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Old 31-10-2018, 13:29   #1
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Best Marine Electronics Installer - Florida

Hi,

I have been limping along with the electronics that came with my boat - they have served me well for 3+ years, but the old Furuno MFD is getting very glitchy, and the boat has AIS receiver only. The old Raymarine autopilot crapped out on me three times in four hours on a recent sail, and had to be re-started twice to resolve. In short, I'm looking to replace the suite and install new MFD (probably smaller B&G), Vesper AIS, new generation Raymarine EV-whatever autopilot, and an inverter. I'm still researching options, but I'd like to get this done by an expert, because I'm just not the guy for this particular job, and anyway, I still work full-time, so that gets in the way. Also, I have other jobs to do like replacing some wet balsa core before next Spring.

I'm taking the boat south next March, and my thought was to get this done in one fell swoop in Florida before heading to the Exumas. Also, doing the install in Mar-Apr would give me time to work out any bugs before starting my big trip in Nov of 2019. I've asked around locally, and there just is no one here I would trust with this job, whereas in Florida, say Stuart maybe, it seems it should be possible to find someone who is competent, honest, and not crazy expensive. So I'm looking for recommendations of a marine electronics outfit somewhere north of Miami that you have used and thought highly of.

There are good mechanical / diesel guys here, but the only good marine electronics guy got hired by Grand Banks to work on new production boats at the factory, and good for him. Thanks in advance for your input and recommendations.
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Old 31-10-2018, 21:26   #2
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Re: Best Marine Electronics Installer - Florida

AJ and Audrey,
---- I've made my living in electronics / communications (not marine electronics)....and I'm a kinda well-known "radio nut"...so, I do my own electronics installations...(and have had my arm twisted by friends over the years to help them as well...)
{been doing this since a teenager....assisted in my first marine SSB install in 1973....and just helped a friend with theirs last month....so, I do keep my hand in things}

When I did my electronics upgrade, I bought all my Raymarine stuff (MFD's, Autopilot, Radar, Instruments, transducers, etc..) from Mack Sails, in Stuart, FL...
I did the design/install....but got most of the equipment from Mack....















---- Travis and Colin Mack, that own/run Mack Sails (in Stuart, FL) have done my sails/rigging work for many years....and they did so for my older brother for years before me...and their Dad, Brad Mack did the same for my parents back in the 1970's....
They are not only honest and learned, but very experienced sail-makers (not sail salesmen) and sailors....they both grew up sailing/racing/cruising, and both still own sailboats and still sail often...as well as being extremely experienced and educated in sail design / sail-making, and rigging design / replacement / repair, etc...
AND...

And, a couple decades ago they realized they "needed" a good marine electronics company to do their clients electronics...they looked but finally decided to learn and hire their own guys, so they can guarantee their clients / customers that their boat will be just as they desire it, with new / well-installed electronics...
They are factory trained and authorized dealers/installers for many/most popular brands of marine electronics....
And, "John" (their top electronics guy) is really nice, low-key, and easy-going!!



---- So, give Colin Mack a call...tell 'em that John MacDougall said to call them (I get nothing from this...but you might get a quicker response, 'cuz I've known them for many years)
772-283-2306
www.macksails.com
https://macksails.com/rigging-electronics/
About us – Mack Sails
Sail Cloth – Mack Sails

They are GREAT guys....honest, competent, and not crazy expensive!!

{BTW, usually I make a joke about "honest, competent, and not expensive"....and I say you can pick any two... But, with Mack Sails, you do actually get all three!!}


I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:54   #3
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Re: Best Marine Electronics Installer - Florida

Thanks John - I know of Mack Sails (they repaired my genoa a few years ago), but I did not know they installed electronics. I really appreciate the recommendation.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:17   #4
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Re: Best Marine Electronics Installer - Florida

Fyi, when I wrote my original reply, I was in a hurry because I was about to run to catch the ferry to the island I call home, but now that I am home, and have read your reply more fully / completely, I REALLY, really appreciate the recommendation. As we know, in the sailboat business their are not so many boatyards / businesses that can be recommended, and it sounds like Mack Sails is one. Another I have encountered that is honest, competent, and not crazy expensive is Bock Marine in Beaufort, NC, but sadly, they are not electronics experts (and will tell you so, because....honest).

Thanks again.
AJ
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Old 01-11-2018, 13:09   #5
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Re: Best Marine Electronics Installer - Florida

AJ,
You're welcome!

Btw, your time table wasn't clear....but, if you're planning on any experienced competent professional to do this work (Mack Sails, for example), you're going to need to schedule this ahead of time, or be prepared to wait...
They are in demand, and when they get busy - they get busy...

Just wanted to give you a heads up, don't wait 'til you're ready to contact and try to schedule....contact them as soon as you think you have even a close idea of when you want this done (say you know within a few weeks), and get on their schedule as soon as you can...
(I know earlier this summer, I needed new rigging...waited 'til I was ready, and then waited on them....I should've scheduled it a month or two earlier...)


Fair winds..

John
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Old 01-11-2018, 14:36   #6
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Re: Best Marine Electronics Installer - Florida

It would be next April (2019) so hopefully that is adequate lead-time. I'll pin down the hardware I'm looking to install (which I'm close to having finalized), and give them a call. There might be some back-and-forth on what hardware plays nicely with others, but I think I have time to work that out with their guidance / input.

Thanks again!
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