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Old 29-07-2012, 20:05   #1
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Cockpit Instrumentation

I don't know which forum this discussion belongs in so Mods feel free to move it.

Sailors and all who run a boat need access to data from instruments... which gather and process raw data from transducers and radio signals on one sort or another... AIS, radar, sonar and so forth.

Steering will involve processing/using the data and so the helmsmen does need access to the data. A few years ago instant chart plotting became a reality and it has migrating from below decks at the *nav station* to the cockpit within physical and visual grasp of the helmsmen... who in most cases on a small vessel is also the navigator (all made much simpler by the new technology).

What we have seem is the emergence of binnacles decked out with a vast array of instruments. This arrangement seems to assume that there is a helmsman standing at the wheel manually driving the vessel. Or perhaps there is really no other good place to mount these instruments for the skipper to use in the cockpit. Where else is the skipper most likely to be but at the helm?

Most of these pedestal pods are add ons so to speak... evolution of the basic compass and perhaps the engine throttle and tranny controls.

What strikes me as odd... is that the autopilot is now very sophisticated and on most of these tricked out yachts... certainly the ones with pedi-pods... and the skipper no longer needs to stand aft at the helm. I know I don't.

I helm the boat only going to a dock, a mooring or anchoring and leaving the same... And in those cases the only instrument I need to see is likely the depth sounder (chart may be handy in anchoring). As such I find myself positions forward in my cockpit *under the rear of the dodger... where the AP controls are located. Shiva has an instrument *dash* above the companionway which is closer that from the helm and I am able to button press for various multi functions now available in these displays. If all these instruments were located in a pedi pod I would be back there... and in Shiva under the sun! Of course many yachts have biminis and the weather protection is no an issue. But few seem to have seats and so are yachtsmen standing there during most of the passage to monitor the instruments??? or do they pop back there occasionally for a look see... such as I did in days gone by when I descended to the Nav Station to examine the plotter and radar and so forth.

Where is the optimal place for the instrumentation for a cruising yacht. We know the racers use those maxi displays forward at the mast so all the crew can see the key data. Is something forward similar to the racer approach applicable to the cruising yacht and is the pedi pod a trajectory making the sailing yacht more like a motor yacht?
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Old 29-07-2012, 20:37   #2
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

Duplicate instrumentation? It is a very good question though. My boat has a relatively tight cockpit, and I am seriously thinking of putting everything up under the dodger as well.
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Old 29-07-2012, 20:41   #3
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

They used to be called cockpit repeaters... then MFDs and then they moved it all from the nav station to the cockpit and mostly to pedi pods. My boat was built pre pedi pods and I don't drive from the helm much anyway and so I see no utility in a pedi pod. YMMV
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Old 29-07-2012, 20:52   #4
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
I don't know which forum this discussion belongs in so Mods feel free to move it.

Sailors and all who run a boat need access to data from instruments... which gather and process raw data from transducers and radio signals on one sort or another... AIS, radar, sonar and so forth.

Steering will involve processing/using the data and so the helmsmen does need access to the data. A few years ago instant chart plotting became a reality and it has migrating from below decks at the *nav station* to the cockpit within physical and visual grasp of the helmsmen... who in most cases on a small vessel is also the navigator (all made much simpler by the new technology).

What we have seem is the emergence of binnacles decked out with a vast array of instruments. This arrangement seems to assume that there is a helmsman standing at the wheel manually driving the vessel. Or perhaps there is really no other good place to mount these instruments for the skipper to use in the cockpit. Where else is the skipper most likely to be but at the helm?

Most of these pedestal pods are add ons so to speak... evolution of the basic compass and perhaps the engine throttle and tranny controls.

What strikes me as odd... is that the autopilot is now very sophisticated and on most of these tricked out yachts... certainly the ones with pedi-pods... and the skipper no longer needs to stand aft at the helm. I know I don't.

I helm the boat only going to a dock, a mooring or anchoring and leaving the same... And in those cases the only instrument I need to see is likely the depth sounder (chart may be handy in anchoring). As such I find myself positions forward in my cockpit *under the rear of the dodger... where the AP controls are located. Shiva has an instrument *dash* above the companionway which is closer that from the helm and I am able to button press for various multi functions now available in these displays. If all these instruments were located in a pedi pod I would be back there... and in Shiva under the sun! Of course many yachts have biminis and the weather protection is no an issue. But few seem to have seats and so are yachtsmen standing there during most of the passage to monitor the instruments??? or do they pop back there occasionally for a look see... such as I did in days gone by when I descended to the Nav Station to examine the plotter and radar and so forth.

Where is the optimal place for the instrumentation for a cruising yacht. We know the racers use those maxi displays forward at the mast so all the crew can see the key data. Is something forward similar to the racer approach applicable to the cruising yacht and is the pedi pod a trajectory making the sailing yacht more like a motor yacht?
I couldn't agree more. I have just launched a custom built mum & pop cruising boat with all the stuff so I was able to put it where I wanted it. At the helm I have gears/throttle, autopilot & winch remote all of which can be reached from forward of the wheel. I've put wind/speed/depth guages in the traditional location above the companionway so that I can see them from behind the wheel or when seated in the cockpit. The combined plotter/radar/AIS is downstairs at the nav station angled so that it can be viewed from the cockpit while sheltering behind the dodger. I have no repeaters and don't see the need for dual plotters on a cruising boat but then I only had a compass and a non working depth guage on my last boat, so I'm coming from a ludite base.
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Old 11-08-2012, 22:25   #5
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

We have a nav pod @ the wheel for the plotter/radar/speed/ wx (all in one 10" display).
Above that is wind/depth & speed.
I love it there, but we are full time cruisers & we are entering or leaving different bays, harbors or inlets almost daily. I couldn't imagine the hassle of not having all my nav gear a finger's distance away. Actually, I can remember not having ANY of it aboard, just wool for tell tales, a compass & a taffrail log. They hadn't even invented the windex yet!
It is a bit of a hassle to be seated forward in the cockpit on autopilot & have to go to the wheel to see the instrumentation, but honestly, I prefer to be behind the helm even when on pilot, when sailing the West Indies and in the crowds of bareboats which are the new "hazards to navigation" around here.
In inclement weather I can see everything I need to right there & not have to peer through the rain or spray or around people to decipher the instruments.
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Old 24-02-2013, 04:56   #6
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

My decision to mount instruments at the companionway is driven by how I sail the boat I have... and without a bimini (yet for multiple reasons) I only get to the helm in and out of anchorages, to come along dockside and when sailing in some heavier weather when the I can do better than the AP. So pedestal placement would mean going back there constantly.

I see that many sailors and boats use the pedestal set up and stand at the helm and under a bimini. The latter is a prerequisite I would think. But having a MFD plotter at the helm is not a bad idea either
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Old 24-02-2013, 07:25   #7
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
(...) Where is the optimal place for the instrumentation for a cruising yacht. We know the racers use those maxi displays forward at the mast so all the crew can see the key data. Is something forward similar to the racer approach applicable to the cruising yacht and is the pedi pod a trajectory making the sailing yacht more like a motor yacht?
IMHO the optimum place is where the driver can use the information while running/driving the boat.

Mast mounted displays make little sense on a cruising boat that will be most of the time manned by one, or else going on her AP.

Of the countless possibilities, my fave place is to have large digit instruments next to companionway, with AP repeater control (an rc will do) at the helm, on a bigger boat.

b.
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Old 24-02-2013, 07:45   #8
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

friend of mine has a remote control for helm steering so he can go to bow and manipulate position while upping anchor--i want one of those...

otherwise, all is at my binnacle in my cockpit. no bimini--might just have one made if i ever come up with a pattern for shaping it with davits and ...... all in one, as this boat once had, before salvage...another long story on that one--was years ago, in a place far away.....

and my auto-pile-it does excellent work in heavy weather--better than i can do....knock wood it continues to so do ....
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Old 24-02-2013, 08:35   #9
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
IMHO the optimum place is where the driver can use the information while running/driving the boat.
Mast mounted displays make little sense on a cruising boat that will be most of the time manned by one, or else going on her AP.
Of the countless possibilities, my fave place is to have large digit instruments next to companionway, with AP repeater control (an rc will do) at the helm, on a bigger boat.
b.
Even though I don't have my hand on the helm full time thanks to the autopilot I do spend most of my time near it. Never know when one is going to have to dodge something like debris, lobster bouy etc... So I want to have a much information there as possible especially for navigation (chartplotter) and safety (AIS). This became a little easier for me when I converted to electric propulsion as I was able to eliminate the throttle and shift levers for the engine:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: WHAT THE HELM?: Part 2
and fabricate a platform for the motor control and chartplotter. I am doing something similar on the other side of the binnacle for the AIS unit and the battery monitor.
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Old 24-02-2013, 10:37   #10
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Re: Cockpit Instrumentation

We have a furono 10.5" plotter equiped with radar overlay, depth and a host of other info along with a sat stereo remote head and speakers (gotta have tunes) mounted on the bulkhead next to the compainonway. Autoplilot and a smaller furono plotter again with radar overlay mounted in the salon. The crew can see whats happening while eating. The romte for autopilot used at the outside helm. VHS at the nav station with hand held at the outside helm. Windless remote is wireless so handy anywhere. We don't have AIS yet but think its coming.
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