2014 © Graham Rabbitts [You are welcome to use original material from this site, but the source should be acknowledged]


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When Ariadne was 12 years old, decision time arrived. Did we embrace the newer technologies now available? Or did we behave like the world girdlers and go for a minimalist solution that can’t go wrong? The type of sailing that we do, and the logs that I like to create have pointed us to a fairly hi-tec answer, along the lines shown in the diagram on the right. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, especially cost and exchange rate risk, we have opted to defer adding a more modern radar that will integrate with the other software.

Our basic Raymarine ST50 instrumentation is still functional, but the support for this series is at best weak, and some key spares may not be available.  But we will try to keep it going. It has served us well. The Seatalk ‘cloud’ includes GPS, a black and white plotter, and the autopilot as well as the usual wind, speed and depth instruments.

An early addition was an autopilot remote. The early ones were connected to seatalk by a cable, but the more recent one is wireless. This help when getting away from the pontoon as I can still steer while working on deck clearing fenders and warps. More importantly, it provides access to all the navigational information on deck (lat, long, SOG, COG, BTW, DTW, true wind and apparent wind etc).

Now we have added AIS feeding to new C-Map/ Software on Board navigation software integrated on a laptop. The weatherfax unit used the backstay (not insulated) as an SSB receiver via an ICOM pcr1000 unit (although this is not currently functional). These changes meant upgrading the VHF to DSC, this being advisable to get the best advantage from AIS (otherwise I can see no benefit from DSC to the yachtsman).

Also, our Navtex has been replaced with a modern dual frequency one. The final addition has been a Seame. For Channel crossings, it seems sensible.

Of course, once you get into Biscay, or into the Irish Sea, Seame and AIS are almost redundant.

Much of the new instrumentation was stowed on a new shelf with top access built under the chart stowage space

 I have installed a small modern laptop and it is remarkable. Power consumption is massively reduced compared to my previous computer. It is fully functional, and, with a usb gps can be moved into the cockpit for the few occasions when it is really important to have a plotter in the cockpit.

Changing to LED navlights has been deferred until the legal situation has stabilised (which seems to be happening during 2014)

Go Top Instrument Diagram

Click on picture to enlarge