6 amazing marine electronics from the Sydney boat show

By: Kevin Green, Photography by: Kevin Green & supplied

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  • Trade-A-Boat

If you were looking for the latest and best boat electronics, the 2016 Sydney International Boat Show was the place to be.

Whether you were after a new electronics package for your tinnie or the hottest new marine equipment for a luxury motor cruiser, there was plenty of useful gear to be found as our marine electronics expert, Kevin Green, roamed the halls of the Sydney International Boat Show.

As seen at the show, here are…


6 of the best boat electronics

Garmin Nautix In-view glasses display

Garmin Nautix glasses

Garmin is trying to succeed in marine electronics where Google Glass failed with this eye-wear data display. Trying it at the Show I was impressed with the readability of the data. I felt like the America's Cup-winning skipper James Spithill as data quickly flowed before my eyes. It’s ideal for start lines when the steerer needs his own countdown. Using a proprietary wireless link, it streams all the key data – course, wind, VMG etc – from Garmin MFDs. Similarly useful in cruise or motoring mode, the customisable pages can give depth, RPM and other useful telemetry while you sunbath. It has several fittings so can be used on all sunglasses.

  • Garmin Nautix price: $599 RRP
  • More info: garmin.com


Garmin Fantom radar

Garmin Fantom radar

The marine electronics radar wars are on again with Garmin joining Simrad in the open array market for pulse compression radar systems. Unlike the traditional magnetron powered systems used on big boat electronics, these low power consuming, yet powerful, units are transforming radar, as I found out when using the Simrad Halo unit. The attraction of these large open arrays (available in four- or six-foot) from both Garmin and Simrad, is the ability to identify close range targets and distance targets (20 feet to 72 nautical miles), the latter traditionally the territory of the magnetron units due to their sharper beams. Outputting 40W, the Garmin Fantom uses pulsed signals to rapidly update the display, so enhances target differentiation. Other key features include modes for harbour, at sea and, for fishermen, bird mode is welcome. Also included is enhanced collision avoidance technology called MotionScope which helps the GuardZone feature to keep you safe.

  • Garmin Fantom radar price: $3,999 via CHS Smith for a base model marine electronics package.
  • More info: garmin.com


Raymarine Quantum radar

Raymarine Quantum radar

Sounding like a gadget James Bond would approve of, the Raymarine Quantum radar is indeed an innovative boat electronics example. It uses CHIRP pulse compression to emit a series of pings, thus giving enhanced information over the previous broadband offerings. A range of six metres to 24 miles is quoted. The more pings creates a greater detailed image and differentiates moving targets of densely grouped flotillas of dinghies (as I found when testing similar units). Another feature, similar to the rival Furuno DRS4D, is wireless connectivity. Ethernet cable is also available. Wireless is attractive to small sailing vessels, as is the low 17W transmit power and 5.6kg weight up the mast.

  • Raymarine Quantum radar price: $2,000 marine electronics package from Outback Marine.
  • More info: raymarine.com.au


Mercury VesselView

Mercury 702 VesselView boat electronics

Mercury has upgraded its engine control software with a new version of VesselView that supports apps for both iOS and Android using Bluetooth connectivity. The software complements the new 502 and 702 screens. The Navico-owned company now supports enhanced integration into Simrad and Lowrance MFD (multi-function displays). This is all done through the Mercury Marine backbone operating system, SmartCraft, which is a suite of digital technologies including marine gauge sensors, vessel systems and diagnostic software. Connectivity to other branded electronics is also available through the industry standard NMEA2000 protocol.


Garmin GPSMAP 8424

Garmin MFD

This 24-inch screen, the GPSMAP 8424, can easily display a six-way split thanks to its sharp HD graphics. On anything smaller, this could be data-overkill, but as a skipper I'd be happy with this much data, assuming the processor (not specified) could cope with data refreshes. The interface is pinch-to-zoom touchscreen control and Garmin claims the highest resolution on the market at 1920 x 1200 pixels.

  • Garmin GPSMAP 8424 price: $18,999 RRP
  • More info: garmin.com


Oceanvolt electric motor

Ocean volt electronic power

When the world's fuel runs out, electric technology powered by renewables could be the future of boating, so I enjoyed chatting to Claude Desjardins from Oceanvolt. He's installed an electric motor in a Sydney-based grand prix race yacht designed by Bruce Ritchie. Powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries (costing €14,000 – approx. A$20,670), the 48-volt motor equates to about a 30hp diesel, yet weighs only 48kg. Claude says it can run the Ritchie 38-footer for about six hours at five knots. The renewable aspect is its ability to recharge by hydro power while sailing (with the folding propeller only semi-open). Clever.

  • Oceanvolt electric motor price: €12,000 (approx. A$29,530), plus batteries.
  • More info: oceanvolt.com



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