Installing modern electronics is reasonably straightforward for a competent do-it-yourselfer—as long as you read, understand, and follow all installation instructions. Some installations may require alterations to the boat’s structure, as was the case with Castaway; we had to fabricate a platform and bracket to support the autopilot ram. With any installation, planning the project is an essential first step.
We installed all the gear at the same time, but this is not a requirement. Raymarine and other manufacturers ensure that, over time, their products will remain compatible with each other, so you can build a fully integrated system over a period of years, as time and budget allow. Note that an integrated system requires a great deal of wiring for both power and data.
Once we had determined where we wanted to install everything on the Bailout Boat and had the job planned out, our first task was to run cables to a number of specific locations: the chart table area, for the course computer, multifunction repeater, and VHF; the steering pedestal, for windspeed, and depth instruments, the autopilot control, and the heart of the system, the C80 multifunction display.