RAYMARINE last week held a media day in Sydney launching innovative new products, including the announcement of its CHIRP technology and further additions to its range of e-Series displays.
Raymarine unveiled its new CP450C ClearPulse CHIRP sonar technology across its range of e and c-Series units. While the official launch took place over the weekend during the US Miami Boat Show, Australian marine media last week received a sneak preview at Sydney's Pittwater. CHIRP is being touted as the "next big thing" in sonar technology and offers clear definition at depths up to 3000m or 1640 fathoms. It's also equally at home in shallow water as we found on Pittwater. While the water wasn’t exactly deep, the clarity and definition of the fish and bait on the displays were incredibly clear. Marine electronic brands Simrad and Garmin have also recently launched similar CHIRP products.
As Raymarine's technical services manager, Tom Green, explained, there’s little doubt this technology is here to stay.
"This CHIRP technology is the evolution or the next step in HD sounders for Raymarine."
So what exactly is CHIRP? This technology operates in a wide range of sonar frequencies simultaneously using two CHIRP sonar transducers. The CP4500C picks up readings using any frequency from 25 to 250 kHz. It also offers mid-band frequency support in the 75 to 130 kHz range. The CP4500C also features a fast 80 ping-per second update rate which is said to enhance detail in shallow water and when moving at high speed. Raymarine claims the CP450C images the bottom at up to twice the speed of standard sounders, which provides real time data on water depth and bottom conditions.
The new technology also features TruZoom mode for a magnified view of the sonar readings without any loss of resolution often found using traditional zoom mode. Fisho tested this using the split screen mode showing standard view and TruZoom view. The results were quite surprising with excellent clarity and detail.
Raymarine offers the CP450C ClearPulse CHIRP Sonar as a black box module. It is compatible with Raymarine’s new third generation c-Series and e-Series multifunction displays and connects using SeaTalk networking. The company is also offering a wide range of Airmar CHIRP compatible depth transducers to complete the CP450C system.
Raymarine launched its e-Series 7-inch displays at the Sydney International Boat Show in 2011. These innovative units allow users to view screen information via bluetooth on their iPhone and iPad. Last week's launch saw Raymarine add a 9-inch and a 12-inch display the e-Series, both of which are suitable for larger sportfishing boats and cruisers.
The e-Series uses Raymarine's HybridTouch technology, which gives users the option of touch screen or traditional operating functions. While touch screen technology is fast becoming the norm, Raymarine recognised the difficulties users could have in rough seas and wet screens, hence the hybrid touch.
Raymarine's Surtees project boat was set up with a iPad enclosed in a waterproof case and mounted the transom's bait board via a RAM mount. The idea is fishers standing at the transom, cutting bait or watching trolled lures, could keep an eye on the action via the iPad, negating the need to run back and forth to the main display at the helm. It's great idea! You can also send the display to your iPhone, so if you don't want to fork out the extra cash for an iPad, you can get a decent view of the sonar from wherever you're standing in the boat. Obviously the bigger the boat, the more this technology would apply. Owners of flybridge cruisers would no doubt be interested in this product.
Raymarine Asia MD Ben Bowley told marine media this technology is a "platform for the future".
"Over the next year Raymarine will have three significant releases and this technology future proofs the hardware," said Bowley.
Retrofitting boats has become more common with boaties opting to upgrade electronics or engines rather than buying completely new boats. Raymarine has take advantage of this trend and introduced a retrofit kit which allows old Raymarine units to be easily replaced with new e and c-Series displays.
Ben Bowley said Raymarine has released the retrofit kit on the back of this trend which looks to be continuing in 2012.
"There are a lot of boats becoming long in the tooth and a lot of people want to upgrade to the latest technology. This just makes it easier for people to upgrade," said Bowley.
"We think the idea to retrofit will be very big in the market."
The kit includes easy fit bezels with adaptor plates for a quick dash/bulkhead install. These are available for replacing Raymarine's C80, C120, E80 or E120 Classic displays or C90W, C120W, E80W or E120W Widescreen displays, so there's no need to cut new holes in the dash.