State of the art, 25 years ago

Civais_Nav_Station_c_Penobscot_Marine_Museum_Boutilier_Collection_

To heck with all the 2007 “best of…” lists, let’s reminisce. It’s 1984, the 47’ sloop Civais has just joined the list of new builds at the Paul Luke yard in Boothbay, Maine, and she’s sporting about as spiffy an electronics package as I recall from the era. Check the bigger picture here. That’s an International Offshore digital depth sounder and alarm at upper left, a back up perhaps to the Raytheon combination flasher and recording fathometer at the upper right. There’s also a Furuno CRT radar, with hood, just above the Trimble Navigation Loran C unit. Stacked just to their right, starting at the top, is a Stephens Engineering AM/SS radio telephone, a Magnovox satellite navigator (Transit, not GPS), and some sort of VHF radio (can’t make out the brand). Finally there’s weather fax (Alden?) and some sort of box that might be an antenna switch or tuner. And I dare say there are some spiffy old instruments in the cockpit. I doubt that any one piece of gear talks to any other, via NMEA 0183, 2000, Ethernet, or any other protocol. The good old days? Nah, but easier to get your installer head around. This photo is another from the great Red Boutilier Collection, courtesy of the Penobscot Marine Museum. More can enjoyed at MaineBoats.com. Reminisce!

PS On the book shelf is one of the better—and certainly the most humorous—star finding books I know, The Stars: A New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey (yes, the same man who created Curious George). And it’s still available.

Similar Posts:


Cruising on the high end, w/ Northstar
August 24, 2005

Standard Horizon GX1700, finally a fixed VHF w GPS built in
December 20, 2011

The state of marine Ethernet connectors, and hello to RayNet
April 29, 2014

What’s On Board: Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise
August 26, 2004

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

7 Responses

  1. DefJef says:

    Ben,
    Wow have things changes in a few decades. I first touched the water in 85 and it was the era of WOW LoranC which gave lat lon as opposed to TDs and if you were way cool you had a sat nav which got a fix maybe every 3 hrs. And who ever heard of color radar? And especially with all the stuff we have now.
    At this rate can you predict what out nav station will look like in another 20?
    Happy New Year!
    Great Blog
    Jef

  2. Steve says:

    I believe the VHF is a Cybernet CTX-7800. A pretty good radio in it’s day.
    Nice to see a lot of old friends…

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Right you are, Steve. I could almost make it out in the high res version of the photo, but couldn’t quite dredge the full name up from this old and addled brain. Thanks!

  4. Mark says:

    Steve got the VHF right. And the box “that might be an antenna switch or tuner” is in fact a Dymek active receiving antenna unit, no doubt connected to the Fax.
    Brings back memories of the old Northstar loran, about the size of a small microwave oven, and you could read the nixie tube TD displays from the far side of the pilot house!

  5. thataway4 says:

    We were cruising full time in a Force 50, then also. (Covered 41,000 miles in 4 years) We had the Magnivox Sat Nav, by far the most sophisticated gear. Also had an Omega, with lane tracking, an Oceans wet paper weather fax. Icom 725 Ham radio, with Unique tuner (manual). Atlas Ham radio, with crystals for 6 Marine SSB frequencies, Standard Horizon VHFs, Benmar Auto pilot, Texas Instrument Loran C (TD’s only), Raymarine 24 mile radar by JVC (CT tube with hood). 2 meter ham radio by Icom. and the Signet instruments—wind speed, direction, depth sounder, and speed log. Shortly after this era, we obtain the Signet system which had multiple screens and repeaters, which did have NMEA 0183, and integrated the speed, wind, position, as well as predicted boat speed based on a polar diagram of wind direction and speed. etc. The Sat Nav was the greatest of the navigation instruments, and we obtained ours directly from an employee of Magnavox in the fall of 1982.
    Bob Austin

  6. Bill says:

    I bought a 1982 S2 8.5 Sailboat today. The Depth and Knot log units use Nixie tubes and some of the segments don’t work. Anyone know who made these devices? The sub panels are mounted inside the boat, the display is mounted at the wheel. I would like to fine some information on the units so I can try and repair. Thanks
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixie_tube

  7. Anonymous says:

    Congrat’s on your purchase of an S2. A fine boat, my cruising classes were taught on this boat, which I then went on to charter many times and learn her systems as often they were broke.
    The engine was terribly abused, but still ran without complaint.
    The depth unit appeared in an article Ben published, either here on Panbo or in Sail magazine. I recall that there is someone who still sells the displays.
    Maybe the same source has the knot log … the one on the S2 I sailed didn’t work at all, we had lots of fun on the S2 without the log, maybe you want to consider doing the same as obviously you didn’t purchase her to race … and a handheld GPS will give you an idea of your speed.
    Since she has very small house batteries, another thing to consider is upgrading her to Tacktick instruments.
    Enjoy your S2 !
    Dan (b393capt)

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.