Monday, August 13, 2012

Handheld GPS Holder

Although the handheld GPS is very convenient to use, actually holding it when helming is not convenient, particularly if the conditions are tricky. Of course, these are they very times when having the GPS loose in the cockpit is rather risky.

Until now we have put the GPS in one of the halyard bags when it is not in use and had to retrieve it each time it is needed.  This caused my constant anxiety that the day would come when, at a time I forgot to be anxious, it would get entangled in a line and flipped overboard, even though the lines are stowed in the elastic either side of the bags rather than in the bag themselves.

For some time I have considered how to keep the GPS safe and on view all the time, so whoever is navigating only has to glance at it to get the information they need. I have seen one boat owner use a standard boat mount next to the companionway but I think the odds are that if we used one it would be garroted and the GPS catapulted to Davy Jones’ Locker.  If not that fate, I or the dogs would catch it under our feet when stepping into the cockpit.

My first thought was to adapt a holder for a handheld compass and mount it on a washboard. I did not get round to mounting it because I hesitated to compromise the integrity of the wood and invite it to rot. It is lucky that I did because in tests we found that you can’t see the GPS screen if it is at the level of the first washboard and having the second one always in place is not an option. A hinged flap that folds back into the cabin, as others have done, was a possibility but I was reluctant to invade the domestic snugness of the cabin with boaty things more than already necessary.

Back to the drawing board

Tuulia identified the sensible place to secure the GPS.......

............which initiated a new design challenge.

A winch handle holder with the front panel and a hole to allow fitting cut away. The hose  inside causes the GPS to sit at the correct angle.

A perfect fit. The holder is kept in place using a keyring purchased at a chandler that opens like a claw. The wrist strap is also attached at this point, so there are no more anxieties about the GPS abandoning ship.
Although the positioning is a little inconvenient for anyone using the companionway it is more than made up for by the advantages.

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