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Old 24-04-2015, 07:40   #1
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Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Hi ppl,

We are currently building a 40ft steel sailboat and I'd like to ask your opinion about the Navigation/ electrical equipment.

The boat is going to sail all over the globe and I need a system that works well and is integrated with each other.

The stuff we need is going to be something like this:
Radar
Chartplotter. What do you recommend? Open cpn? Navionics? Need something to get the maps all over the place.
Autopilot
VHF
AIS: Vesper marine XB 8000?
NMEA 2000 system
Laptop? PC? Ipad? A boats own computer so I can navigate and get a weather?

I know the topic is huge and there is plenty of options but I would like to hear good experiences/ opinions which direction to go to.

Thanks

Eemeli
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Old 24-04-2015, 08:35   #2
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

If you have the cash, I would recommend going all-in with Furuno. Top notch support and wide range of products. However, very spendy - $$$$$

I'm going with B&G primarily because they have a relatively clean NMEA 2000 reputation, have a reasonably priced setup, and best of all, they have forward scan sonar available.
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Old 24-04-2015, 09:45   #3
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Thanks for the reply.

Which ones you go for with B&G? Chart plotter?

Thanks

Eemeli
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Old 24-04-2015, 10:00   #4
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

I'm going with the Zeus2 7" chart plotter, forward scan, and 4G radar.
with
Airmar 200WX ultrasonic wind sensor
Airmar CS4500 ultrasonic speed sensor
Vesper Marine WatchMate Vision AIS Transponder
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Old 24-04-2015, 13:09   #5
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Radar - something present and HD/low emissions/low power,

Chartplotter - something sunlight readable, radar overlay a plus, AIS overlay a plus, at the helm,

Autopilot - a powerful one,

VHF - DSC with DSC calling initiated from AIS unit or from the plotter,

AIS - active, class B, linked via DSC with the VHF (for direct calling of AIS targets), with mobiles output to plotter,

NMEA 2000 system - your call,

Laptop? PC? Ipad? - you probably have one already,

I would add:
- a satphone and or tracker with data plan (for gribs, email and sms),
- a GPS EPIRB,
- a DSC and AIS beacon (or two),
- nav instruments: depth, wind, whatever.

As far as interfacing comes, I would attempt to stick to wireless and N2k where possible.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 24-04-2015, 14:21   #6
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Thanks guys for the reply.

Is 4G worth the price over 3G?

I understood vesper marine XB 8000 would be a good choise for a AIS.?

What about the plotter, does all the brands support all the charts?

Thanks

Eemeli
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Old 24-04-2015, 16:57   #7
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
Thanks guys for the reply.

Is 4G worth the price over 3G?

I understood vesper marine XB 8000 would be a good choise for a AIS.?

What about the plotter, does all the brands support all the charts?

Thanks

Eemeli

You will find plenty of recent radar reviews online, read some. Then sail any boat with a modern HD/4G radar and see if you like it.

I like them, I find the resolution better and I like the extra freedom of where to place the dome.

Talk to Vesper see how they interface with other makes. See if they interface at DSC level - can they initiate or facilitate DSC calls, can they output Nk2, wifi, etc. I have researched Vesper's bluebox Class B and I found it an interesting and apparently very well made piece of kit. I would put them on my potentials list and then make the final decision when all the other vital elements (plotter, VHF, radar, etc.) are known.

Some makes of plotters make models for more than one make of cartography but some accept only one kind (C-map and Navionics, etc.). You must go make by make and see if they offer what you desire.

Today the choice is so great that only your imagination is the limit.

b.
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Old 25-04-2015, 08:04   #8
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

It will initiate a DSC call, but only if the VHF supports that feature. Standard Horizon doesn't, (at least none that I found a year ago), but some ICOM models do support it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Talk to Vesper see how they interface with other makes. See if they interface at DSC level - can they initiate or facilitate DSC calls, can they output Nk2, wifi, etc. I have researched Vesper's bluebox Class B and I found it an interesting and apparently very well made piece of kit. I would put them on my potentials list and then make the final decision when all the other vital elements (plotter, VHF, radar, etc.) are known.
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Old 25-04-2015, 08:27   #9
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Terminator, It's good you are doing your preliminary research now, but don't make any final decisions yet. Building a boat from scratch takes more time than you are probably anticipating. Details keep cropping up, materials change and technology advances during the process. It's just like buying a computer. For the time being, focus on providing conduits and power supplies for whatever gear you will eventually purchase. If you purchase too early, you will absolutely regret it. New devices are constantly coming to market. Just think about how quickly 3G and 4G radars came around, how AIS systems are now being incorporated into all sorts of things (VHF radios, MOB gear, etc.), and the development of forward scanning sonar will soon revolutionize our cruising navigation strategies. And don't forget the advances in networking. Bluetooth, ethernet, and as-yet unknown systems are going to affect our choices. Don't be in too much a hurry to spend your electronic navigation (and communication) budget. Focus on setting the stage for whatever is matured by the time you are ready to start serious sea trials of the completed boat.
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Old 25-04-2015, 08:39   #10
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Start reshearch now but don't decide until your boat is in the water ready to go. Things change very fast. The ability to use several different map sources is important to me. If tied to one source they can charge what they want and you are stuck with it. I would try to keep at least MFD, Radar and Auto Pilot all from one manufacturer. Then if interface problems develop you won't have three different companies pointing at the other guy instead of just fixing the problem. I've noted that several people that started using OCPN as a back up are happy enough with it that it has become their primary nav system.
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Old 25-04-2015, 09:22   #11
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Try to maybe go to a boat show in your area to get some hands on experience with different operating systems of the different chartplotter/GPS/radars.

Panbo is a great source of marine electronic reviews.

I myself chose a B&G system after a very long process, but I'm happy with my choice. To be honest, there aren't too many "horror" stories from new electronics these days and most of the top brands in marine electronics will probably meet your needs... Just a matter of finding which system you feel most comfortable working with. Some people prefer Raymarine's easy user interface over Furuno, while others with more computer knowledge like to build their own frankensystems and use PC software such as OpenCPN to do chartplotting. The more you research marine electronics the more you will start to narrow your wish list a little I think. If you have any questions about the B&G I'll do my best.

David


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Old 25-04-2015, 09:34   #12
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
Hi ppl,

We are currently building a 40ft steel sailboat and I'd like to ask your opinion about the Navigation/ electrical equipment.

The boat is going to sail all over the globe and I need a system that works well and is integrated with each other.

The stuff we need is going to be something like this:
Radar
Chartplotter. What do you recommend? Open cpn? Navionics? Need something to get the maps all over the place.
Autopilot
VHF
AIS: Vesper marine XB 8000?
NMEA 2000 system
Laptop? PC? Ipad? A boats own computer so I can navigate and get a weather?

I know the topic is huge and there is plenty of options but I would like to hear good experiences/ opinions which direction to go to.

Thanks

Eemeli
Hi Eemeli,

You are wise to be looking ahead as you build your vessel. Depending upon your commissioning timeline, you may witness some changes in marine electronics as you approach your decision/purchase point. [I'm assuming more than a few months...?]

One aspect I suspect you are keeping in mind- since you mentioned a steel vessel- is making sure any wireless systems are usable in the desired locations onboard your boat. It could be as simple as running adequate conduit dedicated to communications wiring so you can pull ethernet, N2K, etc. wiring to link devices in disparate locations around your vessel.

What a great project you are undertaking...

Best wishes!
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Old 25-04-2015, 09:35   #13
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

I'm fond of Furuno for radar/chartplotter but not fond of touchscreen anything. I am putting in a Vesper Watchmate 850 AIS because it has a separate display that I can keep on even when my Furuno MFD is off. It uses far less power than the MFD does. The Vesper 8800 is a "blackbox" AIS and is highly regarded but you will need your MFD (or PC/iPad) on to use it.

One of the most important decisions you will have to make, and this will impact some of your choices, is where to have the display/control units. I absolutely detest radar and chartplotters which are down below at the nav desk only. IMO you need to have these in the cockpit where you can turn them on/off and adjust and see while at the helm. So whatever goes there has to be 100% waterproof and safe to the chaos in the cockpit.

Lots who disagree with this but IMO PC's and iPads are not up to mission-critical needs like radar and real time chartplotting while underway in dicey spots. They don't do well in cockpits when the chips are down and all hell is breaking loose.

You may even want to redesign your cockpit and cabin to allow for installation of equipment on the cabin top/helm station, wherever. Wire runs are critical.

Autopilot - go strong and reliable. Lots of threads on this specifically and just this week on CF. In fact, lots of threads on all of this so search is your friend.

I'm going with a mix of proprietary and NMEA 0183 networking but installing so I can add NMEA 2000 devices in the future. Any transducers/sensors I get new will be N2K. I will have an Ethernet network for don't really plan to use it.

But mix and match the least possible. Some brands don't even play nice with the recognized NMEA 2000 standards. I would stay away from Raymarine for this reason. Lots of happy Garmin owners but there have been reports of integration issues. You'll have to do lots of research here on CF and elsewhere, with a bias to listening to those who have actually installed and used what they are recommending (or dissing).
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Old 25-04-2015, 09:35   #14
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

Leaving certain equipment to the bitter end is great advice particullaly electronics . I spent many years building my boat , a lot longer than l anticipated and even a simple item like an inflatable tender was 80% into its glue life by the time we started cruising resulting in one year of service before it started falling apart .

Start doing your research now but purchase late into the build .
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Old 25-04-2015, 11:03   #15
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Re: Navigation/ Electronics on a new sailboat

I agree with Mycroft: I like B&G and have a Zeus 7" Touch plotter: you don't need a big $3K plotter. Their sailiing instruments are great, I prefer them to anything else out there. And I love my Vesper AIS. My stuff is not 100% integrated as I am slowly replacing the original 2002 equipment. But I've got what I need, not necessarily what I want. My radad is still not "integrated" but I find that with AIS I use radar less and less.
-Steve
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