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Old 06-02-2010
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NE Mass
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hazmat17 is on a distinguished road
Ended up going with Garmin (mostly)

4208 plotter mounted on pod on the new pedestal guard
(4) GMI 10 instruments mounted in a pod above the companionway
Standard Horizon GSX2100 VHF with AIS RX and remote MIC at the pedestal.
Actisense N2K to NMEA183 converter to provide GPS to the VHF w/o the plotter running

Only been out sailing once.
Garmin screens are easy to read in sunlight, and the equipment is intuitive to use. My wife really likes them.

I hear rumours that Garmin is coming out with a sailboat autopilot soon. In the meantime there are some N2K choices out there (Simrad & Nexus IIRC).

Next winter I'm thinking of adding radar and a new autopilot.

Lessons learned:
1- Pay the yard to install the new wind sensor I couldn't reach the top of my mast with 2 hands free while in my new topclimber chair (I needed 1 arm to steady myself while standing in the stirrups) - to add insult to injury I dropped my cordless drill (which was on a lanyard) and the new whirlygig (which was in the topclimpber "bag") on the way back down the mast. Now I'm out $700 to replace them.

2- I went with the "mini" (largest) size N2K cabling as the backbone - man that stuff is huge - big honking holes (1.25") to get thru cabinets etc. Also the power T is enormous. If I was doing it again, I'd go "mid" for the backbone.

3- budget some extra $$ for cables - Garmin is kind enough to supply you some with each unit, but the lengths will not be "right" - either too long or too short. You can get field installable connectors and cut down the ones that are too long. I've got a whole box full of extra parts (cables, t's etc.)

4- Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog is a great resource

I'll try to remember to take some pix soon.
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