Blog-Talk of the Dock

Night vision for iPhone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zuzana Prochazka   

Guest editor, Alan Wendt, visited CES last week and found a cool gadget that will come in handy for boaters - high functionality at a low price.

Night vision, more properly defined as thermal imaging is coming to the iPhone 5 and 5s all for under $350. FLIR, who ten years ago was selling sophisticated units for tens of thousands of dollars each, demonstrated the iPhone version this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

FLIR ONE is expected in stores this spring, the cameras, internal battery and circuitry are housed in a compact housing that resembles an extended battery case adding a scant 3.2 ounces. FLIRs two image gathering devices converts heat, which is emitted from every object on earth, into color images. These color images allow users to not only see in the dark, but to also observe differences in temperature of fractions of a degree.

For boaters this form of night vision is critical advantage for safe navigation. This is not X-Ray vision that lets you see through walls, clothing, glass, however contractors and the DYI homeowner will be able to more accurately find everything from a stud in the wall to leaks in the pipes with little trial and error. Software for the iPhone that lets you manage the images, record or send via the smartphone 4G service is free. An Android version is also in the works.

Grenadines Sailing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zuzana Prochazka   

If you're looking for the quintessential island paradise, check out St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is a great charter destination with lots of wind, friendly people, great food, and good variety in the islands you'll be visiting. Best of all, the islands are close together so you can explore a bunch in one or two weeks.

Here are some pictures I took as I skippered on the last Latitudes & Attitudes Share the Sail. Click on the islands below to read about the adventures:

Beautiful Bequia

Tobago Cays

St. Vincent






Eric Stone & Friends PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zuzana Prochazka   

Here's a suspect crew. Famous faces of the boating world.

On the left is Kim Hess, Owner of Tropic Yoga. She's the Pirate Yogi and you're likely to find her on a boat or beach doing Down Dog, Up Dog, and Scurvy Dog.

On the right is Rags Laragione, President and CEO of the Maritime Institute of San Diego, an excellent educational institution where many have received their USCG licenses.

And in the middle is Eric Stone, or Island Eric, armed with guitar and a Jimmy Buffet style. Eric was playing Rags' house party when  a few of us from the old gang got together.


Furuno TZ Touch Displays PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zuzana Prochazka   

I walked away from the Furuno booth at the Miami boat show with a good feeling – I felt like an electronics expert. And I felt like that because in five minutes, with zero instruction and without so much as a glance at the manual, I could competently use their new NavNet TZtouch-enabled multi-function displays (MFDs). I’ve never before come across such an intuitive suite of products that incudes radar, chartplotter, fish fishfinder, AIS, weather and more.

Furuno is the first to bring true multi-touch technology to the marine market – it’s not just drag-and-drop and pick a window anymore – instead, think iPad-like pinch-to-zoom and swipe capability. Furuno combined their TimeZero technology with a true multi-touch MFD and now as soon as your fingers make contact with the screen, taps, pinches and swipes become instant commands. Furuno also kept their RotoKey rotary knob so you have two ways of making selections and adjustments. I was an instant genius.

In addition, free custom apps let you wirelessly view and control TZtouch from any iPhone, iPad, or iPod. That means your iOS device becomes a remote monitor and control system from anywhere on the boat. (Other platforms like Android smartphones and tablets are planned for the future.) TZtouch also has wireless connectivity to hotspots, allowing you to download updates, such as real-time weather data, via the Web. And of course, Furuno still includes their 2D and 3D charts and aerial photos of key areas and harbors – bu  now you can move between them faster and easier than ever before.

There are two MFDs in Furuno’s current lineup - the TZT9 (9” display) is $5,695, and the TZT14 (14”display) has a list price of $7,695.


Aquabotix Hydroview Camera PDF Print E-mail
Written by Zuzana Prochazka   

Do you need to see what’s stuck on your rudder but don’t want to take a dip in chilly water? How about checking on your anchor from the security of your deck? Both are now possible with two fun and useful gadgets by Aquabotix.

AquaBotix offers two viewing systems, one self-contained and one that works from the end of a pole. The AquaLens is a portable underwater camera with live video feed and LED lights that you can mount on the end of your boathook. It weighs three pounds and has a diameter of five inches. The 640 x 480 pixel camera has a 3.5-inch LCD screen and uses eight AA batteries. The system is collapsible so it’s easy to store and retails for $475. If you want to do a quick check on your prop after running into a submerged object or you wish to evaluate the underwater condition of the piling you’re tied to, hook up the Aqualens and stay dry.

Now, if you want to venture farther, try the new HydroView which is as kind of underwater rover also with a built-in camera and LED lights. It looks like a small airplane with two propellers on either side of the lens. It measures 19 x 15 x 7 inches and weighs only eight pounds but can go to a depth of 75 feet and with the optional cable, can venture 300 feet from its control source.  You “drive” the Hydroview via the topsides WiFi box and steer it with your iPad, iPhone or Android device by simply tilting your tablet or smartphone in the direction you want to go. The Hydroview can travel at up to five knots, has a two hour run time and retails for $3,995. That’s a steep price to pay just to check on your anchor but then if there are sharks around, it seems like a pretty reasonably priced solution. Besides, maybe you’ll find sunken treasure with it and it will more than pay for itself.

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