Electronics tests in the Florida Keys. Winning a boat for a good cause.
The Florida Keys have a certain mystery to them, even though these waters have been explored, exploited, and thoroughly enjoyed. But every time I pay a visit, I find something more to see as the tones of water change with the depths, the cloud cover, the time of day, seemingly even the temperature. It’s enough to draw you back again and again. Time seems to slow here, even as it goes by in a snap.
But the views would have to wait. This time I was keeping my eyes inside the boat, on the displays pumping out data from some powerful new electronics from Simrad, Lowrance, B&G, and GoFree—brands under the umbrella of electronics manufacturer Navico. And so instead of watching for birds, and weather, and signs of fish beneath the surface of that multi-hued water both inshore and off, we turned our eyes to the screens, set up for our review on a selection of boats including a couple of SeaVee 390Zs (one of which is shown), a Yellowfin 34, a Yellowfin 36, a Dusky 278, a J/111 sailboat, and even a few sea kayaks rigged for fishing skinny water. What better way to get a sense of the real-world application of powerful technology than this invitation-only event, held at Hawks Cay Resort at Duck Key.
Journalists came from around the country not for the scenery and the warm Keys breezes, but for the technology, and access to the team of engineers, product managers, and professional captains who all do their part to
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develop the line, and were on hand to share what they learned and give insight into how they got there. Talking points were shared and repeated all around, a script well memorized.
But it was the Keys, of course, and that place does things to people—it’s almost like it brings out one’s inner pirate. And it’s funny, I noticed at times that we got more thought-provoking insight to the product developers’ methods from the in-between comments, the lighthearted asides, than some of the on-thewater demos.
One Navico team member, gazing off into that blue, bluer, bluest water, shared that his team had a list of more than 300 features they wanted to incorporate to future models, and that it’s a matter of budgeting resources to add it. And time of course. Because time seems that much more valuable in the Keys. (Learn more about these Navico products in an upcoming issue).
—Jason Y. Wood