Monday, March 15, 2010

Mastercrafting, a temporary Garmin install.

This high tech vessel is purpose designed for skiing and wake boarding. Built by Mastercraft, it has a single screw, and is the NASCAR of boats. By this I mean it is designed to drive fast, and to turn left, or right depending on the driver's sense of  Coriolis forces. The boat lives on a lake in the north, and given the fact the water is somewhat hard this time of year, and it's spring break, the boat is now in Sarasota with a crew of students. Dad prudently believes there should be a chartplotter on board, and commissions me to temporarily install a Garmin 540S system on board. By temporary, the intention is to not put holes in the boat to secure the device, and to quickly be able to remove it. 

I have only watched these boats from afar, and this is the first time I have had the opportunity to look at one closely. It is a remarkable little vessel with a 400hp engine, and a single straight shaft screw. That switch panel on the lower right (click pic) above the speaker controls the ballast tanks in the boat. These tanks adjust the weight balance of the boat depending on its tow load, and as I was told by Michael, they are really used to create a larger wake, which makes for larger jumps. The instrument panel is well laid out, but like many builders of boats of this size, there is no accommodation for a chartplotter. I will give the builders a pass on this, because most, but not all end up on lakes, and do fixed circuits.  There is also a large rear view mirror, which I this is a good idea for any boat.

The Sonic Thrusters seen below add some additional warp speed to the boat when activated, and I'm sure there is a Klingon cloaking device on board this space age boat, I just could't find it.

In the end, the miracle material Velcro was the solution. The base of the Garmin unit was basically flat, and provided good holding, with my caveat of no getting air time with the boat. I brought the power, and transducer cords down the front of the black dash, and tied them up underneath. I glued down the transom mount transducer forward of the V drive Merc engine, and tapped power from the accessory outlet. The unit will come out of the boat in a couple of minutes, with the exception of the transducer which is now a permanent fixture in the engine room. the Velcro will lift off, and some mineral spirits will clean off the residue. A little note here, I put some clear packing tape down on the vinyl, and put the velco on top of it. The tape will lift off without taking the vinyl skin with it.  As I am oft to mention, I think every boat should have a nav device, and since you can get an inland lakes chip, maybe it should given a permanent home.