The Online Boating and Maritime Exhibition

#12 - Easy Boating

Top Gear for Easy Sailing

Digital Deck (Courtesy of Kevin Green)

Yachting has been transformed over the last 50 years by major innovations such as fibreglass hulls, Dacron sails, non-stretch Dyneema cordage and GPS navigation. Modern gear makes it easier to enjoy sailing and often requires less crew.


Nowadays, materials such as carbon, composites and alloys allow the construction of lightweight deck gear that is immensely strong and long-lasting.

Electronics also have transformed yachting. The brain of the boat is the multifunction display (MFD), which can be stand-alone or have a remote processor. The humble MFD has come a long way from the simple chartplotter.

It’s now expected to control the entire boat.

It’s now expected to control the entire boat, and the latest units go beyond, to the Internet of Things (IoT). By web-enabling all devices, easily checking your bilge pump from afar while the boat bounces about at a windy mooring is handy for your peace of mind.

Radar is another key technology. Small radomes and digital imaging—CHIRP, pulse and others—offer detailed target separation and simultaneous dual range. This provides real-time views of your surroundings at night and in fog. The result is increased safety and a digital deck that is smarter and easier to use.

Customizing the Brain Trust

Your multifunction device (MFD) is the brain trust of the boat, so it pays to update its hardware and software regularly, especially as the data from an increasing number of instruments require increased processing power. One solution is the quad core processors of the Axiom MFD touch screens, available in  7, 9, and 12-inch flush-mount or separate models.

Handy features include support for the RMK10 remote keypad and/or the RCU-3 steering wheel remote accessories. Customization of Raymarine’s proprietary LightHouse3 software means regular functions can be prominently displayed. Such as the ClearCruise thermal video analytics, which detects objects in and on the water when connected to the M100 camera, part of the Flir/Raymarine company.

Connected Garmin Touch Screens

Garmin has just released an updated line of touch screens and keypads. Built-in wireless connectivity for Garmin mobile apps and VIRB action camera integration is standard.

The company’s BlueChart g2 HD charts come preloaded, with Garmin Auto Guidance for quick route planning. The system automatically avoids hazards when networked with the Garmin autopilot. All new models also offer integrated ANT+ support for use with the Quatix 3 marine GPS smartwatch, Garmin Nautix in-view display, gWind Wireless 2 transducer, GNX Wind marine instrument and wireless remote controls.

Inflatable fenders (Courtesy of MaxiStow)

Inflatable fenders (Courtesy of MaxiStow)

The new models include the compact 752xs (7-inch) and 952xs (9-inch) touch screens and the GPSMAP 1022xsv and GPSMAP 1222xsv keypads (10-inch and 12-inch displays).

Humminbird’s Digital Radar

Joining the big four manufacturers, Humminbird recently launched a digital radar pulse compression model. The compact solid-state unit comes with all the advantages of digital radar pulse compression over traditional magnetron radars, including improved resolution and clearer target separation.

Specifications indicate operation from 18 feet (5.4 m) to 24 nautical miles. Benefits for anglers include noting surface birds that indicate fish presence and cloud formations for weather safety. Power output is 20W and the radome measures 21 inches. The radar connects to the Helix and new Solix range of MFDs.

Four-Speed Winches

High-speed alloy winches allow fast sail hoisting and  trimming while offering more power at lower gear ratios. Racers on the Route du Rhum single-handed transatlantic race favored French Pontos four-speed Grinder and Trimmer models. Made of anodized aluminum, the three sizes (40, 46, 52) are suitable for most retrofits.

Beneteau wing sail (Courtesy of Kevin Green)

Beneteau wing sail (Courtesy of Kevin Green)

Retractable Davits

The new Jeanneau 51 is available with retractable davits. Made from anodized aluminum, they are easily extended and locked before the tender is hoisted clear of the water. The Osculati model is adjustable and can hold up to 180 kg.

Inflatable Fenders

Protecting your topsides has long been a tedious business due to bulky, heavy fenders. The latest generation of lightweight inflatable fenders facilitates stowage. Deflating them when voyaging offshore provides more locker space for victuals or extra diesel.

The brain of the boat is the multifunction display.

MaxiStow fenders come in small, medium and large sizes for sailing and power boats. Made from high-grade polyester with an abrasion resistant surface, they are durable and can be repaired if punctured.

Return of the Wing Sail

A Beneteau research and development team is working on a production version of the wing sail, an old idea that could transform yacht rigs. Simple sail plans are one of the holy grails for cruising sailors, with many ideas tried over the decades. In fact, Chinese junk rigs date back centuries.

Wing sails are designed for easy handling. The unified sail plan is less complex, with a single halyard, no shrouds and only one sail to worry about. Operating it can also be safer, as we discovered when testing the Beneteau prototype. There’s no rigging to crash against and the forward jib section of the wing acts as a brake, cushioning the swinging momentum of the mainsail section.

Nanotech Dyneema Cordage

Dyneema cordage (Courtesy of Kevin Green)

Dyneema cordage (Courtesy of Kevin Green)

Transform your ageing halyards and sheets with the latest non-stretch Dyneema cordage. Made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, it’s so light that it floats, yet it has a yield strength nearly five times that of steel.

German manufacturer Liros uses a new nano coating system on its cordage that improves the performance of Dyneema. Nano particles – a thin layer of interlocking molecules – create abrasion resistance while reducing both friction and wear of the cordage.

Read more about nautic equipment on NauticExpo website.

About the Author

Kevin Green is a Sydney-based yachting journalist who contributes to international boating publications.

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