Sunday, March 20, 2011

That boat ain't right, a primer.

I'm currently doing a typical job installing electronics on a new boat. It's a 26' T-top center console boat, and it embodies all of the things I wish the owner had looked for before buying it. This boat is mid range priced, and is really no better, or worse than most of them. I'm not going to show you a picture of it, but I have gathered some examples from other boats to demonstrate some of the issues I perennially complain about in boats of this size and style.

I have never actually timed it, but I think that pulling wires from A to B is at least half of the cost of installing electronics, and in many cases, even more so. So it begs the question, why do boat builders make this task so difficult? The other issue involved is why builders seem to have such a difficult time anticipating what kind of equipment their buyers might install, and provide some accommodation for it. This really shouldn't be too hard to do, or are there cosmic forces at work here I just can't fathom? So today I'm talking to the buyers of these boats, and the intent is to help you avoid the worst of these problems in advance, or at least know what the warts will be when you buy your new toy.

So let's start with the T-top, and what to look for. Ninety degree pulls should be avoided if possible, and where you find one, you will typically find two. These turns are difficult to make with wiring. So stand back, and imagine you, yes you, will have to pull a 1/2" radar cable from the electronics box up top, and into the console. You can then also think about how you are going to install the missing pull wire in the first place. Long hemostats, shop vac, magnets, a skyhook?