Analysis of sailboat electronics

Tags: Sailing

What would be the ideal high end sailboat instrument system so let’s have a look at the components we need (not yet thinking about how to integrate them all):

  • Some displays on the mast (20/20, triton?)
  • Speed/log/depth sensors (airmar?)
  • Wind speed and direction sensor
  • Compass
  • Heel and Pitch sensor
  • Central CPU
  • Barometer and temperature

So what are our options, for the displays not much, these have to be waterproof and daylight readable. The 20/20s are nice, and maybe add some new Triton displays to replace some analogue displays.

Airmar has lots of nice sensors for the speed and depth. Airmar DST800?

For the windspeed, maybe the Airmar PB200, we still need a seperate compass for more accuracy.

The last components are more expensive and more easily replaced by custom components. “Merlin” did a lot of work, check out his site at

Tilt compensated compasses are available for around 20-40 euro, instead of the 500+ euros for a Airmar H2183. The same for heel, pitch and barometer sensors, 600 euros each. A CPU to calculate everything is around 100 euro, the only thing we need is the software to calculate this and add a waterproof case.

In some future posts I’ll go into some more details for writing the software and the calculations which need to be done.