Instruments

Maringret’s instruments were at the end of the working life, slowly they started to fail.

We had had to replace all instruments on the Maxi 95 – some had worked out better than others. With the HR 41 the instruments were working but quite old and it wasn’t long before they started to either fail or act up. We hadn’t dealt with radar or chart plotters before so we had a bit to learn.

When we bought Maringret she had the following instruments:

  • VDO wind direction
  • VDO wind speed (analogue)
  • VDO wind tacking
  • Simrad EQ32 Echo Sounder and Fish Finder (which served a depth meter and log)
  • RayMarine RC70 monochrome radar chart plotter
  • SumLog (partially functional)

The VDO instruments were from the mid 1980s and still worked but the displays were crazed from UV, we had replaced the wind transponder and parts were getting hard to get. We really liked the displays and hoped that we could get another set of VDO displays. Unfortunately VDO had pretty well left the sailing instrument market, all their offerings were for power boats. Also they had gone from squarish 110 mm displays to round ones which we didn’t want.

Selection

Since we had replaced the instruments on the Maxi 10 years earlier it seemed that there was actually less choice in instruments. Companies such as C-Tek who seemed to have a new approach back then had all but disappeared. Other such as Silva were distributed by the conglomerate Plastimo in the UK which meant they were available to order if you got the part number and were willing to order without seeing them. We had decided that buying cheap instruments was false economy after our troubles with NASA instruments on the Maxi. Avoiding proprietary systems where the instruments communicated using manufacturer specific protocols was another preference for us. We also wanted analogue instruments, it was not a problem if they had secondary digital readouts rather we wanted to avoid rows of numbers where in a hurry you have to remember which number is which. We wanted 11cm mounting cutouts so we could re-use the existing holes.

We wandered around some boat shows looking at what was available. We checked the tactile aspects of the instruments as often you have to operate them in low light levels or complete dark. Having buttons with positive feel becomes quite important.

We settled on the NorthStar series for instruments (aside from the radar). It seemed that they had been designed and built by a New Zealand company that the gigantic Navimo conglomerate then bought up. They had good tactile feedback, were priced in the middle of the range, and seemed to have a good quality of build. Also Navimo had brought down one of their technical people from Denmark to the boat show and he was able to answer all of our questions. This contrasts with stands such as Plastimo where no one could even give us a price on the Silva instruments. Also there was the saleswoman on the Navimo stand who told us that the instruments were for internal use only and could not be mounted in the cockpit of a sailing boat – something the technical person from Denmark quickly corrected. Where do they get these people and why do they bring them to a trade show?

In choosing a radar we were replacing a RayMarine RC70 whose monochrome display had stopped working. When we contacted RayMarine they wanted the price of a new unit to repair the old one. We wanted to go with something using Navionics charts as they seemed to be the best value for charts. RayMarine had switched from C-Map to Navionics charts and we ended up selecting the XXX unit which was the smallest display they offered. We had sailed without radar for years on the Maxi and had only started using it on the HR 41. We had never got dependent on the unit although there is no replacement for radar when it is foggy. The main use we had for the unit was way points in the chart plotter. We didn’t need colour but it seemed that all manufacturers had switched to colour only. We also didn’t need live video feed and a lot of the other things RayMarine was bundling in with the newer models. Our model was the smallest and simplest on offer from RayMarine and they withdrew it from production shortly after we ordered it – a sign of the times.

Repeaters at Nav Station

<more to come>

SumLog

We wanted to repair our SumLog as we liked the idea of a mechanical log. Unfortunately we were unable to find any service parts for it and so we removed it and filled in its hole in the keel.

EchoPilot

So Simrad bought up North Star just to shut them down. So we got to the point where we couldn’t get service parts
<more to come>

NASA Wireless Wind

<more to come>

 

  • NorthStar Instruments
  • EchoPilot
  • NASA

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