Due to an oversight on my part, plans have been rearranged. You see, I thought after getting the boomkin in place I’d be ready to drop the mast and get to work on the mast step right away. Unfortunately my clever plan didn’t take into account that the crane operator would be on vacation until after the end of the holidays. This has caused me to “rearrange” some of my project priority orders just to make use of the time I have on vacation to work on the boat even if they they aren’t what I was expecting to be doing right now.

So, as fate would have it, a strange thing popped up on the radar of projects. Dani and I have thought about getting a GPS but we never really look at them in the stores. They’re all so expensive. Well over the holidays we decided to just take a look since there might be some crazy Xmas sale. WestMarine had a Garmin 740s for sale at 799 bucks. Then the sales guy walks up and says, “Tomorrow it is 100 dollars off.” A one day sale for a 7″ touch screen chart plotter? OK! We bought it.

I expected it to live in a box for a long time, but no, with the mast standing I was looking for stuff to do.

I decided that the chartplotter would replace one of our two compasses.
Removing the starboard compass for the Garmin 740s

I had loved the double compass look, but to be honest, compass navigation is becoming a thing of the past. Almost more of a tool to just steer a steady course than to actually navigate, compasses are not as accurate as modern chart plotters. They also don’t auto correct for magnetic deviation. To be sure, I expect Dani and I will try a mix of paper chart and e-navigation, but I figured I could sacrifice one of our compasses for this purpose.

The compass itself came out of that teak box easily.
Removing the compass box to make room for the chartplotter

But the teak box…. Yeah glued on with 5200. It took a LOT of force to cut it off and it still took some fiberglass with it. To fill that gaping hole in the boat and also to cover the paint/damage where the compass box had been I decided to use a piece of 1/4″ King Starboard to mount the chartplotter. I cut the piece to the size I wanted with a make shift jig and then cut out the interior template.

Measuring the Starboard mount for the Garmin 740s
Drilling Pilot holes for the Garmin 740s

Next, the scary part. Bolstered by my confidence gained from drilling holes in the hull, I went ahead and marked off the flush mount cut out for the chartplotter to pass through the cabin top.
Outline of a GPS

And then… gulp! Cut it out.
GPS cutout

As you can see, it isn’t the cleanest cut ever. My little jig saw has a lot of trouble with 1/4″ fiberglass over 1/4″ mahogany ply.

Finally we put it all together and mounted it up, through bolting everything due to Dani’s fear someone will snatch it off the boat. Hopefully the thieves leave our circa 2010 plotter alone and are deterred by the bolts instead of screws. So far the boat has seemed pretty safe. Part of blogging is worrying who is watching what you’re doing.

Finished with the Garmin 740s install

I also wired the plotter up and connected it to our VHF/AIS. We tested it this evening and sure enough we could see AIS contacts on the screen which was really nice.

Tomorrow, who knows what I’ll find to do with myself!