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Old 27-08-2014, 19:01   #1
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Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Hey, all. Still looking for a boat. Got it nailed down to half a dozen on the Florida west coast and will be making the keel kicking tour in the next few weeks. Here's my question: What's it cost to replace old nav electronics - including the auto pilot - on an older boat? My boat budget is in the 35-65k range. Should I sacrifice a few feet to get everything newer or get something older and roomier and dump money into new nav stuff? I am finding some pretty nice older 37 to 41 footers that will need pretty major electronics updates. On the other hand, if I cut back to 34 to 36 feet, the boats are newer and the electronics tend to be more up to date. I will be living aboard. Thoughts?


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Old 27-08-2014, 19:43   #2
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

"It depends". LOL. What kind of sailing are you gonna do and what kinda schedule will you be on? I've fired up my radar, $400 for a new magnetron, a couple times to make sure it works, but never because I needed it. There's a temptation to think you need top drawer everything... Plus what would it cost, $5k ?, to buy a sweet new system, but there's also OpenCPN on an old laptop.


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Old 27-08-2014, 19:48   #3
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Go with new stuff. Even gear only a few years old might be close to failing. Then you might get a bigger boat too.
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Old 27-08-2014, 20:10   #4
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Seriously, Open CPN and an old laptop are hard to beat. I think I've got something like $120 total invested in my setup, including the USB puck GPS receiver. Later I added a $189 AIS receiver. I think I've probably cruised 8-10,000 miles with this setup and have never really found myself wishing I had more, although I would kind of like to have an AIS transponder.

You can spend a LOT more, but would do you really get any more functionality?

Autopilots are another thing, although I've never spent more than $400 on Ebay for one of those, come to think of it.
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Old 27-08-2014, 20:20   #5
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Yep. Although I traded the old laptop for a T100 that gets 11hrs of battery life. I kinda lust for a wind vane... but my old Autohelm keeps on ticking (at least long enough to hit the head and grab another beer). Paper charts and a compass work for 90% of my navigating.

So yea, I'd buy the boat and not focus on electronics.


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Old 27-08-2014, 20:25   #6
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

I use open cpn on a laptop as a backup, but I sure like the chartplotter at the helm in tight places.

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Old 27-08-2014, 21:55   #7
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

After sailing around the world, these are the electronics that I regularly used.
1. Radar to track ships and thunderstorms
2. Depth sounder
3. Wind speed and direction
4. GPS
5. Paper charts for the first half of the circumnavigation and electronic charts with back up paper for the second half of the circumnavigation.

These were the items I used on a daily basis, and they were adequate to get the job done. Nothing fancy in this list.

HF radio with pactor 2 was helpful in pulling down weather information, so that we knew what was coming our way when on passage. It was helpful to tell us whether we were going to need to hunker down or keep on trucking. I think most of the benefits were psychological in terms of pulling down weather forecasts.
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Old 27-08-2014, 23:27   #8
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTSmith View Post
<snip>Here's my question: What's it cost to replace old nav electronics - including the auto pilot - on an older boat?
How long is a piece of string. If you go "all out" you could easily spend $15k-$20k if you wanted to.

As posted above you could do a laptop and Open cpn.

I suspect you want an integrated "nav system" at the helm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTSmith View Post
My boat budget is in the 35-65k range. Should I sacrifice a few feet to get everything newer or get something older and roomier and dump money into new nav stuff? I am finding some pretty nice older 37 to 41 footers that will need pretty major electronics updates. On the other hand, if I cut back to 34 to 36 feet, the boats are newer and the electronics tend to be more up to date. I will be living aboard. Thoughts?
I really don't know why you are asking the internet this question. This is totally up to you.

For me? I would never sacrifice the boat I need for the gadgets I don't need.

Basically if you are trading 7 feet LOA (41 feet - 34 feet) in order to get a chart plotter, you have your priorities mixed up.

Not to be ridiculous but you can cross oceans with a compass a sextant and a watch.

What is your "wish list" of nav stuff?
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Old 28-08-2014, 05:11   #9
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Thanks for your replies. And, my bad, I should have indicated my plans. Most of my sailing will be Florida coast, Keys and Bahamas. I'm a freelance advertising copywriter and don't want to wander to far from the source of income just yet (Tampa/Miami). There's a possible trip to the Caribbean in a year or so. So, almost all coastal and Bahama hopping. That said, I'm recently divorced and will be doing quite a bit of single handing. I am capable of celestial navigation (something my father insisted on me learning - he was always right, damn it), however, in this day and age that would most certainly be a last resort. An autopilot and hand-held GPS would be the minimum. But I have the resources to fit out a moderate nav system, so I guess my question would really be what's a good set up without going overboard?

Now, not to run this thread out of the marked channel, but here's another question for you all. I'm aware that the bigger the boat the greater he cost. Would you recommend something in the 34 - 37 range regardless of nav stuff? There's something that appeals to my sense of order about a smaller boat - compact and efficient, who needs two heads to repair? Plus, no ocean crossing (other than the occasional run across the Gulf Stream). My choices end up being old center cockpit (Morgan/Gulfstar) in the 40 range or newer production boat (I won't say Hunter so as not to incite a riot, but there it is) in the 34-37 range. Input on this would be appreciated.

Finally, and this is for Ex-California; I notice you start almost all your replies with an admonishment of the OP. Did my question make you angry? You're right, it is my call, but I'm looking for advice from others with more experience than me, which, ostensibly, is what CF is here for. Making me feel like an idiot for asking the question seems counterproductive. Just sayin'.

Thanks, in advance, for all your input. I await your replies with bated breath.


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Old 28-08-2014, 05:16   #10
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

If you replace everything and go top shelf, the budged will be gone.

But electronics do not sail a boat. One can go without.

I would chose max boat min electronics.

And I would not replace anything that ain't broken.

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Old 28-08-2014, 05:30   #11
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Okay. Max 1972 boat with 40 years of hidden problems and an extra 80 bucks a month slip fee (I'm gonna have to live at the dock for awhile) or max 1992 boat with 20 years of hidden problems and 80 bucks less slip fee? I hear you on the electronics, Barenaked, but how big a boat do you think is reasonable for live aboard? I'd like to fall somewhere between 60-power yacht and crapping in a bucket on a 26-foot MacGregor. ;-)


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Old 28-08-2014, 05:31   #12
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Sorry, Barnakiel. Stupid autocorrect.


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Old 28-08-2014, 05:46   #13
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Hahah barenaked...auto correct or Freudian slip? Or maybe he is, it's probably pretty hot in the canaries ..
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Old 28-08-2014, 06:02   #14
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

Trustworthy nav electronics are an extra layer on your safety blanket... As suggested before, $5k would get you enough new gear to make most anyone happy... Your budget still allows for ether scenario...
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Old 28-08-2014, 06:10   #15
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Re: Cost of Refitting Navigation Electronics

I think only you can determine size you can live with, I wanted a 32', my wife 38'.
I'd have been perfectly happy in a newer, smaller boat, but she won of course.
Then obviously there are 30' boats that seem to be more spacious and have more room than some other 35's.
But I'd be looking for a boat to fit a couple, I assume your intent is to not singlehand forever?
I bought a boat with essentially almost zero electronics, with the idea of slowly adding what I wanted, although I wish I had at least an autopilot or windvane, having neither is a serious PIA,
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