Over the years they have expanded from liferafts to inflatable boats, as a Zodiac dealers, and now sell and service an extensive line of fibreglass and inflatable boats including Grady-White and Stingray.

Read more about Seamasters....