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Old 26-06-2006, 17:59   #31
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Originally Posted by defjef
How much time DO you actually spend behind /at the helm? Can you see your headsail trim and your instruments on the pod at the same time? Do the trimmers need to see the data? Can they?
We do it this way:

All the instruments and the autopilot control are together at the helm. Whoever is designated as helmsman sits at the helm, even if the autopilot is engaged. By allowing the autopilot to continue to steer, the helmsman is constantly approving the actions of the autopilot.

They might step away briefly, but that would normally be for a purpose where it doesn't matter if you can't see the instruments. This doesn't mean they are actually looking at all the instruments all the time, but the information is available when necessary. You only need certain indicators at certain times -- e.g. in some parts of the ICW, I tend to look at depth a lot but not so much at the compass course. In open water it can be the other way around.

(b.t.w. I recommend keeping an eye on the mechanical compass even when the autopilot is steering. My autopilot rarely reads the same heading as the compass, so I watch for any indication that the offset is changing.)

On my boat, the helm is at the front of the cockpit (adjacent to the entryway). The instruments are visible to anybody else in the cockpit, though not necessarily easy to read. The wind direction is most visible because it has a large pointer. I'm not so good at sail trim that detailed instrument data is useful, but I suspect that as you get better at sail trim, you look more at the sails and less at the instruments.
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Old 26-06-2006, 19:19   #32
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Well, just electronic huh? Here goes:

Pefered TypePrefered providerBudgetActualRemainingKnot LogRaymarine$100$1000AnometerST 60 Wind SystemRaymarine$500$5000Depth LogRaymarine$350$3500RadarRadome 4kw 24"4D 24 in. 4kW$1,350$1,3500Multi displayRaymarine -C80$1,500$1,51616GPSRaystar 125$270$22545GPS - Handheldgarmin 76 cs$350$42575GPS - Handheldgarmin 76 $150$1555EPIRB - 406$300$29010AutopilotRaymarine0 Drive UnitRaymarine0 Control UnitRaymarine$520$5182 CorpackS2G SmartpilotRaymarine$1,500$950550Radio - VHF baseICOM ic-m502$260$2600Radio - VHF AntenaShakespear 5309$300Radio - SSBICOM ic-m802 + 140 Tuner$2,100$1,260840Radio - SSB antenaICOM ic-m802$300$95205Raynav Navigation system$1,200$1,21111Radio - Hand heldStandard Horizon hx471sAnglers $250250Radio - Hand heldStandard Horizon hx471sAnglers $250$2419WatermakerSpectra ventura 150Spectra$4,000$4483,553Watermaker controllermpc 3000Pyacht$2,200$3551,845Marine head refitVaccuflush$1,000$585415ComputerIBM$00Printer$200200Diesel HeaterEspar Airtronics 4Espar$850$17833Cabin Fans$250250CO detector? * 4$150$1500Propane Control solenoid?$120$1200Fire suppression & extinguishers$209$2090Engine hour meters*2$80$800LED Lights?$300300Air Conditioning?$250$2500Refrigarator/FreezerFrigoboat?$3,500$3,750250Oven/StoveSeaward?$1,000$95941InverterXantrex$750$7500Battery MonitorXantrex$298$2980Battery ChargerXantrex$00High Output alternatorBalmar Series 6Temp Supplier$00BatteriesConcord PVX 2580LCarlson Solar$800800Starter Battery$200$19010Battery Cables$220$2191General Wiring and elect Connections$1,400$1,38713Bilge pumps$415$4123Solar PanelsKyocera KC120Kyocera$2,470$9001,570Charge ControllerOutback power mx69?$350$39242Wind GneratorAir X$750$73119Portable GeneratorKipor/Honda$900$880Dive Lights ?$00LED flashlights?$150150Vacuum$70$4228Blender, food processor$200200Vacuum sealer$100100Sewing machine$975$9732Total's$35,707$23,54312,164

Dang!! That cut and paste worked. This is pretty much all the electrical items I equiped my boat with, I think. I tried to keep the spread sheet up to date, I have not included the parts that broke and I had to re-replace. Oh, make sure you carry and extra starter, generator and control board for the refrigeration, they broke during my 8 month trip.

I do give this list kinda tongue in cheek, but it is what I equiped my boat with, on the electrical side.

Keith
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Old 26-06-2006, 19:20   #33
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Okay, it didn't work!!!! If you want a copy shoot me an email, and I'll send it to you!
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Old 27-06-2006, 08:07   #34
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Data Overload!

Perhaps its just me but I've found that too much electronic info at the helm can be more of a problem than a benefit.

We've got a ton of electronics on our boat and repeaters or duplicates at the helm--except for radar (which I'd actually like to have at night). Unfortunately, this seems to result in a loss of an intuitive feel for what's going on around the yacht--"situational awareness".

Overzooming a GPS chart-plotter is a classic example. I've seen boats go aground in water that is obviously too shallow (if one looks over the side!) only to discover that the operator was attempting to thread a swash channel with his plotter zoomed down to 100' on an electronic chart reproduction of a 1:240,000 chart!

While we use the electronics, I have found it beneficial to periodically cover the displays (save depth and non-electronic compass) to keep everyone in touch with whats going on outside the boat--looking at the Windex, tell-tales, heeling angle, wind on the neck, etc. I keep a pair of binoculars handy and a hocky puck on a lanyard around my neck for quick LOP's on marks.

I had the opportunity to meet Susan and Eric Hiscock when they visited San Francisco on Wanderer IV on their last voyage to New Zealand. At one point I was aboard a friend's racing yacht fitted out with all manner of instruments--such as existed at the time--when the Hiscock's were aboard for a visit. Mr. Hiscock seemed impressed but commented that he didn't feel that he would have the time to deal with all the "accounting" that such instruments might impose. Perhaps that sentiment no longer applies but I do think that the abundance of instruments--and particularly GPS Chart Plotters--have allowed an excess of ill prepared voyagers to launch themselves into the deep, comforted by the idea that if things get sideways they can yell for help with an EPIRB and "...the heck with the Boat, we're insured".

While the instruments available today are far more sophisticated than those of 10 years ago, they do not seem to be as robust in many regards, nor does the digital information necessarily impart more accuracy/reliability in all cases. I still miss my old rotating flasher type depth sounder which not only told me where the bottom was but gave good clues as to its make-up--sand or mud over coral or rock for example.

It might be best to use the gear that's aboard the yacht and slowly work out what needs/should be replaced. Unfortunately, as we own quite a bit of the Company's stock, there are far less costly places to buy equipment than West Marine--even the port supply prices--and the deals are easy to find with a little web searching. One thing, however, is to be very cautious of buying gear that can't be returned/exchanged or gear that will only work well with other equipment by the same manufacturer--e.g. Ray Marine or Garmin. We've got three Garmin chart-plotters aboard and they work very well. But, they can only use Garmin's Blue-Charts which are very costly. And, you can only load the charts to two plotters!

Good luck with your voyages. The Septre 41 is a great boat and the kids are the right age!

Cheers,

s/v HyLyte
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Old 27-06-2006, 15:03   #35
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Thanks for the info Hylyte:

That is pretty much the conclusion that we have come up with too. I'm more of a seat of the pants sailor but as I got used to the Chart Plotter it is a big crutch that if taken away may cause a nasty stumble. When we chartered in Florida the last two years we learned to use the chartplotter but more as a suppliment to paper charts. Plotters were real nice for the ICW but looking at the water with polarized lenses and the depth sounder were much more important to me.

Sceptre's look like nice boats. everyone I've communicated iwth that has noe really likes it.
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Old 27-06-2006, 17:37   #36
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I like the electronics and feel that they make the navigation safer. More information is better. In actual fact, navigation takes less time and there is more time for "sailing". I have redundacy, but find current gear accurate and reliable. But I do carry paper charts and, of course can revert to the basics.

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Old 30-07-2006, 18:16   #37
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I have had port supply for over ten years, the discount for electronics is very low. If you watch the sales circulars, your will get the same price as port supply for electronics. I would recommend shopping at other sources than Waste Marine for Electronics.
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Old 30-07-2006, 18:20   #38
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Thanks Norsea:

I will look for other sources than Waste Marine
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Old 30-07-2006, 18:53   #39
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Charlie,

As a long-term (i.e., long-in-the-tooth) electronics guy and offshore sailor, I believe there's a tendency these days to write off electronics gear on a boat just because it's "ancient". To my mind, this can be a big mistake.

High quality marine electronics gear, properly installed and maintained, will perform flawlessly for a very long time. One shouldn't automatically assume that older gear won't work or is somehow undesirable.

On my boat and in my home, I have a rather eclectic selection of "ancient" gear and modern ... even the most modern ... navigation and communications gear. I can attest that some of the older gear works exceptionally well and does exactly what it was designed to do 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years ago.

On my boat, in addition to new GPS's, radar, and VHF/DSC radios I have Datamarine instruments which are over 20 years old and which look and work as new. Also, these particular instruments can still be repaired by the factory, spare parts are available, and replacements are found on eBay periodically by people who are "upgrading" their electronics. I wouldn't give up the Datamarine instruments for ANY new gear I've seen, including the wireless stuff. And, because they're available on eBay for a song, I carry backups for each Datamarine instrument...speed/log, fathometer, wind speed/direction indicator.

I also carry two "ancient" RDFs aboard. Yes, RDFs. Also a Furuno LC-90 MK II Loran that's about 10 years old. And a Yaesu SSB that's 10 years old. And....I won't go on; you get the point. I'm an electronics guy and I highly value this "older" equipment and wouldn't trade it for some of the new integrated, network systems.

Integration can be a gee-whiz thing that's great to show your friends, and it can be helpful. But one doesn't have to look far to find horror stories of things going bad...things which could spoil your whole day. Or your whole cruise. So, be careful what you choose to integrate, and how you choose to do it. As one poster said, the all-in-one approach is lower cost but you wind up with a single point of failure for multiple, critical systems. Not a smart idea, IMHO.

The extent of my "integration" so far has been to interface one of my Furuno GPS units with my computer for chart plotting, and with my DSC radio, using the same NMEA circuit. I've chosen NOT to integrate my radar, autopilot, depth, log, toaster, coffeemaker, etc., feeling that it isn't necessary and it greatly complicates troubleshooting when something goes wrong.

Everyone's got his/her tastes, however, and these choices won't fit all. But they get my vote.

Good luck.

Bill
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Old 30-07-2006, 19:42   #40
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Thanks Bill:

The comment "ancient" was made tongue and cheek. The boat that we hope to close on soon has B&G instruments and a 36 mile Furno radar. I'm not going to change that out but I do need to upgrade the GPS and the autopilot. Though I might see if I can keep the old one as a back up. Especially until I get a windvane. Thanks for the idea of looking on Ebay for spares on the older equipment.
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Old 31-07-2006, 00:47   #41
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It won't be supported by many people here, but this is my opinion.Boomers love to throw money unnecessarily at electronics. The latest things, the must haves, and 90 percent of it is a waste of money.

I am lazy. That is why I have a depth sounder. The lead weights are always handy, but it's too easy to look at the depth gauge. That is my shame.

I also use hand-held GPS's. I have three of them, one a gift and two from a going out of business sale. If I need to know how fast I am going, they will tell me, so speed/log is superfluous. I have a sextant just in case. But, again, laziness.

If you use electronic charts you should also have paper as a back up. My opinion is that paper is far superior and much more mobile, so why you would want both is beyond me. The novelty of watching your boat floating in the middle of a chart plotter or on a computer screen lasts about five minutes. I have posed questions here and elsewhere about electronic charts, but the more I got into it I kept asking myself "And how is this better than paper?" It's not, in any way. Just more crap to buy.

Telltales will tell you which way the wind is blowing. 70s disco audio cassettes come with lots of replacements.

Windspeed indicators? Absolutely the biggest waste of money, IMHO. That's why God gave you cheeks and vision. Next thing they will come out with is a "Colour of sky" indicator to advise you when it's a good idea to reduce sail.

Radar? If you live in, or intend to sail to, areas with lots of fog, I can see the necessity of radar. It makes sense, if only for its ability to let you relax. AIS makes sense in those areas as well. Where I live, near the busiest commercial shipping channel in the world, both are pointless.

A radio receiver will provide you with weather information. My estimate is that 99% of folks with weatherfax don't know how to read the maps and tend to rely on what they hear on the radio anyway. Where the storm is and where it's heading and how fast and wind strength and forecast is most of what I want to know. The map, even if it's Greek to you, will impress other boomers, though.

VHF? Again I am lazy. It just makes life easier. When the current one dies, I will fill the screw holes and buy a handheld. Then I can take it with me when I sail off on other people's boats.

Ham/SSB? Personally, I don't think this has anything to do with sailing. It's about "talking". If you like to talk to people far away, then get one. If you want to tell someone that your boat is sinking before you turn on your EPIRB and take to your liferaft, then get one. Are they "necessary"? IMHO, not in any way.

I have an autopilot and a windvane. The autopilot is not necessary, but is a nice perk. I spend a lot of time motoring in windless channels. When it dies, I will buy the smallest autopilot I can find and hook it up to my windvane.

Of course, others will disagree. That's their right. My suggestion to you, Charlie, is replace nothing and live with it, asking yourself what you really need as the stuff dies.

Funny, former owner of my boat had installed a speed/log in the cockpit bulkhead. It died. I found myself considering replacing it, not because it would be of any use, but I figured a new one would be simpler than glassing the hole. Time to take a deep breath.
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Old 31-07-2006, 05:27   #42
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JimBim points are valid. You certainly can sail without electronics and radios.

However, for me, I enjoy these gadgets and they do provide more information and add to the safety. And when the weather stinks you can always find something ELSE to do on board!

I still have my original B&G instruments which are now 21 yrs old and work perfectly and reliably. Love then.

I added radar when we did a trip to Maine 15 yrs ago. It IS helpful sailing in fog and in New England you can get it anytime... so one never knows when this would be a life saver. We hardly use though. At night it DOES help you see.

AIS is an interesting collision avoidance device. Our rig was an add on and cost a few hundred dollars. At this point it has served no practical use, but who knows when it might.

I added a chart plotter in 00 and thought it was nifty, but it was located down below and when I sail I am in the cockpit. I don't sail from point to point like a power boat so I don't have a library of thousands of way points.

I DID add a cockpit repeated for the GPS plotter so when I DO enter a waypoint I can see my progress toward it and so on.... calculating when to tack or gybe... etc. This is handy for waypoint which are clearly beyond visual range.

Recently when I decided to get a PDA I got the Garmin IQue 3600 which can do auto navigation and charts. I find it very handy for driving to new addresses, at night when you can easily loose track or north if your are making turns and so on. I added the blue charts and brought it on board and use it in the cockpit instead of going below and locating the position on a chart. Strangly, I find this little GPS plotter very hand despite it has no waypoints or other bells and whistles. It does have a heading line and gives COG and SOG.. that's it and it does keep a bread crumb track.

The IQue does triple duty and more so it is not a bad thing to own. The land based data base is way cool when you drop your hook and are looking for "things" like restaurants in land. I took it with me on a delivery to the Caribbean.... which is something I could not do with a fixed mount GPS so these little hand held GPS devices are quite... handy.

Cruising is not JUST sailing... it is anchoring, and maintenance, and cooking and navigation and rigging and sail trim and so on. Each of these and more are part of the experience. Each can be a distraction if you obsess on it... like spending all year at the dock polishing your boat and not sailing it.

You need to balance all the aspects of cruising and find the mix which works for you and then sail!

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Old 31-07-2006, 06:14   #43
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I'm on board with most of what JimBim has to say with an exception. I have a boat loaded with paper charts and spend hours pouring over them simply for the entertainment value. But when I'm out singlehanding I don't always have time to go below, spread out the chart and match my GPS to the paper to see what is out there. I wrestled with this for a long time and finally gave in to the chartplotter argument for this reason and the fact that plotters are getting almost as cheap as a mid range GPS. I believe that a depth sounder falls in the same category.

As for buying electronics...
Every time I am in a West store and some guy brags "I just got my first boat" I cringe because I know they are about to take him to the cleaners. West can supply some things cheaper but how much boat soap can a guy use? As for Port Supply, I spent a little time rebuilding boats and trying to make money at it. I found Port Supply is rarely that good of a deal. Don't get me wrong West Marine has clean stores stocked with lots of stuff and there are deals to be had. I still shop there and know most of the local people by name. But if I'm planning to spend four or five boat bucks I shop around.
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Old 31-07-2006, 07:53   #44
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I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents having gone through the whole boat buying process last year. When we bought the boat it came with some older electronics (radar, vhf, loran, speed log, depth and auto tiller). After closing on the boat, but before taking delivery I spent a huge amount of time planning all the crap I'd buy for the boat - including a sexy suite of electronics.

For the delivery trip I got a handlheld chart plotter. Figured it would make a good backup to the installed unit. A year later and a moderate amount of sailing under my belt and I really can't see the need for anything else.

It has been stated in this thread that you still need paper charts, on deck lookouts and common sense even with the most fully-featured chartplotter. So for me the primary purpose of the chartplotter is to quickly confirm my position and save a little work plotting on the paper chart. If I'm going into a familiar area then visual sighting of buoys and avoidance of traffic and hazards are the most important issues. When venturing to new areas I still need to use prudent piloting and keep an eye on a paper chart, visually spot markers and avoid traffic. Again, the chart plotter really just helps me fix my position on the paper chart quicker.

I also tend to move around on deck quite a bit – so even going back to the cockpit for a peak at the chartplotter would be annoying. My mono handheld fits in a pocket or around my neck and is always there to confirm my position regardless of where I happen to be (standing on the lazarette with my foot on the tiller, forward messing with a sail or down below in the head).

It kills me to say this - as I program GIS applications for a living – until the electronic chart technology is able to replace paper charts I personally don’t see the wisdom in shelling out big bucks for plotters. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sexy and I occasionally have 5 minutes of envy when I see them on other boats. At the end of the day however, I’m glad I didn’t spend more on a chartplotter. Plus, the thing about electronics is that every year they get better and cheaper. If I decide to get a system it will be more functional and cheaper than anything I could have gotten last year.

As for the others, depth is cheap enough and important enough that it is a no-brainer IMO. Can’t say I see the point of a speed log given GPS, but it’s cheap and can be fun to know what the current is so what the heck. Auto tiller is a nice to have as we tend to cruise a little off-shore to avoid traffic and lobster pots. For cruising seems like it is money well spent. My only advice here would be to get the most powerful system you can. Mine is a bit underpowered and can lose its way falling down even moderate waves.

It is very easy to get caught up in the new boat experience and want to get everything right-off. My surveyor repeatedly warned me to calm down and save cash. Focus on getting the boat in the water, cleaned up a little and take it out sailing before going nuts on all the toys. Despite his warning there is several thousand dollars I’d like to have back…
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Old 31-07-2006, 09:27   #45
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Some things get cheaper, but what they typically do is keep the price up and load in some new features.

Yet some things HAVE gotten cheaper - basic GPS. The first units on the market were as much as $10,000 and now you can get them for $100 and they come in phones and so on.

Nav instruments are NOT getting cheaper.

The MFD concept although expensive allows you to build a network around a display. Concept is not bad, but there is no real savings when add all the bits and pieces. Is it another marketing strategy?

Americans are addicted to electronic gadgets and there will be no shortage of them a people who will buy them even if they have no need for them.

To confirm one's position whilst on deck / at the helm nothing beats a small hand held chart plotter. Not too expensive and does what you need it to do.

It is my belief that the emphasis on waypoint libraries is basically rubbish. You can usually plan your voyage by punching in a few waypoints and then add the next one's whilst underway. Same thing goes for routes... insane!

Why not automate the whole process so you can sleep through it and wake up when the anchor is down?

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