You have a great boat and a good place to mount your chartplotter. Just take the time to decide how you actually use the boat and what navigational options you need. Here is what you need at the helm
: engine control panel
, autopilot control, wind display and a chartplotter. Speed, depth, etc. you can display on the plotter or even on the autopilot control. Some people like to have speed and wind displayed forward, above the hatch
or at the mast
as it is easier to monitor
speed/wind while trimming the sails
. Typically you do not need a large plotter display on a sailboat (it consumes too much power and provides little value. Power boaters like big displays for displaying sonar while fishing
. Another consideration is how often you steer vs. run on autopilot. If running on autopilot you spend most time in the cockpit
, shielded by the dogger and then you either need to rotate the plotter display forward or use an iPad or a second monitor
to see where you are going.
In terms of cost I would budget $1.5K each for the chartplotter, radar and autopilot. Less if you buy in a bundle and significantly less if you buy used. Installation is straight forward, the biggest difficulty is running the cables
to the helm and in the mast
for the radar. I would advise you to do this yourself but if you can't be bothered you will need to pay someone. Go in stages, as I said before. Autopilot is essential everything else could be gradual as your preferences develop.
It could be helpful if I shared my upgrade process with you. I got a cheap
Garmin 44DV for $199 at the helm interfaced with the autopilot and the VHF/AIS radio
and the Windex. This gave me auto mode, wind tracking and waypoint tracking modes, sonar as a backup to my depth (transom transducer
mounted in hull
, easy install). After a few months I mounted the Garmin in place of the compass
so that I could rotate it around and see it from both behind the wheel
and in front of the wheel
. This was the biggest improvement I made. I should have stopped there as it met all my needs perfectly. Later I got the radar, gyro for MARPA, weather
sensor, Raytech weather
routing on a wireless tablet, video cameras, etc. None of the later upgrades are essential or needed but I like messing around with the boat. The moral of the story is fix the basics first, pay attention to usability, test it with some cheap
or second hand equipment and then drop the $10K that is burning your pocket.