Treat Your Boat to an Upgrade - Soundings Online

Treat Your Boat to an Upgrade

Repowering with new engine technology or upgrading  to the latest marine electronics can enhance the value and enjoyment of your boat.
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Who doesn’t love an upgrade? You check in at the airport and go from cattle-car economy to first-class luxury. While upgrading your boat may not be as superficially thrilling as receiving a complimentary first-class seat, the investment can boost your boat’s long-term value and your on-thewater enjoyment. Here’s the latest from electronics and engine manufacturers, making it tempting for you to do everything from a VHF radio upgrade to a complete repower. 

SI-TEX NavStar MFDs 

SI-TEX NavStar

SI-TEX NavStar

The 10- and 12-inch NavStar multifunction displays from SI-TEX combine radar, sonar, chart plotting and entertainment functions in a compact but rugged enclosure. The new displays are SI-TEX’s first to operate with either touch-screen or knob and button controls. Inside each unit is a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, which allows a four-way split-screen view and fast performance. There’s also Bluetooth and wireless LAN connectivity for speedy chart updates and streaming of audio and video entertainment. 

The units can be used with SI-TEX’s 4-kW dual-range radar, which overlays C-MAP cartography. The NavStar units have Skymate satellite communications capability for optional access to weather forecasts, Nexrad weather radar and sea-surface temperature data. Anglers can connect the units with SI-TEX’s dual-frequency 50/200-kHZ sonar for a detailed view of the fishing scenes beneath the boat. NavStar 10: $2,199, NavStar 12: $2,999. si-tex.com 

Raymarine Axiom Pro 

Raymarine Axiom Pro

Raymarine Axiom Pro

Raymarine augmented its existing Axiom multifunction display lineup in July with the new Axiom Pro model range. Available in 9-, 12- and 16-inch display sizes, Axiom Pro is for serious offshore cruisers and anglers. 

The Axiom Pro has Raymarine’s HybridTouch interface and combines touch-screen controls with a keypad for use in rough conditions. The displays are designed to perform well in bright sunlight, utilizing in-plane switching to maximize daytime viewing. The setup runs on Raymarine’s LightHouse 3 operating system with a fast, quad-core processor. 

Serious anglers may consider pairing the Axiom Pro with Raymarine’s RealVision 3D sonar or 1-kW CHIRP sonar. The sonar employs a spectrum of CHIRP frequencies, which enables anglers to see through dense schools of baitfish, identify thermoclines and target gamefish in deep water. Axiom Pro models with RealVision 3D and 1-kW CHIRP sonar start at $2,549. raymarine.com 

Garmin Panoptix Sonar 

Garmin Panoptix sonar

Garmin Panoptix sonar

Bay-boat owners with bow-mounted trolling motors are the intended audience for Garmin’s Panoptix PS22-TR transducer. It has LiveVü Forward and LiveVü Down, with a 20-degree beam angle for crisp resolution and clear images of what’s around and under the boat, including when the vessel is stationary. 

When used with a compatible Garmin GPSMAP or echoMAP chart plotter, the Panoptix unit shows fish movement as well as reactions to bait and lures. Designed for mounting on the barrel of a trolling motor, the Panoptix PS22-TR transducer is compatible with select Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 7- and 9-inch models, and with GPSMAP 8400/8600, GPSMAP 7400/7600 and GPSMAP 7x2, 9x2, 10x2 and 12x2. Panoptix PS22-TR: $999. garmin.com 

Simrad GO12 XSE and GO7 XSR 

Simrad GO12 XS

Simrad GO12 XS

Simrad’s GO12 XSE and GO7 XSR are the latest additions to the GO stand-alone chart plotter line. The GO12 XSE is a 12-inch model, and the GO7 XSR has a restyled glass-helm design and radar compatibility that were not available on its predecessor, the GO7 XSE.  

The new units have what Simrad calls ultra-bright displays. Users can tap the screen to create or select waypoints, and use pinchto-zoom or tap-and-drag to pan across charts. Home screen and menus provide access to all functions. The units are compatible with Simrad Broadband 3G/4G and Halo radar systems, and have internal GPS receivers. The units also pair with StructureScan HD and CHIRP sonar for fishfinding use, and they have autopilot, engine data, audio entertainment and Sirius XM weather/radio integration. GO12 XSE pricing starts at $2,149 for models without a transducer. GO7 XSR pricing starts at $649. simrad-yachting.com 

B&G NAIS-500 Class-B AIS 

B&G NAIS-500 AIS transponder

B&G NAIS-500 AIS transponder

B&G’s Class-B AIS transponder comes in a waterproof housing with a GPS-500 server. It continually broadcasts the position of your boat so that other vessels can “see” you long before establishing visual contact. The NAIS-500 transponder is NMEA 2000, 0183, 0183 multiplexing and USB compatible. Pairing the NAIS-500 to an NSPL-500 VHF Splitter Box allows the use of a single VHF antenna for both the transponder and a fixed VHF radio. NAIS-500 Class-B AIS: $929. bandg.com 

Lowrance Link-6/Simrad RS20 VHF Radios 

Lowrance Link-6 DSC VHF

Lowrance Link-6 DSC VHF

Designed for everything from small RIBs to sportfishing yachts, the Lowrance Link-6 and Simrad RS20 are Class-D DSC marine VHF radios. Each has a modern look and a high-contrast, black-on-white display for use in bright sunlight. An inverted white-on-black mode helps preserve night vision. 

Channel switching is by rotary dial, and buttons provide access to all functions, with the buttons spaced for fingers inside gloves. Dedicated channel 16 keys are on the mic and unit face. An integrated distress button allows automated DSC calling. Lowrance Link-6 VHF marine radio: $189; Simrad RS20 VHF marine radio: $279. lowrance.com, bandg.com 

Simrad AP48 Autopilot Controller 

Simrad AP48

Simrad AP48

Simrad’s AP48 autopilot controller is compatible with the company’s Continuum autopilot systems. The controller has an optically bonded 4.1-inch, full-color display with a 170-degree viewing angle and glass-helm styling. 

The AP48 is similar to Simrad’s AP44 autopilot controller but has a larger rotary dial, dedicated “dodge” keys and other keypad controls. The rotary dial provides steering control, and the “dodge” keys enable instant heading changes in 1- to 10-degree increments. The controller can also handle making U-turns, spirals, zigzags and other useful maneuvers. Simrad AP48 autopilot controller: $950. simrad-yachting.com 

Yanmar 4LV Series Diesels 

Yanmar 4LV diesel

Yanmar 4LV diesel

Yanmar unveiled its 4-cylinder 4LV series in September. The turbocharged, common-rail diesels are EPA Tier 3 and Tier 2 emissions compliant, and they have enhanced connectivity, a lower vibration and noise profile, class-leading power-to-weight ratios and improved fuel efficiency, according to the manufacturer. Available in 150-, 170-, 195-, 230- and 250-hp models, the 4LV series fits into the footprints of previous Yanmar engines, making the range worth considering when it’s time to repower. Compatible with NMEA 2000 and J1939 CAN-bus networks, the 4LV integrates with modern multifunction displays that show engine data. The series is also compatible with Yanmar’s JC20 joystick steering system. yanmarmarine.com

Evinrude iDock 

Evinrude iDock

Evinrude iDock

Evinrude has jumped into the joystick-steering market with iDock for its E-TEC G2 2-stroke outboards between 150 and 300 hp. The system starts at $5,999, which Evinrude says is competitively priced, compared to other joystick-steering systems. 

The iDock connects with the existing internal hydraulic steering systems in Evinrude’s E-TEC G2 models. The company says advanced aircraft gyroscope sensor technology makes iDock more intuitive by automatically compensating for wind and current. If extra power is needed, the skipper can push the joystick into boost position to double the thrust. evinrude.com 

Yamaha F300 Mechanical Shift 

Raymarine Axiom Pro

Raymarine Axiom Pro

One of Yamaha’s most popular 4-stroke outboards, the F300, was until recently available only with digital electronic controls. The company now has a mechanical shift version, providing a more economical option for boaters with existing mechanical controls who want to repower. 

Under the cowling of the F300 mechanical shift is Yamaha’s 4.2- liter V-6 block, which has mid- to low-range punch and good fuel economy. The engine is available in right or left rotation, and in 25- or 30-inch shaft lengths. yamahaoutboards.com 

Honda 40 Jet, 60 Jet And 105 

Honda Jet outboard

Honda Jet outboard

Jet Honda’s 40 Jet, 60 Jet and 105 Jet outboards are designed for boaters who want to go where traditional outboards can’t take them. The jetdrives have no gearcase or propeller extending below the hull, allowing owners to explore shallow rivers, sandy flats and other skinny-water venues. Honda’s BF60, BF90 and BF150 4-stroke powerheads power the new jetdrive outboards. All three engines have Honda Marine’s Lean Burn Control and Engine Alert System, as well as multiport programmed fuel injection, high-output alternators and NMEA 2000 networking compatibility. marine.honda.com 

Honda BF75, BF90 And BF100 Outboards

Honda recently refreshed its 75-, 90- and 100-hp 4-stroke lineup alongside new and updated rigging components, a multifunction engine display, a multiengine switch panel and a multifunction tiller handle. The handle has a larger shift lever, a power-trim tilt switch, a reversible shift lever, handle height adjustment, a variable trolling control switch and an engine alert panel. 

In addition to a sleek new look, the BF75, BF90 and BF100 outboards have improved engine anode access, an easier-to-service thermostat, corrosion resistance in the attachment hardware and an enhanced Honda Diagnostic System. The outboards are NMEA 2000 compliant. The BF75 and BF100 are available now, and the BF90 is scheduled to become available toward the end of the year. marine.honda.com 

Volvo Penta D13/IPS1350 

Volvo Penta D13-1000 diesel

Volvo Penta D13-1000 diesel

Volvo Penta’s 1,000-hp D13 is a 12.8-liter, inline 6-cylinder diesel designed for boats up to 120 feet in length. It was rolled out alongside an updated, compatible IPS1350 pod drive. 

A redesign of Volvo Penta’s existing 13-liter block, the D13 has a new piston design, more efficient injectors and improved cooling systems. It produces 11 percent more power from a slightly smaller block. “This is hugely exciting for us to create our most powerful engine yet,” says Johan Wästeräng, vice president for product management in the marine leisure segment. “It’s truly a landmark product for our marine range and really gives us a bigger step into the large yacht market.”

Volvo Penta IPS1350

Volvo Penta IPS1350

Volvo Penta’s D13-IPS1350 is an integrated package that pairs the new engine with an upgraded IPS pod drive. Volvo Penta is marketing the pod/engine system as the D13-IPS1350, since it says the 1,000-hp engine produces an equivalent of 1,350 horsepower when matched to the improved IPS drive. The D13- IPS1350 is configurable with twin-, triple- or quadruple-engine installations. volvopenta.com 

Torqeedo Travel 1003 C 

Torqeedo Travel 1003 C

Torqeedo Travel 1003 C

Sporting an upgraded 915-Wh lithium battery, Torqeedo’s Travel 1003 C outboard provides 73 percent more range and run time when compared to the Travel 1003. The Travel 1003 C also has comparable performance to a 3-hp gasoline outboard, according to the manufacturer, with a thrust equivalent on par with 4-hp gas outboards. Torqeedo says the Travel 1003 C is designed for small boats, dinghies and daysailers up to 1.5 tons, and has a range of 18 nautical miles. The Travel 1003 C is available in 25- and 30-inch shaft lengths. 

Included is a digital readout that displays power consumption, battery status and remaining charge (time or distance). Torqeedo’s TorqTrac app shows motor data on a tablet or smartphone. The unit comes with a travel bag and foldable solar panel. torqeedo.com 

Suzuki DF350A 

Suzuki DF350A

Suzuki DF350A

Suzuki’s 350-hp DF350A is the biggest outboard the company has ever produced. Engineered around a 4.4-liter, V-6 block, the DF350A has a high-performance 12-to-1 compression ratio and contra-rotating propellers. The engine targets the large center console and high-performance bay boat markets. 

A number of engineering features are designed to increase performance and prevent cylinder knock. Notable is an innovative air intake that better feeds cooler air to the cylinders and sheds microscopic water molecules for better ignition. Two fuel injectors per cylinder allow for improved combustion and help cool the cylinder head. The dual-prop system creates a bigger footprint in the water and provides impressive hole-shot performance. 

The DF350A is available in 25- and 30-inch shaft lengths that weigh 727 and 747 pounds, respectively. suzukimarine.com

Mercury Diesels 

Mercury Diesel 550

Mercury Diesel 550

Later this year, Mercury Marine is expected to bolster its diesel offerings by adding three models based on FPT Industrial’s 6.7-liter NEF lineup of mechanically fuel-injected diesels. The engines, branded as Mercury Diesel, will be available in 480-, 500- and 550-hp models. 

Joining Mercury Marine’s existing diesel lineup, which includes models from 115 to 370 hp, the 6.7-liter diesels are suited for continuous-duty applications and can be configured with Mercury Marine’s Zeus pod drives or installed as straight inboards. mercurymarine.com 

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue.