Electronic systems

Sister is very well equipped with navigation, communications and, of course, entertainment systems.
Navigation equipment includes basic instrumentation such as depth finder, and speed measuring devices and more sophisticated equipment such as radar and redundant GPS,  autopilot and computer systems.
As a backup we also carry a sextant and all the materials necessary to reduce a sextant sight to give us a position.  We do have, however, four sources of GPS position data on board.  None of the GPS has failed yet and I'm hoping it stays that way.  Most, if not all, of the cruisers that we've met that carry a sextant have never used it (knock on wood?).
By the way, my cheap aluminum sextant cost about $500.  An excellent, reliable and accurate hand held GPS can be bought for about $100 these days.
Press here to learn how we navigate from point A to point B.
Our communications equipment includes high frequency (HF) , single side band marine radio, multiple very high frequency (VHF) radios, a satellite based system for receiving weather and alert notifications and sending and receiving email, a secondary HF device for receiving weather faxes and, of course various cell phones.
Although we can send and receive email at sea our capability is limited.  The data transmission rate of the system we have is very slow and the service we subscribe to is expensive.  I've studied the available systems ad nausea and there is just nothing available that represents a good solution to the problem of email at sea for a small boat.  The fastest data rate available from the systems that will fit on a 53 foot sailboat is some 25 times slower than the typical modem one has at home.  Further air time and/or per character charges add up very quickly.
Our entertainment "system" is pretty much what you'd expect.  We have a stereo with lots of speakers, including speakers in the cockpit, CD changer, LCD television, VCR and DVD player.  We also have a surround sound processor but the skipper hasn't integrated it into the rest of the system yet.

Copyright Ames Lake Systems 2001-2002