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Old 25-09-2018, 07:15   #1
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Thinking about re-doing my nav station

It seemed ideal when we bought the boat, its a nice large table with a lot of storage under the lifting lid. The seat swivels in and out so it is out of the way when not needed.

After a while not so much! Because the seat swivels, its practically impossible to sit in while underway. Everything has to be cleared off the lid before you can get something out of the storage area. If someone is sitting at the station, you have to get up and move for someone else to access the cabin. Also the seat is just high enough you can't touch the floor, and its not super comfortable to boot.

So I'm thinking of re-doing it, if you can imagine this in your head, I haven't done drawings yet / I'm not talented enough. Basically, lop the back 16 inches or so of the table off to create a gap between it and the bulkhead, and lower that cabinet on the right into a seat, so the nav station faces forward instead. Put a drawer in the table instead of a lifting lid.

I know this cuts down on the table top space, but I suspect this station was designed for large paper charts which aren't used (much) anymore. We've always used a laptop for navigation, with chart books as backup. I'll probably have to relocate the electronics, and the sliding doors maybe.

I'm open to input, if this was your space, how would you do it?
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Old 25-09-2018, 07:50   #2
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

I agree with you. At the risk of starting a fight, is there a need for paper charts anymore? (I guess that's a different thread).

I'd put a bench seat on the right hand side under your VHF so that when you sit down you are facing forward. Under the seat can be used for storage.
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Old 25-09-2018, 11:34   #3
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

Yeah that's a good question about paper charts - I know most sailors don't keep them. I like having something to take notes on, we bought chartbooks for the ICW and Bahamas and its fun getting to sit down with other sailors and share favorite anchoring spots, places to see, etc.

I'm pretty convinced I'll just shorten that cabinet and make it into a seat, I just don't know how much room I need to have between the top and the seat to make it comfortable.
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Old 25-09-2018, 11:44   #4
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

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Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
It seemed ideal when we bought the boat, its a nice large table with a lot of storage under the lifting lid. The seat swivels in and out so it is out of the way when not needed.

After a while not so much! Because the seat swivels, its practically impossible to sit in while underway. Everything has to be cleared off the lid before you can get something out of the storage area. If someone is sitting at the station, you have to get up and move for someone else to access the cabin. Also the seat is just high enough you can't touch the floor, and its not super comfortable to boot.

So I'm thinking of re-doing it, if you can imagine this in your head, I haven't done drawings yet / I'm not talented enough. Basically, lop the back 16 inches or so of the table off to create a gap between it and the bulkhead, and lower that cabinet on the right into a seat, so the nav station faces forward instead. Put a drawer in the table instead of a lifting lid.

I know this cuts down on the table top space, but I suspect this station was designed for large paper charts which aren't used (much) anymore. We've always used a laptop for navigation, with chart books as backup. I'll probably have to relocate the electronics, and the sliding doors maybe.

I'm open to input, if this was your space, how would you do it?
The design will depend how you intend to use it. Mine was used extensively for navigation including underway since I used paper charts. Even though the trend is towards digital, the nav station is a perfect place to use as an office for anything because you don't have to clear it every time you take a break...
Now to your question - this is very large with lots of room for improvements - there is room to have it facing aft instead (I assume aft is to the right of the picture), with a fixed seat and as you mentioned, you don't need a large table. The little side table on the left will lose half of its storage capacity, the other half will go under the seat. It all depends on how much you want to remove/demolish and re-do.

I.e.
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Old 25-09-2018, 12:58   #5
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

I used the table extensively when route planning. I know a lot of folks say they are going the way of the dodo but it is a great spot to sit and plan, write, surf the web, etc. and like you said you don't have to clear it.

Aft facing would give the ability to mount things on the bulkhead, but I think I would prefer it to be forward facing as that would give me visibility into the salon. Unfortunately at this time the boat is in FL and I'm in Houston, so taking measurements will have to wait until the next trip!
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Old 26-09-2018, 09:22   #6
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

I might just convert the under table storage to a door that opens on the face, instead of the top. And add some brake/clamps to the swivel stool. The bigger the better for chart tables!
But... forward-facing nav stations are just more cognition- friendly. It used to hurt my brain when the chart plotter (and the chart) faced forward but the radar and AIS were on the port bulkhead. Though they fit nicely into the cabinets that way.
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Old 26-09-2018, 11:57   #7
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

There is no table that is big enuff in any 30 footer that I know of, and which, as my screen name indicates, is what my boat is, for a full size chart to lie flat.

My solution is to use my dinette table protruding thwartships from the port side of the cabin. It takes half of a chart quite nicely. Switching from one half to the other is no more difficult that switching twixt adjoining unmaculated charts. Normally we are only MyBeloved and I, so one of us is on deck pursuant to COLREGS Rule 5, while the other does the chartwork. Thus we don't "clump up" in the midships aisle.

Maculated charts are folded once and kept flat in a stowage rack under the deckhead above the table. Full charts are kept rolled up in a tube of 4" PVC slung above my berth pending maculation.

TrentePied's navigating station had been seriously buggered about and rendered useless by a PO. It is presently under reconstruction so that it will become a "chief's (engineer's) station" with all the engine and electrical instrumentation as well as the computer monitor on the foreside of the main bulkhead, and a small thwartships desk for the computer keyboard and mouse. The seat faces aft and has been constructed so as to be a box for the batteries, properly vented and furnished with non-corroding spill trays, as well as serious hold-downs for the batteries. High ampage (main) switches for starter and capstan circuits are on the inboard side of the box immediately next to the companionway ladder. Charger, 120V breaker and 120V GFI outlet as well as service switches are on the outboard longitudinal bulkhead at the station. Thus the person at the station will not impede fore'n'aft traffic in the boat.

In all boats, but small boats particularly, every cubic inch of space counts and designing the appointments is a lovely intricate puzzle :-)!

TP
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Old 26-09-2018, 12:35   #8
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post

In all boats, but small boats particularly, every cubic inch of space counts and designing the appointments is a lovely intricate puzzle :-)!

TP
I wish my boat was built as efficiently as smaller boats - there is so much wasted space! I guess they figured they could fit a set of drawers, who needs all the space behind them?
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Old 27-09-2018, 12:36   #9
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Re: Thinking about re-doing my nav station

FWIW....I redid the Nav Sta in our Taswell 43-it's much more useable now, and works very well for us. We, too, had a swivel seat-it's gone! I replaced it with a bench seat...that is just big enough to enclose and house a 12vDC compressor-powered cool box. It can double as a refer or as a freezer, if we need it, but we normally use it to keep beer, soda, juices, water, etc. With the lid closed it becomes the bench seat fro the fwd-facing Nav Sta. I also redid both the fwd and side Nav Sta panels, selecting and positioning the instruments where I thought made the most sense. We occasionally use/cross-check paper charts, and if a big chart is needed, I put it on the Saloon table; the Nav Sta table is used to hold a laptop computer and other notes/papers as required. I have a chart plotter up at the helm, and when we upgraded it I put the older one(still very useable) below in the fwd-facing Nav panel. That, with our autopilot remote control, remote wind and depth, added compass, and chartplotter, I can operate the boat from belowdecks....if I ever need to. I also arranged the fwd Nav panel so that I can see the radar display, the bilge pump red "ON" light, and a few other key items, all from the helm looking down thru the companionway. It's been a 14-yr work-in-progress, that so far has worked very well for us.
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