Sarah's Entertainment Center
Since Sarah will be my home for a number of years I am unapologetic about wanting to acquire and install the equivalent of a home entertainment center on board.  This may not fall into the category of essential or critical equipment for this boat, but it is relatively high on my priority list to have accomplished before I left the Town Creek Landing Marina in the fall of 2004.  Here are my actual and notional components for this "Boat Entertainment Center".
Video Display

Samsung 17" LCD TV
In October, 2004 I purchased and installed a Samsung LT-P 1745 17" LCD TV.  In the picture on the left the TV is installed, but I have not acquired a permanent antenna nor a signal booster so the picture (from Washington, DC) is pretty fuzzy.  This TV is not compatible with the European broadcasts (SECAM and PAL).  While in Europe I used a TV card in PC.
In early 2010 the TV failed and was replaced by a Samsung 24" Flat Panel LCD.
Samsung 24" LCD TV

Toshiba 22" LED TV
In 2012 I replaced the Samsung with a 22" Toshiba LED 1080P HD set.  The HDMI receptacle on the back of the Samsung was damaged.
I found that the tuner on the Toshiba is more sensitive than the one on the Samsung as I immediately picked up a number of channels I never saw with the Samsung.
External TV Antenna

TV Antenna at the Masthead
For nearly 10 years I used a powered internal antenna.  This worked OK when close to an urban area with lots of channels, but in area of poor reception I either had no TV reception or at best intermittant reception (usually well after dark until dawn).  I mostly watched DVDs.
Then in 2012 Jack Goodman offered to make me an antenna bracket similar to the one he built for Cat Morgan.  The antenna is shown on the left nearly at Sarah's masthead.
The antenna is just a standard RCA internal antenna.  Jack built a bracket for the antenna that fits into Sarah's main sail track.
Bracket Designed and Built by Jack Goodman

The Bracket Slides in the Main Sail Track
The antenna is not weather proof.   I think a generous application of silicone sealant will take care of that problem.
Because of the long cable run from the cabin to the top of the mast a signal amplifier is necessary.  I am using an inline amplifier from Radio Shack.
With the antenna at the masthead I am now receiving around 25 channels day and night in an area were I previously only received a few, if any, channels at night.

Long Cable Run to the Masthead
CD/AM/FM Receiver

Sony Stereo AM/FM Receiver
This is the Sony CD Player AM/FM receiver I installed on Sarah in 2000. 

This player has been replaced by an Alpine 3851, which will interface to my iPod (see below).  The stereo receiver is now in the main cabin.

CD Changer
This is the Sony 10-CD changer I installed in 2000.  This unit will also be retained and re-located to the main cabin.

The CD-changer has been replaced by a 40 GB  iPod (see below).

Sony CD Changer
Cabin Speakers

Bose Speakers
Bose 131 speakers.  These speakers replaced the speakers I inherited in the main cabin.  I thought about putting them in the cockpit as well, but decided that cockpit listening will be mostly using the iPod Mini (see below).
I received an iPod Mini as a Christmas gift in 2004 (unit on the right, with the ear buds).  Until that time I had not considered the iPod as something in which I had any interest.  Immediately after receiving this gift I discovered that it had many possibilities for use on board. Click on picture to view a full-resolution image
iPod Mini (on right) and 40GB iPod (on left)

1. A portable player to listen to in the cockpit while on watch.  I especially like that iTunes offers audio books for the iPod.  It is nice to be able to "read" a book while on night watch.
2. The iPod can be interfaced to a car stereo to replace the CD-changer as the source of music for the stereo.  The iPod Mini holds about 4 GBs of audio files.  That is about 100 albums compared to the 10 albums most CD-changes can hold.  The iPod also has features such as "Playlists", which allow you to program the music that will be played in any order and grouping you wish, not just album order.

3. A way to carry music with me when I leave the boat without schlepping a bunch of CDs and a Walkman player.

The drawback to the iPod Mini for me is that I have over 500 CDs on-board.  I would like to transfer them all to the iPod and leave the CDs ashore.  With the Mini I can load only a fraction of those albums, which means I would have to leave most of my music ashore, not just the CDs.  Consequently I purchased a 40 GB iPod to augment the Mini.  I have transferred all my CDs to the iPod (see picture on the right) and still have more than 15 GBs of space for additional books and music.  I replaced the Sony car stereo with an Alpine stereo, which has an interface for the iPod.  Click on picture to view a full resolution image
My CD Collection and the iPods That Hold All That Music

Now the iPod will stay connected to my stereo, the Mini will be my portable player and all of my CDs can be stored ashore.

There are a number of drawbacks to this approach:

  1. The iPods are expensive (in 2005, not so much anymore).  Although the Mini was a gift, the 40 GB iPod cost around $400.  Then I replaced my stereo with an iPod-compatible unit.  That stereo needed to be replaced anyway, but the iPod interface only comes on high-end car stereos (in 2005).
  2. A large CD collection, such as mine, requires a lot of computer storage.  The music is first captured on a computer hard drive, then downloaded to the iPod.  The computer hard drive provides the back up copy of the music for the iPod.  I used a portion of the 250 GB external HD I use as a backup for my laptop files. 
  3. It takes a lot of time to transfer a large CD collection to the iPod.  Even though most computer CD players can rip the audio files at 10-15 times the playback speed it still takes a minute or more for each CD.  For my 500 album CD collection that was over 8 hours of feeding CDs into the computer.
  4. The iPod music files are highly compressed (essentially MP-3) and there is some loss of sound quality.  I used to be an audiophile, and back in those days I would have been bothered by that degradation in sound (even if I couldn't hear it).  That no longer is an issue for me.

So I have now reduced a music collection that took up one entire shelf in the forward cabin to a package the size of a cigarette pack.  To give you some idea of how much music I have stored in the 40 GB iPod here is the list of the music and books from 2005 (somewhat larger now).  These audio files take up less than 2/3 of the iPod 40GB storage space.

Kindle eReader
In 2009 I purchased a Kindle eReader from and eliminated all books, other than reference, from my on-board library.  Now I no longer keep paper books on board, and I always have new reading material available.
I have set up a separate page to describe my experience with this device.