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Modifications > Nav Center


So I singlehand my boat almost all the time, meaning there often isn't time to jump down into the cabin to flip one of the little toggle switches on the old Bristol switch board, and I started thinking about moving those switches close to the cockpit seat. That got me thinking about adding a place for the radio, GPS, radar and anything else, all visible from planting my ass on the cockpit cushion. A sketch on the back of a napkin at the Dome in downtown St. Pete led to formal plans and I wound up rewiring the boat as a part of building this cabinet. As you can see from the photo, all exterior switching is handled here, as well as red courtesy lights below.

The nav cabinet protrudes about 12-inches into the cabin. It is built of ash. The front panel is removable to get at all the wiring and there is a back door on the port side of the cabinet. The red switch aft of the radio is the main and only ignition switch--the equivalent of turning the key on the Yanmar instrument panel to On. I disconnected the ignition switch from the panel (I was always afraid I would have the key in the ignition and for some reason mistakenly break it off in the lock). To start the engine, just flip the switch to the up position and press the starter button, and you're running.

In this shot you can see the switch labels, GPS, Link 2000, hour meter and the automatic switch for one of the pumps. The small meter at the bottom was for the wind generator, but I no longer use one. The hour meter has about 60 hours on it I think--I don't like using the engine.

Behind the nav cabinet is the main circuit panels, one for shore power and one 12-volt panel. Behind the door are the main house bus bars where everything branches off.

The front instrument panel opened showing some of the wiring (positive and negative buses for the switch panel. Instead of wiring each light to a separate circuit breaker and using the breaker as the switch for the light, I wired the Bristol with actual circuits, protected by properly sized breakers and the lights actuated by waterproof switches.


Here is the backside of the front instrument panel.

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