2015 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead: Overall Winner, Jamie Holley

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Sonar wars: Lowrance StructureScan 3D, Raymarine SonarChart Live & GoFree Hooked

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 27, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Lowrance_StructureScan_3D_split_screen_aPanbo.jpgThe competition around sonar burns hot on many fronts and the more the merrier, I say. At the recent iCast show Lowrance introduced StructureScan 3D, which displays in many ways like the Garmin Panoptix Down looking sonar which I saw demonstrated last February in its Forward looking version. Trade Only’s Chris Landry noticed the similarity too and reports that SS 3D will also be supported on Simrad NSS evo2 displays. The necessary StructureScan 3D transducer and module are due out in December and purportedly improve on SS HD’s standard down and side views as well as enabling the new 3D mode…

Lowrance_StructureScan_3D_full_screen_aPanbo.jpgI’m a longtime fan of StructureScan as a cruising tool — and have been glad to see Garmin and Raymarine join the side-scanning fray that Humminbird started, Panbo links all — but it’s true that few Gizmo visitors easily understand the normal top-down display that I tried to explain here. Reprocessing the 2D bottom imagery into a 3D view from behind the boat (or from any other angle) with the “Leading Edge” beam pattern shown in red may well make both the technology and the bottom structure easier to comprehend. SS 3D also introduces new features like Vertical Depth Enhancement to highlight drop-offs and SelectScan to add color contrast to suspended targets like fish. We may soon see positive reports on Garmin Panoptix in actual use, but jealous Navico users may find comfort in this promising StructureScan 3D beta testing video.

Navionics_SonarChart_Live_on_Raymarine_Dragonfly_aPanbo.jpgMeanwhile, Raymarine’s Dragonfly 4/5 PRO and Wi-Fish got support for Navionics SonarChart Live, and that’s true now if you’re running the iOS Boating app with Android coming soon. Users of the $199 Wi-Fish get a CHIRP DownVision window on their app charting, and with the Dragonfly Pro plotter/FF models (start at $300) you get both DownVision and CHIRP fishfinding windows, as seen in this video. Either way, this looks like a slick SonarCharts Live integration, and given the availability of both Dragonfly/Wi-Fish device and transducer RAM mounts, it would be easy to set up a tender as a survey vessel (like I did with the Vexilar T-Box).

Finally, Navico also announced the GoFree Hooked fishing app at iCast and is looking for beta testers with an iPhone 5 or above. Now, you could say that this app has nothing directly to do with sonar, but hear me out. I too was a bit surprised that the first inhouse GoFree mobile app (aside from the MFD Controllers) stands apart from all the GoFree WiFi data streaming features built into Navico electronics, but then I realized that — duh! — the ambition is bigger. Hooked begins as a free app that any fisherman can use to document his or her catches and engage in friendly competitions, regardless of electronics. Thus, it’s easy to picture a pro version that could be used to manage and/or document an entire tournament via GoFree’s cloud servers. It’s also easy to imagine how Hooked users who do run Lowrance and Simrad gear might eventually get their catch histories integrated with their Insight Genesis sonar records and even downloaded to the boat via GoFree WiFi to provide a resource that fishermen with their scribbled notepads have only dreamed of!

And can’t we assume that Raymarine, Garmin, Humminbird, etc. are anxiously minding the same GoFree Hooked possibilities? That’s what makes the fierce sonar competition so intriguing and productive, I think (though I hope that the patent part — news here and here — doesn’t dominate). I also like to contemplate how much Navico is banking on its GoFree brand and what a tight integration of apps, cloud servers, and streaming boat electronics could do for cruise logs, planning, monitoring and more. Let’s hope that battle gets hot too.

GoFree_Hooked_app_aPanbo.jpg

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Muscat triumphs in Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Hamburg

The Wave, Muscat sailed an outstanding final day in Germany, at Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ presented by Land Rover. Three race wins and two podium finishes saw Britain’s Leigh McMillan clinch his third 2015 Act title after four spectacular days of racing in the heart of the city and extend his lead at the top of the overall Series leaderboard.

“We do enjoy the pressure of a final day,” said McMillan as he stepped off the boat after winning the day with 9.14 points per race according to the SAP Analytics, “We got out of the blocks well with a win in race one and that set the tone. It was an amazing performance by the team; everyone was so fired up this morning and it really showed on the water.”

But this wasn’t a case of The Wave, Muscat running away with the regatta. Pushing them all the way were Gazprom Team Russia who went into the final day of an outstanding event with fire in their eyes.

Helm Phil Robertson’s determination on the dock was unquestionable: “We’re going to go out there like a pack of hungry dogs,” he promised. And his team did not disappoint. Duelling with Danish crew SAP Extreme Sailing Team all the way through the last metres of the final double points race to take second overall, their best result to date, the young Russian crew picked up the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for their effort.

The Danes, co-skippered by Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner, were third overall after being pushed down the rankings in the final race of the day by some tactical sailing by McMillan’s crew. This allowed Team Turx and Lino Sonego Team Italia to finish the Act on a high - with a first and second place respectively.

“I wasn’t particularly comfortable pushing them out of the final race but you just have to look at the overall Series leaderboard, and they are a major threat. We have to take whatever opportunity we can,” McMillan explained. But Køstner seemed unfazed: “The Wave, Muscat are afraid of losing points to us, so we take it as a compliment. They are scared of racing us later in the season.“

New to the Series for 2015 Hamburg, Germany delivered perfect Stadium Racing conditions that saw the fleet of nine elite level Extreme 40s race in everything from 8–30knots in blue skies to rumbling thunderstorms. With crowds of over 44,500 lining the HafenCity waterfront to watch, there was no shortage of drama.

After their dramatic capsize on Saturday, SAP Extreme Sailing Team continued to entertain with a crash on the start line today when their hull landed on top of GAC Pindar. Fortunately there was no serious damage or injuries to the sailors on either boat.

The young crew on-board Team Extreme Germany struggled to get to grips with the high performance catamarans but improved steadily throughout the weekend much to the delight of local fans.

With an eye firmly on the overall 2015 Series championship and three Acts remaining, The Wave, Muscat lead by a slim three-point margin over SAP Extreme Sailing Team. Red Bull Sailing Team round up the overall podium three points adrift in third.

The eight Act global Series will now move on to Saint Petersburg Russia, 20- 23 August.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 overall standings:

Position / Team / Points

1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 47 points.

2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 44 points.

3rd Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 41 points.

4th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 33 points.

5th Oman Air (OMA) 29 points.

6th Team Turx (TUR) 24 points.

7th GAC Pindar (AUS) 24 points.

8th Lino Songeo Team Italia (ITA) 18 points.

Click here to read more about the Extreme Sailing Series.

Land Rover BAR Wins ACWS Portsmouth

Extreme winds forced the cancellation of racing at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth on Sunday, but didn’t dampen enthusiasm for a Royal visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.



With no racing to close out the weekend, the results from Saturday stand, meaning Land Rover BAR is the winner of the first event of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.

Ainslie and his team were congratulated on their win at the official prize giving by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were on site all day on Sunday and met with all of the teams, presenting the awards for the regatta. Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, was on hand to present each of the skippers with a gift.

“We’re absolutely delighted to win the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event here in Portsmouth. This is a great start for us in our America’s Cup journey,” said Ben Ainslie, skipper of Land Rover BAR.

“With the conditions that we saw yesterday and the standard these teams are sailing at, it’s absolutely amazing racing and looks wonderful on TV. In my sailing career, I’ve never seen anything like it - the amount of people who came out on the water, on the shoreline, supporting the event, supporting us as the home team…

“It’s a real shame we couldn’t race today considering all the effort that’s gone into the event and the support we’ve had from the local fans here in Portsmouth. But that is the weather and we can’t control it.”

Emirates Team New Zealand claimed second place with rookie Peter Burling on the helm at his first America’s Cup regatta.

"For a 24 year old, what a great opportunity for him to come through as a young guy. His skill level is really, really, high. This fast-paced, quick action, quick decision making really suits him,” said his skipper, Glenn Ashby.

ORACLE TEAM USA rounded out the podium in third place.

“The racing was great. We had some good sailing out there. Lots of lead changes, six competitive teams, the level is really, really high,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “We’re disappointed we couldn’t get out there again today.”

Fourth place belongs to Groupama Team France whose skipper, Franck Cammas, was philosophical about not being able to race.

“The sailing world depends on wind. Too much, not enough, there is no race. It’s normal for us as sailors. Today was clearly too windy to race without a big risk. It was the right decision,” Cammas said.

“But I’m happy about what happened here. There were so many people watching and it was well organized for the first event on the circuit. I’m very confident for the future as we look ahead.

“It was great to be able to race against the others,” Cammas continued. “At home, we train alone and when you sail alone you are always the world champion! So we found the level here is very high. Not a surprise, but good to see, and very motivating for us to improve.”

Dean Barker’s new SoftBank Team Japan squad finished on equal points with the French, but fell to fifth place in the tie-breaker.

“We wanted to get into it again today, but it would have been impossible to race in these conditions,” Barker said. 

“The foiling AC45 race boats are great. But for us, we know we have a lot of work to do. This is just the first step in a long two-year program. Gothenburg next month will be a great opportunity to get back out there and get into the racing. That will have different challenges in terms of the race course, so more to adapt to there as well. We’re excited we get to race again in a month’s time.”

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg from August 28-30 is the home event for Artemis Racing. The Swedish challenger will be looking to improve on a last place finish here in Portsmouth.

“We’re excited to get there and see the support for Artemis Racing. We’ve had great enthusiasm for the team at home in Sweden over the last couple of years and we’re really looking forward to racing there,” said skipper Nathan Outteridge.

Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth Results:

  1. Land Rover BAR - 19 points
  2. Emirates Team New Zealand - 18 points
  3. ORACLE TEAM USA - 16 points
  4. Groupama Team France - 13 points
  5. SoftBank Team Japan - 13 points
  6. Artemis Racing - 11 points

Next event: Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Gothenburg - August 28-30

2015 TransPac Finishes

Team Phaedo Transpac Finish


Courtesy of Ocean Images / Team Phaedo

Wild Oats XI arrives on the dock in Hawaii


Courtesy of Transpac YC

A quick recap of Rio 100's Barn Door Wining TransPac


Courtesy of Transpac YC

Big responsibility for Richard Goransson

Racing resumes on the 2015 RC44 Championship Tour with the third event of the season starting tomorrow on the picturesque holiday hotspot island of Marstrand on Sweden's west coast.

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