Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: new electronic systems recommendations requested

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    92

    Default new electronic systems recommendations requested

    Hi all,
    We are at the point of systems installation on the China Doll. After watching Stan Honey's weather lecture on the Safety at Sea seminar, I had the same reaction as when my late wife tried to teach me chinese by sticking masking tape with the names of the furniture all over the house. All I ended up learning was "wo ai ni and ting hua". I dont think the weather equivalent of "I love you, and yes dear" is going to be much help in my forecasting wind direction and speed.
    My mission is the 2023 SHTP, after which (If the shtp race doesnt make me reconsider) is to sail SE to Ecuador, , then South to Chili, hippity hoping down the coast for a December_January Cape Horn rounding. (Purely the masochistic item in my bucket list ).
    I already own a new WH autopilot and a Garmin SSB, both still in the box. After that nothing. I have never had a NMEA system. I have read negative reviews of Raytheon and simrad MFD's. I do not know enough to evaluate them, or the sat phone systems . I need to determine the best equipment for navigational gps mapping and weather. I will have radar and AIS A also.
    It would be nice to keep the budget under $10K.
    Help,
    Jim
    .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Correction: Before anyone goes looking for a Garmin SSB, I was having a brainfart when I meant to say Icom 710 SSB
    Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,654

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimb522 View Post
    I need to determine the best equipment for navigational gps mapping and weather.
    There's a website called Panbo.com where they review this stuff. Searches on that site would be a good place to start. It's quite a learning curve.

    Until Starlink gets better established the best option (IMO) for downloading weather is still an Iridium Go! It's not without its problems (mostly with setup) but it's way easier and more reliable than doing it on the SSB. Using the Go! with SailMail (on a Windows 10 laptop) was flawless during this year's Pacific Cup and return. The Go! also has its own apps for use on iDevices if you're into those - I had it working with an old iPad and my iPhone as backups, since things happen to laptops offshore.

    We had two installed chartplotters - both B&G Zeus's - but couldn't get weather files to overlay on them*. So we used Open CPN on the laptop for charting and were able to do some rudimentary routing with it. For the trip home there were no restrictions on subscription services so we used Predict Wind's Offshore App, also via the Go!. If you have decent polars for your boat the Offshore App is the bee's knees. If you don't have polars get them for a similar boat - you'll need something close to do any routing or departure planning.

    *For ease of use my favorite boat chartplotter was Garmin's 740. You may be able to get a good used one on Ebay.
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 12-12-2022 at 10:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    448

    Default

    I would second Bob's comments on the Iridium GO! combined with SailMail as the easiest/simplest way to get at weather information available through SailDocs; with SailMail you also have access to a shoreside "public" email address to pick up text email. Use an external Iridium GO! marine antenna above-decks and keep the GO! itself down below.

    I use a recording barograph on board: Mintaka Duo, it's useful to observe the change in barometric pressure over time. A barograph is only helpful if you actually use it to locate yourself on pressure gradients (such as in WFax), and it's worth correlating change in pressure over time to weather severity and then correlate that to the weather forecasts coming in. If you're unlikely to do that and prefer to rely on GRIBS and WFax, then the barograph is not a priority.

    GO!/SailDocs is good for downloading WFax, text weather information, and GRIB weather files. The WFax and GRIB will display usefully on a laptop - I'm using an HP ZBook in the nav station as it has a good resolution screen and draws relatively little power. Jim Corenman created ViewFax/ViewGrib, available through SailMail's web site, as the viewer.

    I've not used PredictWind, so I can't comment on their products.

    If you go the laptop route, plan on carrying a spare in a Pelican case - a typical consumer laptop is not at all waterproof.

    For electronic cartography on the laptop I'm running Coastal Explorer with CMap charts - this has worked well. Also carry wide-area paper charts (1:1,000,000 scale) for the areas you're planning to traverse - these will show you the stuff to avoid.

    I went with B&G H5000 instrumentation on the boat - not inexpensive, but in theory of good quality. My H5000 display for chart plotting is a Zeus3 7" unit running Navionics electronic cartography. I like having both CMap and Navionics charts available so I can compare one with the other. Not relevant for SF -> Hawaii, but might be relevant in your sailing after Hawaii.

    If your VHF radio or AIS unit has NMEA2000 output, then hook them together and consider placing a NMEA2000->PC interface in your NMEA2000 network - this will give you GPS position information on the PC which can be used by chart plotter software. If you go the OpenCPN on the PC route, work out how OpenCPN will receive GPS information - I'm not certain OpenCPN can use NMEA2000 data. If you install a NMEA2000 network, incorporate a DC-DC converter to keep voltage stable on the NMEA2000 network.

    There's a fairly steep learning curve to incorporate a new system into your sailing workflow to get the system working the way you want to use it. Put the gear in place early and start using it, that's the only way I know of to find all the bugs. The worst thing people do is put a system on board the week before the start and then discover the usage issues while offshore, at which point it's extremely difficult to troubleshoot and fix an electronic system supported primarily over websites that you can no longer access as you don't have an internet connection. Find and solve all the problems early.

    - rob/beetle

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,654

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tiger beetle View Post
    I went with B&G H5000 instrumentation on the boat - not inexpensive, but in theory of good quality. My H5000 display for chart plotting is a Zeus3 7" unit running Navionics electronic cartography. I like having both CMap and Navionics charts available so I can compare one with the other. Not relevant for SF -> Hawaii, but might be relevant in your sailing after Hawaii.

    If you go the OpenCPN on the PC route, work out how OpenCPN will receive GPS information...
    Same on Surprise! - both Navionics and CMap in the Zeus's. The MFDs are connected to each other with an Ethernet cable so I don't need two sets of cards (the older unit is a Zeus2 so no Wifi connection).

    We used a cheap USB GPS puck to get GPS data into the laptop for OpenCPN. I already had one but it didn't work with Windoze 10 - had to get a new one.

    So Jim, are your eyes glazed over yet?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    92

    Default

    So Jim, are your eyes glazed over yet?[/QUOTE]

    Rob and Bob,
    Yes, it is overwhelming. and I am grateful that it is considered impolite to call a person a retard in polite company. I am quite grateful that people who are not personally known by me are so willing to share their knowledge, and take the time to do it. Thank you. Also I have pulled an inch thick stack of printed emails on electrical systems in boats, AND on every little detail on hooking up a SSB, all written to me by Michael Jefferson who has been very accommodating in feeding me information. I got emails from him in 2019, telling me how to hook up a SSB in detail, and then I flipped the trimaran that stuff was going to go in originally. So I just pulled up the emails That Michael sent me.
    I am going to order an iridium sat phone and whatever hardware I need to hook it up to a panasonic toughbook with windows 10. The hard part for me will be getting it tuned up to work, and then learning to use it as you alluded to.
    My plan will be to arrive at KKMI or Svendsenís on May 24th after a 6-8 day trip by the trucker. Any hints as to which would be better? I know there is a marina next to KKMI that I will stay in. I then will have a month of no outside distractions. Thank you for sharing your experience with me.
    Jim

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2021
    Location
    Palo Alto
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Jim: I have very little experience offshore but have some experience with what you are trying to do. I too had to fight through what you read on the Internet and whats really practical.

    >> I need to determine the best equipment for navigational gps mapping and weather.
    >> I am going to order an iridium sat phone

    1. I'm not sure an Iridium satphone will do what you want but its good to have anyway. I got an Inmarsat phone and was not that impressed. The first call I made to DavidH offshore was terrible quality. I am planning to add an Iridium sat phone (either 9555 or 9575).
    2. I think the Iridium GO! plus PredictWind is what you need for weather. In my experience you will need an external antenna which is a real pain because they supply it with an incredibly stiff co-ax cable that is very hard to route. If you get an Iridium GO! you need an iPhone to use the Iridium GO! for texting which I found was one of the most reliable ways to communicate.
    3. For navigational gps mapping you could use whats called an MFD or chartplotter, or your Windows laptop with some software, or you could get a self-contained handheld unit. I have Garmin handheld a Garmin 86sci) that works well but has a tiny screen.

    >> My plan will be to arrive at KKMI or Svendsen’s on May 24th after a 6-8 day trip by the trucker. Any hints as to which would be better?
    I unfortunately have more experience with boat yards.
    1. There are two KKMI yards. One in Richmond and one in Sausalito.
    2. The KKMI in Sausalito is near (adjacent to) Clipper marina http://clipperyacht.com and if you have yard work done at KKMI or South Beach Riggers they can do the work while you are at Clipper. A month at Clipper will not be cheap.
    3. I dont know of any marinas next to KKMI or Svendsen's in Richmond but there are several not far way. Someone who knows better than me can tell you what the cheapest marina will be for a month.
    4. There is also BMC https://berkeleymarine.com and they are close to Berkeley Marina and have a hoist.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •