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Old 18-12-2016, 12:44   #1
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1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

Hello forum users,

I have been bareboat sailing for the last 10 years or so but generally do this through charter companies, so I am no expert on maintenance or wiring of marine boats.

I just purchased a 1973 Morgan OI 41' on the west coast of Florida and plan to sail it to the east coast sometime in January to give me quicker access to the islands.

As you might expect, this '73 boat is in need of multiple repairs and cosmetic upgrades. The most concerning of these to me is the electrical system. Over the last 15 years, this boat had had some strange wiring done for which I have no schematic to use for troubleshooting. It also has a fuse panel, no breaker panel, 15+ year old GPS, vhf, autopilot, and radar (Furuno dome and console). My surveyor could not completely verify these instruments are working due to potential disconnected wires to antennas etc.

Due to my lack of knowledge about marine electrics, I am considering having a licensed electrician redo all wiring on this boat. Currently, the bilge pump and blower will not work which is probably a wiring issue. On the upshot, I do have excellent main sail, jibs, spinnaker, and a well running perkins 4-108 with low hours. I also have a pretty good Navionics app on my iPad for the initial cruise to the east coast.

So finally to my question - would sailors experienced with this type work just strip out the 15 year old instruments and replace with a single console gps, plotter, and radar? I've seen combo units by Garmin and Raymarine for around $1200 on line. If so, any input you may have on particular brands or features would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks much,

Paul
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Old 18-12-2016, 13:11   #2
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

Depends on what you want but I think most would abandon the 15 yo electronics. Marine wiring is fairly simple if you are good at mechanics in general. It will cost you a ton having it done unless find one of our members or similar nearby who wants to do it reasonable.
If going with some sort of combined instrument I definitely would go color and a large-ish screen.
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Old 18-12-2016, 17:33   #3
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

I went through something similar on our old Bayfield. What I did was cut, crimp and run all the wires for the panels, terminal blocks etc. Then I had a marine electrician come in and do the final hookups and testing. I probably reduced my service bill by two thirds or more, and learned a lot along the way. Blueseas make great panels. This is a really worthwhile upgrade.
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Old 18-12-2016, 18:30   #4
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

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Hello forum users,


So finally to my question - would sailors experienced with this type work just strip out the 15 year old instruments and replace with a single console gps, plotter, and radar? I've seen combo units by Garmin and Raymarine for around $1200 on line. If so, any input you may have on particular brands or features would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks much,

Paul
Hi Paul

I once had an Ericson 35, 73 vintage and got so frustrated trying to figure out years of previous owners botched add on wiring, that I ripped it all out and started from scratch. When I eventually sold the boat, I was able to provide the buyer and his surveyor a complete electrical schematic. It was the selling point for the boat. It isn't super difficult but to do it nicely does require some planning. Get to know the ABYC standards which can be frustrating because they are always changing.

For your question about a chartplotter and radar, the good news is that all the new Navico, Garmin and Raymarine sfuff utilize a can-bus system which makes wiring the components together so much easier and cleaner. It is literally plug n play. As for brands, I would try to get to a boat show, get hands on with them and determine which has the interface and features you like best. You will get too many differing opinions here.
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Old 18-12-2016, 21:31   #5
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

I don't remember if this guy redid the electronics, but he seemed to rebuild everything else on his OI41. You might want to read through his site. He's also located on west coast of Florida.

Morgan Out Island 41 Blog
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Old 19-12-2016, 08:47   #6
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

Thanks for the link to the OI41 blog. Looks like it will be very helpful. I'll contact those guys for some info.
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Old 19-12-2016, 08:51   #7
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with all. Given my lack of electrical knowledge, I had hoped to pass that whole piece off to someone else. But I think you're right, I'll learn a lot about my boat doing the rewire. Initially, I plan to just get the bilge working and starter replaced. Once I get it to the east cost of FL, I'll start the rewire...and bottom job...and top job.
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Old 19-12-2016, 08:56   #8
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

I tend to agree with that approach. I need to verify the age of the Furuno radar and dome and possibly try to salvage at least the dome. Thanks for your input.
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Old 19-12-2016, 09:11   #9
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

If you're on Facebook, join the "Morgan OI 41 Owners group". It's very active with lots of experience fixing up these old boats. I choose to strip ALL the wiring out of my OI. It was easier Han trying to figure out all the weird wiring that had been done over the years! These are simple boats compared to most so wiring isn't really hat complicated. Test your electronics one by one tovseecwhat works. I wouldn't replace the electronics until you see what works. And used the boat for a bit. It's really easy to over buy electronics and spend money that could be better spent elsewhere.
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Old 19-12-2016, 09:47   #10
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

The one thing that may be useable is that Furuno radar.
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Old 19-12-2016, 10:35   #11
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

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If you're on Facebook, join the "Morgan OI 41 Owners group". It's very active with lots of experience fixing up these old boats. I choose to strip ALL the wiring out of my OI. It was easier Han trying to figure out all the weird wiring that had been done over the years! These are simple boats compared to most so wiring isn't really hat complicated. Test your electronics one by one tovseecwhat works. I wouldn't replace the electronics until you see what works. And used the boat for a bit. It's really easy to over buy electronics and spend money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Thank you, I'll do that. Haven't been on FB in quite a while but worth it for this type group.
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Old 19-12-2016, 10:41   #12
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

Hi, Step back, take a breath and slowly analyze the electrical issues you have...then do it yourself. I have an I30, yes, smaller, but I rewired it totally with new panels and separate circuits for EVERYTHING andI have added a lot of things in the upgrade as well. If there is ever a problem it's a snap to fix. I was like you at first...worried. It turned out to be fairly easy and I now know where every wire is and where it is run/connected etc. The peace of mind and satisfaction are well worth the effort.
Have a Merry Christmas...
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Old 19-12-2016, 10:57   #13
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

I like the Garmin 740s unit. Very reasonably priced. Decent bottom machine and can be matched with the GMR series radar. If I remember correctly there are 3 different GMR radars models it will mate with from 2.2kw to 4w and then an HD model. They are also very easy to use and the charting is good with a card. They are discontinued but there are still some old new stock units out there for sale. Or get used for even cheaper.

You should be able to find used with a radar dome for well under 1,000.
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Old 19-12-2016, 14:31   #14
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

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I like the Garmin 740s unit. Very reasonably priced. Decent bottom machine and can be matched with the GMR series radar. If I remember correctly there are 3 different GMR radars models it will mate with from 2.2kw to 4w and then an HD model. They are also very easy to use and the charting is good with a card. They are discontinued but there are still some old new stock units out there for sale. Or get used for even cheaper.

You should be able to find used with a radar dome for well under 1,000.
Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely look into these models and hopefully save some cash for the bottom job. It's amazing how much cheaper these instruments have gotten in just the last 5 years.
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Old 19-12-2016, 14:43   #15
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Re: 1973 Morgan OutIsland 41 electronics refit

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Originally Posted by mrlee View Post
Hi, Step back, take a breath and slowly analyze the electrical issues you have...then do it yourself. I have an I30, yes, smaller, but I rewired it totally with new panels and separate circuits for EVERYTHING andI have added a lot of things in the upgrade as well. If there is ever a problem it's a snap to fix. I was like you at first...worried. It turned out to be fairly easy and I now know where every wire is and where it is run/connected etc. The peace of mind and satisfaction are well worth the effort.
Have a Merry Christmas...
Thanks for talking me off the ledge. It seems like a daunting task but agree the experience will be a good education. I expect there will many questions to follow over the next few weeks.
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