The Yacht Technology Blog

Darren Mayhead

Darren Mayhead is a marine engineer and is currently the Chief Technical Officer for Great Circle Systems.

Recent Posts

Are you ready for the Inmarsat B and Mini-M EOL switch off?

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Nov 22, 2016 11:14:55 PM

Back in 2014, Inmarsat notified its customers that its legacy services Inmarsat M, Inmarsat D+, Inmarsat B, GAN and Mini-M would be phased out at the end of 2016, and replaced with faster and more efficient products. Chances are, your satellite services provider has already replaced the equipment reaching its end of life (EOL) date, but if you still haven’t upgraded to the newer equipment, now is the time to make the change.

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Topics: vessel internet, marine vsat, marine voip, yacht email, broadband internet access, EOL for Inmarsat B, M and Mini-M

5 Reasons to Love your Yacht Computer Support Contract

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Feb 13, 2015 1:42:00 PM

As I wrote in my 2014 post, How To Get The Most Out Of Vessel Remote Support, yacht IT systems are getting more numerous and complicated. 


Boats always had Chief Engineers. But very few Chief Engineers out there have the combination of Mechanical, Electrical, IT and Comms skills necessary to run today large mega yachts – they are a rare breed. Also, as vessel IT systems become more complex, specific skill sets outside those of a traditional 'Electrical/Mechanical Engineer’ are a required element.


For these reasons, many vessels have begun augmenting their team with ETOs. And to avoid yacht computer system down-time, many Captains also contract with vessel remote support providers to keep all on board Comms and IT systems running at an optimal level at all times.


There is a lot to love about these yacht IT support contracts—they can often get your crew out of a technical jam quickly with minimal down time. And having a technical team fixing things remotely while your crew continues to perform their daily tasks is a big plus.


But the contracts (and the IT teams behind them) can often attract a lot of hate. And unfortunately in some cases, that hate can be justified. 

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Topics: vessel remote support

Hiding Your Head in the Sand over a Yacht Computer Server Migration?

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Feb 2, 2015 9:03:00 AM

Have you ever faced a project so daunting that you just want to hide your head in the sand and pretend it will go away?


Maybe the project will take a great deal of time. Or maybe you don’t have the skill set to complete the work yourself and don’t know how to find the proper help.


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Topics: yacht computers

What do Captains Think of Multiple Yacht Ownership?

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Dec 17, 2014 3:25:00 PM

Multiple yacht ownership is a growing trend in the past few years. Sometimes, owners buy several vessels that travel in a fleet.


In other cases, a large yacht tows a smaller tender or sportfish, both of which have to be managed and maintained. Or an owner may have more than one vessel because one is for sale. But whatever the situation, one captain is often asked to oversee multiple vessels at one time.


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Topics: yacht management software

Migrate Vessel Computers from Windows Server 2003 by July 14, 2015

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Nov 5, 2014 9:12:24 AM

 Did you hear the news? Microsoft is officially ending support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14th, 2015.


That means if you are using the Windows Server 2003 platform for your vessel computers, you'd better start thinking about migrating to something else soon.

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Topics: yacht computers

How To Get The Most Out Of Vessel Remote Support

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Sep 11, 2014 5:10:16 AM

The job of vessel Chief Engineer is a huge undertaking. And as on board technology proliferates, the job is just getting bigger.


Along with Engineers, many yachts hire ETOs (read our recent blog post: Hiring a Yacht Electro-Technical Officer (ETO)? Read This First! ) to help absorb their Engineering Departments’' ever-increasing work load. But yachts are now also contracting with remote support providers to keep all on board electronic systems running at an optimal level.

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Topics: vessel remote support

Your Favorite Yacht Technology Blog Posts of 2013

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Dec 30, 2013 12:37:55 PM

With 2013 winding down, our team was curious to know which articles posted this year attracted the most readers. We thought those of you who missed these posts might want to read them, while others might want to read them again. So here are our top 5 hits of 2013.

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5 Questions When Hiring a Yacht Electro-Technical Officer (ETO)

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Dec 30, 2013 11:38:00 AM

5_eto_questions_you_should_ask_2We'’ve talked in recent blog posts about the exponential growth in computer-based systems on board yachts. These days, everything from yacht management, VSAT, A/V and telephony is computerized, often using an integrated system.


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Topics: marine system integration, yacht network design

Choosing Yacht Network Cabling

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Dec 13, 2013 10:58:00 AM

We've written a lot about the huge uptick in yacht technology over the past few years. Most of today’s vessels include complex on board computer, VSAT, audio/visual and security systems. And we can expect on board technology to only become more complex and necessary over time.


But I want to talk about a less sexy, but crucial aspect of expanding yacht technology: cabling. A vessel's cabling system is the infrastructure that supports current technology and future expansion. So it’s important to lay the right kind of cable now, while anticipating future needs. Good choices today can reduce the likelihood of a premature yacht technology refit.


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Topics: yacht network design, Vessel technology for new builds

VoIP Yacht Telephony: Pure-IP vs. Hybrid IP/PBX

Posted by Darren Mayhead on Jun 5, 2013 10:32:00 AM

Yacht telephony has gone through some radical changes in the past few years. Old-school PBX systems are being replaced by systems using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.


With VoIP telephony, the voice server and phones are connected to the vessel's IP network rather than a separate dedicated telephony network.


There are primarily two types of VoIP systems available: VoIP IP (often referred to as Pure-IP) and Hybrid or Converged IP/PBX products.



In this article, I'll discuss the differences between Pure-IP and Hybrid IP/PBX systems so you can make an educated telephone communications choice for your vessel. But first, let’s review the meaning of “telephony.” 

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Topics: vessel communications, yacht telephony, marine voip, marine system integration

JD_Crawford_head_shotDarren and the GCS team have been instrumental in the development and deployment of several carrier grade IT networks for large scale, Savant-based super-yacht projects where the technology infrastructure needed to be extremely reliable. 


The capabilities of the GCS team have proven instrumental in helping us deliver a world class technology experience to some of the most prestigious yachts in the world.


J.D. Crawford of Savant Systems


I have been working with Great Circle Systems since 2006 when they did the installation of all our networking and Internet communications equipment on our boat being built in Germany.


The equipment they recommended and installed was exactly as we required.  We have had extremely good results with all of their equipment and it has performed as they had advised.


I would highly recommend them to all fellow captains.


Captain Keith T. Moore of M/Y Lady Sheridan

CE_W_Michael_Hummel_of_MY_TVTriton Administrator has proven to be the perfect tool for us on M/Y TV, which is a 78 meter Luerssen yacht.


Triton has comprehensive essential features plus any additional features one can possibly need. It is still easy to use and has a swift support team to implement customer-specific wishes, such as individual day logs, etc.


W. Michael Hummel, Chief Engineer of M/Y TV


Captain Bruno Herregods talks about Great Circle Systems tech support. 

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