I just returned from a solo round trip LA-Kauai-LA (about 5500 miles) with all new B&G electronics
that I installed prior to leaving. This was my first ever off-shore venture and my first overnight single
hand. I still consider myself a novice
with a lot to learn so these observations are from that perspective.
Even prior to leaving I had to disconnect the B&G radio
from the 'Backbone' (the network) because it caused a loss of all windvane
data whenever I turned the macerator pump on. I installed the latest updated version on the 'Zeus 2' afterward and it's possible that it took care of this problem but I left the VHF AIS radio
on its own just to be safe.
I installed the 'Go Free' and purchased a mini iPad
just for that purpose. It worked great until about 2 days out and than just quit. I couldn't reboot or reconnect the 'GoFree' to the Zeus to see on my iPad
what the MFD is showing. I tried switching the two lines (radar and Zeus) that go into it, I tried different power sources, a different angle of the antenna
, nothing worked. Its location behind the refrigerator
meant I had to pull the refrigerator
out of the wall to make the changes. After giving up on it I called it a new name every time I took something out of the fridge, 'Go Free Yourself' or just 'go f yourself'.
I gave the brand new mini iPad to my girlfriend when she came to visit with me on Kauai
so overall this was about $600 down the drain.
I improvised and with my 'Delorme Explorer' on deck
, I could see on my iPhone
, what my speed, location and course were.
The B&G autopilot
was a winner and my best friend on this trip. Even with a 15 yr old hydraulic pump, lines and rams, (the only parts
I didn't change), it performed almost flawlessly. During the days and until going to bed
, I set it to steer to compass
because I noticed it was an easier task for it and conserved energy. Being awake, I could monitor
direction and make changes manually. Setting it to steer to wind
before going to bed was a bit frustrating because it never stayed where I'd set it. I understood it had to 'search and establish' parameters and so it went up and down as much as 10 degrees from the number I set before settling on a wind angle. I thought it should come back to the angle I 'requested' but it never did.
On the way back when I was 'close hauled' most of the way, I had to baby sit it for 15-20 minutes every night and hated that jib
flapping in 25 knot
winds being almost in irons while the autopilot
was doing its 'thing'.
The 4G radar
was okay, the Guard Zones were easy to set up but sensitivity levels were not very clear. The manuals
were probably not written for novices so I'm sure I should take some of the blame for not utilizing everything. I had targets inside my 'guard zones' and alarms coming off at much closer ranges and I'm sure it's all due to sensitivity levels.
tell you that when you put the system on 'stand by' it continues to work in the background but there should be a big warning that tells you your alarms will not sound when in 'stand by' mode. Not your guard zones alarms and not your autopilot alarms. If you are going to sleep, make sure the system is out of 'stand by'....
Also, prior to leaving about 2 months ago, I sent for the $100 rebate on the 'Zeus 2' from B&G and to date have not received a thing.
While I'm not sure I'd opt for a different system if I were to do it all over again, I'd definitely take more time to evaluate and learn all there is to know about what other manufacturers have to offer.