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Old 05-25-2014, 07:36 AM   #41
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I'm in the Arctispud / psneeld camp. For cruising the ICW and rivers, the most important tools are a good pair of binoculars and depth sounder in fair weather. A compass (or binocs with built in compass) is a nice enhancement. Then , for fog and at night, radar. These are the things that help you understand the world as it is. A chart book with plotting tools is a handy enhancement, for telling you something about your surroundings and what may lie ahead, but now gets you into the realm of theory. GPS chart plotters are a very nice way of understanding more accurately where you theoretically are, and are going, and telling you exactly how fast you are going over ground. And for most, much more comforting for when out of sight of land and easier to use for plotting and navigating courses.

So back to the OP. I'd say if you can't answer the question accurately now (which it sounds like you can't), don't do anything. Cruise the boat for awhile, see how you actually use it or would like to use it.

This is what worked for us, just FYI
For our years of cruising the east coast and adjacent waters, I really liked the Furuno VX2 blackbox system the PO had installed, one at each helm, networked together. At the lower helm there were two standard 300nit 17" monitors, one for each unit. Upstairs, one standard 300 nit 19" monitor on a RAM mount in a special cabinet. Having those big monitors is SO nice! Not being "sunlight viewable" was not an issue the way ours were set up, being always in the shade at the lower helm, and with the RAM mount and tinted cover provided by the cabinet door, virtually never an issue at the upper helm. Having a matte, rather than glossy screen finish is very important; my MacBook was virtually useless up there. Besides the joy of the big monitor, this system was terrific in heavy fog, which I always navigated from down below. One entire screen could be on radar and one screen plotter (for reference only). You can arrange the depth, speed and position data any way you want.

Being a gadget guy, I also had another GPS receiver which could feed my laptop, and a bluetooth GPS which could feed the iMac. I could be working at the desk while Ann had the helm and keep track of where we were going. I liked to plan routes on the Macs, so in addition to backing up the Furuno could reference them now and then. personally I found the computers too fragile physically and electronically to ever rely on them to "drive the boat".
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:41 AM   #42
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Must be a full time job raising and lowering all those sticks when cruising.

Some states will fine folks that have stuff that can be lowered and demand a bridge opening.

FL wants cameras on every bridge (sorta like red light cameras) as a great revenue creator , so far stalled with the buroRats .
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:59 AM   #43
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Must be a full time job raising and lowering all those sticks when cruising.

Some states will fine folks that have stuff that can be lowered and demand a bridge opening.

FL wants cameras on every bridge (sorta like red light cameras) as a great revenue creator , so far stalled with the buroRats .
The boat's 19'6" from the waterline to the anchor light. Never had any issues with scheduled bridge openings. Then again I never asked for special treatment or an unscheduled opening from a Bridge operator.

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Old 05-25-2014, 11:58 AM   #44
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The boat's 19'6" from the waterline to the anchor light. Never had any issues with scheduled bridge openings. Then again I never asked for special treatment or an unscheduled opening from a Bridge operator.

Bill
If you ever cruise down south, especially, keep it in mind. Scheduled or not doesn't matter if you are the only one needing the opening. On your old boat, you'd get called to task a lot of places with 22' + bridge; even some 21s might give you some grief, particularly on high traffic roads.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:58 PM   #45
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I just skimmed the thread and was surprised that I didn't see Garmin's Helm iOS app mentioned. I think that adds another dimension to the OP's request for navigation electronics.

If the OP is leaning at all towards Garmin, I think a pretty reasonable, inexpensive approach is to put a networked Garmin MFD on the flybridge and make everything work from that. For the station below, you don't need to run video and remote control capabilities - that's where Garmin Helm comes in. It's a free app. You'll need an inexpensive router in the boat. But once you have that, the iPad you intend to have anyway is a full repeater for the Garmin above - all wireless over WiFi. Radar, sonar, instruments, charts, etc all come through on the iPad with the same touch controls.

For redundancy, the iPad can be a stand-alone chartplotter too with Garmin's BlueChart Mobile or a variety of other apps (having multiple apps is better).

As time goes on, it might make sense to add a real, second MFD below instead of using the iPad - that'll provide backup display for radar and instruments. Who knows. It might not make sense either. Either case, you'll have a backup.

I guess my message is that it's better to see how you'll use the boat than spending a whole lot extra up front on something you might find you don't really need at all.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:08 PM   #46
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If you ever cruise down south, especially, keep it in mind. Scheduled or not doesn't matter if you are the only one needing the opening. On your old boat, you'd get called to task a lot of places with 22' + bridge; even some 21s might give you some grief, particularly on high traffic roads.
Thanks but why don't the guys with Tuna Towers get called on this issue? George you might recall I intend to remove the upper helm on my Gulfstar.
The Gulfstar is going to be our LRC.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:27 PM   #47
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No, because that is a permanent structure, like a mast. The SFs do get called on lowering their outriggers though.

You are going to install the same or similar antenna farm though, aren't you? In the areas you plan to cruise, (NY canals) there are a lot of 15-17 foot fixed bridges, so you will want to be able to get under those easily anyway.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:58 PM   #48
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Most of the new installation will be 4' Omnis. I will have a 2 tall antennas the 23' for the HF SSB/Pactor modem and a 16' 9dbi VHF marine band Omni. I am leaving the ladder in place and a walkway between the solar farm to be able to lower anything needed. I'm using Edson mounts for the Radar, M3, 252, FB150, FLIR and 1 CCTV w/pan & tilt. The Edson mounts can all tilted down.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:21 PM   #49
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This has given me a lot to think about. So, here's the plan:

For the short term, I bought a Garmin 7212 for the flybridge. I'll install it this week on a basic NMEA 2000 network and will use it as the primary nav aid for delivering the boat to the Chesapeake in a few weeks. I have BlueChart Mobile on my iPad and was happy using it as a backup on the charter we had last year. Once we've lived with this setup a while, I'll make decisions on how I'll expand the network to the lower helm--whether to use another MFD or just monitors--and what bells and whistles I want to add.

I do like the idea of being able to see sonar, radar, AIS, autopilot, gauges and cameras on a bigger screen, but I'm going to wait a while on those. I think the 7212 is a good starter setup that will permit expandability and allow me, as many have suggested, to get some experience with the boat without sinking a fortune into electronics I may not be ready for . . . . or ever really need.

Thanks again for the excellent insights.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:17 PM   #50
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The 7212 is a great tried and proven plotter the main difference between it and the 6212 is the 6212 has buttons or soft touch keys the 7212 uses a touch screen.
These are both great reliable units and there are numerous NMEA2000 components and devices that will work with these displays.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:25 PM   #51
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I just skimmed the thread and was surprised that I didn't see Garmin's Helm iOS app mentioned. I think that adds another dimension to the OP's request for navigation electronics.

If the OP is leaning at all towards Garmin, I think a pretty reasonable, inexpensive approach is to put a networked Garmin MFD on the flybridge and make everything work from that. For the station below, you don't need to run video and remote control capabilities - that's where Garmin Helm comes in. It's a free app. You'll need an inexpensive router in the boat. But once you have that, the iPad you intend to have anyway is a full repeater for the Garmin above - all wireless over WiFi. Radar, sonar, instruments, charts, etc all come through on the iPad with the same touch controls.

For redundancy, the iPad can be a stand-alone chartplotter too with Garmin's BlueChart Mobile or a variety of other apps (having multiple apps is better).

As time goes on, it might make sense to add a real, second MFD below instead of using the iPad - that'll provide backup display for radar and instruments. Who knows. It might not make sense either. Either case, you'll have a backup.

I guess my message is that it's better to see how you'll use the boat than spending a whole lot extra up front on something you might find you don't really need at all.
I believe the previously mentioned "xs" versions of Garmins latest MFD's use this software application? No router is needed with an MFD with the "xs" designation.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:01 PM   #52
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We actually prefer traveling at night and at my own pace (slow). Most of the wreckless are sleeping. That's why I'm transferring my FLIR to the Gulfstar from the Mainship.
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I'm with Psneeld on his comments as to what is needed and I'm with you on night running, We run the Great lakes at night, the east coast outside and cross the gulfstream in the dark however, running the the Erie or ICW in the dark will likely not end well.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:07 PM   #53
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I'm with Psneeld on his comments as to what is needed and I'm with you on night running, We run the Great lakes at night, the east coast outside and cross the gulfstream in the dark however, running the the Erie or ICW in the dark will likely not end well.
The Erie is closed at night no bridges or locks operate after 9 PM.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:24 PM   #54
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The Erie is closed at night no bridges or locks operate after 9 PM.
Bill
True but there are a few long stretches with no locks and people do run those stretches in the dark, not something I'd do.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:27 AM   #55
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True but there are a few long stretches with no locks and people do run those stretches in the dark, not something I'd do.
Even though the majority of my boating has been with a boat that will safely cruise at 28 knots I rarely ever transit at night at anything above 5-6 knots. I'm happy that our new to us trawler is more suited for the cruising style my wife and I enjoy. I should have added I like cruising at night either offshore or in areas of the Jersey ICW that I am familiar with. Otherwise I'm anchored at night or at a marina tied to the dock.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:34 PM   #56
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The Erie is closed at night no bridges or locks operate after 9 PM.



Many waterways that close at night get fish nets strung from shore to shore.

Traveling at night required almost the same fwd illumination used by the commercials , BIG and expensive, a single bulb will be about $125.

Exciting to crash into them in the South where local gators are 12 ft long with big teeth , that discourage clearing the prop with the serrated knife.

YRWV
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:36 PM   #57
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Even with all the equipment in the world we limit our night cruising. Generally outside, very moderate speed. The only inlet we enter at night is Port Everglades and there really is no nighttime there or between there and our home. It's almost as if you have street lights with all the lights lining the water.

Now for any who do intend to cruise canals or the ICW at night or other challenging areas, I would then strongly recommend night vision. It's certainly not cheap but it's pretty incredible in our experience. We have a little night travel in our upcoming Alaskan trip and very happy we have it for that. Also Furuno and others do have integration with Flir. But even if all you get is a monocular, it's worth having.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:40 PM   #58
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I'm with Psneeld on his comments as to what is needed and I'm with you on night running, We run the Great lakes at night, the east coast outside and cross the gulfstream in the dark however, running the the Erie or ICW in the dark will likely not end well.
We run nights only when doing a route we can't make during daylight hours. By the very nature then it's offshore generally. We also always time arrivals to our destination for daylight hours.
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:24 PM   #59
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Quote:
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The Erie is closed at night no bridges or locks operate after 9 PM.



Many waterways that close at night get fish nets strung from shore to shore.

Traveling at night required almost the same fwd illumination used by the commercials , BIG and expensive, a single bulb will be about $125.

Exciting to crash into them in the South where local gators are 12 ft long with big teeth , that discourage clearing the prop with the serrated knife.

YRWV
That's almost laughable I was born at night not last night FF. So where do you think I'm cruising in the Bayou backwaters? Where do they post them NTM's for gator nets? Chute-em-in dah-ead Junior?
Bright light is just what every boater needs at night "night blindness".
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:31 PM   #60
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Even with all the equipment in the world we limit our night cruising. Generally outside, very moderate speed. The only inlet we enter at night is Port Everglades and there really is no nighttime there or between there and our home. It's almost as if you have street lights with all the lights lining the water.

Now for any who do intend to cruise canals or the ICW at night or other challenging areas, I would then strongly recommend night vision. It's certainly not cheap but it's pretty incredible in our experience. We have a little night travel in our upcoming Alaskan trip and very happy we have it for that. Also Furuno and others do have integration with Flir. But even if all you get is a monocular, it's worth having.
Starlight gen III is some pretty good stuff I prefer the FLIR over it. I have access, and used both. NV or Starlight needs IR to really work well and high power IR illumination has limitations.
FLIR really shines when you have too much back lighting from the shore. These same conditions can make a Starlight blind you. An important point about FLIR my wife or my watch monitors the FLIR, the display needs to be like MFD's as dim as are discernible.
Bill
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