Navigation Station Installation
The navigation station was the culmination of several years of effort. The area that was the designated Navigation Station has always been a rats nest. This was because all of the navigation instruments were always in a "temporary" state, and I did not want to cut any wires short. So all of the wiring was just hanging and it did look bad. The navigation station would also contain a fair amount of electronics that would not be installed until we were ready to go cruising, so I did not want to get to locked into a design. I wanted the navigation station to look good, be easy to add or remove electronics, and at the the top of the list be reasonably easy to work on. The area for the navigation station is in the main salon, port side forward between the refrigerator/freezer and the bulkhead that separates the main salon from the storeroom.
I decided the navigation station would be constructed in two parts. One part would be where the electronics mounted and the second part would be a writing table with storage under the writing surface and shelves under the writing table. The area between the deck and the writing table would be used for the electronics. The electronics area would be a "fluid" area. This means that things could change here and in fact there were several changes from the first go around and the present layout. The writing surface and storage under the writing surface would be static. Once this was constructed, it was there! The writing surface, which was the top or lid to the writing table was constructed out of teak. The center part of the writing surface was actually the top of a spare door from the boat that had some scroll work on it. The outside two pieces of the writing surface were taken from a piece of a teak log that was given to us by a close friend. These three pieces of teak were fitted and epoxied together to form the writing surface. I then put some pieces of black coral from Puerto Rico, my Marine Corps tie clasp and a double dolphin charm in the scroll work area of the center. Next I leveled the writing surface and put a 1/16" layer of table resin on the writing surface, to create a true writing surface.
I used the deck that was over the navigation station to "hang" electronics from and I would install a shelf half way down the area between the deck and the top of the writing surface. With the shelf half way down I would be able to mount electronics on the top of the shelf and to also "hang" electronics from the shelf. I also mounted a stainless steel pipe to the hull to mount the 19" LCD monitor. This arrangement put the monitor right in the middle of the electronics area. As you will see from the pictures, there was not enough room for all of the electronics between the deck and the writing table, so I made use of the bulkhead above the navigation station.
The next phase was to make templates of all the electronics that were going into the navigation station, and see how they would fit. Before I mounted the shelf I lined the area with Structoglas. This product is a very thin (1/8") fiberglass sheet, that is very easy to work with. It also has some fire retardant qualities. Next on the list was to build the shelf and actually get the electronics mounted.
Now that all of the electronics and cables were fitted and installed I was able to start the writing table installation. To be able to have room to do writing table installation, I had to remove all of the electronics that were fitted on the shelf and the shelf!
All of the above pictures were showing the navigation station as it was when we left Houston for the Veracruz race. When we came through Houston after the race we fixed leaks in the caprail, but we also decided to re-arrange the navigation station. In the old arrangement there was no good area to store the navigation laptop, so that issue had to be addressed.
In the old arrangement just under the deck starting on the right hand side was the ICOM M502 VHF radio, next was a combo DVD/VHS player, and last was the Link 2000R battery monitor and controller. In the center of the navigation station was the 19" monitor/TV viewer. To the left of the monitor on the top of the shelf is the ICOM M802 SSB HF radio control head. Under the shelf to the left was Viewsonic monitor control. The Viewsonic unit allowed output from the laptop computer, the DVD/VHS player or a S-Video device to the 19" monitor/TV viewer. To the right of the monitor on the top of the shelf is the Garmin GPS128. Under the shelf to the left is the JVC entertainment center.
The footprint of the combo DVD/VHS player was too large so we decided that it had to go. We also had to make room for two external hard drives. These hard drives were our back up systems for our laptops on the boat. These are 60 Gig hard drives, one with a firewire interface and the other with a USB interface. We also wanted a place for the navigation laptop so it would not be subject to the boats motion, but could be easily removed to take off of the boat if necessary. The following pictures reflect the changes that were made. The 19" monitor/TV viewer remains in the center of the electronics area, but was moved up to just under the deck. Hanging from the deck to the left of the monitor is the ICOM M502 VHF radio, and to the right of the monitor is the Link 2000R battery monitor and controller. To the left of the monitor on the top of the shelf is the ICOM M802 SSB HF radio control head. To the right of the monitor on the top of the shelf is the Garmin GPS128. Under the shelf on the left is the storage area for the navigation laptop, and under that are the serial leads from various devices and the seven port USB Hub. To the right of the navigation laptop storage area and directly under the 19" monitor/TV viewer are the two external hard drives. Under the shelf on the right is the JVC entertainment center. Directly under the JVC entertainment center is the Viewsonic monitor control, and under that is a new small footprint Cyber Home DVD player.