Test­ing the pure sail­ing B&G Vul­can 7 and net­worked in­stru­ments

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS -

The chart plot­ter on our boat was an­cient and our in­stru­ments didn’t ‘talk’ to each other. It was time not just for a new chart­plot­ter, but for a com­plete over­haul of our in­stru­ments with a mod­ern NMEA 2000 net­work.


We opted for the B&G sys­tem be­cause it is made purely for sail­ing. The heart of our sys­tem is B&G’S en­try-level Vul­can 7 touch-screen mul­ti­func­tion dis­play and chart­plot­ter. We chose Navion­ics car­tog­ra­phy as we are both used to us­ing this on our mo­bile phones and we liked the func­tion­al­ity it of­fers. We mounted it on deck where the sun­light-vis­i­ble and water­proof screen comes into its own. Next to this we mounted a Tri­ton 2 in­stru­ment dis­play to give us wind, speed, depth and a host of other in­for­ma­tion on dis­play while us­ing the Vul­can 7 as a chart­plot­ter. Data was pro­vided by the Air­mar DST 800 through hull trans­ducer (depth, speed and temp) and the WS320 wire­less wind sen­sor. THE TEST

In­stalling the sys­tem was done with the help of Sean Hunter from Green­ham Regis Ma­rine Elec­tron­ics in Chich­ester, which sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the time and ef­fort in­volved in lay­ing out the sys­tem, rout­ing wires and get­ting it cor­rectly pow­ered up.

The Vul­can 7 and the paired Tri­ton 2 dis­play are pow­er­ful bits of kit with an ar­ray of func­tions, so learn­ing ex­actly what they can do takes time. The ba­sic data was in­cred­i­bly easy to lo­cate and dis­play. On the Tri­ton 2, scrolling through the pages gives you a choice of data, in­clud­ing depth, depth and speed, au­topi­lot con­trol (if fit­ted), route nav­i­ga­tion, wind and depth log and B&G’S Sail­steer dis­play. In a cir­cle around a vir­tual yacht, Sail­steer shows a full com­pass card, as well as an­gles off the ves­sel’s head, with in­di­ca­tors for true and ap­par­ent wind di­rec­tion, ti­dal set, way­point bear­ing and lay­lines. We most of­ten used Sail­steer or ba­sic dis­play un­der­way, and depth plot when en­ter­ing shal­low wa­ter and at an­chor. We al­ways used the depth and swing cir­cle alarms at an­chor.

All the data avail­able on the net­work could be dis­played, and it was al­most in­fin­itely con­fig­urable as to what data to dis­play. The Vul­can 7 has a 7in dis­play and an in­te­gral GPS re­ceiver, which we used for our trip, mak­ing it suit­able as a stand-alone unit, though it doesn’t have com­pass data with­out an ex­ter­nal sen­sor. It is Wifi en­abled, so can con­nect to ipad or iphone, giv­ing you a com­plete mir­ror and con­trol of ev­ery­thing that is on the net­work. VER­DICT

Con­ve­niently, the Vul­can 7 just fit­ted into the ex­ist­ing in­stru­ment panel above our com­pan­ion­way. The high­qual­ity colour screens on both units were vis­i­ble at all an­gles and in all lights, even with po­larised glasses. They used very lit­tle power (Vul­can 7, 1A; Tri­ton 2, 0.1A). I was skep­ti­cal about not hav­ing any but­tons on the Vul­can 7, but the touch screen worked well in both the wet and dry, though our test was only in sum­mer. An in­tu­itive menu struc­ture means I still haven’t opened the user man­ual. B&G isn’t the cheap­est brand, but I felt given the qual­ity and func­tion­al­ity of­fered, the £790 price tag rep­re­sents good value for money.

The touch­screen worked per­fectly in all con­di­tions. Use the vir­tual but­tons or pinch to zoom The chart­plot­ter screen can be flush or bracket-mounted and the front stands less than 1cm proud A side bar can be added to the home screen and the data con­fig­ured how you like it. The sin­gle view or split screen al­lows you to view any com­bi­na­tion of pages and data Sail­steer is B&G’S sig­na­ture fea­ture for sailors, al­low­ing you to see all the vital in­for­ma­tion graph­i­cally on a sin­gle screen

Choose the car­tog­ra­phy you pre­fer, and up­date it on board us­ing wi-fi in a ma­rina or through your phone

Navion­ics car­tog­ra­phy was clear, de­tailed and easy to view and use, even on a 7in dis­play

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