Friday, April 26, 2013

Chart plotter

Garmin 740s chart plotter showing Whispering Jesse's position in Delegal Creek Marina
We did make it to Savannah last Friday night, but it was a twelve-hour day of driving. My folks waited up and were happy to see us arrive safely. With Dad's help the next morning, we unloaded the U-Haul trailer containing the piles of boat stuff we had brought along for Whispering Jesse into the garage. How we'll pack it all aboard, I'm still not sure.

Nan and I have spent the last week working on our long list of boat projects, everything from removing an old saltwater wash-down pump to cleaning the bilge. On Wednesday, Ben from Marine Wire Works installed our new Garmin 740s chart plotter, a carbon monoxide detector, and three cigarette lighter-type DC power receptacles. While he was working his wiring magic, Elfin (his real name) the diesel mechanic stopped by to see about removing our Webasto diesel heating system, which takes up significant space in the starboard lazarette and which we will not need in the tropics. He also checked on our refrigerator, which is lately capable of achieving temperatures only in the high forties. When he returns, he will tutor us in the basic maintenance of our diesel engine, for a self-sufficient, less worrisome future.

View from the helm of Garmin 740s chart plotter mounted in Whispering Jesse's companionwayThe chart plotter is a huge improvement for the boat, so much better than basic GPS and paper charts. It is mounted on an articulated arm next to the companionway, where the antiquated Furuno GPS was. I went with that location instead of mounting it on the binnacle because the installation instructions advised against a location too near the boat's compass. Ben poo-pooed this, but he agreed that having it in the companionway meant that we didn't need to worry as much about theft. Even in its somewhat sheltered location, the chart plotter's built-in antenna is good enough to pull in strong satellite signals, so there was no need to install the external antenna I had bought. I will be returning it to West Marine, along with the expensive stern rail mount I ordered for it.

Today, I am varnishing all the new wooden parts I have made or bought: an outboard motor storage mount for the stern rail, a beverage holder for the binnacle, a teak leg for the binnacle table, and the cut-out frames I made last fall. The boat has many wooden components, like the cap rail and the cabin-top "eyebrow," and these new wooden parts will add some useful, good-looking accents. Time to go brush on another coat...

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