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Old 06-03-2020, 12:13   #1
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B&G vs Raymarine

Hi all,

I have recently bought an '89 Morgan OI Classic (Sloop), that needs all of the electronics replaced. They were poorly installed and are quite ancient. I'm planning to install a completely new suite including:

MFD (9" or 12") at the helm
Windex and Depth Sounder (display at helm and Nav station)
Autopilot (it does not have one currently at all), with rudder sensor
Radar
AIS VHF with DSC transponder (I like the B&G model a lot, and haven't found similar units that meet it's specifications from other vendors - open to suggestions)
I will also connect to NMEA via laptop to run OpenCPN at the Nav station
Predict Wind (and will also be purchasing an Iridium Go in time).

I intend getting the boat to the point where it can be sailed across the Atlantic in a couple of years, so I would like to make sure the setup is as robust as psosible. Another item to note is that I will be putting a Hydrovane on the boat for off-shore passage making.

So here's what I am after - I have done quite a bit of research on Garmin, B&G and Raymarine and examined all the con's and pro's, and come to the conclusion that:
  • Garmin support is not the best and they change their devices and support for devices far too often.
  • Raymarine generally have support all over the world, but it can vary quite a bit in quality. Products are generally quite robust and they support their devices for quite long periods of time.
  • B&G support can be variable, although their product seems to be superior for cruisers/sailors from a functionality perspective, but are significantly more expensive than Raymarine or Garmin.

What I do not have a feel for is how their products compare in real life, not just on paper. I'm looking for advice/opinions on the B&G vs Raymarine systems specifically to help make a decision on which way to go. Is Raymarine functionality 'good enough' for the reduced cost, or do you find that there are B&G functions you just can't live without?

Alternatively if you can point me towards any direct comparisons (I have done searches without great success for the latest models), that would also be helpful.

Thanks very much!

James
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:25   #2
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

I have been outfitting my boat with B&G exclusively, from a mis-mash of 90s technology.

Went with B&G for their sail functions on the plotters, overall sailing focus.

Overall been happy. Their displays are the brightest I have seen. Lots of functionality. The 4g Radar is wonderful. Hooked it up, it just worked. Everything just seems to work out of the box. Have had some glitches here and there, but overall been quite happy.

The sail-steer and sail timer functions are great, easy to use.

Support, when you get it, is generally excellent. Don't bother with email support, they RARELY reply to email support. Phone support in the summer can be an hour or more wait.

If I had to do it again, I would probably make the same exact decisions.

My system includes 4 displays (triton 1), Vulcan 5 plotter, Lowrance HDS8 plotter(to be replaced with a Zeus3), Wind/speed/depth/temp sensors

In time, I plan on changing out the AP to a B&G, but the old autohelm/Raymarine AP works quite well. When I do, I plan on using their heading sensor.

The plotter (vulcan 5) has no buttons, seems to work well with cold/wet hands without a problem (my biggest worry before I bought it). You can add an external control panel if you want buttons, however. It , and the displays are very readable, no matter what the light condition, brightest sunlight will not wash them out.

Haven't used modern electronics by other makes to comment, but I do like the B&G stuff, even with their spotty support.

For the difference in price, I would still get B&G... after a few years.. you won't remember spending the extra grand or so on the setup.
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Old 06-03-2020, 21:16   #3
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

I have both Raymarine and B&G equipment on my current boat and have used Raymarine extensively on previous boats. Both are fine. Agree that Raymarine products are robust; my previous yacht had 20 year old Raymarine /Autohelm equipment and they all worked fine. Any problems and Raymarine replacement parts were available that were compatible with 20 year old electronics. For example the linear drive on the Autohelm 5000 autopilot started to make a grinding noise and the latest linear drive unit was able to swap in and worked fine.

Have a B&G Chartplotter T12 Zeus Touch, probably around 7 years old, which works fine. B&G have advised that it is compatible with the latest 3G / 4G radar if I want to upgrade.

I believe you could go with either systems. Would stick with one system to avoid compatibility problems, particularly with radar.

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Old 06-03-2020, 21:25   #4
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

Raymarine wind instrments wear out quickly--$350 for part to fix. Have had to do it 4 times
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Old 06-03-2020, 21:52   #5
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

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Originally Posted by geoleo View Post
Raymarine wind instrments wear out quickly--$350 for part to fix. Have had to do it 4 times
On my previous boat they worked fine for 20 years.
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Old 06-03-2020, 22:50   #6
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

I've used both and like B&G for the sailing functions, autopilot control and integration.

If you don't need helmsman like auto control sailing on or off the wind, real time shared performance data and endless bells, whistles and advanced supplementary sensors and computers then the B&G premium is not justified.

It's nice to use though.
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:53   #7
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

I’ve used them both

B and G is expensive and no more reliable when compared to raymarine

Both systems are easy to install.. plug and play

When you save money on the origin purchase you can buy more spare parts

Electronics guys tell me that the raymarine touch screens are more reliable ... fewer warrantee claims
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Old 07-03-2020, 07:42   #8
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

I put all B&G/Simrad on my boat over the past few years. There were some teething pains, given that Navco was introducing new products across their subsidiary brands that were essentially variations on the same hardware with differences in software, but all have been sorted out.

Generally happy. Wind anemometer occasionally takes a dump now after its first hard squall. May have to replace it.

The UI is straightforward and easy to navigate. Displays are nice. Night mode charts are not all that readable in my opinion.

The big plus is that the "sail to wind" and tacking functions in Sail steer are fabulous. I have a wind vane but when I'm hard on the wind I punch in an apparent wind angle and the AP does a laudable job of helming. Exemely happy with it.

As a single hander on a cutter rig, the auto-tack feature is brilliant. You can set the number of seconds for the AP to complete the tack. I hit "tack" and set about bringing the jib across, then the stay sail, then bringing the traveller up and can completely ignore the helm. Just a great feature. Not sure if it's available on other brands, but the B&G implementation is impressive.

I've only called support once and the technician was knowledgeable and immediately helpful. MARPA was not working and the tech quickly figured out the problem. The radar interface box connects to the NMEA2000 backbone with a Simnet cable with it's proprietary plug at the box end. I put my own NMEA2000 field plug on a Simnet cable, and evidently the pinout is not the same as the standard. I was impressed that the tech figured it out within a matter of minutes just through a few questions.

On the flip side, I had a problem with the AP computer (which in fact turned out to be a faulty brand new breaker at the panel) as I was coming down the east coast of the US. Assuming I needed to exchange the brand new computer for a replacement under warranty I was startled to learn I would have to send it to California, from where it would be shipped to Mexico, then back to California, and then to me, with a minimum turnaround time of approx three weeks. Ridiculous.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:30   #9
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

Thanks all, these are excellent responses, and just the kind of personal feedback I was looking for - much appreciated!
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:43   #10
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

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Originally Posted by ilenart View Post
On my previous boat they worked fine for 20 years.
Everything built 20 years ago lasts 20 years.

Everything built today lasts 2 years.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:57   #11
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
Everything built 20 years ago lasts 20 years.

Everything built today lasts 2 years.
Was there a particular item from B&G or RM you were thinking of? I have just bought a new CP and VHF from RM, so interested in what failures you have had.

Pete
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:27   #12
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

Have been using Raymarine for the last 10 years / 20.000 miles.
ST70 + E120W chartplotter + HD 4W digital radar. I added a DSM300 HD Digital Sonar Module coupled with an Airmar TRIDUCER Multisensor, not for fishing, but to get a decent vision on the bottom: sand / mud / rock would usually show on the screen, helping a lot when droping the anchor.

Globally it's been working pretty well until this year, when both E120W started to encounted issues. It seems their central button fails after a while, and that was this year for me.

The autopilot works ok with one quite major limitation. When starting it, it will run an initial "S" to assess the current I guess, and if you're too near to the wind, the boat will stall. The higher the wind, the larger the "S", meaning that is some instance when you really would like to set back the autopilot, you just can't. Otherwise, I would single manage the boat on quite a few occasions. Note : I had a backop autopilot installed, 100% independant from the rest of the boat electronics eg. with dedicated GPS.

One loosy feature is that the purchased charts are attached to the E120W chartplotter. When these die, you loose your charts (I have Europe on one and the Americas on the other).

I had to change the autopilot control head this year, for the newer p70, and I can only say its interface isn't as good and the older one; plus it doesn't integrate very well with the previous range (luminosity adjustment has to be made separatly, and for this the autopilot has to be disengaged).

I am in the process of purchasing a new boat these days (50 feet catamaran), and am running the same brand and feature reviews. I'm not on a short deadline, as I guess I'll need to make a decision by the end of the year.

At this stage, I had the feeling the next boat would use B&G, and I was thinking about fitting a thermal camera on the spreaders (OFNI detection, MOB recovery, ice detection). The technology seems to improve as fast as their prices decline, so this might happen.

When thinking a new system over, especially coming from one that was conceived over 15 years back, one can be teared between looking after the sophisticated integration (with risk on reliability), or the simplicity (but not taking advantage of recent progress). I'd be happy to participate to any prototyping on the topic.

Frederic
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:35   #13
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

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Originally Posted by Salja03 View Post
AIS VHF with DSC transponder (I like the B&G model a lot, and haven't found similar units that meet it's specifications from other vendors - open to suggestions)

You might want to take a look at the Vesper Cortex. They are waiting for FCC approval for it so it isn't for sale yet. I would guess they'll be done in a month or two.


It is similar in design to what B&G have done except that it has a color display. Expensive product but it replaces a lot of other gear.
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:43   #14
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

We bought Raymarine ST 60+ Wind, depth, speed and it fails regularly. We have sent all back for service. Still no boat speed and wind has a mind of its own. I am not a Raymarine fan.

Our chart plotter is Simrad as are autopilot, GPS, rate compass, sonar. These are on a Simnet backbone and work very well, zero issues. The AIS is Watchmate 850 p, a totally independent device with NMEA connection to the network. This allows us to utilize its anchor watch feature with everything else off. The Watchmate uses only 7.5 watts.
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Old 10-03-2020, 10:03   #15
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Re: B&G vs Raymarine

I deliver boats with all three systems. I am still looking for someone to come out with a superior system, because they all have their faults. If it was my boat, I would probably go with B&G , even though its UI is not very intuitive, as the new Raymarine touch displays are useless outdoors. The Garmin systems are not user friendly to set up and maintain. I would go with a standalone Furuno radar.
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