One of the joys (and expenses) of boat ownership is that new technology is always arriving on the scene. This technology can be as simple as a new Ipad mount or as complicated and sophisticated as touch screen plotters and radar. The later is what brought me back to Big Smile for five days this past week. I had contracted with Whiticar Marine, specifically Darrell Zeran, formerly of DZ Performance Marine, to install two new 14″ Furuno TZ Touch monitors and a new 24″ HD radome. During our initial review of the project Darrell had recommended upgrading the Sirius weather system with Furuno’s latest generation weather receiver.
The existing original Furuno Navnet 2 system was working fine. What I decided to do was bring half the system up to current technology ie. HD, digital, touch screen technology introduced by Furuno at the Miami boat show last winter. I had played with the new system at their Miami booth but I had two concerns that needed to be addressed. First I did not want to be the first on the block with new, untested equipment and second I wanted to make sure it could all be interfaced with the analog system already in place. I followed the blogs and equipment reviews online but unfortunately did not have much luck finding anything helpful. I was assured by Darrell and Furuno that the systems could be interfaced using NMEA 0183 to NMEA 2000 adapters where necessary. In September I made the decision to do the install.
To make room for this equipment one monitor each from the flybridge and pilot house had to be removed. The new 14″ Furuno TZ fit perfectly in the pilot house with no woodwork needed. The Nauticomp monitor with black box interface was left in its original position.
The flybridge panel required some rework to get the new 14″ in place. Whiticar fabricated a simple black face panel and moved the original plotter to the left. Unfortunately that interfered with the hinges so new hinges are on order.
The new Furuno DRS4D Ultra High def 4kw 36NM 24″ radome easily replaced the 24″ analog version on the same mast bracket. We had previously decided to keep the 48″ open array and leave it hooked up to the Navnet 2. A new digital gps was mounted halfway up the mast instead of on the antenna farm atop the pilothouse.
As previously mentioned the Furuno weather module was to be replaced. A new Furuno BBWX2 weather system with antenna replaced the old Furuno BBWX1. While the pilot house and ceilings were apart the old stereo/Sirius system and speakers were removed and a new Fusion 600 system with integral Sirius radio and Ipod dock was installed in the same location as the old one. However this left two, 1 inch holes that now need to be covered by some piece of equipment. A remote was installed on the flybridge. All four original speakers were replaced and two were added in the salon. My wife and I have had Sirius radio for years now and love it. The account transfer with Sirius was simply a phone call and within minutes the radio and weather were up and working.
The system was 95% up and running. The weather for Saturday and Sunday was perfect for a 20 mile run down the ICW single handed. While the channel is tight the auto pilot gave me time to play with the new equipment. Unfortunately the flybridge chart plotter was not reading the card. This it turns out two days later was simply a result of the SD card not being pushed completely in the slot. Other than that the system worked perfectly. Being a Mac pro and Ipad user I am very familiar with the two finger touch screen approach. It worked flawlessly on the TZ.
The 22 nautical mile run from Ft Pierce to Hooker Cove is a pleasant and easy three hour afternoon jaunt. Hooker Cove is a simple anchorage to enter. Busy during the day but quiet at night it is not a place for nightlife ashore. Kayaking is a good way to sight see but be mindful of the currents.