This imaginary and fairly well-funded convertible daytrips offshore frequently and sometimes ranges the coast in pursuit of big game or casual cruising fun.
Navigation: Twin Raymarine E-120 multifunction displays on the sportfisherman's bridge integrate Navionics Platinum Charts as well as Fish'n Chip bathymetrics, GPS, DSM300 black-box fishfinder, Sirius Weather and Radio receiver, a SmartController wireless SeaTalk remote, and a 24-inch RD424 4-kW radome. Also wired into the E system are a Raymarine 8002 autopilot and Smart Radio SR161 AIS receiver, bathymetrics via NMEA 0183, and Maretron GPS (backup), depth, speed, and wind sensors, via NMEA 2000, as well as engine data (either direct via N2K, or via Maretron J1939 gateway, if at all). In the communications/office area below are a five-inch Maretron color data display and a N2K-to-USB gateway so that a laptop computer can be easily used there with a variety of weather and charting software (the latter used to monitor position while below and to plan routes that can be uploaded to the E-Series).
Communications: Ray218 fixed VHF on the bridge along with a RayMic handset run to a second 218 below; two Icom M34 handheld VHFs; Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone with fixed installation kit and weather/e-mail services from OCENS; Digital Antenna PowerMax 70-dB cellular repeater; RadioLab WaveRV Marine fixed WiFi radio.
Comments: This gear selection reflects my sense that the "best of breed" days—the Furuno fishfinder, Northstar plotter, and Simrad autopilot mix sometimes called the "mafia package," for instance—are waning, and that Raymarine in particular has done a good job of filling out a complete system and also of winning over many picky sportfishermen with its digital fishfinders and 3-D chartplotting. But there certainly are worthy alternate systems available from all the usual suspects plus some wildcards like the Faria Maestro which I introduced in my Electonics column, say, a VEI PC-based system that could take advantage of Nobeltec"s Bathy Recorder Plus Pack. The latter choice would also set a boat up nicely to enjoy the fruits of C-Map's recent meld into the Jeppesen Marine kingdom.
I have tried to make this setup future-proofed. That unusually small radar scanner, for instance, is meant to save resources toward a next generation that I think is close (and I know it works well for this generation). And the single-channel AIS receiver is purposely inexpensive because I anticipate an upgrade to a Class B transponder once they are approved and sorted out in the United States. Finally, some might find the Globalstar phone questionable, given its recently revealed service issues, but I'm taking a chance based on its relative economy and data speed in the offshore waters I roam (in my imagination).
Picking the Ideal Marine-Electronics Systems
This article originally appeared in the June 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.