We knew it was finally time to replace our Raymarine equipment when the LCD multifunction panels went black – we couldn’t read them anymore. We needed the Raymarine Axiom 9!
Our two C90 plotters often failed to communicate with each other throwing up beeps and constant re-boots. The button on our autopilot often failed to work leading to hand steering and our AIS would sometimes send out data but we couldn’t receive boat positions anymore. It was time for a Raymarine Axiom 9.
Heck – the system didn’t owe us any money. We got it to last for 18 years!
Watch the video and then read below to get more information about our installation choices and process.
Raymarine Axiom 9 Installation Video
When it came to deciding on how, when and what to upgrade we initially started getting quotes in Grenada. Due to Covid and a change of plans we ended up in St Martin and it was certainly a blessing in disguise in regards to our Raymarine equipment.
In Grenada, the three quotes that we received didn’t have the correct equipment listed and the quote was thousands more than what we paid in St Martin. Fortunate for us, we came across Atlantis Marine services. The owner Gui has a very long reputation for providing an excellent service and I must say he, and his employee’s, didn’t disappoint.
The list of equipment and lines was long but the core modules that we replaced for our Raymarine Axiom 9 installation are as follows:
- C90/W Plotter to Axiom Pro 9 Multifunction Display (One plotter we left with the hopes of upgrading once we make more money).
- Five ST60 and one Maxview Multifunction to the new i70’s
- Autopilot ST600` to EV-400
- ST6001 Control Head to P70s Control Head
- AIS Pro to Raymarine AIS700 Class B
We also kept our Radar as is. So once we make some money we’ll upgrade the final plotter and Radar and all will be done.
When setting off to do the Raymarine Axiom installation we had two three worries:
- Will the system work with some of our old analogue equipment considering that it’s now all digital? And can we run some old stuff that still works with the new stuff?
- Will we have issues finding the wires and/or feeding new wires throughout the boat?
- Will there be any nasty surprises or time delays that increase the quotation? This is my worry with EVERY job we get done on our boat.
As you’ll see in the video, the integration of analogue to digital worked perfectly.
Using the ITC5 Raymarine system we’re able to get readings from analogue devices in a digital format. It’s really cool. So our wind, depth and speed are translated into digital format. Furthermore, our Radar has integrated perfectly onto the new Raymarine Axiom 9 multifunction.
Our old plotter that we kept in our Navigation Station works great too. It’s independent of the system but is a great backup. Using its own GPS it displays our location just as it always has. And now that it’s the only plotter on it’s own system it can’t fight with any other plotter!
You might be wondering why we chose the Raymarine Axiom 9?
Interestingly, I didn’t know the answer to this until last week. We moved from Marigot Bay to Grand Case in St Martin and while viewing the Axiom Pro 9 I tried to expand or contract the screen with my fingers. Nothing happened.
Simon then told me to use the wheel and the buttons on the side. I was able to get what I wanted using the old fashion way (before touch screen). Overall the touch screen seems to work most of the time but every once in a while it doesn’t…and that’s the difference between the pro and non-pro. The non-pro is just a touchscreen.
So the analogue to digital set-up worked brilliantly. What about running the wires?
Well…we expected it to be a bit difficult and it was. The older the boat the more wires that have been run and left blocking the space. In a perfect situation it would have been great to pull every wire out, get rid of what’s not needed and replace only with the new but doing so is just not practical.
The one tip I offer about running the wires is to make sure you have someone to help you. This is not a one-person job! And you’ll surely need one of those snake things (as show in the video).
And what about the time it took and any time delays?
In total, the installation took one full day and a couple half days. I feel as if we did run over a bit but the quotation didn’t change. We managed to save labor costs too due to Simon working full time with Star, the lovely guy that did the installation.
All in all we spent $10,000 USD (it was $11k but we sold some of our working stuff for $1k) and that included everything – all the wires, equipment, labor, new display plates for the dashboard and plotter.
At first we were going to try and do the job ourselves but we’re so pleased that we went to Gui at Atlantic Marine – Gui and Star were fantastic to work with and they ultimately saved us a lot of time and stress. It’s not too often I can write a raving review about a marine service company but this one I can.
So…going forward. We’ve been able to do a few Britican Experiences, our 7 – 12 day sailing lifestyle charter offering so we’ve made a bit of income. We’re hoping that we can continue to do our charters and gain enough money so that we can finish the job before hurricane season and our return to Grenada. As far as our next projects go…we’re looking at getting a new Generator as our old one might not last a Pacific crossing. That’s another $10,000! Yep – B.O.A.T – Break Out Another Thousand (or 10 Thousand!).
Questions or Comments on our Raymarine Axiom 9 installation?
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Would you like to check out our Raymarine installation in better detail?
Come join us on Britican for a 7 to 12 day sailing lifestyle experience. See what it’s like to be a liveaboard cruising sailor with me, Simon and Sienna. We’ll teach you about sailing, how to maintain a Bluewater boat and we’ll even let you play with our new Axiom Pro 9 equipment 🙂
More details here: The Britican Experience
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|Try-before-you-buy the liveaboard lifestyle. Spend one week with us to give the life a test drive. Learn about sailing, anchoring, maneuvering in marina's, docking, provisioning, cooking, maintaining, troubleshooting AND checking out all the white sandy beaches, snorkeling over the fish-filled reef and testing out exotic tropical drinks. You create the itinerary - if you want to try sailing at night, we'll sail at night. If you want to gain confidence on passage planning, we'll plan passages. Click here for more information.|
Nick Webb says
I’m interested in how you got your analogue radar to communicate with the chart plotter? Was this possible because of the ITC5, or is it a function of the new Axiom chart plotter? We have an analogue radar going to a Raymarine e95 and have always been led to believe we would need to upgrade to a digital radar to get it showing up on it.
Many thanks and all the best.
Kim Brown says
Nick…it took me a while to get a definitive answer to this. Low and behold our radar was one of the first digital put on by the previous owner. We didn’t even know it was digital until we called the guy that did our install and asked him! So – your thinking is correct. You cannot get an analogue radar to communicate with a digital system. Sorry for the confusion in the video. Smiles, Kim
Mike M says
I’m curious if you looked at other manufacturers, like B&G or Garmin, before selecting Raymarine. We are upgrading our electronics (currently have the same old Raymarine plotters that you had) and finding good comparative data is challenging. Interested in your thoughts about staying with Raymarine. Thanks
Kim Brown says
Hey Mike. The reason we went with Raymarine is because we didn’t swap out everything and we already had Raymarine. So…we have one plotter on the old Raymarine system and the new one is on the new system. When we save up enough money we might get another plotter, another standard unit to put on our nav station, and a new radar. Raymarine wasn’t that great a few years ago but now it’s pretty good. Further, we’ve used it for years so it’s what we know. Had we switched to all B&G or Garmin it would have cost us much more. I hope that helps. K.
Andy Campbell says
We are in the same quandary but ours is complicated by the fact that the previous owner bought a Garmin 942 shortly before he sold the boat to us. A good piece of gear but I found out after the purchase that it is not integrated in any way with the rest of the Raymarine instruments or sensors…not terribly useful in that state though it does have great charts and tells me where I am and I can still chart a route. Just not real accurate on ETAs and the autopilot can’t follow the routes.
As a pilot by trade, I have used Garmin a lot. They build great aviation gear so I have no concerns about their charts or interface. I’m very familiar. But I’m still thinking Raymarine for a lot of the same reasons Simon and Kim did. Don’t have to replace all at once if we don’t want to (or can’t afford to).
Regarding B&G, I have seen a ton of YouTube cruisers using B&G. I did see one cruiser (can’t recall who now) that had two very expensive B&G chart plotters fail on him back to back and B&G did not support. Obviously, I only got one side of that story, who knows what happened. Along the lines of following the heard, I see a lot of Raymarine users as well (not as many as B&G but still a lot), but I see very few Garmin sailors. I’ve been told by those in the industry that all the manufacturers build quality gear, it mostly comes down to what you know/have experience with, what features you like/want, and what kind of deal you can get. Garmin has focused a lot of their features around fishing, not sailing. I think they have only recently pushed harder into sailing. That’s my two cents for what it is worth. Good luck!
Andy Campbell says
Kim and Simon,
Great video and BLOG, thank you for the information. Like Mike M, we have a lot of the same old gear you do…did and are looking to upgrade but likely to do it piece by piece due to $$. Thanks for showing the wiring run challenges, everyone always leaves that out and it is the most challenging aspect of these installs (you all have a lot of crap…I mean stuff by the way 😉 but don’t we all).
You answered one question I had in your BLOG, Pro vs not Pro. Mike M. asked another question I had. We just bought our Bust Out Another Thousand (B.O.A.T.), which as Kim noted in the video is quickly morphing to B.O.A.T.T., Bust Out Another Ten Thousand, last summer. A 2004 Hunter 44 Deck Salon. All of the instruments and sensors are Raymarine EXCEPT the chart plotter. For some reason the previous owner went with a Garmin 942. A good piece of gear but I found out after the purchase that it is not integrated in any way with the rest of the gear…steep learning curve…so we have to decide, stay Ray or go Garmin. I’m actually leaning heavily toward Ray but still keeping the Garmin in the system at the Nav Station (currently it is at the helm w/ nothing at the Nav). I think w/ the way NMEA 2000 works we shouldn’t have any issue, famous last words.
I do have one autopilot question that did not get covered in the video or BLOG. You had the same control head as we have, ST6001. Saw that you decided to go w/ the EV-400 but I did not see you all install a drive of any type though you mentioned you have a type 2. I’ve heard you can replace the controller, the computer, and the flux capacitor/flux gate/gyro thing/what ever it is…but not have to replace the drive unit, $$$ saver. Is that what you decided to do?
Again, thank you for the video and BLOG, good info. I’ll stop rambling now. Hope you have a great cruising season this winter!
Kim Brown says
Andy – thank you for all the great comments. I remember that we definitely replaced the gadget under our bed and kept the drive unit. All the gear is the same. We only changed the computer or controller. When I next talk to Simon I’ll ask him to confirm this is correct. He’s out on a Britican Experience now so it might be a few days! Big smiles, Kim