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Gizmo Steams Northward To International Cruising Boat Expo at Essex (Blog)


Gizmo is steaming to Essex. I am crewing for PassageMaker Electronics Editor Ben Ellison as he heads from Baltimore to next week's International Cruising Boat Expo at the Brewer Essex Island Marina. We're on Gizmo, Ellison's remarkable, antenna- and MFD-festooned Duffy 37.

Cruising Boat Expo, a combination of seminars, a boat show and social events in the tradition of TrawlerFest,will be held June 2-7, at Brewer Essex Island Marina in Essex, Connecticut. The boat show portion of the Boating Expo runs Thursday to Sunday, June 4-7.

Gizmo (shown above courtesy of Ronbo) got a late start Tuesday and got as far as the Chesapeake City basin on the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal. Then yesterday we covered 98 miles, just shy of Atlantic City, on the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway. We had to pay careful attention on the notoriously shoaling waterway. And yes we did go aground a couple times, but not seriously.

 We caught up with Ulysses, at Cape May, New Jersey. She was built on Long Island and designed for canals. She's long and narrow.

We caught up with Ulysses, at Cape May, New Jersey. She was built on Long Island and designed for canals. She's long and narrow.

Ellison, who also writes the online marine electronics blog Panbo, is giving two talks at the Boat Expo. "Soup-to-Nuts Navigation" happens over two mornings, Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Ellison and Peter Trogdon of Weems & Plath will provide the attendees with the foundations of effective vessel navigation, beginning how charts are made and what they do and do not tell us.

Using complimentary instruments and charts provided by Weems & Plath, the class continues with a hands on workshop on pencil on paper dead reckoning, which, even in the age of electronics, is the basis for situational awareness at sea as well as best use of navigation electronics. Small teams of students will work with training charts and instruments to plot a course. (This kind of charting is also a requirement for a U.S. captain’s license.) In the afternoon we’ll go digital with a class on multi function displays and how to use them, and, equally important, how not to use them. Trogdon and Ellison will make time for audience Q&A at the end of the day.

Ellison also presents "The Wonderful World of Onboard Wireless," on Friday, June 5, 10:45 a.m.-12:24 p.m.

The seminar addresses how to set up high performance, reasonable cost WiFi and cellular connections on a boat. It answers the question of when satellite communications make sense and what are the sensible options. Ellison will clarify the complexities, and he'll look at some of the wireless apps and gadgets that are making cruising safer and more fun. Besides standalone charting apps, and why you might want to use them in addition to your primary navigation system, Ellison will review a wide variety of mobile programs that can communicate with your boat’s electronics for improved instrumentation, off- vessel monitoring and more. Marine weather, AIS, and cruising info apps will also be covered.

There will be particular emphasis on new services that make it easy to upload detailed navigation, systems and engine data to the Internet, whether it’s to improve charts, maintain an online log, or trend analyze your power plant.

By the way, Gizmo will be at the show and available for inspection. Where else can you see three different radars working at the same time?

 To register for Ellison's seminars click here.

To register for Ellison's seminars click here.

For information about TrawlerFest call our dedicated number 954.703.4789 or email us at

 Ben Ellison Pilots Gizmo on the New Jersey ICW.

Ben Ellison Pilots Gizmo on the New Jersey ICW.