shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Homemade GPS Mount

December 7, 2015

How do you spend the days and weeks of waiting that often accompany our lifestyle? If you're like me, you find something to write (or sew or create). If you're like Dave, you attack a recurring issue with bits and pieces of junk that we have aboard and some ingenuity. Boredom can be a wonderful thing, sometimes.

Teak and copper wire

Every passage for the past many years, we have invented a different way to secure our handheld GPS on deck. It needs to be somewhere where it is exposed to a minimal amount of salt spray, where it will stay in place when we heel, and where it is visible from either side of the cockpit without having to move or take a hand off the tiller. Earlier incarnations met one or two of these criteria, but never all three. Though brackets for our Garmin are sold at the local marine store, there is no place in our cockpit that we could mount one that would satisfy our needs, either. This time, we decided to build our own bracket.

Attach to a spring clip

My husband, Dave, used 12-gauge copper wire, a small piece of teak, and a spring clamp to make an infinitely adjustable GPS bracket that will mount to the frame of our dodger. This design will work equally well when attached to a bimini pipe frame or binnacle. First, he drilled through the edge of the teak in four places: two close to either end. These holes are just big enough to allow the wire to be pushed through. He formed a length of wire into a "claw" that starts in one of the top holes in the teak (where it is bent over and hammered flat into the side of the wood), folds around the shape of the GPS, and returns through one of the bottom holes where the end is again bent over and hammered flush. He made a second “claw” for the other side. The copper wire bends easily, but it is important to end with a shape that is large enough to allow the GPS to be slid between the "claws," yet tight enough that it cannot come out.

Twist to secure.

Next, a short length of wire is passed through two close holes in the middle of the teak. The ends pass through a hole in the handle of the clamp, wrap around the handle, and are twisted together on the other side. Slide your handheld GPS between the "claws," clamp the mount onto any appropriate surface, and adjust for your viewing preferences. An infinitely adjustable and nearly free GPS mount that you can build in an hour.

Slide in GPS.

Clip to anything.

Twist to adjust.

My favorite question from non-cruisers is "What do you do all day? I'd be so bored." MONDAY we'll share the adventures of a stuck sailor in not-quite-paradise.

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