Last year’s charter schedule kept Reflections yacht captain Zach Ring hopping, transporting guests from old whaling communities in New England to tropical destinations in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys—not to mention newly accessible ports of call in Cuba.
“The new owner bought Reflections in March just after selling his previous boat,” Ring says. “Eight days later we went on a trip and started to charter. It was a fast-paced year.”
That kind of busy schedule means Ring is on the lookout for anything that will make his job simpler and safer—and the new Cat® Marine Displays installed on Reflections in 2016 by Cat dealer Pantropic do just that.
The 107-foot Christensen-built yacht, which is powered by two Cat 3412 engines, was built in 1997 and still featured its original displays and analog gauges when Ring took over as captain.
“Using them was a very slow process with lots of manual push buttons, and they were a bright neon-green color, which isn’t the greatest thing for your eyes at night or early in the morning,” Ring says. “When Pantropic reached out to us and said Caterpillar was looking for some folks to field trial these new displays, that was music to the boss’s ears—a chance to try out some brand-new toys.”
Those new “toys,” available in 7-inch and 13-inch versions, feature intuitive touch-screen user navigation, sleek edge-to-edge glass, anti-glare technology and multiple data links. Display software offers optimized day and night modes with an auto-dimming feature, swipe navigation between screens, a real-time clock, external keyboard/mouse support and PDF file uploads.
“The Cat Marine Displays are head and shoulders above what we had before,” Ring says. “You can look at them for long periods and use them in low light. The biggest thing for me is what they can do in our environment. What you see, that’s what a captain and crew rely on.”
In fact, it only took one look for a friend of Ring’s—who also happens to be a yacht owner—to decide he needed to install the new Cat Marine Displays on his boat, too.
“I called him up to come check out Reflections, and he saw the displays when they were first up and running,” Ring says. “He called me a few weeks ago and said, ‘Hey, I just put one of those displays in my boat.’ They sold themselves. I can’t think of any praise more concrete than that.”