Question: I’ve been trying to find an easy way to predict lay lines using the five year old GPS chart plotter on my boat. I recently saw an announcement about the new B & G Zeus system. Have you had a chance to check this system out?


B&G's Zeus software has a tactical chart overlay that shows best and worst laylines.

Answer: I had the opportunity to get a really good demonstration of the system’s functionality while attending the Miami Boat Show. Incidentally, the system did win a National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) innovation award at the show.

Having spent a few years as a navigator on some pretty high-tech race boats I have to say that B&G has really taken the pain out of trying to figure out lay lines quickly and with the maximum amount of precision, which is paramount in close racing situations. Best of all, the setup is easy.

A drop down menu provides a list of selectable parameters that the system can use in its calculation and display on Zeus’ tactical chart overlay. The overlay depicts sailing laylines and indicates best and worst layline positions, allowing sailors to make better-informed navigation decisions based on real time GPS and wind input data. The powerful computer within allows for a very quick refresh rate, getting you the info fast.

The system also displays a powerful WindPlot histogram, ideal for analyzing breezes, and a TimePlot histogram that provides a time-based log display including depth, barometric pressure and boat speed for trend tracking.

For the cruising sailor or distance racer, the B&G Zeus system can provide GRIB weather-file display and animation, along with true wind speed and direction and barometric pressure. Users can scroll through forecasts to base navigation on current conditions.
Granted the system will probably provide the most complete and seamless integration with existing B&G gear, but after seeing the functionality the system can provide, I’m a fan. If I were doing a refit or new set-up on either a racer or cruising sailboat, I’d surely price out this system.

Check the system out on the B & G website.