1. The brochure says Yanmar saildrive, the dealer says Volvo. I don't even know if there is an option, but if there is...what is the preference?
Yanmar for parts availability and price.
2. I posted a reply to an old thread about mainsail slides/battcars, etc and may not get much response; is one better than another?
Battcars make it easier.
3. Are most of you in favor of upgrading winches?
4. Any thoughts about hardtop dodgers vs the traditional soft top?
Cheaper in the long run but adds windage in storm/hurricane.
5. Are there any marine audio systems that are compatible with IPODs or other types of MP 3 players? They typically don't put in the best equipment on a new boat, so I thought I would check.
I would avoid marine stereos entirely as they are overpriced and underperforming compared to decent car stereos....unless you are going to mount yours where it will get wet normally. I wrote a 2 part article on marine stereos for Latts/Atts last July/August issues which serves as a pretty good summary of your options. PM me if you can't find it on line. As to MP3 Player hookups...there are 2 types...aux input jacks which allow you to play ANY mp3 player though your car stereo that has these jacks which are increasingly common. The other type is an i-pod specific interface which allows you to use and control an i-pod with info appearing on the radio itself. (PS...you do need speakers which will stand up in a marine environment...you don't need marinized but you want plastic grills, cones and rubber surrounds which are a bit harder to find in todays car stereo market. Indoor/outdoor speakers work well in the cockpit too.)
6. On electronics - C or E from Raymarine?