Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Miami boat show 2013 roundup

The numbers aren't in yet for the Miami boat show, but by looking at the crowds on Friday, and the struggle it took to park, I think it is going to be a well attended show. My day was marred by rain especially in the afternoon which stopped me from visiting the "In the Water" venues. As I expected, new marine electronic product introductions have taken a big leap. My favorite was the new Raymarine Dragonfly sonar, a take on the Navico "Structure Scan", but using CHIRP technology with the brand name DownVision. With a price of about $700 I was extremely impressed.

This just fortifies my sense that we have just barely scratched the surface of sonar CHIRP technology. Just imagine this technology looking forward for obstacles, and being able to show you a safe path through shallow waters, or warning "Danger your boat can't go there!" Just musing out loud.

The demo units were using real sonar data, and the high resolution bottom and fish  images were spectacular, and of almost photographic quality.

These units use a Raymarine in house developed transducer. I suspect that over time will Raymarine will amp up the wattage, for use in larger future units. The Dragonfly can do DownVision imaging down to around 250 ft, and regular 50/200 CHIRP fish finding down to 600', all at speeds up to 20kts. I'm thinking about going treasure hunting with this system.

This was also my first look hands on look at the Garmin Quatrix watch. It streams N2K data, runs your auto pilot, gives you the tides, is a MOB device, and it also tells the time. Look out Dick Tracy, your watch is now passé. Check in with Ben Ellison at Panbo site for a lot more details on all of these new products and more.

As I mentioned the rain, at least for me mucked up my Friday. I had been invited to go for a ride on the Velodyne Marine experimental vessel the Martini 1.5, but the steady down pour quashed my hopes. I'm intrigued with the active suspension system technology that keeps the deck stable regardless of the sea conditions. No pitch or roll on this deck. Drat it, I really wanted to go for a ride, and explore this unique technology. I will try to find another opportunity soon.

I have been watching the rapid morphing of the kayak into fishing machines. Rod holders, bait wells, mirage pedal drives, electric drives, and now even outboard motors are possible.
The same can be said for the paddle boards. Here is a version on steroids, the outboard powered Xfish. Described as a micro skiff, it can be loaded with fishing options including hip driven hands free steering.

What I like best about boat shows is visiting their tenderloin. I could tell there is a huge public interest in paddle boards by the large crowds at the Tower paddle board booth. It was good to see so many older men really excited about getting out on the water with a paddle board.

German glue? I know the Germans make great automobiles, and beer, but glue? I must have missed something. Is this a national thing? Does every country have a national glue? What's our national glue, the slow drying Elmer's white gooey stuff? I also couldn't figure out what these two guys where doing, and frankly I was afraid to ask. You don't have to know everything.

Don't let the Grabit sign fool you, This booth was the 7-11 of the boat show selling everything. Shammys, cozies, sea sickness meds, glues, and even wire strippers. He was endlessly screwing in screws and removing them. I thought of Jack Nicholson in the movie typing over and over "All work, and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

And lastly from the "things I didn't know I needed department" is the "Utimate Electric Fish Scaler", or more appropriately a fish de-scaler. It claims to remove the scales from a fish in 8 seconds. It seemed to be a well though out, and made gadget. I'm old fashioned though so I'm staying with the hot wax and cloth strips to remove the scales.

There were a lot of boats there too, all out gassing styrene and pleather fumes. I can also report most of them were some sort of a shade of white. I will be seeing the corroding cramped unfinished interiors of them as soon as they hit the water.


  1. The Martini 1.5 brought back a memory: The destroyer on which I served back in the '60s had a gun aiming system (Mk 58?) installed. The topside mounted director was stabilized in roll - the whole director. The operators that had to ride in it said the change from the constant roll of the ship to a weird, level back-&-forth (think of a high perch in the rigging of a windjammer) resulted in instant seasickness!

  2. I really love going to boat conventions because I always see something new and useful that aids me on improving my yacht. I bought it back in 2007 and it still serves me well! The key to this my friends is maintenance. I always check my yacht for parts that need replacement, tuning or cleaning. This proved to be very effective because ever since I first set sail with my yacht, I have never experienced any mishaps.

    Douglass Blanchard


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.