As the annual Defender Warehouse Sale approached, we casually started making a list. “You know, we don’t really need much this year” we told each other. Yet somehow on Sunday the 2nd we found ourselves loading four bags into the car. What the….
Our sale actually started a week early this year when we picked up a refurbished 7″ B&G Zeus2 chartplotter for $500. We’ve been using iNavX as a chartplotter on our iPad ever since we bought little Bristol, and although it was o.k. we always knew we would eventually buy a real chartplotter. We can’t see the iPad screen in the sunlight, it’s not waterproof, it needs to stay out of the sun so it won’t overheat, and we have to keep an eye on the battery. While it works for some people, it really wasn’t what we wanted to use when we head out full time. We wanted something waterproof that we could hard wire and see in bright sunlight.
The main players for chartplotters are Garmin, B&G, Raymarine, and Furano. As we researched our options over the past few years, we ultimately decided to go with B&G. Garmin uses proprietary charts which we didn’t want to be limited to, we weren’t crazy about the interface with Raymarine, and Furano is pricy. With a combination of touch screen and knobs, plus a variety of compatible charts, we decided that B&G was the way to go for us. We’ve played with the Zeus2 at West Marine and the Newport boat show, so we knew that we liked it. At over $1,000 though, we decided to hold off until the year before we left so we would have the latest technology.
As luck would have it, B&G decided to release the Zeus3 resulting in a dramatic price drop for the prior model – $500 for a refurbished Zeus2. We’ve had good luck buying refurbished electronics in the past, so we kicked it around for awhile, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to buy something that would eventually not be supported that much sooner. One day when we were driving down the boat Jeff made his pitch for buying now vs. waiting for a few more years. At $500 it didn’t take much to convince me, so I suggested we make a stop at Defender. Silence. As we continued to drive down the freeway, I looked at him and said, “You didn’t expect me to agree so quickly, did you?” “Well, no. I’m not really sure what to say now.” Ha!
The chartplotter and the associated wifi-mirroring thingy (that’s its technical name) were the big ticket items. At some point we’ll also be buying radar, some new transducers, and perhaps another display, but the budget required that we hold off on those items for now.
At the sale we also picked up new docklines for the slip (ack!), re-arming kits for the life jackets, zincs, bottom paint, annual maintenance items for the engine and the boat, a new thruhull and seacock for the raw water intake (it’s the last one to be replaced), a Luci inflatable solar lantern for hanging out at night in the cockpit, parts for a downhaul for the hank-on jib, a spreader halyard kit for our radar reflector, and some Starboard and u-bolts to install the chartplotter. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up. So much for our short list!