Finding other Maxis, choosing an AIS and lightning fast response.

I keep a google alert for ‘‘Maxi 95.’’ Yesterday it turned up ‘‘’’ Someone in Norway who has bought an old, motor-less, rig-less 95 for less than $5000 delivered.

I’ve been in contact with the site and boat owner, who will join the Maxi Facebook Maxi 95 Owners group.

I also found the youtube channel ‘‘griot’s reverie.’’ This man bought the Maxi Jennifer and I  photo looked at in Lake Michigan three years ago. He’s had the boat about two years and is prepping for trip to Africa to reverse traverse the route of the slave traders.

He implies that he is African-American and a school teacher.

I left a comment suggesting that he and I speak, and that he join the Maxi Facebook Maxi 95 Owners group.

(There is also the Maxi Owners Association in the UK, which has become in someways superfluous given the FB group; I think it is a very active local group now. I still belong, but the emails have become few and far between.)

I’m currently looking at AIS solutions. I’m thinking about a Vesper XB-8000 out of New Zealand. It is a transponder that speaks NMEA 0183, NMEA 2K, and will talk on USB, and WiFi. Because it communicates on both NMEA 2K bus and WiFi, we should be able to use it flexibly with Boat Beacon, other apps, and most new MFDs. It eats 3.5 watts, and either can be a router or (thankfully) connect to a router. Panbo has done a very nice review.

Amazingly, the review says that the device will act as a translator, translating 0183 sentences into 2K PGNs. 0183 is a very old protocol designed to run on RS-232 serial lines, which are not a bus and can only be connected point-to-point. They made any sort of multi-device implementation a bit of a horror. Some device had to run the show and shuttle info to all the others.

I’m looking forward to reading the manual.

The manual indicates that the XB-8000 only translates a very limited number of PGNs solely related to AIS.

However, while the Vesper gets wonderful reviews everywhere, the same functionality seems to be available in the Digital Yacht Nucleus AIT3000 Class B AIS Transponder, which is available from Defender. It comes with a built in antenna splitter, but at a large price premium.

Defender has a link to the manual.

The hot news is that I sent an e-mail to Pocket Mariner, the company that makes BoatBeacon, and received an instant response from CEO Steve Bennett. I’m impressed.


They have tested Boat Beacon with the Vesper products and it does work. Given what I read about Vesper, this doesn’t surprise me, they seem like crackerjack software guys.

I sent a follow up email to Steve, long after close of business in the UK, asking whether Boat Beacon will send destination and other info the to the Vesper device. The wording in the blog article was unclear.

I’ll edit this post with whatever Steve responds.
Steve responded:
Boat Beacon will happily receive the AIS info from the Vesper XB-8000 transceiver via USB or Wifi. Boat Beacon will not send out anything via the transceiver – Boat Beacon only sends out information via the internet (if it has a connection).

Update Steve is selling charts for Boat Beacon so that when used with an onboard AIS receiver or transponder, an internet connection is not necessary to see the vessels on a chart. This sounds like a great product and idea.

Author: johnjuliano

One-third owner of Caro Babbo, co-captain and in command whenever Caro Babbo is under sail.

One thought on “Finding other Maxis, choosing an AIS and lightning fast response.”

  1. Hello John from Griot’s Reverie. Have been reading through your carobabbo website from the link you posted on the youtube channel. Yes, I am an African-American, but not a school teacher, although I have been tutoring and mentoring students for much of the last 39 years. Working to help the grandkids right now. So, you looked at ISTAR! Wow!!
    Presumably, this post will get you my contact info for follow-up. Looking forward to that. Kindest Regards

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