Posted by: livingaboardspellbound | November 13, 2013

IPad, not just for games

Wouldn’t it be great if you could control your boat from inside the cabin? Just think how nice it would be when the weather isn’t so great you could sit in the salon and control your autopilot with a touch of the screen. (I know there has to be a person on watch 24/7) Well for us, that just became a reality! Hubby installed our B&G Zeus Touch 7 and downloaded the app for Go Free Wirleless that can be controlled by an iPad or tablet, and be viewed on a smartphone.
The Zeus T7 is specifically designed for sailing, unlike many other chart plotters/GPS. It has a feature called SailSteer which provides a composite view of key sailing data, including Heading and COG, Current Layline, Calculated Tide, True Wind Angle indicator, Rudder Angle Indicator and Opposite Tack Layline. The data is displayed according to the boats bow, providing a clear image of important sailing data. Here is a screen shot from the instruction manual.

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Enhanced Sailtime calculations, removes reliance on ETA and provides a maximised view of tacking angles on the chart, even without an active waypoint. SailTime functions display the Time To Waypoint, Distance To Waypoint and Estimated Time or Arrival at waypoint using the layline calculations. This ensures a realistic value for these functions rather than relying on a feature designed for a power boat.

The Zeus T7 also integrates your autopilot computer via a NMEA 2000/0183 and/or SimNet, which then can be controlled by the unit or your iPad. For those of you who don’t know what an autopilot is, it is a electronic device that is designed to maintain an accurate course in various sea conditions with minimal helm movements. Now this does not mean it is a “set it and forget it” situation. When your waypoint changes, you still have to set the sails properly to maintain that course. We chose a Raymarine SPX5 Wheel Drive for our autopilot.

Another good feature that integrates into the Zeus is AIS, which is a system that uses either VHF or satellite systems to pinpoint locations of vessels for the purpose of collision avoidance. We chose a SIMRAD radio that has integrated AIS. This component will aid whoever is standing watch in locating nearby vessels. Now, if it would just locate sleeping whales!

There are a few other systems that can be integrated that we do not have. Radar, weather(either GRIB weather or SiriusXM weather), and StructureScan which uses high frequency to provide a high resolution image of the seabed directly below your boat down to 90m.

The Zeus is definitely a step up from the Garmin 178C which is really outdated and the cards are difficult to find. This will make our trip much easier ride.

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