Most cruising boats today have lots of gadgets; chart plotters, GPS units, radars, wifi boosters and more. With these gadgets come antennae. Unlike a house where you just stick them on the roof, a cruising boat needs a dedicated place to mount these things. On Rasmus, we opted for an instrument arch. Arches are great in that they are a one stop shop; they can house the dinghy davits, antennae, an outboard motor hoist and solar panels in one spot which can be very convenient. The downsides are: they are heavy (especially if made of stainless steel like ours was), are often very expensive and can affect the lines of the boat (some arches look downright ugly).
With this new boat, Scott and I decided to scratch the arch and go with a simple instrument pole. Several factors played into this decision: 1) Use - our radar is already mounted on the mast 2) Need -we'll be using flexible solar panels zipped into our bimini top so don't need a framework* 3) Cost - a custom arch would have been 10K or more and 4) Look -we think the lines on this boat are so pretty and perfect, we'd like to keep them as streamlined and clean as we can.
Scott and Walt got to work running the wires and prepping the new pole for installation with some help from little miss Isla. This new pole will hold our two GPS antennae, our Rogue Wave Pro antenna, our stern light, an aft deck light as well as our outboard motor hoist. In addition we will have stainless davits custom made for us by UMT Marine. We think it's going to look pretty slick.
How do you manage the antennae aboard your boat? Do you have a preference for arch vs. pole? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
*More on this when we get to that point.