50-Foot Blue-Water Liveaboard
This 50-foot passagemaker is ready to go way north, south, and or even across the pond, and—good golly, Miss Molly—finances are not an issue.
Navigation: On the flying bridge are dual 15-inch Furuno MU155C monitors along with the keyboard to a Furuno 1964BB black box NavNet vx2 processor running C-Map Max charts and attached to a six-foot 25-kW open-array radar, a BBFF3 network sounder, BBW GPS, PG1000 heading sensor, and an Airmar PB200 Ultrasonic Weather Station (which includes backup GPS and heading). There are also control pads for an Interphase SE-200 black-box forward-looking sonar and a mast-mounted FLIR Mariner pan-and-tilt thermal camera, both of which can display full screen or windowed on the 15-inch monitors, along with Raymarine CAM100 video cameras in the engine room and looking aft. Furuno NavPilot 500 fixed and 520 wired-remote heads control an autopilot system with redundant components installed. All controls are duplicated in the pilothouse, where there's also a built-in AmbientNav stow-away marine PC and triple 19-inch Nauticomp Glass Bridge displays with a single controller/dimmer. Software includes MaxSea NavNet Commander, able to access all NavNet functions via Ethernet, but the PC also gets basic sensor data via NMEA 0183 for the benefit of alternate charting/weather programs, such as Nobeltec Admiral. This vessel is also equipped with a Furuno FA-150 Class A AIS transponder, whose target output routes to both NavNet and PC, which can also be used on the flying-bridge displays.
Communication: Icom M504 VHF on the flying bridge with Command Mic III in the pilothouse, and vice versa; Icom 802 SSB with SCS Pactor III modem; Furuno Network Sirius Weather; Furuno Fax30 Weatherfax; ECI Maritime fixed Iridium phone system with OCENS weather and e-mail services; Syrens Onboard EC-Hybrid for onboard wireless and wired Web access via amplified WiFi and cell transceivers; two Icom M88 handheld VHFs with VOX mics.
Safety: Sea Marshall MOB beacons with SARfinder alarm/DF base station; Simrad auto release EG50 GPS EPIRB and Axis50 Handheld GMDSS VHF.
Comments: The overriding consideration here is that the farther you roam, the more you'll value reliability, for which Furuno is famous. And while neither NavNet nor MaxSea is easy to master, you'll likely have time to practice. Similarly, on this yacht I might enjoy the challenge of learning e-mail, even Ham nets, on the HF radio, though I'm also aware that Iridium e-mail/ browsing has gotten better and Inmarsat's BGAN broadband Internet via modest-size marine antenna is coming soon. The latter is a good example of why this boat's wire runs, power distribution, antenna farm, and electronics cabinets will all be planned for change.
You could design an "ideal" setup for a boat like this around other reputable brands, including several systems just over the horizon. Raymarine's beautiful new G-Series monitors, for instance, are just the beginning of its high-end line; Simrad's GB60 multimonitor PC-based system, which combines blue-water durability with Nobeltec Admiral elegance, may be scaled down to this size range; and rumors abound about NavNet 3. There are also numerous alternatives to even the standard gear. For instance, the blog commenter who partially inspired this particular system plans to use Uniden's UM625C color VHF radio along with a couple of WHAMx4 wireless mics. And he's actually building a first-class, custom blue-water cruiser.
Picking the Ideal Marine-Electronics Systems
This article originally appeared in the June 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.