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peterchech 04-04-2013 06:25 PM

GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
My father is setting up his C&C 32 for a Bermuda trip, in the middle of a complete refit and he has decided to invest in some decent electronics. But we are unsure what the best place to mount them is.

He has:
1) Raymarine GPS Nav unit, Autopilot (wheel mount), Autopilot control unit (basically the control buttons), and wind/speed/depth units. These all are integrated together on the GPS Nav unit, so you can control the autopilot from the nav unit and connect it to the wind if desired. The whole thing can also be controlled by an ipad wirelessly.

We are leaving the very old autopilot control unit and most hardware in place, as a back up that can be hooked up in a few hours if the new autopilot should fail.

Since the whole thing can be controlled by an ipad from under the dodger if wanted anyway, my thoughts are to put the GPS unit on the pedestal, since most hand steering will be done in the places that the GPS is most important, ie between reefs/schoals/harbors. If it is nasty out and course changes need to be made, the ipad can handle it from inside or from under the dodger. However my father thinks it might be better to mount the GPS screen on the bulkhead, since it is less likely to be noticed and maybe stolen there.

2)AIS. I'm not sure whether this is a separate unit or hooks up to the GPS screen.

3) 4g radar, simrad. Where should this screen be mounted? Im guessing pedestal as well, but we may want to set it up at sea so that it beeps when it sees a contact and therefore alerts us, not sure we will hear it from the pedestal

Any recommendations are highly appreciated! I have no experience with serious electronics like this...

olson34 04-04-2013 07:21 PM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
No matter which brand and model you start to home in on, Read their install manual - usually found on-line at their site - and pay attention to the "compass safe" distance for the install.
You will find that most of the Garmin stuff in the last several years must be 17 to 37 inches away from your steering compass.
We are currently looking into the newest Lowrance with the 4G radar, and that instument has a 7" safe distance.

Note that the sales droids at many typical retail stores like WM and none of the pretty web store sites will tell you this up front, and most will go silent when specifically asked.

As a wind-power sailor, you are shopping in a rather small niche market, with 95% of their sales and marketing directed at recreational day cruisers and fishermen, all with wide consoles on their power boats.

Your trip will require a good compass, with a current deviation card, because that's the only reliable "instrument" you will have if the power goes away.

Keep us posted on your choices and reasons. And, of course, Bon Voyage!


outbound 04-04-2013 07:35 PM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
4 Attachment(s)
Ipads get wet -gone. Fine for nav station but not up above. Rocky seas they get dropped. Not good off the shelf. If you have the money good to have displays at wheel and over companion way. If only one display having radar at wheel best.(use biggest display here). Can look at radar and use your eyes to scan horizon. I set up my new boat with multipurpose displays at wheel, over companionway under hard dodger and at nav. station. Any one can serve as "master". Redundency gives me comfort. I find we are rarely behind wheeL ( autopilot). Only there at land falls. Usually under dodger when on watch then up to scan sails and horizon periodically. On your boat see if having display on a swinging arm would allow you to get away with one display that could be seen at all three spots. Only problem is in weather would want boat buttoned up and lose ability to see display. Outside of racing once offshore other than sailing instructions really don't look that often.

benesailor 04-04-2013 09:11 PM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
I prefer to have wind/speed/depth on the bulkhead where they can be seen from anywhere in the cockpit.
I have a chart-plotter mounted near the wheel with the auto pilot. I do most of my sailing by compass.
My boat has the compass well forward of the wheel; which is nice.. Easily viewed from anywhere in the cockpit.
I would say to have waterproof back ups (handheld GPS) and leave the ipad and other devices below. There are waterproof covers for i-pads; but they run about $350. Why bother, get a Garmin 78sc.
I do like to having the chart-plotter below and above. It is very nice.

chef2sail 04-04-2013 11:26 PM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
Haleakulas set up

I like having the Plotter in front at the helm. It overlays the radar and AIS. The top navpod has autopilot, wind instrument, I pod jack and remote for sound system

Bulkhead has depth and speed log. Also use I pad to control from below, but really its a repeater as I prefer to be behind the helm. Cockpit can be fully enclosed if necessary.

copacabana 04-05-2013 07:42 AM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
I suppose it's a matter of taste and preference, but those huge "nav pods" at the helm certainly block visibility, ruin your night vision and distract you from looking out at what's in front of the boat and around you. Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger published somewhere (in her Cruising handbook?) that when they circumnavigated on their first boat they had all the instruments mounted on the pedestal. Over the circumnavigation they had to replace every instrument at least once. On their next boat (Hawk), they put the instruments below or under the hard dodger where they could be seen but would be protected from the elements. I did the same when I added some new instruments. I have a GPS chart plotter/fishfinder mounted under the hard dodger. I remove it from the bracket when I leave the boat and store it inside the cabin. In the cockpit I only need to see the depth, compass and plotter screen, the rest I use at the chart table.

Minnewaska 04-05-2013 07:57 AM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
I've been assigned to the helm of OPBs that have the pod above the helm and thought it was great. Especially as we were entering and exiting harbors that I was less familiar with. While I agree that it would wreck night vision (although you can turn them down and new model will go white on black), I can argue it is safer to only have to glance and not completely take your attention off where you are going.

We have the luxury of dual helms and the plotter is in the center, under the cockpit table. It needs to be on a swivel, so it can be canted to either side and it isn't. With polarized sunglasses, the screen goes completely blank from one side. I've considered whether I would prefer to have two smaller unit mounted above each helm and its been a tempting thought. However, while at the helm of those OPBs, I always has plenty of other crew around, keeping an eye on things. On our boat, I can often be the only person above deck and do think they would block visibility.

lancelot9898 04-05-2013 08:05 AM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
Speaking of compass errors....I did install a Furuno chartplotter/radar display at the helm several years ago and the location was such that it was closer to the compass than recommended. However when I power up the unit working both the chart and radar there is no effect on the compass.

SVAuspicious 04-05-2013 08:28 AM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
A lot depends on the size of your cockpit. On larger aft cockpit boats with a dance floor between the wheel(s) and the companionway things get complicated. On the OP boat I would put all the instruments over the companionway and the plotter to one side or the other on the cabin top but under the dodger.

My rationale is that you spend most of your time on watch under the dodger with the autopilot steering. The instruments can be seen from anywhere in the cockpit. Even smaller displays (7 or 8") can be seen pretty well from the wheel even by my aging eyes. The added benefit is that because the displays are too far away from the wheel to mess around with when behind the wheel you won't have your head down over the electronics instead of paying attention to what is outside the boat.

I agree with the earlier statement that the wedding cakes of Navpods are a distraction and block one's view. They seem to be what people want but I don't think they are a good idea.

chef2sail 04-05-2013 12:42 PM

Re: GPS and other displays, pedestal mount or other?
The height of the navpods can be adjusted. On our boat they are not in the way of my wife visions at all and she's 5'2". That's not an issue. As far as distractions. Its only a distraction if you allow it to be another misnomer. It doesn't hurt our night vision as we turn the backlight way down. Another urban myth debunked.

Interesting discussion. The way some of us sail may determine how you use the charplotter and instruments. If most of the time I was using an autopilot, off shore or in large bodies of water where I didn't need to reference the plotter I would agree about its placement away from the helm.

I doubt the OP with a 32 foot C&C similar to mine is that kind of sailor and I believe most of his sailing is done around NY harbor and LI Sound if I remember right.

I try an answer threads as succinctly to what the OP has in terms of a boat and not generalize or relate it just to mine. In this case his and my boats have identical cockpits just 3 ft. larger on mine.

So if he placed this under his dodger, as some have suggested which on C&C are low, as on my boat which is similar, his CP screen. radar screen. AIS screen would be approximately 8-10 feet away from where he was standing at the helm.

I don't care how good your eyes are ( and mine aren't anymore), I could never read the AIS signatures, Radar signatures on the CP from that distance. Its too far away to do you any good without leaving the helm. I would have a hard time reading the lettering on the CP and I have a 9 inch one. Since I single hand a lot, I don't necessarily want to leave the helm. If you don't believe me do this test. Type out a page of words in 8 font and place it under the dodger. Stand behind the helm and tell me if you can read it let alone adjust the radar, or zoom out.

Since I am sailing in waters which can be crowded or run ups to shallow waters to tack as opposed to the open ocean where you set long open settings where you don't move the wheel, the chart plotter helps immensely in your depth readings along with the depth finder on your tacks.

Placing it under the dodger would virtually render it useless except for my guests. Besides he has an I pad as a repeater he can keep under there. I think I did read that.

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