The original electrical panel was still in place on the Moody and this had various additions added to it over the years. On the left hand side there were two chart plotters. The Raymarine was original fit and was linked to the similar unit in the cockpit. Around about 2010, AIS had been added and rather than upgrade the navigation a decision was taken to add an additional plotter to show the AIS information. Personally the thought of going below to check the AIS track of a large ship that may be on a collision course sounded like madness. Also with our plans to go round the world we didn’t expect the original navigation to last 25 years without trouble. So the decision was taken to upgrade the Raymarine navigation and remove the redundant setup. We considered other manufacturers but we have been comfortable with Raymarine equipment and so decided to stay loyal to the manufacturer, also thinking that it should be quite easy for us to understand how it worked since it would be an evolution from the equipment we were used to. Of course an upgrade from that period meant that the existing radar set up would have to be replaced.
Thats when the fun started, so firstly there was a deal where we could get the fish finder add on for the cost of the sensor – anyone who knows Maria’s fishing ability will know that this is money well spent….we will never see any fish on it!
We were also thinking about our plans to travel and the knowledge that the likelihood the charts will not be accurate. For that reason we thought it would be worth looking at Forward Facing Sonar (FFS) so that we can see exactly what is in front of us and hopefully therefore avoid hitting it! Now on the East Coast, where we have very shallow water and mud, there is an unwritten rule that if you haven’t touched the mud you probably aren’t really trying ;). We are very careful these days having touched the bottom once in the Dufour but I am guessing that running into a reef will be no laughing matter so FFS it is. It looked like the Echopilot was the best fit for us and integrated with everything else. We have combined that with a 7inch plotter which will show this view to Maria at the helm. I am led to believe that the purchase of this equipment was no reflection of a lack of trust in my ability to tell Maria if we are going too shallow but a niggling doubt remains… 🙂
Anyway, we also took the opportunity of another trade in deal with Raymarine to modernise our autopilot. We are hoping that the new equipment will help us to have fewer breakdowns and repairs in the future or at the very least have spare parts available. I wouldn’t fancy finding a spare part for a 20 year old plotter on a small desert island. So we have three plotters: nav station down below, next to the companionway and a smaller display on the steering binnacle for Maria to see her FFS as well as all the other functionality.
Finally, we changed all of the small instruments above the companionway to complete the modernisation.
None of this would have been possible without the excellent advice and work of Oliver from Seapower Marine. He has been wonderful and I think has kept the cost down as much as possible while making Mariadz as fault free as is humanly possible. He has even identified and rectified water damage from the fresh water used to put out the fire in the galley all those years ago.