Why not do two nine-pin connectors, that would leave you some room for expansion.
You might be far better off putting the actual instruments inside the boat and using repeater displays on the exterior of the boat. Then you would only need to run a single three-wire SeaTalk cable through the deck. Much simpler...and easier. Wiring the panel will also be much easier.
Also, if someone nicks your external panel, you'll still have the original instruments inside the boat to use.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.