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Old 17-08-2011, 13:46   #1
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Nav Station vs Cockpit

i am about to replace all my gauges and had not considered adding a nav station below deck.

the only gauges i think make more sense to have below deck are the tank tenders (2 water tanks and waste) and the battery bank monitor.

are there other gauges that make sense to have below (or above and below)? worth the extra time and money to have build out a nav station?

the cockpit will have GPS, wind, depth, speed, engine (pressure, temp, fuel) and communications.

so... upside and downside of putting the tank monitors in the cockpit vs below deck? other 'must have' gauges?

I am mostly a short ranges cruiser lots of weekends and 3 - 7 days trips but am very likely to head down the west coast, thru the canal and up the east coast (assuming i decide to leave the USVIs) in 18 months.
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Old 17-08-2011, 14:14   #2
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Re: nav station v. cockpit

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Originally Posted by ssanzone View Post
the only gauges i think make more sense to have below deck are the tank tenders (2 water tanks and waste) and the battery bank monitor.

the cockpit will have GPS, wind, depth, speed, engine (pressure, temp, fuel) and communications.
That is our arrangement and it works well in the crowded waters of the Solent (UK). Navigation isn't done on a chart, it's all Mk 1 eyeball and avoiding other boats, so chart plotter is useful having in the cockpit. I don't need to know water or fuel tank levels at sea as I know how much or little we have on board and don't use it fast enough to worry.

The only one I would add is bilge water alarm or small bilge pump discharging into the cockpit. It's there as a warning rather than saving the boat from sinking and works by giving the crew wet feet which should alarm even a sleepy crew at night that something is wrong. An alarm would do equally well.

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Old 17-08-2011, 14:22   #3
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

I go offshore for short periods (4-5 days) to and from the Bahamas, so my preferences may be a little different.
This requires standing watches over night, and I think a watch stander should have all the navigation data including radar and radios available in the cockpit. This is fairly simple to accomplish with recent MFDs that can network. I have a smaller networked chartplotter below, that can display everything I can read from the cockpit: Charts, Weather, Radar, Engine data, AIS, and DSC.

My nav station is shamefully cluttered with non-nav goodies, as I use it primarily for planning and record keeping. I don't claim this is the optimal solution, but it works.
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Old 17-08-2011, 14:25   #4
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

If your cockpit instruments support NEMA comm, might wire together with a bridge so you could access everything from a laptop down below. Low cost if done right.
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Old 17-08-2011, 14:41   #5
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

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If your cockpit instruments support NEMA comm, might wire together with a bridge so you could access everything from a laptop down below. Low cost if done right.
i am moving closer to the edge of my seat... can you elaborate a bit? i will be instrument shopping monday (assuming i dont lose it all at the casino) which is what has me thinking about this now and means NEMA enabled equipment can be an easy decision.

thx.
-s
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Old 17-08-2011, 14:54   #6
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

Check out this site for ideas:
VisualGPSXP

I am no expert in this stuff. Any technical questions best to post in electronics section of forum.
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Old 17-08-2011, 14:59   #7
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

Oops
NMEA not NEMA
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Old 17-08-2011, 15:32   #8
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

Better site yet:
NavMonPc
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Old 17-08-2011, 16:17   #9
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

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Originally Posted by ssanzone View Post
are there other gauges that make sense to have below (or above and below)? worth the extra time and money to have build out a nav station?
I have GPS/Radar both in the nav station and in the cockpit. Also an autopilot remote at the nav station. The further you get offshore, the nicer it is to have a nav station where you can still see the radar/gps/ais and whatever data you want to pull up, especially at night. That way, if I go below to warm some soup in the galley, I can still at least keep a radar watch. Or, if it's sloppy, I can sit at the top of the companionway under the dodger and still see the radar without having to run back to the binnacle.
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Old 17-08-2011, 17:52   #10
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

There has been a trend for navigation activities over the last few decades to move from the use of paper and pencil on a flat chart tables with parallel rules and dividers to electronic screens and touch pads. Also, during this time electronic devices have become more resistant to the harms of moisture. In addition, cockpits have become more secure from the hazards of weather. Sure, it's evolved into the best case of having the "nav station" at the same location where the helmsman is observing the real world. There is a constant risk, with advanced electronic navigation aides providing the virtual world, in not keeping an eye on the real world; therefore, the chart "table" is moving to the cockpit and should move to the cockpit.
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Old 17-08-2011, 18:05   #11
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Not sure what you mean by constant risk with electinic charting separating a person from the real world.. Seems like if all charting was done below, electronic would still be faster and allow the user back on deck asap...

It also seems that immersing yourself into a paper chart is more likely a separation from the real world than glancing down at an electinic one... The charts are the same... One is at the ready, in the cockpit (or whereever), takes a quick look to 'plot' a position. The other is an involved process that requires a stable platform and intent concitration...

If your gonna use a proper, waterproof, chart plotter, put it in the cockpit where it belongs. If your down below and want to navigate, pull out your secondary charts (paper?) and go at it...
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Old 18-08-2011, 06:29   #12
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

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Not sure what you mean by constant risk with electinic charting separating a person from the real world.............
Sure, this statement of mine does need an explanation. My wife and I cruise up and down the US East Coast, often poking about the inland sounds and waterways with much shallow water gunkholing. Among our cruiser neighbors there is an increasing number that rely on electronic screen navigation with the thought that it is infallible. The charts of the ICW include a magenta line that proposes the "best route" and too often helmsmen follow this without regard for looking out at the real world. Once, while we were southbound in Florida between Daytona and New Smyrna inside Ponce Inlet, we were approaching a location known for shoaling were the Coast Guard had moved some temporary nuns and cans. Ahead of us were two vessels and a hard working TowboatUS. While the tow boat was engaged in pulling the first boat off the sand bar he was hailing the other with cautions to not proceed at their current heading or they would run aground too. With ridiculous faith in the "magenta line" on their electronic charts the second boat ran hard aground. These people had more faith in their chartplotter than the real world nuns and cans that were clearly visible off to the port of their path.
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Old 18-08-2011, 09:08   #13
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

I have 2001/2 Ray Marine inst. They use SeaTalk network, I found a converter for about $75 or so, converts to NMEA, output displays on PC. Software was a free download. Not real good, but it works, so I won't recommend it by name. Be aware the solution is out there. The PC is a $400 laptop (through away if it breaks/gets wet/etc type).

If you decide to go with a laptop, find a way to mount it on your nav station so it does not get dropped on the deck every time you heel.

As others have said, the new Multi Function Displays (MFD) will allow you to have only one display below that has everything on it, could have one at helm with everything on it as well, I prefer a single dedicated wind direction and speed inst.
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Old 18-08-2011, 09:12   #14
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

if you are on a laptop DOWN BELOW, then who is sailing the boat.....enquiring mineds wanna know....
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Old 18-08-2011, 12:11   #15
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Re: Nav Station vs Cockpit

i am glad i asked the question and am convinced that i should be putting a nav station below.

being in a center cockpit, thoughts on aft cabin vs salon?

if i were catching some shut eye (either while single handing or with a crew member above deck) i would be able to open my eyes and see the instruments without more than rolling over.

it is more likely that i am in the galley or salon and it makes sense (to me) to have the nav station there.

maybe the solution ismy notebook (NEMA relay) and nav station in the other.... am i insane? complifying things unnecessarily?
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