Upgrading your navigational and sonar electronics and making a few internal mods to your boat can be just as good, or if not better than upgrading the complete boat. When it comes to navigational and sonar upgrades Lowrance is without a doubt one of the most common brands seen on trailer-boats. In the world of sport-fishers and motor yacht cruisers, the sister brand Simrad leads the way the larger and more advanced technology suited to long-range and deep offshore navigation and sonar.
We recently checked out a full Simrad electronics upgrade and semi-internal refit done by Maritimo to one of their C60s on the Gold Coast. Maritimo offer full service to motor yachts up to 75 tonnes and can includes anything from detailing, basic re-fits and modifications to boats, advanced re-fits, upgrades to electronics and engineering to mention a few – and that’s available to all brands of boat.
Based in the Port of Airlie, Cyclone Debbie did a bit of damage to the C60 and while having insurance works done by Maritimo, the owner opted to do a full electronics upgrade and re-worked a few areas onboard including; additional storage, new helm seating, re-tweaking the saloon layout, and modifying accommodations slightly to add comfort and suit longer stays on-board.
OUT WITH OLD – IN WITH THE NEW
Having run Simrad gear on the C60 for the past 11 years, like most you stick with what you know and after viewing the latest Simrad set-ups at the Sydney boat show, the owner was astounded at the development and improvements on offer. Larger glass screens that compliment any glass bridge or helm station, faster processor speeds, higher resolution, simple shortcut operating, refined sonar capabilities, as well as fast and accurate radar capabilities to mention a few.
SIMRAD 16-INCH MO16T
As more of a luxury cruiser than dedicated hard-core sport-fisher, the C60’s helm station is naturally smaller than the large sport-fisher helm/bridge set ups, so sizing up the correct head units to suit is important. The beauty of upgrading in the same brand, this was a plug-and-play into the existing transducers onboard. Upgrading from the original manual button operation Simrads to full touch-screen makes a hell of a difference. To suit the dash layout, the newly installed dual Simrad 16-inch MO16T multi-touch wide-screen monitors were installed and notably change the helms aesthetics. The full glass screens look classy and fill the dash without looking obtrusive.
Aside from maximising viewing and having multiple split-screen features, the Simrad MO16T units include; 1000 nits Hi-Bright, Sunlight Viewable Screen, HDMI, DVI and Composite inputs allowing for use in a variety of installations and applications, as well as picture in picture and On-Glass Menu Keys. The MO16T’s are designed for use in NSO evo2 installations and equally suited for 3rd party monitor applications. The MO16T head units have a waterproof standard rating of IPx6 (when flush mount installed) +5 to 131-degree, suiting helms internally and exposed to the elements. A low 20W power consumption rating and numerous other top technical features are packed into these units.
As technical as it sounds, I like the screen processing speeds, simplicity to operate (no need for a university degree), as well as the crisp resolution in sunlight being a stand-out. Standard out of the box auto-settings pretty much do all the work for you and if anything, a bit of fine tuning of sonar can be done to suit target species and depth – for the serious fisherman.
NSO EVO2 PROCESSOR
To further enhance the C60’s electronics, the Simrad NSO evo1 Marine Processor module was upgraded to the NSO evo2, offering a distributed MFD system for integrated charting, as well as enhanced sounding, radar, autopilot, entertainment, dual high-definition video outputs, a lightning fast quad-core processor, and providing a faster response in both single and dual-display installations to mention a few.
In layman’s terms, the NSO EVO2 is like having a turbo-brain added to the system, significantly speeding up processing and simplifying the integration and networking of all suited electronics/modules.
SONARHUB CHIRP MODULE
For serious fishermen and deep-water cruisers the SonarHub CHIRP Module is another great option to compliment Simrad or Lowrance gear. This Maritimo C60 is far from a show boat, as the owner doesn’t mind big game-fish gore frequenting his deck and ice box. The plug-and-play SonarHub module compatible with Lowrance HDS Gen2 & Gen2 Touch, Simrad NSS, NSE & NSO multi-function displays provide high definition enhanced target separation, better noise reduction, simplify identifying productive fishing areas with connectivity to the latest sonar technologies, and includes StructureScan HD & CHIRP features. Additional features include 3 built-in Ethernet ports that allow quick and convenient networking.
Safe offshore navigation requires a decent radar system. The C60 was upgraded from the original BR24 broadband radar to the latest HALO24. The new HALO24 revolutionizes radar by offering an almost real-time view, with industry-first 60 RPM operation at close range for the ultimate in collision avoidance, identifies hazards in an instant with VelocityTrack Doppler technology, as well as provides simultaneous short and long-range coverage up to 48 nautical miles, all from one compact 24-inch dome antenna.
- 48nm range from a compact 24-inch dome
- Advanced pulse compression technology with beam sharpening
- Simultaneous Dual Range operation sees both near and far
- Ultra-fast 60rpm operation at ranges up to 1.5nm
- VelocityTrack Doppler technology for collision avoidance
- Easy operation with harbour, offshore, weather, and bird modes
- MARPA target tracking (up to 10 targets, 20 in dual range)
- Ready instantly from standby
Minimum product requirements - HALO24 radar requires an Ethernet-connected Simrad multifunction display or radar control unit. MARPA Target Tracking functionality requires a heading sensor and GPS receiver.
MM50 MEDIAMASTER SOURCE UNIT
If you enjoy quality sounds on-board then upgrading to the latest gear is a no-brainer. Most of the new sound-systems have Bluetooth functionality and as standard produce high output performance and audio clarity without the need for an amplifier.
The latest MediaMaster MM50 was installed and aside from producing decent quality sounds, I like the compactness, technical audio features included, and simplicity to operate.
MM50 includes Digital AM/FM Tuner, Bluetooth connectivity, USB connection for a USB drive or iPhone and an Analog AUX input. The unit also features rugged weatherproof (IP66 rated) chassis housing a 2.8-inch full-colour LCD display, separate day/night lighting themes for visibility and clear vision in bright sunlight. When in motion the clean, uncluttered user interface with big text and large backlit controls stand out.
If big sounds appeal, you can option these units up with a rock-solid onboard amplifier, sub-woofer and higher watt speakers. The MM50 can also be controlled in separate zones onboard - giving you complete command of volume levels in different areas of your boat.
All-in, this completely networked Simrad set-up will set you back around $23,000 excluding installation, and considering the technical features and added safety it’s a small price to pay.
The owner’s opinion after using the new electronics on a trip from the gold Coast to Airlie Beach – “As we were already running the Simrad gear for 11 years we were astounded at the development of Simrad equipment including clarity, speed, short cuts, and especially the radar with different colour coding of vessels either moving away, stationary or moving towards you. Sonar is also unbelievable in coverage, speed and clarity. The most impressive thing about the Simrad gear is how easy it is to navigate, even with all the additional options.”
Changes to the layout of the C60 included installing a kitchen island bench with pull out freezer draw, adding a rubbish bin with extra draw, removing the dishwasher and installing a pot draw, adding a new full height fridge, new helm seating, turning the starboard bunk room into storage cupboards (however, still having top bunk if required) – as well as adding additional cupboard storage to the master cabin (closing in under the duchess). They also added a davit and 3.5-metre tinny to the hydraulic platform, therefore being able to use the garage for toys. The changes have increased the usability of the boat and storage according to the owner.
Permanently moored at the port of Airlie, the owner claims the trip from the Gold coast to the Whitsundays and back to be a breeze on the Maritimo C60. With a fuel capacity of 5,800 litres, there is no need for a re-fuel along the way. Cruising at 23 knots and in decent weather they still had 1,500 litres to spare. He’s obviously quite proud and confident in the C60’s offshore handling, stating “when you pass other boats in the same sea drinking your coffee in comfort without banging and spilling, well that confirms to me that Maritimo are the best suited to Australian conditions, as well as being the ideal cruisers to explore the islands and coast line between Gold Coast and the Whitsundays – trips like these can be one of the best adventures you will experience, especially when it comes to the great fishing, diving and cruising on offer.”