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Old 12-05-2009, 15:53   #1
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: St. Augustine, Fl
Boat: Gulfstar 37 sloop
Posts: 51
Electronic Re-Fit

I am re-fitting my Gulfstar 37 for cruising. While I have no problem navigating my MD-11 Jetliner around the world, I have to admit I am a novice when it come to boat electronics and what aids to navigation exist for boats in a world which rapidly makes great gadgets obsolete very quickly. That said, the previous owner of my boat was nice enough to install a Yaesu FT-110d multimode tranceiver which covers nine MF/HF amateur bands, as well as vhf/uhf coverage. My backstay is insulated. I've got a Furuno GPS, an older Apelco radar unit which works fine, and an Autohelm 5000 autopilot. The last guy to skipper the boat used a laptop to run Cap'n nav software which I have. Any advice on making this all hum in one package? I'm not opposed to any upgrades at the moment, and since the boat is on the hard, now would be the time. Can anyone recommend any literature or books that might bring me up to speed on the latest and greatest? What is the latest technology for gathering weather information at sea? It can be very confusing looking through the catalogs at the wide variety of chart plotters etc,.. that are available. The only firm decision I have made is to install a new transducer and get rid of the old speed paddle wheel that was hooked up to my old analog instruments. Figure on going with groundspeed only from GPS. Trying to weed through all of the information out there is got me mired. My plans include coastal cruising and the carribean.
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Old 12-05-2009, 16:57   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Diego and Mazatlan
Boat: Gulfstar 37 "SLACKER"
Posts: 147
knot log

Dont dis knot log. If you use a gps only you will never know what type of currents you are facing. I agree that the old style analog instruments suck however dont leave this one out.
I have had horrible experence with Autohelm and Standard Horizon. If I were to redo the knot log on our Gulfstar 37 and had a couple of $$ I would go with a package from Martron. Look at Maretron for their package.
We have been quite happy with our Standard Horizon GPS and VHF as well as our Icom 706 and Furuno radar. We do use a laptop for some navigation duties however now with the AIS interfaced to the GPS their is really no need. We dont have our gps interfaced to our Robertson autopilot. On one of our other boats we but never used it much. I do have the gps interfaced with the radar. Nice to see the information repeated on the screen.
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Old 12-05-2009, 17:24   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Southern Westchester/Northport LI
Boat: Shiva - Contest 36s
Posts: 3,892
My B&G are going strong after 23 years. They don't interface (talk NMEA 0183) so they are not networked to an MFD. I like that "independence".

I would consider a stand alone speed, depth window kit from some B&G and a MFD to use as a radar which supports AIS and GPS. You can feed your NMEA output from your speed, wind and depth and then add a fluxgate and even weather on many MFDs like Ray C and E series and Furuno, Garmin or Lowrance.

I find that a fix mount is fin below decks at a nav station, but I rarely use it. I do use the cockpit repeaters which give all the relavent data including waypoint info... CTW , DTW COG, SOG, XTE, TTG etc.

I don't drive from behind the helm so a helm instrument pod would put a lot of gear where it is not viewed. Instead I recommend a hand held GPS plotter AND cockpit repeaters visible from anywhere in your cockpit (ir forward above the companionway). I am using a very daylight visible Garmin iQue PDA which has blue charts and is all I need GPS chartwise in the cockpit. There are other which are better.

You'll want a decent below decks autopilot which can handle decent size seas. My experience is with the Alpha 3000 which has been superb, but there are others which come highly recommended. I am not a fan of interfacing a GPS with an autopilot. You're the captain - you tell the helm where to steer.

I am also not a fan of routes. They don't make sense for sailboats. You have plenty of time to set a waypoint, one at a time and usualy you can't fetch them sailing anyway. From a prudence point of view it's better than the captain be more as opposed to less, involved with navigation meaning don't leave it to electronics.

The gear is data rich these days, but that's not all there is to sailing.
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