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      I bought my 2002 B34 last year which is equipped with Raymarine kit (ST60 Wind & Tridata, ST5000+ Inboard Autopilot and RN300 GPS Plotter). Following the Ouzo tragedy I wanted to fit Radar and AIS with a chartplotter at the binnacle. For those of you who know the B34 there is not much space, at the binnacle or at the nav table, so I decided to go for Garmin kit. The Garmin 3005C has a small footprint, smaller than the C-Series and E-Series and this year Garmin introduced the GMR18 radar which is similar in size to the Raymarine raydome. The project objective was to install the the Garmin kit and an EasyAIS engine integrated with Seatalk and the existing Raymarine kit with minmal disruption and to provide sufficient contingency, i.e to fall back on the old Raymarine config if the Garmin failed and as a last resort still have the ability to run the VHF DSC radio and the RN300 GPS standalone to issue my Distress signals.

      The reason I am posting this is that the project has been very successful and I have an excellent compact solution ideal for my B34. The AIS is a great asset and I would suggest it is the best value for money in yachting at the present time.

      This was not without encoutering problems with both Raymarine and Garmin customer support when attempting to resolve various NMEA interface issues (there would be wouldn’t there!) But after a number of calls I now have my Raymarine GPS talking to my Garmin plotter and my Garmin plotter talking to the Raymarine Autopilot. The moral to this tail is do not believe everything you read in the User Manuals.

      If anybody is interested I will be happy to send you more details.

      One final point. I have not yet fitted the Garmin plotter to the binnacle but have it on a removable plinth on the nav. table. I am able to take the plotter home and do my passage planning at home. Using the excellent GPSU utility I am able to maintain a common set of waypoints and routes on my PC, the Garmin plotter, the RN300 and my handheld GPS. The last item is the one I have at the binnacle which hopefully will still be running when all else fails!

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