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Old 09-03-2010
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Question Equipping boat with electronics

I have recently purchased my first sailboat, 26 ft Ranger in Prestine Condition, everything new from top of the mast to the bilge, paint + lots of new stainless. I paid more that I wanted to, but everyone I talk to, say its worth it, due to the shape of the boat. My only problem is, there are no electronics on the boat. The owner scavanged them or his new boat. at first I was excited at the thought of shopping, but now looking on line and in the catalogs I have accumulated, it gets more scary every time I look. THe boat has a compass thats it. I will need the bare minimum, VHF/Depth gauge/GPS/and Auto-tiller.

My question, can someone point me in the right direction for getting the boat outfitted properly. I keep hearing that this one interfaces with this, but then you need to buy this, and the list keeps going on. I don't want to be cheap, but I would like to keep the costs in control. Pointers on brands is also appreciated.

Thanks, hoping: to see you on Lake Superior
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Old 09-03-2010
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With the simple electronics setup you will have there is relatively little interfacing to be done with the possible exception of your GPS and VHF for DSC purposes. Try to take advantage of sale prices, whether with Sailnet, Defender, or anyone else. There seems to be a huge markup on electronics which means that sale prices are often really good - for example, there are often good prices when the Annapolis Boat Show is on (you don't have to be at the show to get the price.)

I suspect that the biggest decision you will have to make is about the GPS. The basic GPS seems to have pretty much disappeared so the choice is between a simple chart plotter and a more complex one. If you can get to dealers for the main makers (who have them on display) or seem them at a boat show you can compare features. As to brands, it is pretty much whatever turns you on and costs the right amount. All of the major brands are fine for what you want to do.
Heading back to Lake Ontario for this summer. Relatively few stops along the way from Grenada. Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin (must have something to do with the French food), then Bermuda, New England and up the Hudson/Erie Canal. We were going to go via Newfoundland and Labrador but June remembered that one of the kids is getting married this summer - details, details!
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Old 09-03-2010
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I agree about interfacing not really being an issue.
My choices would be: Icom ICM-304 VHF - a basic vhf from a top manufacturer.

Raymarine ST-40 depth sounder - a good basic unit with adjustable offset and alarms as well as a large readout in feet, meters, and fathoms. Many basic models have very small displays or are fishfinders.

Raymarine ST1000 plus tillerpilot - a good unit that will handle your size boat easily.

As far as plotters, There are many out there from Standard-Horizon, Garmin, Raymarine and others that it is best to shop a boat show or a few stores to see what is available in the screen size you wish.

These are my opinions and others will have theirs.
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Old 09-03-2010
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The only real electronics that you will NEED IMHO are a good VHF and a depthsounder. A knotmeter, GPS, and wind instruments are niceties, but not necessities.

Boat show pricing is usually good, but you can also get instruments on close out or refurbished units at very good prices.

BTW, if you're getting a tillerpilot, like the Raymarine ST1000+, you really should make a spray sleeve for it. That will extend its working life considerably.

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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.

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