Top Menu

Back in January I wrote about learning to play an instrument on board. Well, we all know that isn’t going to cut it on the music front!

When we purchased Katana, David and Jackie, her previous owners, included a nice portable Sony stereo in the deal. It’s a great unit, but because it runs on 120 VAC, it isn’t really appropriate for long-term use while on the hook (at anchor). So, up for sale it has gone!

So what then can we use for music? Up to this point, 99% of the time we have been using a portable speaker unit for our iPods. Is that perfect? Well, not really. While it may not be sufficient for many people, the sound volume and quality is fine for us. The problem is that we still periodically need to charge this unit using 120 VAC. Although we do have a good inverter on board, using an inverter to change 12 V battery power into 120 VAC to then charge a battery doesn’t seem super efficient (and it isn’t).

While browsing Boat Bits blog some time ago I came across the post about the Left Coast Simple Stereo. This unit, which uses very little power, seemed pretty much perfect for the application we would use it for. That is, amplifying our iPods music. So, into my bookmarks went the link for their site (At the time I initially bookmarked the unit they were sold out. Now they once again appear to be shipping them). Is there a downside to this unit? Well, yeah, it’s a tad pricey!

Today I went back and did some more research on it and found a site that describe the Left Coast unit in good detail.

Are we going to buy it? Well, not at this point. In the newly-prioritized list of things-to-buy, this isn’t even written down yet. Perhaps I’ll look to see if I can wire the portable unit that we do have directly to 12V, without blowing it up of course.


  1. On our boat,we have an inexpensive West Marine stereo setup,and we use a wireless adapter that plugs into the Ipod.Place the Ipod next to the stereo,tune any FM station and play the Ipod thru the stereo. Looks like this system has been upgraded and this unt says it will play within 30 ft,but it’s pricey. The adapter we use was about $15.00 at Radio Shack.

    I’m also considering loading the whole collection onto I-tunes on the laptop,if I can get decent sound quality with speakers,and the power drain is not too bad.

    • I “think” the power consumption on my laptop would be higher than a dedicated system, but I’m not sure.

      I do have one of those wireless adapters that you are talking about (a cheap one), but after we sell this stereo we won’t have a radio to play it through. 🙁

      • Keep blowin’ that harp. 🙂
        I’ll jam with you when our paths cross.

        • I actually found my harmonicas today, or rather Rebecca did. In the past week or so, we tore our apartment apart looking for them as both Rebecca and I were sure they were there. No luck though. Today we went to the boat to charge up the batteries and sure enough they were there! Now I get to “entertain” Rebecca with my (lack of) music skill!


  2. Hi there – we installed a 12v car stereo system with four speakers (two in the aft cabin and two in the main cabin, able to fade either pair as required), with a jack for an ipod. We got one that plays cassettes because some places in the world still rely on analogue but make good music, but that was seven years ago,

    We also have a cute waterproof case for the ipod so we can play on deck or even in the dinghy. Not nearly as loud but plenty good enough. We never got around to water proof speakers in the cockpit and now we don’t need them.

    Works for us.

    • Hi guys

      Thanks for the comment!

      I was actually looking at 12V systems online the other day and came across some designed for motorcycles, which I assume have to be weatherproof. They might make good cockpit options.

      For the moment though, I think the portable unit we have, which is playing in our apartment right now, will work fine, assuming I can keep it charged.

  3. Yeah, they are a tad pricey. But they have no moving parts and for that low low power draw typically <500ma they -do- keep your iPod charged.

    Just couldn't resist makin' a comment when I stumbled across this.

    Have fun sailing!

    jim lee (owner Left Coast Development)

    • Hi Jim

      Thanks for the comment. Believe me, I think it looks great. I would love to have one onboard our cat!!! It sure would beat what we’re using now.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.