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post #21 of 26 Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Speed/Depth/Wind conundrum

I think it's worth thinking through your long term plans before buying, rather than adding to the system constantly. I'm building out a new electronics package for my boat, and one of my goals was to have fewer display units, not more. The plotter (I'm using a Raymarine e7d) already has a nice big display and I didn't want to duplicate that into more instruments. I don't want a huge dashboard covered with lights and numbers blocking my view.

If you buy two or three display units now, then add a chart plotter later, you are going to end up with a lot of electronics to put into a small cockpit.

I'm building my own NMEA display unit that will hang inside my dodger and have built my own pitch and roll and wind sensors (that is using a Davis windspeed/direction sensor, I built the bits to convert that to NMEA). Building your own isn't the most logical option (and likely isn't an option at all for most sailor), but it's been a fun project for me. My display and the e7d will be the only things visible in the cockpit.

I sometimes get annoyed at the lack of real integration in boat electronics. I'm going to add a wheelpilot this spring and it's annoying that the Raymarine wheel pilots require a P70 (or similar) user interface head even when there is a fancy touchscreen GPS sitting right there that could provide all of the UI.

As for what's useful I find it useful to have speed over ground, speed through water, and depth. If you are on a lake then speed through water isn't so useful. On my old boat (mostly sailed on a lake) I got good enough electronics using a handheld GPS on a fixed mount and a fish finder for depth. The total outlay was a couple hundred dollars, I could read it from anywhere in the cockpit, and no holes were drilled in the boat.

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post #22 of 26 Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Speed/Depth/Wind conundrum

I would go with what SloopJohn and Faster said.

If I could only have one instrument on the boat it would be a depth finder. It allows you to coordinate m ap position on a paper chart as well as depth current.

After that a chartplotter as it can perform a myriad of functions.

Speed log/ knotmeter is different than the speed over the ground as discussed before. The SOG from the chartplotter is used to determine distances etc, The speed log is very helpful in adjusting sail trim which the SOG cannot do.

Wind instrument is the l;ast one I would be concerned with

I like having the depthfinder integrated into the chartplotter yes, but also one a seperate dedicated bezel somehwre in the cockpit visable from anywhere in the cockpit as I am not always at the helm.

Like MarkSF we have added on during the years so I would look at this long term and make sure you create a pla "ststem" approach to this.

We currently have a Raymarine c90w with knot/wind/depth/ insturments, autopilot, and ais. And we always use paper charts too

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post #23 of 26 Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Speed/Depth/Wind conundrum

I have not read all three pages of posts so bear with me.

Is there current where you sail? If not, just go with a depth sounder that shoots through the hull. No holes and you get a nice picture of what's below you.

That Lowrance for sale on Amazon is a bargain, I have a similar model. No complaints for the first year.

If there is current than you might want something that gives you speed through the water. I find that I don't use it as much as I used to because I have gotten used to the currents in my local haunt. If I'm going someplace then I need current predictions more than anything because I need to know what will be happening in the near future.

That Lowrance unit shows the predicted currents. I also use Eldridges, but, I see you are in Indiana so that might not apply to you.

If I was cruising into unknown waters or racing, then, speed through the water would be an absolute necessity.

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post #24 of 26 Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Speed/Depth/Wind conundrum

So far I like the wind sensor, but it's only been a few weeks since installation. The sensor and display work very well as a whole. I think the sensor is made by B&G and people seem to like them in general.

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post #25 of 26 Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Speed/Depth/Wind conundrum

Originally Posted by Rhys05 View Post
That isn't a bad deal at all! Think its a better deal than a Garmin GMI10 Speed/Depth/Wind at the same price? Faster has me leaning chartplotter now, but I'm still enticed by shiny things!
If you're studying on chartplotters consider the Garmin 541s.....it's in the same price range and has the full complement of chartplotter features. I have one and with my limited electronical experience and aptitude was able to integrate it with my Raymarine wheelpilot. I chose Garmin because at the time it sounded like they had a better reliability record, and their electronic charts are excellent.

BTW - I opted for the more expensive (about $200) bronze thru-hull transducer because I wanted the depth and water temp readings, and I'm a freak about having bronze ilo plastic for any thru-hull below the waterline. Total installed cost for me was about $900. And I can add other instruments or sensors in the future and have them display on the Garmin's screen......

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post #26 of 26 Old 02-02-2013 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice everyone, it is much appreciated. I have been looking at the various Garmin units in that price range, including the 541 and 546. How do people feel about Lowrance vs Garmin vs ?

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