Sail Life - Solar arch model, toe rail, NMEA 2000 network - DIY sailboat project

Publicerades den 3 jan 2021
Happy New Year! This week I build a 1:1 model of Athena's new solar arch, I checked the brackets for the new toe rail / mini bulwark, installed a Garmin GMI 20 display + VHF 215i, and got a basic NMEA 2000 network up and running.
00:00 Introduction
00:43 This week's goal
01:24 Shower separation
03:51 Winches installed in the cockpit
04:50 Painted the nav station
05:40 Solar arch 1:1 model
08:33 Toe rail / mini bulwark
12:00 Nav station layout
13:33 Garmin VHF 215i install
16:22 Garmin GMI 20 display
17:25 NMEA 2000 network
19:18 It's ALIVE!
21:55 Cya!

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  • maybe put panels perpendicular , so they are 2 m wide not long and do it the way that aft one is hinged , so you can close it when not in use over or under first one ( or slide under ), probably in marina not good to hang so far back ( anyway you have ground power there), on the open sea, it doesn't matter how far aft it sticks out .

  • Hi ! Don't you install a separating power transformer , ( let's say 2 kW ) on board - shore to a boat ? Toroidal would be the best. You can order/buy it in Poland - relatively cheap . They can customize it for you according to your needs. The transformer taps : 12V, 24V, .... 110V, 220, 230V etc. And about 50/60 Hz , - I am pretty sure you know what to buy. Greetings.

  • Am New to the channel and am loving your attention to detail and logical process. You’re gonna have a super spiffy boat in a few months for sure!

  • You could mount some sort of water level monitor for your heating system so that if a leak occurred causing the level to drop, an alarm would sound?

  • Madds for what my opinion is worth HTDuchy's suggestion for mounting the chart plotter also makes best sense to me. Otherwise would you consider mounting the chart plotter on a U shaped bracket attached to the wood ledge above and behind where you intend to mount your computer monitor? After all having it in a location where it is conveniently visible and accessible while seated makes most sense. Also if you could swivel it so it was visible when you are in the galley or working at the counter top for the galley/lounge island would that not be even better for things like AIS and so forth?

  • My solar has two panels around the backstay so the array is further forward. The 5 panels act as bimini.

  • "Salami" gloves are the best! Awesome video as usual. 3 hour episode in the world of lockdown. Bring it Mads!

  • Happiness is not the finished sailboat. It's the journey to it ...... the next voyage can just as easily be a new project .....?

  • TOO MUCH sail area on solar pannel !! warnig 4 sqm in storm are big problem

  • We are ready Mads ; D

  • Hej Mads jeg har ikke lige læst alle kommentarene, men Garmin har også en T-connector med 4 tilslutninger som fylder en del mindre end at sætte dem sammen enkeltvis. Jeg er marine montør/mekaniker og bruger dem i vid udstrækning på næsten alle de nye både vi producerer. Garmin nummer: 010-11078-01 vh Torben Nielsen

  • 🤔did we hear right on the generator plan? Moving on to plan 'D'.

  • No expert here but that big solar array might generate some weather helm. It would be pretty neat if the panels ran athwartship and could be folded up and secured In heavy wind.

  • I would totally watch a 3 hour video!

  • Will you be posting videos to Rumble, many are cancelling youtube accounts due to censorship

  • Just want to let you know that I just discovered your channel. I've watched all the episodes in a row without missing a minute of the playlist about renovating Athena. I'm just on episode 48 of 172 and I can´t stop. You talk about negative comments in the section before. It's hard but they are less than a per mille and it will not stop you from driving! Now I continue to no.49 ..... wonder how it goes?

  • 👍👍👍

  • I wonder if much of the old aluminum toe rails and stanchions were reused by anyone?

  • Sail Life >> Another great video as always, BUT I especially love the red fuzzy dice!

  • Cool toe rail solution.

  • Great explanation about why you paint the interior. Your video lighting is so nice and bright, I thought the finished wood would be the path you'd take but, now that it's painted, it is much brighter. Brighter be mo-bettuh. As you are well aware, the solar rig for the stern will be a sail in windy conditions so it will have to be over-engineered to survive Mother Nature. The last thing you want to see is your oh-so-glorious solar array saying goodbye to the sun before descending to Davey Jones locker. Maybe engineered wood for you kick rail? Weatherproof and no paint necessary. Great job Mads. Keep up the awesome work.

  • i would have thought solar sails was the way to go ?

  • PUT a 32" 4K monitor @ the nav/video station!!! IT CAN FIT! :D 12:00

  • Mads once hooked up think about some custom labels for the connectors and cables listed on a complete diagram of the network it will make future work on the network so much easier in the future once you have forgotten how you put everything together.

  • novice here but does such a large solar panel affect the boat in strong winds? Or for that matter the frames rigidity?

  • You might want to protect your nav-station from cooking splashes... especially your VHF might get greasy over the years.

  • I do believe i read something about Garmin giving out free adapters to fix that annoying 45 degree offset. I bought the Garmin starter kit on a sale, but I’m only using Raymarine devices. I think the new ones are identical. Another thought: as cables won’t give you a 45 degree offset, you could use the old T-connectors in one place (mast), and the new grey ones at the nav station. I bought a 4-way T splitter for my nav station just because it is a lot more cost effective, and it freed up a couple from the starter kit.

  • Btw, what are those indented lines that run almost the full length of the hull on both sides? Are they just decorative, or something to do with the way the hull was molded?

  • Happy New Year Mads! The boat is looking good. I'm wondering why you're spending all that money on expen$ive marine hardware like the GMI 20 units, and a dedicated chart plotter. You've already got an iPad and a MacBook; you can drive an external monitor at the nav desk using the MacBook, and you can mount the iPad on the helm station. You can run navigation software and display NMEA data on both computers, and avoid the expensive Garmin stuff.

  • I have a couple of comments concerning the mounting of your circuit breaker assemblies. The circuit breakers should be protected from accidentally being switched on or off. This should be considered a safety issue. This could be accomplished by mounting plexiglass covers over the breakers. These covers could be hinged and/or secured with Velcro to keep them in place but easily accessed. I would also consider mounting the entire assembly with a hinge that allows the panel to drop down for maintenance purposes. Some of the other folks have made similar comments and I agree with them. I really enjoy watching the work that you are doing on your boat. Keep up the good work.

    • not to mention its right below a window

  • I would recommend making the vertical supports for the solar arch on the port and starboard sides of the boat a little wider at the base than at the top. I would also mount the second solar panel inboard of the first one. This would help to protect the helmsman from the elements to some small degree. It would also be easier to work on on the solar panels.. I like the idea of having the vertical supports slanted inboard as you suggested. I would also consider using some gussets to stiffen the assembly some. This is especially important if you are going to have dinghy davits on the solar arch.

  • Mads, Have you considered fitting a hinged solar panel on each side of the frame to capture early morning or afternoon sunlight and also have a 4 panel option during the main part of the day when the hinged panels are horizontal. Love the bulwark and stantion setup. It's gunna be better than " spiffy " Cheers Eric

  • Would it be useful to have the chart plotter on a moveable arm so you can change it's position an swivel it a bit, just a thought.

  • Please check out Ran Sailing

  • looking good!!

  • Great progress!!! You might consider a way to mount your computer screen so that it may be elevated. The level you are going to mount it, will hurt your neck!

  • You might want to put a hand rail on the wall coming down the stairs.

  • Isnt the boat too aft heavy?

  • How you know Mads is a real man.....he stops and actually reads the manual

  • It's a bit easier to pronounce is "knee ma" instead of saying NMEA everytime =) Love the vids as always!

  • Love your show, watch it every week. I know you are thinking about a stripe on the side of Athena. Just a suggestion, how about a British Racing Green then have a tan color Bimini. I think that would look sporty but yet very upscale. Just a suggestion, keep up the great work you are doing.

  • Happy new Year, Have you considered mimicking the angle of Hard dodger maybe move the bottom of the arch a little further forward ?

  • Cable organizers are a must, fused busses using fuses found anywhere in the world would be a must. But Cable organizers I found something that clips those cables on and off and have 6 colors to choose from. Helps when a couple years later ya open the cabinet and then realize ya dumped ya memory banks. Here is what I found:

  • Hi maz happy new year and keep up the good work. am planing on building fiberglass dodger and love your one, can you give me some sizes and pics if possible. i have watched you from the beginning because of your good advice and ideas and have used meany, thanks in advanced.

  • New subscriber here, I love the level of detail you go into. Looking forward to binging the rest of your content.

  • I would recommend a voltage stabiliser to power the NMEA2000 network they don’t like voltage drops such as when a winch powers up. Mastervolt have a good range

  • Did he finally introduce himself? Went back 3 times but I'm still not sure. This was a highly anticipated moment for me.

  • Been using the Xb-8000 AIS with built in WiFi . Everything runs to my tablets thank you for the great advice. Try using lithium iron batteries lighter and more charge cycles.

  • Mats, habe you considered using a hydraulic mount for the screen? With the right one you might even be able to point the screen at the seating area. If possible even connect some of the navigation stuff to it so you could use it as a giant navigation display.

  • G'day have you consider water collecting from solar panels ending in the boat instead in the sea.

  • Happy new year! My feedback as requested: Regarding the breaker panel, as already mentioned, make sure the breakers are NOT at shoulder height. I can tell you it's really annoying when you're sailing along, and suddenly loose half your instruments! Also I'd place the AC-panel in such a way, that it's imposible to lean on it or touch it with a screwdriver when working on the DC stuff. Or did it come with a back cover? And some none-requested feedback: The rear arch looks proportional to my eye, but personally I think the panel has to be placed transverse to the length of the boat. Visually it's pointing to far forward, and will also make installing a bimini-cover much more difficult. Is it possible to install one large panel on the stern and two smaller ones on the cabin top?

  • Love your video because you provide real quality . I have similar content , maybe we could exchange ideas. Keep up the good work

  • If I was working on the edge of the boat I would have knocked at least half of those brackets into the water. Glad you had much more success!

  • I'm a software developer, and that nav station monitor placement looks like a recipe for neck pain. Too cramped, too close, too low. Personally I'd put the nav display there and work something out for doing your work.

  • you could put a piece of panduit in there. tywrap your cables to the inside of it then through the cover on when done

  • Computer monitor should be eye level. Vertical drawer sliders can make that happen and provide options for hours of video editing. Better ergonomics!

  • If all possible use shield cable and keep the AC away from the digital signal from chart plotter don’t want crossover noise.

  • There are lots of good (and bad) examples/images of boat wiring... some nice pics here: Note: be sure to label both ends of any wire as to "what it is", i.e. signal name (ETHERNET, N2K BBONE, N2K DROP, 12VDC PWR, etc.), and "where it goes", i.e. destination (NAV N2K TEE, PT LAZ JNCT, HELM PLOTTER, NAV VHF RAD, etc.) Personally I like to use a good quality label maker in "cable wrap" mode with 1" tape, then wrap label on wire, and use a 1" length of clear heat-shrink tubing to permanently seal the label which will then last decades! Just remember to put the piece of clear heat-shrink on the wire BEFORE you put on any connectors. :) See this great article:

  • @21:00 If your "drop dead serious" about "cable management", ditch the "Zip Tie's" and learn to "CABLE LACE". There is Nothing "Spiffier"...

  • I'll be very disappointed if I don't see your shrink wrap label printer in action with all this wiring going on!

  • Instead of flush mounting the chart plotter, consider a pivoting RAM mount. They can be used on vertical or horizon surfaces and allow turning the display for better viewing in different locations. See

  • Good job on your internal network! You should be able to support 1024 devices on that :) How about cable trays inside the box? They allow you to route things safely and neatly, and then you can slap a cover on them.

  • Garmin is a great brand. See those build-in templates that just come standard. I have had a simple bike GPS from Garmin for years, I don't want another. I had a Garmin car GPS for years, I didn't want another one, but then Waze arrived. :-) I'm learning that they also, no doubt, make very good marine material. To remember if I ever own a sailing boat ;-)

  • I had to hold my breath when I saw all your toe rail mounts sitting on the deck until one by one they were put away. Too many times have I put something down on the deck only to hear an unfortunate splash announce its disappearance.

  • Biscuits really help for lining up edges :)

  • God job!!! Please keep in mind that the panel with all the things you want to install will be very heavy. That means that the hinges and the closing mechanism must be VERY solid. Maybe extra hinges is a good idea. I have been in boat’s were panel has opened in heavy weather. Very bad and a lot of damage. :)

  • Longer the better

  • Happy New Year Mads and Ava. Time flies when your doing boat chores :)

  • A giant Domkop, thats South African slang

  • Mads: "... that would be a three hour video..." Everyone: "Yaaaaay!!"

  • ... Absolutely Great ! ...

  • I recommend keeping your circuit breakers up high where there's less chance of accidentally brushing against them... super annoying when you find you've accidentally shut off something you didn't mean to, or turned on something you didn't mean to...

  • Love the draw line trick with the vacuum.

  • I saw someone on youtube making a Panel by hand. But warning it requires. Lots and Lots of Glorious Sanding>

  • Brilliant as always, could easy watch 3 hours. Happy new year

  • Odd Life Crafting made a pretty sturdy arch recently.

    • It is going to be interesting how that arch holds up given they replaced their mainsail traveller with it and have it attached to the block mounts. I am assuming they worked with crafts people who knew what they were doing but the main can impart a lot of force on that arch.

  • Hi Mags, Just dived in before the end of the vid' so you may have changed it already. I have the same VHF setup only its B&G. I originally used the GPS of the plotter however installed GPS on the VHS in the end as whenever you want too use the radio you have to turn the plotter on, this is because the radio warning alarm sounds saying "no GPS'. Your system may be different, but if it is it's still a good idea for redundancy if nothing else. Great vids by the way.

  • Tye wrap bases to make your wire compartment look tidy maybe?

  • Happy new year 🎆 Mads!

  • Hi Mads, I would start with a thick plywood sheet epoxied to the inside of the hull behind the electric and instrument panel. On that you can screw whatever connectors and distributors you want. Like one for 0V and one for +12V. You can also screw on the AC box with switches and fuses or better, place the AC switches and cabling separate in a dedicated area.

  • Mads To mount such large solar panels means trouble ... Sooner or later, a wave will take hold of this arrangement and send everything down into the depths. Or that in port turn into someone, or that someone drives into this overhang. What consequential damage will there be from this on the hull, to knead out at sea. No, think about a nicer and more robust solution to this. Eller som svenskarna säger, Gör om gör rätt

  • European man credited with "salami fingers " anti covid protocol. He was quoted saying, it sure beats epoxy fingers..... also "fast and the furious, sailboat drift" pre calling it as the next Vin diesel movie :P

  • Watch those dangly bits. Love your choice of lighter color inside, it's very neat and bright.💛⛵⛵👍👍

  • Maybe think about a design that would allow you to slide out two more panels sideways, one left, one right. This way, they would still be perfectly balanced, so as long as the structure is sound, there wouldn't be any static concerns (apart from wind load, which is to be kept in mind). Also, it would look kinda cool when extended, opposed to something that protrudes aft more than it does anyway. Concerning the monitor and the plotter, I would recommend mounting those on swivel arms (semi lockable of course).

  • Can’t tell, but make sure you have the edges cut off L brackets

  • Happy New Year to you too.

  • You are a clever budgie! ;-)

  • The extra bulwark bracket is the replacement for the one that falls overboard.

  • Happy new year, Mads. Looking forward to some exciting progress on Athena in the next six months, and then, untie those lines!

  • Solar panel sticking out like that looks ugly.

  • Those solar panels look too high and cleaning them would be hard work. They look like they could be lowered at least another foot.

  • Keep your switches up high if you are going to have them that close to where you’re sitting unless they are guarded. You might find yourself flipping them all off accidentally :)

  • Hi Mads - Happy New Year. I am constantly amazed at just how much progress you are making each week. Interesting developments this week. For what it is worth (probably not very much) here are my comments: 1. Maybe consider moving the 240v panel to the technical area ( I assume that is where the generator will eventually go) to clear more valuable real estate at the Nav Station. 2. Maybe consider moving the plotter to the cockpit area. Again releasing real estate at the Nav Station. Most folks do the passage planning either on a PC with big screen (which you possess) or just as confidently on an iPad or similar. Hope this is helpful.😉 Keep up the great work.😀👍⛵️

  • Love how confident you are about the color choice.... have you asked Ava? Any sentence regarding interior should start with “Ava and I...” especially when every word is recorded for eternity :-) happy new year!

  • Happy new year mate.

  • That is a GENIUS way of getting cables through conduit - I'm about to do the same on a "somewhat extensive" (!) house referb and shall use the same technique!! Many thanks and very best wishes for 2021 from the UK.

  • what an amazing trick with the vacuum cleaner! Never saw that before. Super

  • Happy new year to you too!

  • Happy New Year Mads

  • Hoover, mouse sucking - great idea.