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Raymarine a global British Brand - shame about the Directors!

Another sad day for the British marine industry May 14, 2010.

….”Raymarine plc (the “Company”), a global leader in the supply of electronic products to the leisure marine market, has today reached agreement to sell its shares in Raymarine Holdings Limited to a subsidiary of FLIR Systems, Inc. (“FLIR”) a world leader in thermal imaging products. The sale represents the entire business operations of Raymarine and its subsidiaries. On 29 April 2010, following an extensive M&A process, the Company’s directors announced to shareholders that they were in advanced discussions with a third party regarding the sale of Raymarine Holdings Limited. It was envisaged that this transaction, once completed and following repayment of the group’s bank borrowings and other creditors, would result in approximately 17.5 pence per share for the Company’s shareholders.”….

What can I say …

From FLIR’s web site …“The acquisition furthers FLIR’s strategy in the marine market by dramatically increasing its maritime distribution network with the addition of Raymarine’s 1,000 dealer outlets and 400+ marine OEMs, nearly all of which are additive to FLIR’s existing distribution. FLIR plans to expand Raymarine’s product line breadth by integrating thermal imaging cameras with Raymarine’s display, radar and autopilot product lines to create the broadest, most effective, and easiest to use suite of products in the marine electronics industry”….

Good luck FLIR – lets see if your Directors have the brains to take a global brand and – er – keep it a global brand !


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Which smartphone for your nav software?

PhonesI havent updated my page on Phones here for sometime – for one thing the market innovation has just raced at such a speed it is almost impossible to keep up!

There can be no doubt that small handheld devices, more powerful than todays laptops will become commonplace – connected to huge datacentres like Amazon Cloud Front, Google, or Microsoft Azure and across the web for the provision all sorts of services from weather to location to social networks.

By the way this does raise all sorts of global warming issues that Greenpeace and others have highlighted. These mega datacentres use enormous amounts of power for chilling as well as for running the equipment. Google for one has begun a “follow the moon” strategy so that loads can be swtiched to centres across that world that will have cheaper power at night and also climates where chilling is less important.

Anyway, back to phones, the question is simply – if I was to buy a phone today in order to run some of the nav software available for boats – which one would I choose? hmmm….tricky, everyone hates to buy something that is out of date by the time it is delivered !

I have prepared a spreadsheet with the phone models that I am considering and of course the choice between Android v Apple OS v Windows Mobile 6.5 is absolutely fundamantal to the choice of phone. Then there is Windows 7 for mobile…..

One big issue so far for iPhone is that its operating system did not do proper multi-tasking. In other words it would not allow more than one application to share the memory space available in the phone and operate together. This is pretty important if you are running nav software!.

Apple have launched OS-4 which does do multi-tasking BUT it will create priorities for applications based on the Apple iStore classification that might not allow an application as much processing power as you’d like it to have.

I would refer you to these interesting posts on the subject:

There are thousands of comments like those above on the web – but you can see how this may impact on the choice of phone for your chartplotting / nav software 🙂

I will be doing a post on navigation software for phones “soon”…

But, in the meantime I have summarised my phone comparison so far… To download a PDF of my spreadsheet just click here…this is a work in progress 🙂

I would be interested in comments from developers as well as sailors on this subject.


Polar diagrams in MaxSea TZ

Following the post called “Boat characteristics and learning to wally!” I had a number of mails about polar diagrams see also the comments to that post from Peter Gustafsson.

Polar1I can confirm that MaxSea TZ does have a comprehensive polar diagram creation option. It does not assume that the port and starboard speeds are symetrical (like some software). And you can create the diagram automatically

Polar2You can then edit the results to take into account special considerations on the day that you made your recording – such as sea state.

You can also store diagrams according to differing sail sets that you are likely to use.



Routing 7 of 7 : - Conclusion & Oscar Ceremony :-)

Oscars1 I do hope that you have found this series of articles delving into optimal routing software interesting. My personal objective was to learn a lot about routing – and I certainly think I did that. I also thought I would find what was the “best” system on the market – no chance – I am afraid life is not that simple!.

One thing I have found is a new and deep respect for the software developers behind these system – as well as their obvious skill and passion for sailing. While I realise that there may well be teams of developers at some of these suppliers – their is always the original author – so all credit to Nick White (Expedition); Dave Brayshaw (Advantage); Peter Schofield (Seatrack); Brice Pryszo (MaxSea); Brad Christian (Coastal Explorer); Graeme Winn (Deckman).

One of the criteria I set for myself was that I wanted to find the system that I, as an amateur and “average” sailor would find was “easy to use”. Perhaps that would be the clue to finding the best. BUT even here I found that all the TableA and TableB products, although they have different user interfaces, are all understandable – once you put some effort into understanding the inputs and outputs. So the “easy to use” test almost doesn’t apply since you need your brain switched on anyway to understand the objectives and the dynamics of what is going on with optimal routing in the first place.

In terms of the routing algorithm, there is a key difference between all the systems and Advantage by Dave Brayshaw – as you can see from his article on routing algorithms in Seahorse . Even though Dave’s argument is appealing, there certainly are a lot of expert sailors using the alternative isochron based methodologies.

Routing 7 of 7 : – Conclusion & Oscar Ceremony 🙂 → Click here to continue reading →


Routing 6 of 7 : A Chart by any other name...

Most sailors are well aware of the difference between Raster and Vector charts. I have access to both on board plus of course real paper – albeit gradually getting out of date 🙁 I think we are all past having long debates about which format is better. You will probably have huge amounts of storage on your laptop or various USB drives – so long as you archive and backup all those terribly interesting digital photos and videos!.

If you are like me you will just download and store all the charts that you can get your hands on for the waters that you sail. If you are in N American waters then the process is easy. At the very least you can just download the free (vector)  NOAA ENCs charts – latest edition notices for paper charts are here

NOAA Raster Navigational Charts® (NOAA RNCs) are full-color digital images of NOAA’s entire suite of paper charts. NOAA provides weekly updates to the RNCs, which are available for free. NOAA RNCs are official data that can be used in many types of electronic charting systems, including Raster Chart Display Systems (RCDS) and Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)

Vector charts are more suitable for manipulation by software programs attempting to calculate optimal routing – especially if it comes to manipulating stored data about obstacles; charted dangers or merging charted data with data that you yourself may have stored using the PBG type functionality.

Routing 6 of 7 : A Chart by any other name… → Click here to continue reading →