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Sail specific MFDs


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I've got a lot of exposure to B&G products on my current boat, but I may be moving to a new (to me) boat that needs some electronic upgrades.  At least 1 large MFD, some smaller displays (dual helm) and probably something in the salon.

So who out there is using something other than B&G for their cruiser / racer sailboat?  

What do you like / not like?  Do others have similar features to the Sailsteer display & the wind based autopilot controls?

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I have a Garmin 742s that has some limited sailsteer like (allegedly) capabilities. I race on a J105 that has a Zeus 2 and many Triton & Maxi displays so I compare them constantly.

The Garmin is very limited in its sailsteer like functions. If I recall correctly, I think it only allows you to enter a single tacking angle, no polars. The Zeus is also limited in its polar entries info, I think you need to get the Hercules processor to get any meaningful data.

The Garmin is ok as far as predicting laylines, the B&G is marginally better. Neither on in my opinion does a good job of it, but without investing a lot of money, I didn't expect much more.

The Garmin is lacking in one major regard, to get quasi real time current info onscreen, you have to upgrade to their expensive G3 Vision nav chips. The same capability comes cheaper on the B&G I believe.

I've only messed with the start line stuff on the Garmin, it maybe could be useful in a distance race for a Vanderbilt start or something, but I think its more bother than a help. Thays just me. We have never used the B&G in any start I've been onboard for the past 2 years.

If I had to do it again? I'd go with B&G no question.

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Anyone have personal experience with the Axiom+ from raymarine?

They look interesting (nice advertising).  Although I always get nervous when all i see are fish and power boats in all the materials...

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The SCX20 and a well calibrated paddlewheel will help with the laylines, etc.

 

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4 hours ago, SimonGH said:

Yes, I was seeing that.  I can’t seem to find the list of available polars…. And the raymarine forum seems offline?

Here's a pretty good video description. They have lots of polars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQuBPk3TSPI

I have an Axiom and like it. The main downsides are - the touch screen is harder to use when it is wet, you can't transfer gpx files using wifi or the nmea network that I can tell, and you can't install navionics. To transfer a gpx file, you have to put it on a tiny micro usb, temporarily remove the navionics usb from the back, upload the gpx file, and then replace the navionics card.  It works but kind of a pain because the card is so tiny.

 

 

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46 minutes ago, SimonGH said:

Which Axiom model do you have?

Navionics says it should work?

https://www.navionics.com/usa/charts/features/plotter-sync/raymarine-how-to

Problem is that last time i tried, it would only tranfer all the routes or nothing.  It also created waypoints for each route that really clogged things up.  I have hundreds of routes from over the years in Navionics. To make it even worse the routes UI is garbage and sorts by name only. No recent routes first.

Still, the Raymarine stuff does a decent job. Sail to an AWA, auto tack both work fine for me. Haven't tried sailing to TWA but i don't really have the need or a clean paddle wheel. 

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On 9/8/2021 at 7:39 AM, SimonGH said:

Yes, I was seeing that.  I can’t seem to find the list of available polars…. And the raymarine forum seems offline?

If I remember, you can find them in the setup section?

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On 9/7/2021 at 9:17 PM, pnwer said:

I have an Axiom and like it. The main downsides are - the touch screen is harder to use when it is wet, you can't transfer gpx files using wifi or the nmea network that I can tell, and you can't install navionics. To transfer a gpx file, you have to put it on a tiny micro usb, temporarily remove the navionics usb from the back, upload the gpx file, and then replace the navionics card.  It works but kind of a pain because the card is so tiny.

I have an Axiom on the powerboat, and I am about to upgrade the eSeries Raymarine MFDs to Axioms on the sailboat. They do have a big issue with transferring waypoints and routes. On the Axioms this is compounded by the microSD slot being in *back*, so if it is panel mounted (rather that trunnion) it is ridiculous, requiring demounting to access. And there is only one slot. The solution though, is also sold by Raymarine in the form of the RCR-SD remote card reader. This also installs in the panel, and comes in three versions: one or two additional microSD slots, or one microSD and one USB. I use the latter. I can keep two microSD cards with charts or files in the system (the one in back and the remote one) and use the USB to transfer files to-from. I do not attempt to create routes on the MFD, I've yet to see any MFD where this was actually convenient to do. I create them on a laptop using OpenCPN - soooo much easier - then transfer with the USB card. I believe you can use Navionics on a laptop and transfer it wirelessly to the Axiom but I've never done that. On the sailboat I'm moving towards a 16.5" at the nav station which is where the RCR-SD will be, and an Axiom 12 at the helm. This replaces a 12" and 9", they fit in nearly the same footprint and have a lot more screen area. 

The Raymarine autopilots do steer by wind, but I've only used it simply as that, nothing to do with the polars. 

I've found the touchscreens to be a little less usable when wet or in very sporty conditions. Again, Raymarine sells the solution to this in a knob and push button add on that lets you control everything the more traditional way. 

While Raymarine is fishfinder focused, they have done a good job of continually updating the OS and application layer, adding functionality for free including sailing related. The old LH2 was on rev 14 when they moved on, LH3 is only on rev 3. 

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It is possible to import gpx routes to an axiom display wirelessly, albeit indirectly via the Navionics app. You can import the gpx to the app, and then sync it to the plotter. This puts the imported routes on the SD card in a separate folder, but doesn’t add them to the routes in the plotter memory directly. You can then import either all the routes contained in the archive in one go, or individually as needed.

I find it easier to just import the ones I’m using imminently, otherwise the display can get cluttered with waypoints and lines which you then have to go through and turn off. They have added the ability to send and receive waypoints via nmea0183 or nmea2000 in the most recent software update but I’ve not tried to to see how that works exactly. There have been some improvements with waypoint grouping and handling, but it’s still a bit of a faff.

The sailing features work pretty well, but you need an accurate heading source and log. The lay lines are quite useful, but I don’t race so haven’t really tried the start line features. It’s very useful to have the true wind available which is overlaid on the chart position. Our boat isn’t included in the list of polars so we just use the manual tacking angles and that works well enough for cruising.

 

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15 minutes ago, caius said:

They have added the ability to send and receive waypoints via nmea0183 or nmea2000 in the most recent software update but I’ve not tried to to see how that works exactly. There have been some improvements with waypoint grouping and handling, but it’s still a bit of a faff.

I will look into that when I get back to the boat in a week. Since I have a few wireless avenues into nmea2000, I should be able to do that. I used to be able to do it with the old E120 MFD, it was a big step back with the eSeries and Axiom series in my opinion. 

I have given up on the waypoint grouping and handling, and do that all on the laptop. About the only thing that it is practical to do on the MFD is move a couple of waypoints a bit or add one. The drawing, panning, zooming speed, and screen area of the MFD are very limiting. 

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