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Old 05-02-2012, 12:46   #1
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Instruments Will Need

We just bought a 32 ft. sailboat. Several years ago we raced a 22 ft. boat and have not had a sailboat since. What are some recommended instruments we should consider? We will be sailing the western side of Florida (intercoastal and off shore). The boat has a wheel with compass there. Should we look at GPS handheld or mounted, laptop, chart reader. Wanted to get some updated equipment.
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Old 05-02-2012, 13:03   #2
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Re: Instruments will need

It's not what you will NEED, it's what you WANT.

We have sailed all over the gulf, from Texas to Honduras. All we have is analog knotmeter, depthsounder, and a mounted handheld gps. For running the ICW opencpn runs on the laptop sitting on the navdesk.
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Old 05-02-2012, 13:11   #3
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Re: Instruments will need

Ive been useing a Taff Rail Log, compass, simple mounted GPS, depth sounder/fishfinder, paper charts, good binoculars,astrolobe, hand bearing compass. Connie has her laptop with a good puck gps, and the Capt program that she keeps below decks, and do admit I even look at it sometimes just to compare!! It works ok but I still like the old way it makes me feel safer LOL just my 2 cents Bob and Connie
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Old 05-02-2012, 13:20   #4
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Re: Instruments will need

I forgot to mention we use paper charts and cruising guides all the time, so again, you don't need a chartplotter, but you may want one.
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Old 05-02-2012, 13:32   #5
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pirate Re: Instruments will need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
It's not what you will NEED, it's what you WANT.

We have sailed all over the gulf, from Texas to Honduras. All we have is analog knotmeter, depthsounder, and a mounted handheld gps. For running the ICW opencpn runs on the laptop sitting on the navdesk.
+A1........... Works well for me to...
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Old 05-02-2012, 14:43   #6
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Re: Instruments will need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayamore View Post
We just bought a 32 ft. sailboat. Several years ago we raced a 22 ft. boat and have not had a sailboat since. What are some recommended instruments we should consider? We will be sailing the western side of Florida (intercoastal and off shore). The boat has a wheel with compass there. Should we look at GPS handheld or mounted, laptop, chart reader. Wanted to get some updated equipment.
What I would want to have as a minimum:

Compass
A small GPS chartplotter/fishfinder (Garmin 441s or similar)
Paper charts

You can add to it as your budget, available space, electrical system and inclination to tinker allows:

Autopilot
AIS receiver or transponder
MFD with radar
wind instruments
knotmeter
electronic compass
sextant and a wind-up chronometer in case you're struck by lightning
SSB radio and modem
satellite phone
laptop/iPad/iphone with NMEA 2000 Wifi bridge

Check out Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog for anything I might have left out.

None of these things are essential, but they can be fun to have.
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Old 05-02-2012, 14:58   #7
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Re: Instruments will need

I would consider one of the better "hand-held" GPS units and simply hardwire it to a place where it may sit in a place at your helm. Depthsounders are nice on that shallow gulf coast. I like the radio shack connecter part number 23-444 to hook the handheld to 12VDC. Next, I would prefer the auto pilot.
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Old 05-02-2012, 15:37   #8
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Re: Instruments will need

Kayamore,

These instruments are a good start.

Speed, Depth, Wind & NMEA Interface

Micronet Super Sail System
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Old 05-02-2012, 15:47   #9
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Re: Instruments will need

Need
Depth
Speed log
Compass
Hand-held GPS
Paper charts
Sextant
Sighting compass

Desirable
Speed
GPS Plotter (at nav station)
GPS repeater (on deck)
Apparent wind speed / direction
Hand-held GPS (as back up)
Paper charts
Sextant
Sighting compass

Ideal
Depth
Speed
GPS plotter at nav station
GPS plotter on deck
True wind speed
True wind angle
VMG
etc...
Hand-held GPS
Sighting compass
Paper charts

Personally, with a somewhat limited budget, we have pretty much the middle option, above. I really, really like the GPS plotter at the nav-station and repeater on deck.
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Old 05-02-2012, 18:57   #10
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Re: Instruments will need

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
Ive been useing a Taff Rail Log, compass, simple mounted GPS, depth sounder/fishfinder, paper charts, good binoculars,astrolobe, hand bearing compass. Connie has her laptop with a good puck gps, and the Capt program that she keeps below decks, and do admit I even look at it sometimes just to compare!! It works ok but I still like the old way it makes me feel safer LOL just my 2 cents Bob and Connie
If I use the puck gps with the capn program can I run that on my HP computer or is the panasonic toughbook better. There are some used ones on ebay that I could get to only use for that purpose
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Old 05-02-2012, 20:33   #11
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Re: Instruments will need

After sailing around the world, I would be happy to travel with just three instruments. Wind speed/direction, depth sounder, and gps. That's what I used all of the time. Everything else I could get along without compromising the voyage.
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Old 05-02-2012, 20:40   #12
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Re: Instruments will need

Your asking the wrong person on puters !! LOL the wife Connie use's a Vaio by Sony thats all I know about it !! Im sure any will run it ! except for Mac maybe ?? Bob and Connie
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:58   #13
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Re: Instruments will need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayamore View Post
If I use the puck gps with the capn program can I run that on my HP computer or is the panasonic toughbook better. There are some used ones on ebay that I could get to only use for that purpose
If you decide to rely on a laptop as the primary navigation instrument, you will need to figure out 1) how to keep it secure in rough weather while your boat is heeled at 30 deg or more; and 2) how to keep it dry while you and your weather gear">foul weather gear are dripping wet. A ruggedized laptop will make it easier, but you will still need to figure out how to securely mount it.

You can buy a small waterproof chartplotter/depthsounder with all US and Bahamas charts for less than $500. While a laptop has a larger screen and additional functionality, by the time you buy a separate gps, depthsounder, and a ram or similar mount, the cost won't be that much lower.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:08   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
If you decide to rely on a laptop as the primary navigation instrument, you will need to figure out 1) how to keep it secure in rough weather while your boat is heeled at 30 deg or more; and 2) how to keep it dry while you and your foul weather gear are dripping wet. A ruggedized laptop will make it easier, but you will still need to figure out how to securely mount it.

You can buy a small waterproof chartplotter/depthsounder with all US and Bahamas charts for less than $500. While a laptop has a larger screen and additional functionality, by the time you buy a separate gps, depthsounder, and a ram or similar mount, the cost won't be that much lower.
The laptop CP is not meant to be on 24/7... thats what the compass & GPS is for.. and the paper charts... the 'puta' is for occassional use in planning waypoints etc... not to be used as an option to TV....
Most boats come with depth/log fitted... so after that its just a GPS for $150+- and a puck for the 'puta'... $15-20.... downloads of the charts is free... for US folks... OpenCPN free as well... stick n stick velcro is very efficient at holding things firm...
$200 will see you fine
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:21   #15
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Re: Instruments will need

Just to say that Compass should be checked for accuracy - possibly(!) not worry about getting it swung (adjusted), but at least to know how accurate it is.

I would also consider an autopilot - not a "need" but very very high up on the "want" list.

If looking to do things on a strict budget would go for a small handheld GPS that runs on batteries and can be plugged in to the ship's power. Something that included a Chartplotter would be more of a wishlist item, but that might change depending on locale.

In any event, No.1 is to learn how to Navigate - when not totally reliant on any bleeping boxes the options (for less gizmos) opens up. Not to say that I am against Gizmos - I like things with buttons and flashing lights as much as the next fella!
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