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Old 05-06-2014, 02:27   #1
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Electronics

Hi, I have recently bought a 33 ft Gladiateur. She has virtually no electronics so I am looking for the right solution for me.
First things first. Would you prefer an integrated system, i.e. multifunction display connected to an ipad out in the cockpit or all stand alone systems. Separate chart plotter, log, depth sounder, wind speed and direction, radar etc.
What worries me is that if the MFD breaks I have nothing left.
Also what life span do these electronics have?
For the next 2 to 3 years or so I'll be sailing the Solent, English Channel, Brittany before considering a transatlantic.
My thinking is that separate components can be replaced when necessary.
Your thought would be most welcome.
Cheers,
Al
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:17   #2
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Re: Elestronics

For what its worth, I prefer to go simple. No real need for windspeed and direction or even speed log. MFDs are nice but spendy.

Im happy for now with a tablet and phone running Navionics in waterproof bags. Having a couple of each around deals with charging and redundancy. I guess AIS is real useful over your way so some way to veiw the info from the cockpit would be mighty handy.

I'm not even convinced a radar is worthwhile for a 33 footer. So far managed fine without. Just more weight, windage and power useage and another thing to distract you at a critical moment. Radar takes training and use to interpret safely, and information overload is a very real problem.

A separate sounder is good, probably the single most essentail bit of electronics on a boat. So no harm doubling up here if you end up going the Mfd route. The longer you wait to buy a fancy Mfd system the better and cheaper they will hopefully be.

Nice to hear someone planning some big trips on a smaller boat. Fair winds.. Ben


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Old 05-06-2014, 05:36   #3
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Re: Elestronics

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
. . .

I'm not even convinced a radar is worthwhile for a 33 footer. So far managed fine without. Just more weight, windage and power useage and another thing to distract you at a critical moment. Radar takes training and use to interpret safely, and information overload is a very real problem.
I'm not sure that the size of the boat has any relevance to the question of whether you need radar or not. It's where you sail and in what conditions (can you simply choose to not go out when it's foggy?).

AIS nearly completely replaces radar for collision avoidance with commercial shipping, and is much more useful for this purpose. In the English Channel, the busiest shipping lane in the world, this is an extremely important job.

But radar is a Godsend in a fog or dark night, and not just for collision avoidance, but for navigation and pilotage, too. So it's an awfully good thing to have if you're not just daysailing in good conditions (like most people do).

Yes, of course, it takes some skill to use.


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A separate sounder is good, probably the single most essentail bit of electronics on a boat. So no harm doubling up here if you end up going the Mfd route. . . .
Agree completely.

Redundant depth sounder is very good idea, as this is certainly the one piece of electronics you really can't live without.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:14   #4
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Re: Elestronics

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Redundant depth sounder is very good idea, as this is certainly the one piece of electronics you really can't live without.
Good point. A few times my depth sounder has failed me (luckily in familiar waters). Because of this I replaced the raymarine st60 tridata as it seemed to be the cause, but to buy it I had to also buy the transducer which is now sitting in a box at home. Maybe I will think about installing the transducer to give me redundancy.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:29   #5
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Re: Elestronics

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I'm not sure that the size of the boat has any relevance to the question of whether you need radar or not. It's where you sail and in what conditions (can you simply choose to not go out when it's foggy?)
I guess I was trying to say relative cost, weight, windage and bulk all go up proportionately as the boat gets smaller. On a 50 footer all these factors are negligable. On a 33 footer they are much more trouble, especailly as you often need to integrate solar panels, windvane etc into an often cramped stern area.

Not saying I wouldnt love one, and I may well get a nice broadband radar one day now I have a 40 footer, but its pretty low on my list of essential items.

Plenty of serious cruising has been done safely on boats without radar, and boats have got into trouble by being overconfident due to having a radar onboard.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:38   #6
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Re: Elestronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
I guess I was trying to say relative cost, weight, windage and bulk all go up proportionately as the boat gets smaller. On a 50 footer all these factors are negligable. On a 33 footer they are much more trouble, especailly as you often need to integrate solar panels, windvane etc into an often cramped stern area.

Not saying I wouldnt love one, and I may well get a nice broadband radar one day now I have a 40 footer, but its pretty low on my list of essential items.

Plenty of serious cruising has been done safely on boats without radar, and boats have got into trouble by being overconfident due to having a radar onboard.
I think it really depends on where and how you sail. If you're doing mostly weekends and vacations and sailing nearly always in good weather and in daylight, then you probably don't really need radar, especially if you have AIS. I sailed for decades without radar myself, and really badly missed it only once, in an unexpected fog.

If you're sailing longer distances where you can't always avoid sailing in bad viz, and especially in places like where the OP sails, which has frequent bad viz, heavy traffic, and rocky shores, radar starts to look more like a must.

Radar is also something closer to a must for those who sail in areas which are not well charted. Not my case here in European waters, but I did spend a couple of weeks in the Sea of Cortez a few years ago and was awfully glad to have a powerful open-array radar on board, which showed where the coast really was, unlike the charts.

The degree of need has nothing to do with the size of the boat, but, of course, it's harder to justify the weight, windage, and cost on a boat which is much smaller or cheaper. You are of course right about this.
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Old 05-06-2014, 19:48   #7
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Re: Electronics

Hi guys, thanks for the response
I am still in the dark as to whether I should go for separate systems or all integrated. My gut tells me to have everything as stand alone instead of relying on networking (not sure if I express myself properly) the whole lot onto one mfd.
Further more, what life span can one expect from a chart plotter, radar etc.
Cheers,
Al
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Old 05-06-2014, 23:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanvdh View Post
Hi guys, thanks for the response
I am still in the dark as to whether I should go for separate systems or all integrated. My gut tells me to have everything as stand alone instead of relying on networking (not sure if I express myself properly) the whole lot onto one mfd.
Further more, what life span can one expect from a chart plotter, radar etc.
Cheers,
Al
Lifespan is determined by obsolescence - just like any electronics. When I changed all my electronics last year, my 10 or 11 year old Raymarine system was working fine, and I sold it for good money despite its being a couple of generations out of date.

As far as networking is concerned: benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, for most people.
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Old 06-06-2014, 00:25   #9
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Re: Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by alanvdh View Post
Hi guys, thanks for the response

I am still in the dark as to whether I should go for separate systems or all integrated. My gut tells me to have everything as stand alone instead of relying on networking (not sure if I express myself properly) the whole lot onto one mfd.

Further more, what life span can one expect from a chart plotter, radar etc.

Cheers,

Al

Networking improves reliability over stand alone systems.

Typically with the life span of electronics , you will upgrade before any failures occur

Dave


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Old 06-06-2014, 01:34   #10
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Re: Electronics

Hi AlanVDH, If I'm understanding your posts right, you are debating the merits of having each piece of electronics be NMEA2k compatible and networked together?

If so, then what Dockhead and GoBoatingNow said -

If not, maybe clarify a bit what specifically you are contemplating?
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:18   #11
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Re: Electronics

Just because your electronics are networked doesn't mean you have to have everything on one display only. You could mount a MFD at the helm and separate displays for speed, depth and wind on the cockpit bulkhead or over the compainway. Or even have displays at your nav station to check things when you're below and the weather sucks and you really don't feel like getting into your foul weather gear.

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Old 06-06-2014, 19:58   #12
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Re: Electronics

Yes Sandor, that's what I'm talking about. Thanks for the replies, all of you. It's basically a puzzle right now and I'm slowly seeing the light and putting the pieces together in my mind.
Cheers for now.
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