|Wiring the nav area|
While we did several projects during 2011, the biggest undertaking by far was our complete navigation and steering overhaul. After doing a LOT of research over the winter, we decided to go with Ray Marine as it seemed to do a lot of what we were after and the install looked pretty straightforward. If I only had a dollar for every time I heard the words “Plug and Play” come out of the mouth of the Ray Marine rep! While it’s a great system – I definitely don’t agree with the plug and play bit at all!
To say this was a huge project would be an understatement. Here’s what we installed:
- Hydraulic Autohelm
- 2 E-series Chartplotters (one at helm and one at the nav station)
- Fish Finder
- Lifetag (an overboard alert system I wanted for peace of mind during passages)
- Wind/Depth/Speed Indicators
- New Pedestal (to hold the chartplotter)
- Solar Panels
- Wind Generator
- Antennas (VHF, AM/FM, GPS x 3 and Wifi)
|Hydraulics - huge learning curve!|
|Every inch covered with something|
|Passing wires through cupboards|
|More boat yoga for Brett|
|Where do we sit for lunch?|
|Not doing much cooking!|
All of these items talk to each other over 3 different types of networks (Seatalk, Seatalk NG and Nema). Just figuring out how to run the cables and what runs on which network was a huge challenge. Plug and play, huh? Running the cables to every part of the boat, wiring for power, and figuring out the perfect angle for the hydraulic ram on the auto helm were all a lot more work than anticipated. I must have spent 20 hours reading manuals and then reading them again to make sure we got it right. Brett also got to practice a lot more boat yoga!
|Autohelm and the brains|
The chaos that reigned during this install was almost more than I could stand. I’ve included some photos just to show how crazy it was. But while it was a lot more work (and way more stressful) than we anticipated, at the end of the day I am so glad that we did it ourselves. At some point something will definitely stop working, but since we both know how it all goes together it will be much easier to diagnose the problem and figure out how to fix it. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping.