Clive Bartlett reports on work to update the electronics aboard Saltwater Stone’s new Fairline

As Saltwater Lady is an older Fairline, our Raymarine kit was getting a little long in the tooth. In fact, the radar was branded Raytheon and the autopilot, Autohelm – so we decided to upgrade the plotter to the latest Axiom with Lighthouse software. We went for the 12” plotter in the saloon helm station and a 9” on the flybridge, primarily for aesthetic reasons.

Yes, we saved a few quid doing this but isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing… If we were to start again I would now do the reverse. For 95% of the time we drive her from the flybridge so the 12” should have been up there – I know, it seems obvious now but the 9” does look nice.

We may have to rethink this and perhaps have a chat with our friends at Raymarine next year to swap the 9” for a 12”. Realistically, it would make a difference, as the larger screen does make it much easier to see all the functions clearly.

Our new radar, the Raymarine Quantum, has made a massive difference, it’s amazing and so easy to bring up on the display. We’d only planned to change the radar and plotter but soon realised the old autopilot and instrument heads weren’t working that well, so along came a multifunction speed/depth display head and matching autopilot on the flybridge and main helm station.

These are incredibly clear and easy to read and, while most of the information can be found on the plotter, it’s much quicker to glance at the small instruments and know exactly how fast we’re going or how deep the water is.

I have to admit I could do with some tuition to get the most out of our new gear, so a call to the boys at Platinum Marine in Lymington is due. These are the guys who installed the whole system and did a really great job. See the mess they had to wade through in one of the images.

Fortunately, our VHF had already been upgraded to a newish Raymarine system before we bought the boat so we were now in pretty good shape electronically.

However, just as we thought all was sound, the fridge started making odd noises. Enter Dometic, the guys in Blandford had already changed our pump flush guest toilet for the new Orbit electric system so we bit the bullet and went for a new fridge.

We’ve found the standard boat fridge is a touch small for our demands for various beers, wines and mixers so we worked our way up the product list to the Dometic CRX110 Compressor Refrigerator. This cleverly switches from the onboard 12v system to shore power automatically and is about the same size as a domestic fridge so can handle our needs.

It looks very cool – sorry for the pun – with a stainless door, but on our boat it is hidden behind a glossy wood door. It works a treat and provides all the cool refreshments we need.

As autumn is now upon us we’ll be talking heating next time!