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Old 22-08-2017, 20:38   #1
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installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

Hello, everyone. I have been considering something that I have to address soon, and realized that I have a problem that others may have as well.

The issue is that I have an older 27 foot sailboat with a engine gauge panel that is located (currently) at my achilles tendon, and that it has some gauges missing or masked off. It also has MANY unconnected wire plugs dangling. I also want to use a depth finder. I want to use some form of radar one day, and I need to have better access to my VHF and possibly an AIS. I have a working VHF (of older vintage) but may want to keep it where is (in cabin over nav station) and install something in the cockpit, or at least in a more useful location than over the nav station inside my old Hunter 27.

So, given that I don't yet have a hard dodger (and may never install one), and do not yet have a bimini installed (though I DO have the bits and frames to install that one), what measures can I take to install these bits of electronics in such a way that the monitors and signalling devices (such as the VHF mike) are within reach while I am sailing, but are not being absolutely destroyed by the sun and weather/saltwater spray/humidity?

Has anyone a photo or several of ways they have seen to mount these items and do this in a 27 foot boat with a tiller cockpit area the size of the '78 H27 and her peers? I need some ideas, and would rather not have to keep redoing the varnish on woodwork because the sun kept eating it (I am in Florida, and the sun is incredibly destructive here) and repurchasing items because the elements ate them in these poorly protected areas.

Is there a better place to put these things, and if so, would that be at the Nav station but still be visible somehow to a tiller pilot in real time? I don't have an iPhone, by the way, but I do have an Android, if that helps. I am also considering ways of having a chart at hand while at the tiller. Currently that is about impossible to do, as there is no place in the cockpit set aside for marking charts, it all happens in the cabin, at the Nav station. Am I doomed to having multiple people on board?

As a side note, I also have a Richey compass that is mounted on the port bulkhead in the cockpit (the one shared with the cabin), and though it has a Sunbrella cover over the compass, the fluid has turned dark, so I know I have to drain and refill, but is there a way to keep that from happening again? I assume it is similar to the protections for the other electronics and devices listed above?
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Old 23-08-2017, 08:57   #2
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Re: installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

I feel your pain. You can always adapt a Ram Mount to hold multiple instruments, that way they are viewable from the cockpit and from down below. I put my B&G Vulcan 7 on a Ram Mount and plan on making a bracket to somehow mount a fixed VHF on it as well.

I still have my Simrad IS20 depth/speed combo mounted outside next to the companionway.....as long as I keep the supplied cover on it I don't foresee many problems.

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ID:	154677Best of luck and keep us informed with what you decide to do.
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Old 23-08-2017, 12:16   #3
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Re: installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

I will let everyone on the thread know what happens. Right now, I am leaning toward (gulp) installing a hard dodger, and attempting to at least shelter the electronics from direct sun and rain. I really don't like the thought of adding that much windage to my boat, and so many of the dodgers I have seen look like crap, but I am finding myself increasingly vexed by the desire to add electronics to a system that has functioned relatively well for over two thousand years before I got my clubby paws involved.

I really have had the hardest time with sunlight, and if I can resolve the UV issue and direct rain I think it would go leaps and bounds in the right direction. I see your photo of the companionway, and note that my relatively rotund body would not go through there without an arm or leg striking that mount. I won't comment on the Admiral's level of grace, but she also would complain about that, I am sure.

If there were a way to make a device that I could mount temporarily while underway, a device that was perhaps a bracket that held multiple instruments and could be placed in use while actually sailing, then stowed when in port, I may be able to use that. I have a hard time even using my cell to navigate because of the light and moisture issue. A dodger would remedy that, perhaps, but again, I am reluctant to add the windage. Still, there may be nothing for it, but to bite the bullet.

I do have another vessel gathering dust that I could commandeer the walk-through windshield from, and then fabricate a dodger using that multi-window framework as a basis of construction. I am unsure how a mid-80's Glasstron ski boat windshield would function as a dodger on my sailboat, but at least the window profile will be relatively low, thus keeping the dodger itself lower... Hmmm....
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Old 23-08-2017, 12:18   #4
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Re: installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

I guess I am also wanting to shelter myself from the sun and weather too at times, so in my mind I am already leaning toward a combination benefit scenario...
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Old 23-08-2017, 15:00   #5
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Re: installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

I have a similar size boat, and my MFD and VHF are mounted on ram mounts that swing into view while in use, or back into the cabin while not. Works well, but a moderate obstacle when people are going back and forth between the cabin and cockpit. Also makes it harder to put hatch boards in place during a storm.

Another option which I don't often use: My MFD (Garmin 741xs) replicates to an iPad mini (using the Garmin Helm app), which I can hang around my neck (inside a life proof case).

Also, many VHF models have the capability to add a remote mic, which could easily by run to the cockpit while keeping the main unit in the cabin.
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Old 23-08-2017, 15:32   #6
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Re: installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

How about a handheld vhf and an iPad in a life proof case? Other than the depthsounder (mount in bulkhead) what else do you need?
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Old 23-08-2017, 21:12   #7
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Re: installation ideas and pictures to keep tech in sight in small cockpit

Sailmonkey,

I already have the tech devices, and was hoping to not have to purchase more instances of things that already work, especially the iPhone or iPad (as I have an android that I already use with Navionics software to get radar and some wind information, sea state forecasts, etc., but don't have a good case for it at the moment, and the light makes it hard to read in sunlight), and I was also hoping that the devices would not be prone to losing over the side or being damaged or unreadable in the sun or rain.

Further, once I repair the compass, I did not want to have to refilling the thing every time the sun damaged the fluid inside it or the woodwork it is mounted within. There is a ring of teak around it I was hoping to preserve, and it is already mounted into the bulkhead permanently. I have an alternative compass for in the cabin, as well as the app on my Android (provided I am within cell range).

If I can erect some sort of shade over the cockpit then put some sort of, I don't know, rack (?) in there, I was thinking I could somehow shelter things and myself when in the rain (and we get plenty of that here in Florida, I can assure you) and waves along the coast, transiting to the Carribbean possibly, heading to the Keys and GOM, in the rivers, and in the ICW, etc..
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