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Old 07-07-2016, 03:01   #61
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

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Originally Posted by xslim View Post
I know this is an old thread, but no reason in creating new one.

So I'm remodeling my 1985 39ft aluminum sailboat now and one of the areas that I want to change is the nav table.

I currently have (starboard side) a massive chart table, a hanging locker and cabin aft of it. I'm willing to cut the table, make a seat smaller, remove the locker and make the whole aft area as a head / shower / garage.
Mostly I use iPad for navigation (have a few backups) so no reason for me for massive table that just occupies space.
Also thinking on putting in a Refleks stove on the side of Nav table.


Her's some questions:
- what would you recommend as a minimum good table size for small charts or using a laptop at anchor?
- would be moving a battery box from under the table to under the seat be a good idea?
- do you think drip diesel stove on the side of the table will be fine?

Including few pictures.
For whatever little it may be worth (since you obviously work differently from me), I wouldn't touch that beautiful nav table! The nav station is the nerve center of the boat, and the most important belowdecks space in my opinion. What you have is a good layout -- bookshelf to hand, enough desk space to do chartwork or a million other things one does at the nav station (splicing, passage planning, etc. etc. etc. etc.), instruments, switchgear, and comms gear to hand.

The only thing I would watch out for is what Hudson pointed out -- chart plotter/radar is much more comfortable to use if you can reach it without straining your arms. In my opinion, it's too high in your photo.

Chart plotters are now so cheap that there is no reason in the world not to have one both at the nav station and also at the helm (where of course you really need it).

Here is my instrument setup, which some will consider overkill, but just for a data point:

Nav station:

B&G 8" non-touch Zeus plotter/radar/MFD
Maretron DSM-250 MFD
B&G Triton instrument display
Icom M604 VHF
Icom M802 SSB with Pactor modem
21" QHD high res monitor for OpenCPN, permanently mounted


Helm/Cockpit:

B&G 8" Zeus Touch at the helm
1x B&G Triton at the helm
4x B&G Tritons at the scuttle
B&G pilot keypad at the helm
FLS at the helm
Stalk mount for waterproof Android tablet for GoFree and OpenCPN, under the sprayhood
Second station for the M604 VHF ("Command Mic") at the helm


Where I sail, very detailed passage planning is mandatory (because of tides, heavy traffic, weather, complex waters, etc.). I do this at the nav station, less and less with paper charts and more and more with OpenCPN on the high res monitor. I make my passage plans in a notebook, and I create routes in OpenCPN and transfer them to the main nav system by thumb drive. Even if you're not doing chartwork on paper charts, it's great to have a place to spread out almanacs and pilot books and take notes, download gribs and weather reports, referring to them on the monitor, etc.

I sail in the world's busiest seaways (English Channel, North Sea, German Bight) and collision avoidance is a big job. If I have crew, I prefer to do it from the nav station while crew sails the boat and keeps visual watch. So I can concentrate entirely on the radar and AIS displays, keep notes, do communications as required. I can even steer the boat from the nav table as the Zeus MFD's both also control the pilot.

Having both OpenCPN running and also the Zeus, it's possible when needed to display only radar on the Zeus, with the chart displayed on the high res monitor. OpenCPN has a terrific AIS display (WORLDS better than the Zeus), so it's great to be able to see both that and radar separately. When there are enough people on board, it's also good to double the watch from down there on dark nights, so that you can really concentrate on the radar display while someone else is keeping the visual watch.

In the cockpit, the problem is that for close pilotage you really need the chart plotter right at the helm, but 99% of the time you are not actually standing behind the helm where you can see the plotter. A third plotter under the sprayhood really seemed like overkill, even to me ( ), so I don't have one there, but it's possible to control the helm MFD via GoFree using a waterproof Android tablet, and that actually works really well when keeping watch from under there, perhaps hiding out from a cold rain.

For whatever it's worth, that's how I do it, and if I had your boat, I wouldn't touch that nav table! I'd replace the instruments and comm gear and rearrange them a bit so that they fall more easily to hand, and leave it at that.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:38   #62
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

Thank you Dockhead for a great response!
I also sail in the same area - I live in Amsterdam

I do plan on replacing the instrument and electronics (considering B&G or Garmin) as the one that came with the boat are museum type. I have a tiller, so the small instruments are going onto the binnacle on top of companionway entrance. For charts and planning I use iPad (iSailor) and sometimes OpenCPN.

As I have a smaller boat (39ft) with big lockers in back and in front the usable space below is more like on 35ft. So space is at premium. Thats one of the reason to change nav area.
Also the table in current configuration is very slopy so it's not usable for anything else then paper charts. I need to make it flat in order to use as office/work space.

What is the size of your table?
Maybe you have a photo?
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:51   #63
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

I would recommend that instruments which involve a lot of hand work.... button pressing and dial turning or touch screen swiping be position low so that you can support your hand with your elbo and work the instrument. A display which simply reports data can be higher up at or above eye level.

Most cruisers are not standing at the helm so an expensive insturmentation /dash there is probably not a great idea... more sensible forward in the cockpit. And those binnacle pods are just ugly looking too.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:05   #64
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

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I would recommend that instruments which involve a lot of hand work.... button pressing and dial turning or touch screen swiping be position low so that you can support your hand with your elbo and work the instrument. A display which simply reports data can be higher up at or above eye level.

Most cruisers are not standing at the helm so an expensive insturmentation /dash there is probably not a great idea... more sensible forward in the cockpit. And those binnacle pods are just ugly looking too.
Dockhead and Sandero give excellent suggestions. While your nav desk is beautiful (and you will have to be a very, very good woodworker to make a change look good) it looks too big to me too. If it has too big a slope you can change that much easier than cutting down to a smaller surface area. But having to stand up to reach the far edge is way too deep. At least if you have any equipment that you need to reach. Since it is so deep, one option would be to cut the top and make some part of the back part in deeper cabinet/storage and get the instruments closer to you, or to put some instruments on stands in front of the cabinets on their original stands.

Just some thoughts.

I also use a Mac (Macbook Pro) and I am no longer good with a mouse. I said PC as a generic term but of course to Apple-Heads that is heresy.

A good AIS display is very valuable as Dockhead says. I put my new AIS/chartplotter/radar under the spray hood/dodger. I find it is too far to see easy though from the helm. Like Dockhead though, most of the time I am not at the helm except in close quarters or tight places so I will use the AP remote to steer there as needed.

If you cut you will be committed so try to really think out the ergonomics and design very carefully first.

Have fun.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:21   #65
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

I post a pic later of the mod I did to the original nav station. I have woodwroking experience and access to a shop. But the key take away is that the black laminate faced unit attached to the forward bulkhead is raised above the surface of the desk about 1" which allows me to slide stuff under it.... lap top, books, wires, large charts will still fit. I get some narrow shelf space with fiddles to hold all manner of small things.. keys, watch, shackles eye glasses...

The entire forward bit is attached with two allen head bolts and a cleat.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:34   #66
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

It has probably been mentioned, but the best improvement to any nav desk is to flick off the laptop and run a dedicated separate computer with a screen mounted on the wall.

A roll up water resistant rubber keyboard works well, and stows away quickly when not needed.

This frees up a lot of space on the desk for charts and books, its much more water resistant and more secure. A nice keyboard can be used for extensive typing in good weather.

Forum member Neptunes gear has lots of good options and advice.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:59   #67
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

Well...
In past few years I rented different boats in different parts of the world and did all my planning on iPad + Laptop, and later on I did all my navigation from iPad and iPhone.
And I do have a backup iPad and iPhone in case something fails.
And most of the time I do navigation from the cockpit (I have rugged iPad and iPhone cases).
I have bunch of nav apps - from maps, tides to weather and weatherfax.
The only big instrument with a screen that I used that is not yet on my iPad is a Radar

Now I have my own boat and I still feel that I don't need a dedicated PC
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Old 08-07-2016, 03:21   #68
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

The nav station for me at least is not limited to "planning" a passage. I find that planning take a minute or two and I usually do it one waypoint at a time as needed. Then I sail the boat to try to stick to the course with the least time.. and most VMG.

The nav station is used as a desk, a work table, gauges and data about the electrical system, switches and breakers, wind and speed, temp transducer data and a storage place for all manner of bits and pieces, from shackles, to tape, tools, spares, manuals and so forth. It includes 3 radios! And using a radio requires on hand so it limits what can be done with a device that requires two!

A mobile device with a chart program can do but one "thing" and is no substitute for a well fitted out comfortable and complete nav station.
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Old 08-07-2016, 03:46   #69
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

I definitely spend more time planning
North sea and places nearby require to have a good plan. But this is discussion for separate topic.
I'm a shorthanded sailor and sometimes singlehanded, so I need the instruments while being in the cockpit (or sitting in companionway opening). I have a console on top of companionway for them and I plan to have VHF on a Ram mic.

Any ideas on pros / cons having drip-diesel heater (Refleks) near nav desk?

Pros that I see - close to galley, close to diesel (so re-filling will be easy), easy straight up route for flue pipe.
Cons - maybe too close to companionway.

The other location I might be near front bulkhead, but it's in front of the mast, so I will require some crazy flue pipe routing which might be not good for draft.
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Old 08-07-2016, 05:29   #70
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

xs,

I too single and short hand sail all the time. My boat has a series of 4x4 displays above the companionway. I have now mounted a B&G T7 in a rarely used winch which is under the dodger on the port side. I can site on the brdgedeck in the companionway and see the dash close up, push de buttons, rotate the T7 which has a GPS built in. My AP control head is in the port side forward end of the cockpit. In clear weather I can sit on the port coaming, work the AP, the engine throttle without moving and have excellent visibility.

In inclement weather I sit under the dodger and have easy access to all controls without getting up! I can use the companionway slide cover as a chart table if need be. But the T7 works a charm. When not in use I pop it out of the winch and stow it below.

I don't use the laptop for anything but keeping a data base/log... preferring dedicated marine instruments. I do have the navionics on mu smart phone but it takes one of my two hands and both of them if I need to do something with the phone... scroll or pan or zoom.

Planning seems to not be time consuming considering how slow boats move.... there seems to be ample time to set, correct and change course will underway. But basic planning in advance is sensible.

I never save or use routes.... I do save way points and call them up as needed or just create one for the leg.

It all needs to be ergonomic and provide comfort and security... including hand holds and the ability to brace your body when working at the nav station in a sea way.
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Old 08-07-2016, 05:55   #71
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

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I definitely spend more time planning
North sea and places nearby require to have a good plan. But this is discussion for separate topic. . . .
Indeed! I think it's relevant to this topic, as it reflects different kind of work which different people do at their nav tables. A passage up here might easily take an hour or even more to plan properly, even if you do tidal vectors with a computer. Pretty hard to imagine passage planning for anything in a minute or two, but I guess everyone has his own idea about what proper planning is.
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Old 08-07-2016, 06:41   #72
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

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Indeed! I think it's relevant to this topic, as it reflects different kind of work which different people do at their nav tables. A passage up here might easily take an hour or even more to plan properly, even if you do tidal vectors with a computer. Pretty hard to imagine passage planning for anything in a minute or two, but I guess everyone has his own idea about what proper planning is.
Considering that wind is variable in force and direction aside from places like the tropics with their trade winds... planning a 50-100 mile journey in advance for a sailboat is almost a fool's errand... stuff changes. Sure note the hazards, shipping, currents, familiarize yourself with the general route... but planning as if things don't change strikes me as an odd waste of time.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:03   #73
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

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Considering that wind is variable in force and direction aside from places like the tropics with their trade winds... planning a 50-100 mile journey in advance for a sailboat is almost a fool's errand... stuff changes. Sure note the hazards, shipping, currents, familiarize yourself with the general route... but planning as if things don't change strikes me as an odd waste of time.
I see this a little differently. I like to have a clear plan for the expected and forecast conditions and then adapt from this "baseline" when subjected to unexpected events. I would think that the, "...note the hazards, shipping, currents, familiarize yourself with the general route... " is a plan. There's little more done regarding a task when you lay down the proposed route.

Some of us, by our nature, are compelled to spend more time planning. I know that I enjoy the plan, recording the plan, changing the plan, and even evaluating the deviation from the plan after the passage. I think it's only a "fool's errand" if it's not your game.

I have a friend that spouts the batting statistics of many major league baseball players. He's no fool, but not my game!
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:10   #74
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

On the North sea you can of course go without the plan and have a miserable time beating against the tide and wind.
Or you can plan a bit, maybe wait for 4-5 hours and have a great day sailing with the tide

Or crossing the channel between Netherlands and UK... without the plan for tides you will be totally in different location... and they are quite strong here.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:41   #75
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Re: Nav Station Design Ideas

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Originally Posted by xslim View Post

Any ideas on pros / cons having drip-diesel heater (Refleks) near nav desk?

Pros that I see - close to galley, close to diesel (so re-filling will be easy), easy straight up route for flue pipe.
Cons - maybe too close to companionway.

The other location I might be near front bulkhead, but it's in front of the mast, so I will require some crazy flue pipe routing which might be not good for draft.
I made some comments in my first post about the location. I would think you couldn't put it at your nav station, even with such a large one, so close to the cabinetry and you (when at the desk). If you are talking about a forced air enclosed heater that wouldn't apply but for some reason I am thinking you meant a drip type radiant heater.
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