As we prepare to embark on the first leg of the Great Loop, we are equipping R&R, which in 2003 had minimal navigation electronics installed. For many years she cruised mainly on the Cumberland River, where the main electronics need was a depth sounder.
After much research, we decided to install Garmin AIS, radar, autopilot, and chartplotter equipment, networked via marine NMEA 2000.
We also chose to install Wave-Wifi cellular/WiFi antennas and router equipment to help us keep in touch by phone and internet in remote areas.
The wiring for this equipment is fished from the top of the radar arch to the flybridge, and then down to the engine room and hull bottom. Access panels were removed to expose wire chases, and then reinstalled. The “user view” of the navigation equipment is clean and organized on a panel that fits R&R’s dashboard.
One side benefit is that we now have a much better idea how well R&R was built and where to find wires, pipes and other equipment. These new electronics should help us navigate unfamiliar waters more safely and make the trip more enjoyable.