I have searched high and low to find an affordable waterproof box for my laptop to be used onboard. Most of what I found was either very bulky, very expensive, very unpractical, just plain not usable or a combination of all.
Ever since I started using Tiki Navigator as my navigational aid and electronic charts, I have been in need of something to protect the machine. Problem is that in foul weather the rain and spray will find its way down to Salt’s charttable. If the outside wet and cold don’t find my laptop, I will most certainly bend over it and drip salt water all over the machine or somebody is going to spill a cup of tea, leave a wet hat … you know, something bad including water will happen and the mishap will show up in the most disadvantageous time.

So here is the cheap and dirty – but effective – solution. I bought enough sprayhood-window, you know the sort of soft bending stuff used for windows in sprayhoods and yacht-canvas, to cover the laptop 2,5 times. The plastic-fabric cost me less than 30 dollars. Besides I bought some double sided Velcro and some extra broad tape.
Ten minutes

It took me less than ten minutes to make an “envelope” of the window fabric, with a double flip-cover on top of the laptop. I put Velcro underneath the laptop to tape it inside of the cover. I taped the sides of the cover, and used Velcro for the top panel of the envelope. The cord for the charger and the GPS comes out under the top flip. The cords are double bended – coming up under the flip, covered by the Velcro, and then down to the laptop. The laptop is secured by Velcro inside the envelope.

Underside of the cover has Velcro which mates with Velcro taped on to the chart table top. The hole thing just sits totally secure. It so happens that the small cheap GPS for the computer works fine under deck. All I have to do is to place the small GPS among by navigational books. This works fine.

During dark and rainy nights with hard landfalls, I can move the laptop out into the cockpit. The Tiki Navigator has a nifty night solution where everything turns read to keep your night vision keen and bright. The chart is so big that I have no trouble checking it out while sitting at the tiller.

Dry fingers

My computer has a mousepad easily used through the cover. I can still browse the charts, change sizes and find my routes. The only problem is that you have to have dry fingers using the mousepad through the cover. So I have pad of paper towels in close reach. However, it’s hard to write with the cover on. But I won’t write much as I am navigating – particularly not during cold and rainy nights.

I was afraid the cover would make the computer overheat. This is not a problem. In fact the computer is no hotter inside the cover than without it. The reason might be that navigation is not hard work for the laptop. In fact it’s hardly using any brains at all. Just sits there.

I have a cheap charger connected to my main battery. The whole contraption sucks more electric juice than I expected and the battery for lights and electronics are to small, only 70 amps. It keeps the computer and everything else going for most of a day, and then I can run the navigator on the laptops internal battery for a few hours. It works, but 70 amps is not enough anymore. I will change the battery and install another to keep it all going and to avoid running the engine to charge.

That’s it – a fast and cheap answer to my computer problem onboard. It has worked since last spring. It has worked in heavy weather, in rain, hail, summer, sunshine and dark nights. What more can you ask for 32 dollars of waterproofness?

The Kaskelot depiction takes you topside