About this site

Piers and Lin du Pré bought their new Fleming 55 / 129, Play d'eau, in 2003.

She was berthed in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350 until she was sold in October 2021.

This site charts the thrilling adventures they had in her.

You can contact us here.

Where’s Play d’eau?

If the new owners have the AIS on, you can find where Play d'eau is right now.

Click here.

Zoom in and our position will be shown on a map.

Recent Posts

Simrad v Furuno – the problem solved?

Andy Craig of MEI resolves the Simrad AP 70 autopilot problem
click to enlarge

In my post ‘The Finishing Touches’ I hinted at a major problem between the Simrad AP70 autopilot, the Furuno satellite compass and NavNet3d electronics, and that I’d report on it once it had been resolved.

As the customer, I was faced with having to leave for our summer cruise to the west coast of Brittany with no autopilot. Not a good idea, especially having spent the winter refurbishing Play d’eau which had been featured by MBY in their April 2013 issue.

Who were the stars in understanding customer service and resolving this customer issue? Andy Craig and Jim Staig of MEI Ltd whose website is Electronics on Board.

The problem

Whilst in Auto, the Simrad AP70 autopilot would go into alarm every few hours stating the steering compass information had been lost.

This would sometimes be amplified in nuisance by the Simrad AP70 refusing to go into Auto or Nav at all, for the same alarm reason.

The Customer Service

Bear in mind that all the Furuno kit is tried and tested whilst the Simrad AP70 is the new boy on the block with Play d’eau having the second.

Also bear in mind that Customer Support at Simrad relies on one person alone, who has to cover every product made by Simrad, Lowrance B&G and Navico.

So what should be said about Simrad’s response? Let’s just say that the Simrad AP 70 was a new product and had not had the benefit of months of sea testing in anger, and their Customer Service desk (one person) is heavily overworked.

What did MEI Ltd do?

MEI was brilliant. They said the words any customer would want to hear. ‘Leave it to us, Piers, and we’ll sort it – we will.’

So last week, I collected Andy Craig from St Peter Port’s Condor ferry terminal and we drove to Play d’eau.

Before tasting his coffee he was already laying out his plan of attack. ‘First, we’ll blueprint what equipment is outputting what sentences in case of data collision. Then we’ll install a new cable from the satellite compass direct to the Simrad AP 70 autopilot to by-pass the Furuno NavNet3d, and finally,’ he added with a wry smile, ‘I have a software update from Simrad to install, yet no one at Simrad seems to know what the changes to the software are….’

Has it worked?

It appears to have been successful. Why do I use the word ‘appears’? Because I’m naturally cautious, nothing else.

So full marks have to go to MEI Ltd who kept on the issue and made sure they resolved it.


MEI Ltd are authorised Dealers for Furuno, Simrad (Navico), Raymarine, Garmin, Intellian, ICOM, KVH, Actisense, and the list goes on.

MEI regularly installs on leisure and commercial vessels in the UK, the south of France, Majorca, Minorca, Antigua and Corfu.

from the Nav Table of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

1 comment to Simrad v Furuno – the problem solved?

  • Patrick J. Colahan

    Quality service these days is a rare thing. I am glad to hear that your problem has been solved. Time for sea trials to confirm the correction and reinstate the confidence in your system.

    All the best, “Smooth seas and Fair winds”

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