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Old 25-03-2014, 14:11   #1
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Simplification

Ahoy,
I am thinking about the purchase and configuration of a Pacific Seacraft 37 for both coastal, and offshore, single-handed voyaging during my upcoming retirement. Specifically, the sailing and navigation electronics, communication equipment and various other supporting systems.

I have read many, many threads, both here, and elsewhere, about refitting these systems, electronics selection, needs and options etc., etc., etc.

One thing seems to stand out. There seems to be a trend toward more and more stuff.

I recently refitted my Pacific Seacraft Dana with a full array of modern electronics. B&G Zeus Touch MFDs, Tritons, N2K network, AIS, sensors, transducers, etc. and wonder if I might have gone a bit overboard.

Some of my more experienced sailing friends cross vast stretches of ocean, safely, with somewhat less stuff.

In the recent thread concerning the outfitting of a Caliber 40 LRC, it was mentioned that some simplification might be desirable.

So, I put it to you all. With an idea toward refined and elegant simplification, what are opinions about what would constitute such a complete system on a mid-sized, tiller steered (the boat I'm considering has one), cruiser that would be used both inshore and offshore. And opinions on placement would also be appreciated.
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Old 25-03-2014, 14:30   #2
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Re: Simplification

I'm not really into "simple". I'm into useful stuff and I feel if/when it fails the worst that has happened is my boat is now "simpler". The toys just make sailing easier and more enjoyable (except the autopilot and depth gage, I consider them pretty important).

Get the stuff you feel is useful to YOU, chartplotter, radar, autopilot, AIS etc.

I have all the above except the AIS and don't know if I will ever buy one even though I'm sure it is useful. I have radar and turned it on twice last year.
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Old 25-03-2014, 14:49   #3
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Re: Simplification

My last boat had depth and speed instruments and that was it. Great for the weekend use and occasional trip. This boat has depth, speed, radar, autopilot, wind AIS, and E-80 chart plotter.

The information that the electronics provide is really nice to have and I don't think I would go cruising full time without them. AIS would be the last thing I would give up as it provides an added safety factor. After that I would give up in this order: radar, wind, chart plotter, autopilot - and always have depth and speed. If single handing, the autopilot is really beneficial.

As far as placement, I have had instruments on the bulkhead and on the pedestal, and I prefer the pedestal. When there are people in the cockpit they are always in the way of a clear line of site to the bulkhead instruments.

Hope that helps.
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Old 25-03-2014, 15:22   #4
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Re: Simplification

Re placement of whatever instruments you fit:

If you plan offshore passages you will doubtless have either autopilot or windvane steering, and it will be driving most of the time. You, on the other hand, will likely be under the shade/protection of your dodger. Pedestal mounted instruments are not useful while you are not at the helm. Bulkhead mounts, or over the companionway mounts can be used from both positions.

Your choice.

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Old 25-03-2014, 17:04   #5
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Re: Simplification

Quote:
Originally Posted by muttskie View Post
I recently refitted my Pacific Seacraft Dana with a full array of modern electronics. B&G Zeus Touch MFDs, Tritons, N2K network, AIS, sensors, transducers, etc. and wonder if I might have gone a bit overboard.

Some of my more experienced sailing friends cross vast stretches of ocean, safely, with somewhat less stuff.
I think this complicated/simplistic argument needs some perspective. I bet your more experienced friends still have a depth sounder and knotmeter. Probably a wind instrument also. Most assuredly a GPS.

So let's call that "simpler" and look at what you just put on your Dana that you think is more "complicated".

The sensors and transducers are the same as those of your friends if you are talking about depth, speed, wind and GPS. In your case, a single Triton MFD allows you to use all of that data in many different ways. The simpler systems have single-function displays for each of the sensors and transducers aboard, and they cannot display their data in any different ways or combinations that may be more useable like you can.

An N2K network is just a cable that carries a couple of communication wires along with the power. It is no more complicated than the cabling and wiring required to install the "simple" systems. In fact, it is less complicated.

So that comes down to your chartplotter and AIS. Yes, you could have gone simpler there, but even the most die-hard simple people are putting AIS on board and see its great value to their cruising.

So the "simple" vs. "complicated" argument usually comes down to either discomfort with gear that is newer than 25yrs old, or a philosophical argument against the fact that the newer gear allows one to connect things together in ways some don't think should be allowed.

Always forgotten in the latter argument is that one does not have to connect things that way, or one does not have to use the additional functionality even if it is connected that way.

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Old 25-03-2014, 19:23   #6
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Re: Simplification

Perhaps the word "simple" was a bad choice of words on my part. I think what I was looking for were opinions and comments about a streamlined system that was without superfluous content, yet still was helpful and prudent in an offshore environment. I, of course, agree about the primary instrumentation mentioned. The networking of the various sensors is a good thing in my mind.

Maybe a better way would have been to phrase my request for opinions of experienced cruisers as to what they would put together in a nice clean system knowing what they now know, after years of experience.

The contender boat is tiller steered, so the comment regarding bulkhead placement of instrumentation is appreciated. I like my Tritons. They are a fabulous development, though somewhat temperamental about source retention in my experience. How many would be considered reasonable, mounted in the cockpit bulkhead? Should a MFD go there too, or is a MFD located at the nav station sufficient? What about the AIS display? Separate or incorporated into a MFD's display?

I'm not experienced offshore and am hopeful that sailors who are will have come to basic understandings of what is a good, streamlined, way to set up a boat of this type. It's not at all about the money, it's about what is logical, helpful and, to paraphrase goldilocks, not to much , not to little, but just right.
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Old 26-03-2014, 09:14   #7
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Re: Simplification

I have two GMI20's which are very close to the Tritons in functionality. These are in addition to my chartplotter and my autopilot panel. In realty, I think I could have just ditched the GMI's although I do appreciate their usefulness. All the data they provide is provided on my chartplotter.

I wish I had saved the space and money on the GMI's and instead gotten a larger screen chartplotter. With that said... they use a lot less power than my chartplotter, so maybe not.
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Old 26-03-2014, 09:31   #8
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Re: Simplification

I say forego any speedlog and possibly windspeed instruments.
Have one good large screen GPS/PLotter/Radar/Depth display.
Have a backup GPS. ie:Keep it broad coverage but simple.
If you are really into simple, then go Depth and GPS only.
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Old 26-03-2014, 09:42   #9
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Re: Simplification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I say forego any speedlog and possibly windspeed instruments.
My speed log normally fouls the first few weeks each year and after the first couple of months I just get tired of cleaning and just leave the cover on it. My current boat doesn't windspeed or direction and I haven't felt many need to get one (would probably be neat to tie a wind direction into the autopilot though)
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Old 26-03-2014, 10:13   #10
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Wink Re: Simplification

Quote:
Originally Posted by muttskie View Post

One thing seems to stand out. There seems to be a trend toward more and more stuff.

I recently refitted my Pacific Seacraft Dana with a full array of modern electronics. B&G Zeus Touch MFDs, Tritons, N2K network, AIS, sensors, transducers, etc. and wonder if I might have gone a bit overboard.

In the recent thread concerning the outfitting of a Caliber 40 LRC, it was mentioned that some simplification might be desirable.

So, I put it to you all. With an idea toward refined and elegant simplification, what are opinions about what would constitute such a complete system on a mid-sized, tiller steered (the boat I'm considering has one), cruiser that would be used both inshore and offshore. And opinions on placement would also be appreciated.

I don't think my idea of a well-found system would be all that complicated, but only you can decide what you're comfortable with. I also think folks can get by with just a magnetic compass, paper charts (plus parallel rule, dividers, etc.), and a depth finder... but I don't think that'd be much fun, for me.

What data from your Dana fit-out would you be willing to do without? Why? What would be the consequence, if any? Or why did you want it in the first place?

That line of analysis may lead you to your own answers.

In our case, we not only have stuff, but also redundant stuff for the few items I consider especially nice to have (working).

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Old 26-03-2014, 11:28   #11
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Re: Simplification

I will say that Radar has saved my bacon a couple times. Allowed me to enter harbor on a pitch black night after a non stop crossing from Miami to the Berry's in the Bahamas. Dropped the hook, slept and checked in next am.
Trying to find a small harbor in the pNW in gale force winds, surfing down steep 12 footers toward a rugged rock coastline was a scary event. No harbor entrance evident from the ocean. The radar pointed out the hidden entrance well.
etc, etc...
Once you get a little bigger boat radar becomes more feasible... something to think about anyway. It's a blessing following storm cells and waterspouts as well as doing "Freighter Check" at night.
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Old 26-03-2014, 12:36   #12
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Re: Simplification

Thank you, everyone. Now we're getting somewhere.
I am fully willing and able to outfit the boat with any equipment that makes sense. I am looking for advice that would help prevent me from wasting money and/or locating things in inconvenient locations.

How does this sound, so far.

In the cockpit:

Two Tritons on forward cockpit bulkhead. They would be able to display depth, wind data ( from an ultrasonic sensor at the masthead ).

One MFD located in the same location that would provide cockpit viewable navigation, AIS, radar and autopilot information. I'm thinking about the new B&G Zeus2 MFD.

It may be that the layout I did on my Dana is good for this purpose, after all. Here is a picture.

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Then, located at the nav station:

A smaller Zeus 2 MFD, a VHF, and a SSB radio.

The mast mounted 4G radar would be overlaid and controllable through the MFD's.
The AIS, a black box type (Vesper XB8000), would also be overlaid on the MFD's.
The VHF (and SSB radio) would provide DSC function. They would be networked with the AIS, MFD's and radar.

How does this equipment list and layout sound?
Additions? Subtractions? Comments?
I have read, more than once, that a good AIS display (like a Vesper Watchmate 850 ) is more useful offshore, than an MFD.
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Old 26-03-2014, 12:47   #13
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Re: Simplification

I don't know if this suggestion is simpler or more complicated, but have you considered adding Simrad's wifi module and using an iPad at the nav station instead of a second MFD?

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Old 26-03-2014, 13:54   #14
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Re: Simplification

I have ocean navigated (in Florida without any fog) with just a handheld GPS and depthsounder. I could use my cellphone just as well now. Fog however makes radar and AIS very useful. And if your going to get AIS, might as well have VHF too. My current ocean system, which I am very fond of is:
Simrad NSS 8 with depthsounder, chartplotter, GPS, AIS and radar integrated.
VHF, Cell phone. That is it. Will add sat phone for across the ocean work. The new SPOT phone looks like cheap international communications. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Know that you can cross oceans with charts and a compass if you have too.
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Old 26-03-2014, 23:26   #15
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Re: Simplification

FWIW,

You might consider adding a forward looking depth sounder. Ours has shown us invisible rock reefs in muddy water; when we get the anchor up, I can tell from it when it has left the seabed; it is quite useful whenever there are reflections on the water or visibility into the water is limited.

The one we have is a Probe, and it has worked well for the past 11 yrs.
Ann
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