Something New at the Helm

While at Southampton Boat Show on Saturday, we picked up a new 12v USB/socket panel for the helm. The idea of this specific product was to cover some holes but more importantly, we needed a USB charger at the helm so we can charge our devices while on the move and use our mini 12v hoover in the cockpit with the use of the 12v socket.
Snapped a photo of Bandit side-on while our neighbouring boat was out

We didn't really have time to fit it on Sunday so I came straight to the yard from college and fitted it this afternoon. I hate cutting holes in the boat and this task had no exception.

Task one was to remove the nuts that held our Garmin chartplotter in place. On the Sealine 290, there is a panel that screws onto the moulded GRP dashboard. The problem we had is that the Garmin was secured behind both panels and therefore, you could not simply unscrew the outer panel and remove it. It was very difficult to get behind the dashboard from the ceiling downstairs and undo the eight nuts holding it on (two on each bolt) but eventually, I got the Garmin free.

Task two was to make the holes in the GRP dashboard bigger so the Garmin was only secured to the removable panel at the front. This now means that we can remove this front dash panel without unbolting the Garmin 172C chartplotter.

Next was to cut the hole from the front dash panel to fit the new 12v device. After cutting this hole, I then screwed the panel back on and market out where I needed to cut on the rear panel using a pencil. After removing the front panel once more, I then cut the hole in the rear dashboard and happy days, it all fit perfectly. I then drilled the holes for the screws through both of the panels and made the holes in the rear dashboard bigger so I wasn't securing it to both (like we had with the Garmin). After wiring it all up, it worked a treat.

Then came the cleaning. Fibreglass covered the entire cockpit. There were large bits of fibreglass but mainly dust which covered every inch of everything. It took me a good hour to wipe everything down and hoover it all up.
Dirt and dust everywhere!
A dust covered VHF :(
Dust and our new DC12V panel

All in all, a very time-consuming and hard task but it's now done and the dash looks complete! No random holes anymore :) On a downside, we seemed to have lost the bezel for the port-side fuel gauge. I have a really horrible feeling that I knocked it off without realising, it rolled off the dashboard into the bucket of murky water and I then threw the water into the river not realising the bezel was in there somewhere. I'm so incredibly annoyed but I really hope it's just rolled somewhere and that we do in fact find it soon. It's not the end of the world as we will be replacing the gauges very soon anyway but it would be better if it had not disappeared...
All back together and clean
The dashboard plus a very naked port-side fuel gauge! :(


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