Designing our Nav Station – v1.0

As I’ve said previously, I do rather enjoy technology, and part of the attraction of ordering a new boat is being able to get it set up exactly the way we want.  To that end, I’ve been doing lots, and lots, and lots of research into some of the different set ups used by people who are doing extensive cruising, as we plan to.  The interior nav station on the Helia 44 was one of the selling points of the boat over it’s competitors and in order to plan out, I obtained the dimensions from Fountaine Pajot.  Then I was able to create a mock up using a basic graphics program, and collected pictures of all the different electronics that I might want to have at the nav station.  Once everything was sized proportionally, I could easily move things around to see how they fit.

Mock Up of Interior Nav Station

Mock Up of Interior Nav Station

Starting from the Top Left and moving clockwise the various components are:

Furuno NavNet3D 8″ MFD 

Having a chart plotter inside will give us additional redundancy and the ability to keep an eye on things while we’re inside on a passage.  We can customize the display to include wind speed, direction, boat speed etc.

Vesper Watchmate Vision (AIS)

This AIS unit will integrate seamlessly with our Furuno system and will allow us to show AIS targets on our plotters.  In addition, the separate screen allows additional redundancy and the unit offers WiFi, meaning we could sync it up to a Navigation app on our iPads, giving us yet another backup.  Another selling point for me is that the Vision offers a quality anchor alarm, which can be set and has a significantly lower power draw than leaving on a chart plotter, and I think would be more reliable than depending upon an app on our phones.


I haven’t yet figured out exactly what these gauges are for.  I didn’t take a good look at them while we were in Annapolis, and all the other pictures I can find aren’t all that clear.  Regardless, it seems like every Helia that Fountaine Pajot is producing has the exact same instruments, so I’ve gone ahead and included a stand in here.  If anyone can shed some light on exactly what these gauges are for, I would be ever so thankful.  (My only current guess is that one of them is a fuel indicator)

Digital Multi Control Panel

Allows for the remote controlling and monitoring of our power equipment.  I haven’t heard great things about Fountaine Pajot’s Eco Cruising Monitor, and it seems like an expensive option for what it offers.  Since we’ll have multiple ways of generating power, something to control this will be a must for us.

Standard Horizon GX2000 VHF

I have some experience using Standard Horizon VHFs and like what I’ve seen.  The GX2000 is the non-AIS unit as I feel the Vesper AIS will more than adequately take care of our AIS needs.

Furuno NavPilot 771

This would be a second autopilot control in addition to one at the helm.  I like being able to make adjustments of our course from inside if it’s needed.  And as our autopilot will be a rather important partner in this adventure of ours, having 2 controls in case one fails seems like an excellent idea to me.

Fusion Stereo

We like our tunes and the Fusion  stereo is what comes standard with the Helia.  We’re going to see what we can do to hook it up to the hard drives on our media server with all of our music, or at the very least a dedicated iPod.


The lower right hand corner of the nav station I’ve left open for AC and DC plugs, as well as cables to hook our laptop into the systems on the boat and things like reading lights.  There are still additional components that I’d like to add to the nav station, such as a Sat Phone or SSB + Pactor Modem since either system would allow us to get weather and email.   We may elect to have both for additional backups, or go for one or the other.  That argument seems to be a passionate one among cruisers and will be the subject of a later post once we decide exactly what we want to do.

For now, we’ll start looking for our creative thinking caps and work on coming up with mock up version 2.0.

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