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Braving the elements with B&G

Andreas B. Heide is a marine biologist and adventurer. On his 37’ sailboat Barba, he and his multinational crew spend months in the frozen North each year, documenting the scenery and wildlife and sailing in some of the most extreme conditions on Earth. Andreas chose B&G for Barba’s electronics installation because he needed tried and tested equipment that would work in freezing temperatures or driving snow. But how does he use his electronics to give him confidence that Barba will take him where he needs to go?

'My advice to anyone thinking of this kind of adventure is ‘Don´t be afraid to go out and explore!’ The more you do it, the better you get at it! Use gear and crew that you trust to do it in a safe and sound manner. This is why I have a full B&G setup. Key components are:

Zeus™ 3S 9” chartplotter. The heart and soul of the system. This device visualizes the extensive amount of data provided by the system, in an easy and user-friendly manner. It also allows you to control the system, adjusting the autopilot, radar, sonar and more. '

(Photo: Tord Karlsen/

NAC-3 Autopilot. Basically to keep the boat on course, allowing the crew to rest and freeing up manpower to solve other tasks at hand. After the chart plotter, I rate it as the single most important device on the boat. The WR-10 remote controller is also a brilliant piece of kit, with the ability to steer from any location on the boat.

(Photo Tord Karlsen/

Halo™ 20+ Radar. The radar provides live data of your topside surroundings, as opposed to nautical charts that shows you historical data. In other words, it will show you vessels, floating objects such as ice, kayak paddlers buoys and more. Additionally it gives you an early warning for incoming gales and blizzards, which is especially useful at night in the Arctic. On a funny note, I once saw some red signatures on my radar in Iceland that I could not make sense of. As I looked at the area, I could see jumping dolphins!

(Photo: Sophie Bolesworth /

AIS. Useful for seeing commercial traffic, and it supplements the radar. Additionally, our divers carry an AIS beacon so that we can recover them at sea should we lose visual contact.  The same goes for all our life jackets.

(Photo: Sophie Bolesworth /

We also have a suite of B&G Triton2 Instruments. These show us boat speed, depth and wind data. All useful for navigation and sailing performance.

(Photo: Sophie Bolesworth /

Seeing underwater

As for features that allows us to see what is under water, we use the fishfinder functionality on our Zeus3S which helps us find fish, which in turn helps us find dinner and whales (which follow the fish).

ForwardScan. For detecting underwater obstacles in front of the vessel. Useful in poorly mapped areas such as Svalbard, and when entering natural harbours that are dubiously mapped.  

We also have an Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer which allows us to map the sea-floor. Useful for finding shipwrecks, good dive sites and more.

(Photo: Tord Karlsen/



All in all, the instruments help us better understand and interpret our environment, allowing for safer and better sailing.

The instruments you have are only worth using if they can be set up and calibrated properly – and that’s where Barba’s B&G electronics come into their own. Andreas has set his up to be easy to use anywhere in the cockpit. 

 ‘I like to have the chart plotter on the pedestal with a mechanical arm that allows me to rotate the device. This way, you can see and control the chart plotter from virtually anywhere in the cockpit. The down side is that it is left more exposed, but so far this has not been a problem.'

And his top piece of kit on board? 'The importance of having a good radar is underestimated in my opinion. Once you get used to having a radar, you can hardly see yourself sailing without one. Getting caught in the fog and sailing at night is less of a challenge thanks to the radar. '

(Photo: Tord Karlsen /

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