Santa...I think both the Garmin Plotters and Radar are excellent products. You do have the ability to add virtually any auto pilot brand and interface through the NMEA protocol. With a 31ft. IP you may be thinking of a wheel pilot rather than under deck and in that case the RM SP1 (about $1100) is the only thing available. If you are looking for an under-deck model...suggest you look at the Simrad lineup.
Also...please give the sailnet store a look before buying elsewhere. They are usually quite competitive and in these tough times...it is good to support the folks who make this board possible IF they can meet your needs competitively.
11-19-2008 06:48 AM
Getfeetwet is a good source for lots of electronics; refurbished ones, too. With all due respect, it seems like you're putting a LOT of electronics on a rather small boat. We have GPS chartplotter from Getfeetwet (refurbished) and a VHF radio. Anything more than that IMHO is just looking for things to go wrong and/or break. But if you're into gadjets, go for it. I reckon my eyes and ears are better than most of the electronics, except they're not under warranty and seem to be failing with time!
11-18-2008 06:50 PM
The HD radar from Garmin is amazing. Maine Sail posted about his a few months back. I've used the new HD Garmin 18 radar on one boat, and I'd recommend it.
Garmin does have autopilots, but they're really targeted to the power boat market IIRC.
My boat already had autopilot and I don't feel the need to interface them.
Keeping them separate means that if one has to be sent off for repair the other is not incapacitated.
11-18-2008 05:28 PM
Hello all, have searched it but cant seem to find what I need, so please point me in the right direction.
Looking for a new system. I have a 31 foot sail boat I need a 8-12 inch chart plotter, depth, radar, video in/out and would like a auto pilot. Would like to input routs from the comfort of my lap top
I was all set on the E-12 RM till I came across the Garmin 4212 the screen was fantastic. But they seem to lack an auto pilot. Can I use another brand and mix? Also any advantage to radar vrs digital radar and what size 18-24? I have talked to several sales staff and they cant give me good comparison. Furno sounds nice but more $$. I know money should not be a criteria but it is. Any other options? something else to look at? I use a small garmin now, but it holds only a little info and I want to wander farther. I do have a good electrical system with substantial battery and solar. I am in the chesapeak bay and have dreams of Canada and or the keys. Many thanks Al