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Old 13-03-2015, 18:33   #1
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The Perfect Setup

ok so i think we are about two years away from the boat and the money both being ready to head out cruising.-- We intend to start in the Bahamas and then head south on our Gulfstar 51. Before we go, we are going to refit the electronics on the boat- soup to nuts-- so the question is - if it were your boat what would you put on it- specific by brand-- cost should be middle of the road for the complete package- some items could be top of the line others low but overall package should be middle of the road. Assume moderate experience in sailing by me- less from my partner.-- so what would you put on by brand and model and why? also keep in mind that if we wait 18 months or so to buy then we have a 6 month "burn in" time before we leave and prices on what is now the newest thing may have come down a bit.-- ok now i will throw this one to the lions (or sharks) and let them tear at it a bit-- all opinions welcome but please give reasons why you like something particular-- radios, plotters, AIS, radars, autopilot etc all need to be replaced with new.
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Old 13-03-2015, 18:43   #2
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Re: The Perfect Setup

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ok so i think we are about two years away from the boat and the money both being ready to head out cruising.-- We intend to start in the Bahamas and then head south on our Gulfstar 51. Before we go, we are going to refit the electronics on the boat- soup to nuts-- so the question is - if it were your boat what would you put on it- specific by brand-- cost should be middle of the road for the complete package- some items could be top of the line others low but overall package should be middle of the road. Assume moderate experience in sailing by me- less from my partner.-- so what would you put on by brand and model and why? also keep in mind that if we wait 18 months or so to buy then we have a 6 month "burn in" time before we leave and prices on what is now the newest thing may have come down a bit.-- ok now i will throw this one to the lions (or sharks) and let them tear at it a bit-- all opinions welcome but please give reasons why you like something particular-- radios, plotters, AIS, radars, autopilot etc all need to be replaced with new.
My father sailed with only a compass, depth sounder, charts, and parallel rules.

When I purchase my next boat, it will be my last (in theory). Thus, I refuse to skimp on electronics. Also, replacing all is time consuming, so why not add a few pennies to your budget and go for the best of whatever's currently available? Great anything, is great. So why short yourself? Then again, if you're planning on selling the 51' in a few years, middle of the road would surely be fine.

If you plan on running an Internet business on your 51', well that's a brand new story...
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Old 13-03-2015, 19:08   #3
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Re: The Perfect Setup

no - no internet business-- want to QUIT business- and go back to life-- would prefer to have a bit more of the advantages that more than compass, sextant etc can give. middle of the road because if i continually wait to put the very best i can possible afford on the boat we will never leave.
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Old 13-03-2015, 20:00   #4
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Re: The Perfect Setup

Hello.

Given that you don't plan to leave for about 2 years, AND given the rapid developments in electronics, if I were you I would WAIT until about 6 months prior to departure time. Then I would buy an integrated system that works together, test it over a few months (to work out kinks) AND read the manuals and practice using the gear.

I would also look seriously into using the latest (THEN) tablets (e.g. iPad) and apps to augment any chart plotter (which may be very different in two years).

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But, you probably want an instant answer.

So, I suggest you read the following thread as it has extensive lists of recommended electronics and helpful information related to antennas and other stuff.

Have to haves and wants

Good luck!
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Old 13-03-2015, 20:45   #5
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Re: The Perfect Setup

FWIW, it seems to me that some of the older electronics last trouble free better than the new ones, so if what the OP has now, works reliably, I'd stick with what I have and not be lured into a whole new set of problems. There's a lot of "keeping up with the Joneses" in yachting, which the OP might choose to not join.

On the other hand, if what he has does not work well, then I think Steady Hand's approach makes some sense. My only concern is that if you have one wonder tool that tells you everything you want to know, what are you going to do for backup? OP's boat, his choices.

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Old 13-03-2015, 21:46   #6
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Re: The Perfect Setup

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
FWIW, it seems to me that some of the older electronics last trouble free better than the new ones, so if what the OP has now, works reliably, I'd stick with what I have and not be lured into a whole new set of problems. There's a lot of "keeping up with the Joneses" in yachting, which the OP might choose to not join.

On the other hand, if what he has does not work well, then I think Steady Hand's approach makes some sense. My only concern is that if you have one wonder tool that tells you everything you want to know, what are you going to do for backup? OP's boat, his choices.

Ann
I agree with Ann (again).

I would use electronics that work, until obsolete. I would not have all my eggs in one basket. Redundancy is good for things vital or critical to your safety or enjoyment, things like compass, GPS, VHF.

My point about iPads is that they are relatively low cost, so I would have more than one aboard. They also have many possible functions and apps.

Aside from the navigation tools (plotter, GPS), to me the most desirable electronics would be:

1. EPIRB
2. AIS transponder
3. RADAR
4. RADAR transponder
5. Personal AIS transponder for Man Overboard
6. LED lights
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Old 13-03-2015, 22:15   #7
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Re: The Perfect Setup

Maybe it's different on a sailboat but for us redundancy is the key. Multiple GPS, radars, chartplotters, depth sounders and radios. And completely independent systems so a failure of one component doesn’t cascade into multiple systems.

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Old 13-03-2015, 22:25   #8
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Re: The Perfect Setup

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... redundancy is the key.
Yup! I agree, and I've said it before.

That aside, some people just like to chirp up and flap their gums in some type of show of authoritative experience. Of course, the OP can do whatever the f*#k he/she wants. Ho hum (yawn).

Doing a long passage on a stale, uptight dry boat with a flappy-gum hen would drive me to drinking, personally. FWIW.
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Old 16-03-2015, 12:44   #9
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Re: The Perfect Setup

Madehn,
This exact subject was just discussed here this past week....in two different threads....and one had an almost exact same requirement / cruising area as you...

Here, are detailed answers for someone with a big budget and a big (54' - 56') boat, primarily looking for a more long-range cruising set-up....
Have to haves and wants


But here, you have something almost directly on point!!
Here, Laura Jane asked about outfitting a 1983 Sabre with new electronics, for cruising " for coastal cruising and then hopefully a trip to the Caribbean, Bahamas, BVI and Lesser Antilles." With a budget of $5000 or less, all-in...
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/guide-to-marine-electronics-142136.html#post1771912

And, the list is fairly detailed and specific as to "what", "why", and "how much"....but not "brand"/"model" specific...so, maybe I should add that here???
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madehn View Post
ok so i think we are about two years away from the boat and the money both being ready to head out cruising.-- We intend to start in the Bahamas and then head south on our Gulfstar 51. Before we go, we are going to refit the electronics on the boat- soup to nuts-- so the question is - if it were your boat what would you put on it- specific by brand-- cost should be middle of the road for the complete package- some items could be top of the line others low but overall package should be middle of the road
Here 'ya go...
Assuming your cruise "to/thru the Bahamas and then heading south"....these are mostly my words from the other thread with "brand"/"model" specific recommendations in red...
I hope this helps....

1) Marine VHF-DSC-FM, with a good masthead antenna, fed w/ low-loss cable (properly weather-proofed)...
Figure about $500 - $750 for new hi-quality radio, new low-loss coax/connectors, and new antenna...all-in...
I prefer Icom....Icom M-604, to be exact...although recently discontinued, and replaced by the M-506, I still prefer the M-602/M-604....
The M-604 (and its predecessor, the M-602, of which I own two of), have an excellent reputation for not only 100% reliability, but also of excellent transmit and receive audio quality....
IC-M604 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

If you're looking 18 months down the road, the M-506 is the current best-of-the-bunch....and probably will still be so in 18 months...(and the 506 has a built-in AIS receiver as well..)
Currently about $650, with the AIS rec, or about $500-550 without....pricey, but worth it!!
IC-M506 VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

(except for some mic cord vendor issues of years past, I can highly recommend Icom radios 100%!)
(and, when heading offshore / to remote locales, a spare antenna and short length of cable w/ pre-assembled connectors...)


2) Depth-sounder, accurate and calibrated....
Typically incorporated in with other electronics, but can be stand-alone depth sounder....figure about $500 - $750, all-in...
Exact brand/model may be determined by either your personal preference or by what other brand instruments you have now, or have chosen....but...
But, my recommendation is Raymarine....(the transducers are all going to be Amair anyway, so it's really about what display you want and how reliable you need it to be...)
And, being that you're intending to cruise the thin waters of the Bahamas where accurate and reliable depth readings are very important....I strongly recommend Raymarine...
Raymarine Instrument Displays

Although I have a particular affinity to the Raymarine ST-60+ instruments, Tri-Data and Graphic's, the new i50's look good, as do the new i60's....best ask someone who's using these new ones, though...
(along with a lead-line)


3) Autopilot or "self-steering"....an almost absolute "must have" for long-range cruising, ocean crossing, etc....but, for coastal cruising this can be pushed down the list, if budget is being squeezed....
A good quality, heavy-duty, below-deck, autopilot is going to be the BIG ticket item here....but take it from me, this is NOT an area to skimp in....(if budget is squeezed, skimp elsewhere...such as items way down the list...)
Figure about $3000 - $3500...all-in
Here again, I prefer Raymarine....reliable, easy-to-fix / get parts for if you ever do have a problem, and easy-to-use as well....
Raymarine Autopilots


4) GPS....depending on the model, usually multiple GPS's.... (and spare batteries for the handheld GPS's...)
I use/recommend Raymarine Raystar GPS, which is very good...and this is nowadays mostly a choice based on what "chartplotter" you choose...
RS130 Features

For handheld GPS / portable GPS, I use/recommend Gamin...
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...dhelds-p1.html

Depending on model, features, screen size, etc....this can range from $100 - $300...(even small chartplotters can be had for well under $1000...)


5) EPIRB, properly registered (updated every 2 years) and tested annually...
Figure about $400 - $500...(here again, skimping is a no-no...)
I use/recommend ACR GlobalFix Pro....although some like the somewhat more complex GlobalFix iPro....
https://www.acrartex.com/products/marine/

EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds



6) Handheld VHF-DSC-FM radio, w/ spare battery...
Figure about $200 - $300 (including spare battery)...
I prefer the Icom M-92D....full DSC and built-in GPS, and has active noise-cancelling, etc...

IC-M92D VHF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America


Using my general dollar figures, this comes out to be a bit above your budget...about $5000 to $6000 over all, all-in...
BUT...
But, you / your boat may already have some of these things and/or you may find that you can do without the "hi-quality" units that I was figuring ballpark pricing of....
So, the list above should be good for you!!


And, that's pretty much it for the "must haves"....along with decent charts (Explorer's Charts for the Bahamas), and a simple $100 portable SW/SSB receiver, the list above will get you all along the US coast, to/from the Bahamas, and Caribbean, etc. (and pretty much around the world), safely....
Most of the other electronics are in the "nice to have" / "want" category...
(of course we are assuming that you'll have the boat equipped with all the required nav lights, etc. so that is not really part of this "electronics" discussion...)


And, in the "nice to have" category:

7) Weather info / forecast access equipment...

At the least, a simple $100 portable SW/SSB receiver, will give you access to US NWS Offshore and Hi-seas VOICE weather forecasts....

WeFax, Voice, NAVTEX, and SafetyNet reception equipment, such as HF Radio / Marine SSB, NAVTEX rec, INMARSAT-C, etc...

I prefer the Icom M-802 Marine HF-DSC-SSB Transceiver (i.e. "Marine SSB")...
IC-M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components


Fore details of what works, what is needed, etc. have a look here....
Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY


[I'd also include a good ext. Wi-Fi set-up (about $250...) and/or an ext cellular/3g/4g/LTE antenna set-up, here in this category....as these can be very useful for accessing weather info/forecasts when in port, anchored, and/or close-to shore sailing coastally...as well as allow easy / cheap e-mail and phone connectivity to the outside world when in port or in near coastal waters...

Have a look at IslandtimePC's systems...
Marine WiFi Systems ]



8)Collision avoidance electronics, such as AIS and Radar...
a) Class B AIS is getting inexpensive enough and will soon become commonplace, but I doubt will become ubiquitous unless there is gov't mandates (let's hope not)....so, although it's not a "must have", having a Class B AIS transponder is good idea...
Figure about $850 - $1000, all-in...
I prefer the Vesper Marine systems....particularly their "Watchmate" AIS systems....
Marine AIS | Collision Warning System | Vesper Marine
WatchMate 850 AIS Transponder | Vesper Marine

Or Emtrak AIS transponder, with a Vesper AIS Watchmate display...
https://em-trak.com/


b) Radar is useful in some places where visibility is compromised or there are many vessels/obstructions to navigate around, and darn near a necessity in someplaces (i.e. FOG)....but in other places (Caribbean, etc.) is never needed...
So, depending on "where"/"how" you sail, radar can be near the top of the "want" list, or on the "never need it" list...
If you include this with a chartplotter, it will add about $1000 - $1500....but, for YOUR application it is almost unnecessary....
Raymarine Marine Radar



9) Long range radio communications equipment....such as Marine SSB (HF-DSC-SSB radio)...
If this wasn't already handled above in item #7, here is some more detail...
For most offshore sailors / cruisers in remote locales, this is also part of their "weather access equipment" (see #7 above)....so, you may already have this covered above...
But, once you are out of cellular/mobile phone range (a few miles offshore at best), this is your only link to the outside world....for weather, communications, telephone connections, emergencies/distress calling, contacting other boats, e-mails, etc....without this, you're on-your-own...
IC-M802 HF Marine Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

Figure about $2800 - $3000, all-in...


New HF-DSC Explanation and LIVE Demonstration Videos

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use/properly-install SSB)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


Icom M-802 Instr Videos(basic-adv) & LIVE DSC-Distress Call

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr




Please note that these next items (#10 - #14) I am NOT recommending for you, nor your application....but rather these are what I included in the other thread, when discussing all "nice-to-have" electronics for offshore cruising, especially to remote areas and ocean crossings...so, you can ignore them all, if you want...

10) Second EPIRB, and/or PLB's...
Another few hundred dollars....
Here again, I prefer ACR...


11) Chartplotter and electronic charts (but this is typically incorporated into a "radar" unit, and is covered in item #8 above...)
Depending on size and features, these can run from $600 - $4000...
I prefer Raymarine....
Marine Multifunction Displays | Chartplotter GPS



12) Some type of "sailing instruments", wind and boat speed instruments....
(although having a "boat speed" sensor can be very important to understand how the current is effecting you...the set/drift....and I find it VERY helpful....the unfortunate fact is, that most new sailors/cruisers don't use this info much...)
I prefer Raymarine...
Raymarine Instrument Displays
Figure about $1000....


13) Some type of "sat comm" gear....
Although, for some serious offshore sailors and round-the-world types, an INMARSAT-C terminal (as described above in the weather access equipment category, #6 above), will have already been fitted from the list above....there are many less serious cruisers who may find a handheld sat phone (especially one with a "docking station" and ext ant.), such as an Iridium phone to be a nice thing to have....as it can provide a second way to make phone calls / get e-mails when at sea, as well as serve as a back-up means of accessing weather info/forecasts....
https://www.iridium.com/ProductList....ctCategoryID=1

https://www.satellitephonestore.com/...inals/handheld
Figure about $1500 - $2000, or more....all-in...



14) Entertainment electronics....such as a nice stereo (w/ cockpit speakers mounted WELL AWAY from any compasses!), TV, DVD Player, digital cameras, etc...
For stereo I prefer Pioneer or Sony...for TV I prefer Sony or Panasonic...
Figure a few hundred dollars as a minimum....up to as much as $1000...


[Please take note that items, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14....can be very easily rearranged, depending on both personal tastes and where/how you'll be sailing/cruising... ]


BTW, you didn't mention anything about your electrical system, alternative energy system, etc...
BUT...
But, understand that ALL of this stuff needs electricity to work!!!
And, the more "electronics" you have, the more "electricity" you'll need!!
Please consider this as more "sage electronics advice"....you cannot design an electronics system without also considering your electrical system, power consumption, and generating/storage capabilities!!!


Madhen, I do hope this helps you out some....but FYI, while the above is a fairly detailed look at your options and recommendations, understand that I am NOT you, and what you decide for your application / your boat / your cruise, etc. might be different...
So, no worries if my opinions / recommendations differ from yours or others....

Fair winds...

John


P.S.
I'm going to include this here in a Post Script, so as to not distract from the info above...

I'd like to share some sage "Electronics Advice" with you....that, if you actually trust me and believe it, WILL save you many sleepless nights and many dollars.

{My apologies for this next paragraph, as I do NOT wish it to sound boastful in anyway....but rather just as an explanation of how I (and others) have come to the conclusions we have....from many decades of experience with this stuff, installing it, working on it, as well as using it....on the water...

FYI, I personally started my cruising/sailing life as a kid in the 1960's, and have ~ 45 years experience in offshore cruising/sailing....but most important here is that I have > 40 years experience in electronics / marine electronics, and have made my living in electronics / communications for > 30 years...}

Okay, here is this "sage advice":
--- The installation, wiring, hook-up, commissioning, programming, and weather-proofing of connections, of almost all marine electronics is the single most important criteria in making it work well, work as designed/spec'd to, work reliably, and interact well with you (and other electronics on-board)....


Yes, hi-quality gear from reputable manufacturers is almost always better than the discount-store /poor quality gear, but poor-quality gear properly installed almost always works better than high-quality gear poorly-installed...
(I hope that makes sense?)

The above is almost universally accepted as fact by most in the marine electronics world....although many who work for others are usually loath to publically admit the above is true...(I've been self-employed for > 30 years, so I have nobody to answer to, except for clients/customers!)

If you get lucky, you get someone that is actually interested in getting things done correctly, rather than just getting it done...or even better, do all of the install / wiring yourself!!

Fair winds...


John

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