Running cables in the narrow confines of a boat is probably one of the most difficult parts of any installation. Cables must be clipped out of the way to avoid abrasion and be kept well clear of any bilgewater. Also, it is bad practice to have data and power cables grouped together, as eddy currents can produce interference, which may affect instrument readouts. Installing the transducers—one for depth and the other for speed instruments—took the whole of one day. We mounted them on the port side, level with the leading edge of the keel. The installation instructions supplied with the components were easy to understand, and we followed them to the letter to avoid problems later.
Castaway is typical of many mid-size boats, and space for electronics is limited. A good case in point is the placement of the course computer. This electronic box of tricks controls the ST 6000 autopilot and must be mounted in a vertical position; I wanted it to be accessible for service and at the same time kept high and dry. The only logical place was on a bulkhead adjacent to the chart table, where connections could be made relatively easily and cable runs could be kept to a minimum.
After the installations are completed, we will run sea trials and calibrate all the instruments, align the fluxgate compass, factor in wind offsets, and do a lot of checking. Only then is it reasonable to trust the readings from the various displays.
Other articles about many aspects of the extensive refit of Castaway are available on sailmagazine.com.