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7 minutes ago, SailSailSail said:

My chart plotter is old and in need of replacement. The price of replacing them seems high for a simple piece of electronics that I can only use on my boat.... Is anyone out there just using a tablet?

I have Navionics on a Samsung tablet and an iPad.

Pluses, simple and works.

Minuses, not waterproof, power hungry and will shut down if it gets too hot in direct sunlight.

All those issues are addressable at extra cost & aggravation.

I have both. The Simrad is my main device, the tablets additional. I do like the way Navionics updates the bathy data for the course tracks - it's slaved to the wifi of my Simrad plotter to save using its internal GPS (more power draw).

FKT

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Sure.  

Then I got seduced by the chart plotter/radar integration thing and found an only slightly obsolete plotter on eBay for not much money.  Unfortunately, all the proprietary cables and interface boxes needed to make it work did cost a lot of money.  

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If your chartplotter lives below out of the wet and sun, it is getting harder to justify the price of a chartplotter.

But out in the rain and sun, you really need a waterproof, sunlight readable display for your tablet. Such things are available, but pricey, and by the time you purchase that and the tablet and other gear (most chartplotters have the depth, GPS, and networking built in these days) you are pushing the price of a chartplotter, that price having come down over the last few decades. 

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We have Navionics loaded up on four i devices, they let you do multiple devices from the one account.

They are just for backup but come in handy sometimes.

Didnt throw away the old plotter, just wired it in at the nav station so it talks to the AIS on the VHF radio, but you can also use wifi AIS receivers to take to the tablets/ phones.

main unit is a Lenovo 10” tablet which is just dedicated to Navionics. They make a low cost unit with an onboard GPS and no SIM card, it’s perfect for this application, just download the stuff on the home wifi and good to go.

 

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I have an iPad as the primary navigation device on one of the boats I run.  I very much like it… there is a wide range of very good navigation apps, so you can find one that suits the purpose of the boat.  Don’t like what you’ve got?  Download another one and try that.  Way easier than changing chart plotter brands.  When it’s not navigating, it can do paperwork, email the boss, check the weather, and watch endless cat videos.  However, and this is a really big however, while the iPad is a wonderful machine and has been perfectly reliable for three years and 180-200 days a year, it is not designed as a marine navigation device.  It gets too hot, it shuts down.  Too cold, and it won’t turn on.  It is not directly sunlight readable.  Permanently located inside a weatherproof wheelhouse (in a good waterproof case) in a moderate climate it works just fine….Just had to leave it in the heated engine room during the winter to make sure it woke up on cold days.  If you’re using it on a sailboat exposed to the elements, spend the boat bucks and get a real one.  I like Furuno and Simrad, am not a fan of Garmin, but then I am also usually spending someone else’s money (though I would still spring for the good stuff  on my own boats, as I have extremely limited patience for poor user interfaces)

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I also use iDevices as my primary navigation. I have an iPad and two iPhones for backup running iNavX or SEAiq. I like iNavX better, but SEAiq handles AIS data better. It's nice to have a plotter in your pocket. The Vesper XB-8000 does a nice job of splashing all the instruments and the AIS data on the iDevices as well. We'll see if we start wishing for a plotter when we start full-time. 

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2 hours ago, DDW said:

If your chartplotter lives below out of the wet and sun, it is getting harder to justify the price of a chartplotter.

But out in the rain and sun, you really need a waterproof, sunlight readable display for your tablet. Such things are available, but pricey, and by the time you purchase that and the tablet and other gear (most chartplotters have the depth, GPS, and networking built in these days) you are pushing the price of a chartplotter, that price having come down over the last few decades. 

I’ve never really found the need for an outside-use plotter/e-chart - perhaps because I’ve never had one.  Certainly for offshore nav, you don’t need anything in the cockpit.  And even coastal sailing, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to pop down and check a chart quickly.    Ideal?  No.  Totally do-able?  Yes.
 

I like to keep things simple, but I do like FKT’s approach that he explains above.  I haven’t looked at plotters in years, and had no idea that the set up he describes was possible (wifi from plotter).  Seems like a good idea.

Ultimately, I suppose it depends what for/where one is using it?  If ocean crossing, long distance/long term cruising, I suppose I’d want a true marine plotter, since it’s designed for marine use/ruggedized/etc.  I’d probably also have a tablet as well.  For only local, occasional cruising, I’d probably stick with just a laptop/tablet/phone.

(My Standard Horizon chart plotter is well over ten years old (and needs replacing/updating, just cuz it’s time).  Would a laptop/tablet last that long?  My guess is no, as it would be used for other things as well frequently.)

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I was going to dedicate my "old" iPad to the boat, when I upgraded last year.  But it fell on the tile floor and landed on just the wrong corner.  Bought a screen replacement kit, but since the screen is already shattered, the nifty screen removal tool only shatters it into smaller fragments.  Gave up for the day and put it up on a shelf... still there... (it lasted eight years, I think.)

A couple of situations where I really liked having the plotter and radar at the helm.  Crawling up the river at night, in the dark, when things were too gnarly to let go of the tiller.  And fog.  Oh, and dislike having one glued to the chart table when the damned "minimum depth" or some other alarm goes off and won't stop until you can go down and acknowledge it.  

Most of the new (and recently obsolete) head units are networkable, so in fact, I kept trolling eBay until I got two of them.  One for the chart table, one for the helm. There's also an app that actually mirrors the chartplotter to the iPad (or phone).  Though I wouldn't bet that Raymarine (or anybody) will keep updating that app for old plotters to work with increasingly newer iThing OSs.  A good reason to hold on to old pads.  In fact, I haven't even checked to see if it still works with the current iOS.

 

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1/2 way RTW  Garmin GPS 72 + paper charts

image.png.e6b46c24d2e39038688e2c5396dade86.png

other 1/2 RTW

image.png.bf8bab264d768a8073d139b78c32a97d.pngimage.png.10bdd3ee2f234094188b7523d2834693.png    

$25 kayak waterproof chart bag , $300 Android tablet

BUT it had to be under the bimini to see the screen well. The bag would be put inside in severe tropical downpour but it never showed signs of dampness

We also had a computer running OpenCPN that was a step inside from the cockpit if the tablet had an issue.

 

 

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I have looked at this a lot and I think it depends on how you plan to use the equipment. I have personaly experienced the problems already listed by other posters. Overheating, short battery life, software updates at just the wrong time. For longer passages tablets and smart phones may be fine, especially if you have more than one, better to have 3. The available naviation aps are great, better overall than the native programming of the dedicatided stuff.

If you are in a tight spot, then having a dedicated sunlight readable navigation device that works in 100 degree days in bright sunlight, and below freezing, can be a lifesaver. The photo below is the Wasp Islands, an area I have been through many times. What is not pictured is currents, ferries running at 15 kts, a bunch of submerged rocks, and a few powerboaters 3 martinis deep in their afternoon cruise. I have my samsung active tab up and running, but also my garmin handheld and below deck Ray chartplotter just in case.image.png.fef3621c42a7a075a8aa50b044811655.png

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3 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I’ve never really found the need for an outside-use plotter/e-chart - perhaps because I’ve never had one.  Certainly for offshore nav, you don’t need anything in the cockpit.  And even coastal sailing, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to pop down and check a chart quickly.    Ideal?  No.  Totally do-able?  Yes.
....

If ocean crossing, long distance/long term cruising, I suppose I’d want a true marine plotter, since it’s designed for marine use/ruggedized/etc.  I’d probably also have a tablet as well.  For only local, occasional cruising, I’d probably stick with just a laptop/tablet/phone.

In my opinion, you have this exactly backwards. A plotter at the downstairs nav station, or even just a handheld GPS reporting lat-long is fine for offshore: no land to hit, no buoys to track, very little traffic to hit, course changes every few days.

Coastwise, many hazards close at hand, some of them moving at high speed, could be dark, could be foggy, could be dark and foggy, could be a swift current set, course changes demanded every minute. Once you have had a chart plotter right in front of you at the helm, with overlaid AIS and Radar on the moving map, you will ask "what was I thinking before?". Sure you can do without, we did it for many decades and before us for many centuries. We did without indoor plumbing too, but it wasn't pleasant. 

The first example that comes to mind was tacking down the middle of New York harbor in dense fog, dodging ferries, ships, fishing boats, bridges, etc. Could pull over to the curb and park, but the sailing conditions were good and we were bound for Sandy Hook. Many other examples, usually involves tight water, and/or low visibility, and/or significant traffic or the possibility of traffic. 

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1 hour ago, DDW said:

Once you have had a chart plotter right in front of you at the helm, with overlaid AIS and Radar on the moving map, you will ask "what was I thinking before?". Sure you can do without, we did it for many decades and before us for many centuries. We did without indoor plumbing too, but it wasn't pleasant. 

The counter to that is the surprising high number of cruisers I've run into who are heads-down in their plotter in the fog, assuming everything was going to show up on their screen exactly where it was supposed to.  We have radar, we have AIS, but they are mounted forward where everyone can see them. Typically in tight quarters, we have it so helming and running the plot are separated so at least someone has their head out of the boat at all times.  That's harder to do with everything at the helm. That's us but I can see why it wouldn't for others. 

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1 hour ago, DDW said:

In my opinion, you have this exactly backwards. A plotter at the downstairs nav station, or even just a handheld GPS reporting lat-long is fine for offshore: no land to hit, no buoys to track, very little traffic to hit, course changes every few days.

Coastwise, many hazards close at hand, some of them moving at high speed, could be dark, could be foggy, could be dark and foggy, could be a swift current set, course changes demanded every minute. Once you have had a chart plotter right in front of you at the helm, with overlaid AIS and Radar on the moving map, you will ask "what was I thinking before?". Sure you can do without, we did it for many decades and before us for many centuries. We did without indoor plumbing too, but it wasn't pleasant. 

The first example that comes to mind was tacking down the middle of New York harbor in dense fog, dodging ferries, ships, fishing boats, bridges, etc. Could pull over to the curb and park, but the sailing conditions were good and we were bound for Sandy Hook. Many other examples, usually involves tight water, and/or low visibility, and/or significant traffic or the possibility of traffic. 

Well, I’ve certainly never considered tacking down New York Harbor... :-).  But, yes, I definitely see your point.  I suppose what you’re saying —the real value of a plotter that is available in the cockpit— is based on having AIS (and maybe radar too?) overlaid on the chart?  I.e., you’re saying that that’s what really gives a cockpit plotter value, when those are available to overlay on the chart?

My plotter is ancient —no overlays— so I’ve never seen a great value in having it viewable in the cockpit.  I’ve grown used to looking at it, trying to “remember” the route, etc., and checking frequently below.  But this would indeed be a different game with AIS on it...

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8 hours ago, SailSailSail said:

My chart plotter is old and in need of replacement. The price of replacing them seems high for a simple piece of electronics that I can only use on my boat.... Is anyone out there just using a tablet?

My vote is neither.  Although the iPads are quite handy and if you happen to already have one then yes I would use it as a supplement/backup unit.  I don't like how bad they are at headings, Navionics the heading/course are not good.  Not sure if that will be better networking to the laptop or not.  I have it on both the iPad and iPhone.  good backup for the price.  

I got the following for about 600$ US.  The only thing I am considering as an upgrade to the unit is a dock like the police have in their cars, so it can be powered while still maintaining waterproofness and a secure mount at the helm if I don't get a dedicated plotter as well.  As a bonus, I can back it up to a USB stick, and carry a complete spare unit for about 250$ extra that will use all the same components and mounts etc, total time to swap units would be about 1 hour.

 

1 - Toughbook 15" waterproof, drop proof convertible touchscreen laptop/tablet, daylight readable.  It's the best daylight readable screen I've seen and that includes the high end stuff like B&G chart plotters.    It is so daylight readable because the screen is transflective.  Basically the background of the LCD is shiny, and so light hitting it from outside will illuminate it.    It has a sensor to turn off the backlight but I find that not so helpful, with the backlight on full it reduces the contrast between areas of shadow and areas of light on the screen.  I bought it for work but I'll get around to loading it with marine software eventually.

It's an old school style police looking one, not the one where you remove the tablet from the keyboard.   

2 -  spare batteries.   With 3 fully charged batteries at 1/2 brightness with battery saver enabled that gives me 24 hours of battery life according to the onscreen meter, in constant use I clock it at more like 6 hours a batt which gives me 18 hours usable.

1 - 12V charger for tough book with built in USB port

1 - 120V charger for tough book 

1 - 10HZ GPS/Glonass puck, this gives me a refresh rate comparable to the latest plotters

1 - internal GPS card, gives me a backup GPS and is handy when I don't feel like fishing out the puck.

1 - 256GB SSD drive

1 - Bluetooth/Wifi card

1 - SIM card slot for cellular data

1 - Windows 10 install

I haven't bought it yet, but there is also a guy selling full worldwide high resolution navigation charts for a couple hundred $ that can be fed to OPENCPN I believe.

 

 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Well, I’ve certainly never considered tacking down New York Harbor... :-).  But, yes, I definitely see your point.  I suppose what you’re saying —the real value of a plotter that is available in the cockpit— is based on having AIS (and maybe radar too?) overlaid on the chart?  I.e., you’re saying that that’s what really gives a cockpit plotter value, when those are available to overlay on the chart?

My plotter is ancient —no overlays— so I’ve never seen a great value in having it viewable in the cockpit.  I’ve grown used to looking at it, trying to “remember” the route, etc., and checking frequently below.  But this would indeed be a different game with AIS on it...

I like to get right in close to the shoreline and make close passes around the corners of the fish farms etc. Yes the fish farms are relatively well marked, you can see the shoreline, but I like to keep an eye on my plotter and the depth and depth trends. I go right across those areas marked 5m or less, often those marked 3m or less. A plotter below decks wouldn't make me at all happy if it was the only one I had.

Yeah sometimes I touch the bottom. There's a reason I built a shoal draft steel boat.

But I'm more used to big ships where a lot of data is available at the wheel. We gave up other forms of nav aids as soon as the tech was reliable enough.

Now I use the Simrad G09 as my main plotter right at the wheel and can run OpenCPN on a Pi in the cabin, or slave my tablet running Navionics to the Simrad plotter, or run the Simrad app on my tablet. Plenty of options.

I'd not be comfortable with only a tablet on my boat and my use-cases. It obviously works for a lot of people, I'm not saying it doesn't or can't. They make a great mobile secondary nav aid though. I can be below with the tablet propped up and keep an eye on whether the anchor is dragging etc.

FKT

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37 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Well, I’ve certainly never considered tacking down New York Harbor... :-).  But, yes, I definitely see your point.  I suppose what you’re saying —the real value of a plotter that is available in the cockpit— is based on having AIS (and maybe radar too?) overlaid on the chart?  I.e., you’re saying that that’s what really gives a cockpit plotter value, when those are available to overlay on the chart?

My plotter is ancient —no overlays— so I’ve never seen a great value in having it viewable in the cockpit.  I’ve grown used to looking at it, trying to “remember” the route, etc., and checking frequently below.  But this would indeed be a different game with AIS on it...

Around here, AIS is of limited use, since many of the fishboats and fishing boats don't have it and largely don't seem to give a shit about blasting around in the fog. I have used a plotter at the helm for many years, and wouldn't be without it given a choice. There are too many things going on that you can't see and some passages in the islands and southern coast that are extremely difficult without having instant feedback.

Like the entrance to Wiatt Bay in the Octopus Islands...

image.thumb.png.c978cbc234c4b59d265cdda47b460b78.png

I have a Garmin 276CX, so I can unhook it from the mothership and take it in the dinghy for exploration or to check accuracy for tight channels.

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34 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Well, I’ve certainly never considered tacking down New York Harbor... :-).  But, yes, I definitely see your point.  I suppose what you’re saying —the real value of a plotter that is available in the cockpit— is based on having AIS (and maybe radar too?) overlaid on the chart?  I.e., you’re saying that that’s what really gives a cockpit plotter value, when those are available to overlay on the chart?

My plotter is ancient —no overlays— so I’ve never seen a great value in having it viewable in the cockpit.  I’ve grown used to looking at it, trying to “remember” the route, etc., and checking frequently below.  But this would indeed be a different game with AIS on it...

You might like the tough book with dock for cockpit use.  Mine has survived one swim in the ocean already, and falling off an oil drum onto pavement.  he guy who builds them is local to you and quite knowledgeable.  I can't get over the brightness in sunlight, it's a unique patented tech as I understand it.  Not valuable enough to spend the thousands for a new unit, but for what he sells used ones for it's hard to complain.  For 150$ CAD the local guy will supply and install drivers and an AIS receiver, and gives good instructions on interfacing an older digital radome directly on the cheap.  

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2 hours ago, Elegua said:

Typically in tight quarters, we have it so helming and running the plot are separated so at least someone has their head out of the boat at all times.  That's harder to do with everything at the helm. That's us but I can see why it wouldn't for others. 

Often single handed or effectively single handed, so splitting the tasks isn't an option. And in very poor visibility, there isn't really that much to look at or for anyway. In any case, it is MUCH better to be able to glance down from the helm than engage the autopilot and go study the chart plotter down below, if running into things is what is worrying you. Also better for the helmsman to be cognizant him/herself, rather than someone else trying to explain what they think they are seeing. 

1 hour ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Well, I’ve certainly never considered tacking down New York Harbor... :-).  But, yes, I definitely see your point.  I suppose what you’re saying —the real value of a plotter that is available in the cockpit— is based on having AIS (and maybe radar too?) overlaid on the chart?  I.e., you’re saying that that’s what really gives a cockpit plotter value, when those are available to overlay on the chart?

My plotter is ancient —no overlays— so I’ve never seen a great value in having it viewable in the cockpit.  I’ve grown used to looking at it, trying to “remember” the route, etc., and checking frequently below.  But this would indeed be a different game with AIS on it...

There are times when just having the moving chart right below your sightline is pretty valuable. Say a tortured channel with many lit buoys against a city backlighting it with confusion. This will be sacrilege to some, but I run it heading up, so I can glance down at the picture and then up at the world without the slightest bit of mental gymnastics (or physical gymnastics of jumping down the companionway and back). Look down, look up - make sure it matches. The overlays are great in certain circumstances but not the whole utility by a long shot. 

Things generally happen slowly on a sailboat, which covers many sins. In airplanes, you are taught that anything that lowers the pilot workload is a good thing because more attention can be spent on actual piloting rather than navigation, collision detection and avoidance, etc., so you don't get behind the aircraft. A chart plotter at the helm lowers the pilot workload inshore. Offshore it is typically very different - nothing to see on the horizon or plotter, and to change course now or 12 hours from now to stay on the rhumb is of little consequence. 

A lot of the value is simply situational awareness. If you look at the plotter every minute or two in tight conditions, you already know about the island to port and the rock to starboard and the 90 deg turn in the channel ahead and the ferry coming the other way at flank speed and the motorboat coming up behind. These aren't a surprise when they actually come into view, you've already considered them and any actions that might be required. 

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The evolution of gizmos moves fast on our old boat: The ipad with a Garmin app mostly stayed in the 'chart drawer' this season. The old Garmin chartplotter was used as the anchor minder. Nearly all navigation was on iphones, 2 onboard, running Navionics. I'm sold on pocket piloting.

Don't screw anything into your boat. 

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It's a great time to be piloting. I remember my paper chart days and realizing I wasn't where I thought I was. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, DDW said:

Often single handed or effectively single handed, so splitting the tasks isn't an option. And in very poor visibility, there isn't really that much to look at or for anyway. In any case, it is MUCH better to be able to glance down from the helm than engage the autopilot and go study the chart plotter down below, if running into things is what is worrying you. Also better for the helmsman to be cognizant him/herself, rather than someone else trying to explain what they think they are seeing. 

So I'm not advocating for a chart-plotter below. I tend to use an iDevice on deck.  For the infrequent times I need a fixed plotter, I have a stand. My objection is on over-reliance on the chart-plotters at the helm and the poor watch keeping that seems to follow because, "there's not much to see".   There's still lots of stuff out there that's not on AIS and using radar properly takes some skill and attention.  Where I sail I find the helm gets task saturated keeping a compass course and dodging pots (which requires some assistance from a spotter), especially under power or in low viz.   

 

I also run all electronic things "head's up" with a long vector line so that I can engage in some pre-emptive strategery. 

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9 hours ago, DDW said:

This will be sacrilege to some, but I run it heading up, so I can glance down at the picture and then up at the world without the slightest bit of mental gymnastics (or physical gymnastics of jumping down the companionway and back).

I agree 100%. Is this really sacrilege anymore? I understand why in the beginning, when we all had to transition from paper-based plotting in True this took a bad rap but who actually uses the interface in North up? What is the use-case for helming in tight quarters in anything but heading-up?

 

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So this one time at band camp coming into a ship channel at midnight my 1st time on this boat with the skipper buried in his chart plotter and me stating we have to jibe as soon as we enter as there is outbound traffic?  A couple of times? We jibed when I screamed and that ship roaring by was awesome - only time in my life I thought I was going to die. Also only time I ever remember screaming.  I won't sail with people who can't get their head out of the boat.

 

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1 hour ago, Elegua said:

My objection is on over-reliance on the chart-plotters at the helm and the poor watch keeping that seems to follow because, "there's not much to see".   There's still lots of stuff out there that's not on AIS and using radar properly takes some skill and attention.  Where I sail I find the helm gets task saturated keeping a compass course and dodging pots (which requires some assistance from a spotter), especially under power or in low viz.   

If you sail in Maine, the primary navigational hazard is lobster pots. The granite ledges are secondary. 

There certainly are people who bury their head in the chart - electronic or paper - and don't look around. Electronic navigation can aggravate that tendency, I know people who will claim they can see every little fishing boat on radar, they say you just have to know how to "tune" it. 

An advantage of slightly more sophisticated electronic plotting is the ability to compare several sources of navigational data without spending that much attention at it. I will often split the display and have raster on one side and vector on the other - occasionally they emphasize different things and very occasionally they show completely different hazards. I always run the AIS overlay because it doesn't detract from anything. I occasionally run the radar overlay even in bright weather, as a check on the accuracy of the chart datum. In Newfoundland for example, this showed the datum to be off by 1/4 mile or more, it could be shifted in the plotter to match the radar return and then was good. On the trawler I have the fancy structured sonar which maps a stripe of the bottom as you pass over it. I will run this split screen with the chart while running one of the narrow, rocky, undetailed channels in the PNW as it helps guess which side you are getting close to. All of these things can be of immediate interest, you want to be glancing at them while helming. 

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1 minute ago, DDW said:

If you sail in Maine, the primary navigational hazard is lobster pots. The granite ledges are secondary. 

True. Things are well charted but there are enough people following chart plotters closely enough to keep the yards busy. I see examples every Summer.  Maine also doesn't really have enough commercial traffic for AIS to be truly useful.  Newfoundland has a lot of old data in its charts, so no surprise.   

I have an older stand-alone etch-a-sketch style radar, so it serves mostly to confirm or deny the existence of things I can't see and set an occasional EBL.  

We'll see if I change my mind about this as I get farther afield.  I've debated getting a chart plotter at the nav station to get some of the more advanced sailsteer functions and set waypoints into the system.  So far I've not found any iDevice apps that do this (that I know of).

Where I find overlays very useful is in weather - layering a geolocated surface analysis over the GRIBS. That was a real lightbulb moment for me. No IOS app does this (that I know of) right now. So it looks like a laptop will come with...

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Elegua said:

True. Things are well charted but there are enough people following chart plotters closely enough to keep the yards busy. I see examples every Summer.  Maine also doesn't really have enough commercial traffic for AIS to be truly useful.  Newfoundland has a lot of old data in its charts, so no surprise.   

I have an older stand-alone etch-a-sketch style radar, so it serves mostly to confirm or deny the existence of things I can't see and set an occasional EBL.  

We'll see if I change my mind about this as I get farther afield.  I've debated getting a chart plotter at the nav station to get some of the more advanced sailsteer functions and set waypoints into the system.  So far I've not found any iDevice apps that do this (that I know of).

Where I find overlays very useful is in weather - layering a geolocated surface analysis over the GRIBS. That was a real lightbulb moment for me. No IOS app does this (that I know of) right now. So it looks like a laptop will come with...

 

 

 A friend that did the Atlantic loop a couple years ago said he didn't use his radar much at all, once he left Maine. AIS was his #1 gizmo recommendation. I don't have AIS yet for the same reason you mention.

I was insulted by a woman in the fog in a motorboat that hunted us down once in the sort of channel outside Stonington. "Do you know you are completely invisible to radar?". How embarrassing is that? I knew where she was by the racket. 

 

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2 hours ago, Cwinsor said:

I agree 100%. Is this really sacrilege anymore? I understand why in the beginning, when we all had to transition from paper-based plotting in True this took a bad rap but who actually uses the interface in North up? What is the use-case for helming in tight quarters in anything but heading-up?

 

I switch back and forth between north-up and head-up. North-up for smaller scale piloting where it's handy to have an idea where you are in the overall scheme of things, and head-up for close work where course changes can be strangely counterintuitive on a north-up display.

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A couple of years ago I upgraded from the Etch-a-Sketch radar to a digital one (same time I gave into the chart plotter thing) - the new radar picks up kids sailing dinghies, even kayaks.  At least when the boat is stationary and there aren't any waves.  

 

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16 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

I switch back and forth between north-up and head-up. North-up for smaller scale piloting where it's handy to have an idea where you are in the overall scheme of things, and head-up for close work where course changes can be strangely counterintuitive on a north-up display.

I'm a big advocate of exactly this choice, on boats with two displays I set it to north up on the chart table/interior display with course/heading vectors on for planning/monitoring and heading up with only course vector on at the helm. 

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When zoomed to a large scale, I will go to North up. I'm not piloting, I'm planning so local reference frame is not important. 

If I had to chose, I'd take AIS over radar. It isn't just commercial traffic anymore, and is useful a lot of the time while radar is only occasionally useful. Plus, it's two way (assuming a transceiver) while radar is one way. 

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On 12/22/2021 at 11:43 PM, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I’ve never really found the need for an outside-use plotter/e-chart - perhaps because I’ve never had one.  Certainly for offshore nav, you don’t need anything in the cockpit.  And even coastal sailing, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to pop down and check a chart quickly.    Ideal?  No.  Totally do-able?  Yes.
 

I like to keep things simple, but I do like FKT’s approach that he explains above.  I haven’t looked at plotters in years, and had no idea that the set up he describes was possible (wifi from plotter).  Seems like a good idea.

Ultimately, I suppose it depends what for/where one is using it?  If ocean crossing, long distance/long term cruising, I suppose I’d want a true marine plotter, since it’s designed for marine use/ruggedized/etc.  I’d probably also have a tablet as well.  For only local, occasional cruising, I’d probably stick with just a laptop/tablet/phone.

(My Standard Horizon chart plotter is well over ten years old (and needs replacing/updating, just cuz it’s time).  Would a laptop/tablet last that long?  My guess is no, as it would be used for other things as well frequently.)

Hmm. That’s backwards. The time you need the help of the electronics is when entering a new harbour or channel where everything is unfamiliar or in fog where you need you eyes, ears and gizmos. Having to leave the helm to verify your situation is not good. Having the charts and maybe a plus having radar and ais all visible without leaving the helm is a godsend.

I sail single handed mostly but having everything at hand takes a lot of the stress away. My chart plotter down at the “nav station” rarely gets used.

 

 

EE8AD323-EF4E-4FFF-9816-418CA4E8EA37.jpeg

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If you have someone in the navigator position, they can give the helm direction, be on radar watch, follow the chart. Otherwise, I want all the data at the wheel.  Many a time I’ve navigated a harbor using radar at night or in the fog.  

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3 hours ago, 10thTonner said:

Every time I see a plotter in the cockpit, it’s in front of a steering wheel.  Where would you put the plotter for tiller steering? Right or left of the companionway would be out of the way but hard to reach… 

That is a big reason why I use an iPad in the cockpit of our boat. 

The ideal spot is one that folds out into the companionway.  That doesn’t work well on my particular boat’s design. 

The other common spot is mounted into the bulkhead, but I hate cutting a custom shaped hole for an electronic device that will be out of date in a decade. 

I’m waiting for someone to make a lower profile plotter that can be surface mounted.  It doesn’t need to be tablet thing, but under 25mm would be nice. Hopefully with a single cable for power and nmea2000. 

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On 12/26/2021 at 6:32 AM, 10thTonner said:

Every time I see a plotter in the cockpit, it’s in front of a steering wheel.  Where would you put the plotter for tiller steering? Right or left of the companionway would be out of the way but hard to reach… 

 

On 12/26/2021 at 9:35 AM, Alex W said:

That is a big reason why I use an iPad in the cockpit of our boat. 

The ideal spot is one that folds out into the companionway.  That doesn’t work well on my particular boat’s design. 

The other common spot is mounted into the bulkhead, but I hate cutting a custom shaped hole for an electronic device that will be out of date in a decade. 

I’m waiting for someone to make a lower profile plotter that can be surface mounted.  It doesn’t need to be tablet thing, but under 25mm would be nice. Hopefully with a single cable for power and nmea2000. 

On our (tiller-steered) Aloha 30, we mounted a MFD in the pod over the companionway.  It was viewable by all from anywhere in the cockpit, and could be adjusted by crew or helm (with tiller extension).  But it was a stretch so (I imagine) not feasible for an Express 37.

Cheers!

550016229_IMG_0723(2).thumb.jpg.82eb575b89a69171f7663bae957bb27c.jpg

 

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I have used Samsung galaxy tab active series tablets as my primary nav device for maybe 4 years now.  Water resistant, shock resistant, and reads pretty well in daylight.  I have done Newport and Bermuda races with it and use navionics and sailgrib for routing.  Sailgrib is a great deal for routing.  The first generation tab active I got used on ebay for $125.  I ponied up the $500 for new the tab active 2 when it came out because it really enhanced my nav and tactics to have it up on deck and see all the chart info while looking outside the boat- I use an adapted gopro chest harness that I bought for 8 bux to keep the tablet on my chest during races.

If the boat has wifi, there are apps that can show all the instrument numbers on the tablet as well.  Pretty handy.

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Good topic-to reignite-a question for the tech savvy.  Let's say I have new Raymarine sailing instruments, new ICOM VHF with AIS and a new fancy Raymarine radar - would it be relatively simple for a simpleton to "see" all of that info on a laptop/toughbook as described as an option above.  The Navionics (or whomever) are pretty straightforward.   Makes alot more sense to my to buy say a $1000 laptop if it has full capability rather than say a Raymarine MFD for more like $4000...In simpleton terms isn't a branded MFD basically a computer for proprietary software?  It seems like radar is the biggest obstacle, my understanding is that radar cannot be "seen" on an Ipad...?

Thanks in advance for your technical expertise....

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The Navionics broadband radar is viewable on a computer or pad with the right software, as is all instrument data and AIS.

If you pay $4000 for a new Raymarine MFD it is either a very large one or you are shopping at West Marine. One with a screen the size of an iPad is between $1000 and $2000, includes software, charts, GPS, WiFi, depth sounder, card reader, mount, sun cover; is daylight readable, waterproof, has a 3 year warrantee in boat service and 50% resale value at 5 years on - the laptop or iPad has few or none of those features. Yeah, you can't do email or Facebook on it (but you can watch movies....). The price gap has closed considerably in the last decade. It will just work, no cobbling together an assemblage of hardware and software bits that barely work together and require frequent updates with a new round of debug.

The generic navigation suite has improved in the last decade as well, and I'm not saying it isn't viable. Just that the real price difference isn't actually that great, so if you want to use the equipment, rather than own it as a hobby, there is still a very good argument for an MFD.  

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I've found fixed plotters, like the electronics in a car, are already obsolete when you install them and the next generation is rarely the same size hole in the boat. It's much easier to upgrade the both the software and charts on an a tablet.  The gap between the embedded software and the apps continues to grow. 

 

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37 minutes ago, Elegua said:

I've found fixed plotters, like the electronics in a car, are already obsolete when you install them and the next generation is rarely the same size hole in the boat. It's much easier to upgrade the both the software and charts on an a tablet.  The gap between the embedded software and the apps continues to grow. 

 

This! I have a Raynav plotter below that's 20 years old, networked with Seatalk to the wind, speed and depth guages at the helm and tridata at the nav and mast. Still works fine but it would all have to go to upgrade to a newer NMEA 2000 based setup that would allow me to add a MFD at the helm that would display AIS overlay where I really want it when sailing in crowded waters. Not to mention replacing everything would require new, different sized holes and I refuse to accept a hack job install. So I ran 12 VDC to a watertight plug near the helm for my iPad, installed a $65 removable bracket, added a $60 stick on external GPS with wifi below, bought a waterproof cover for about $30 and downloaded iNavX for $14. I can read the Ipad fine in daylight and I drape a white cloth over it to keep the sun from overheating it until I want to look at it. Works a champ for less than $200 all in and I really like using the iNavx. Their customer service people got back to me in one day with recommendations for the GPS antenna. And upgrades won't break the bank either. I'm going to add a wifi enabled AIS this year and I'll be set.

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2 minutes ago, kinardly said:

This! I have a Raynav plotter below that's 20 years old, networked with Seatalk to the wind, speed and depth guages at the helm and tridata at the nav and mast. Still works fine but it would all have to go to upgrade to a newer NMEA 2000 based setup that would allow me to add a MFD at the helm that would display AIS overlay where I really want it when sailing in crowded waters. Not to mention replacing everything would require new, different sized holes and I refuse to accept a hack job install. So I ran 12 VDC to a watertight plug near the helm for my iPad, installed a $65 removable bracket, added a $60 stick on external GPS with wifi below, bought a waterproof cover for about $30 and downloaded iNavX for $14. I can read the Ipad fine in daylight and I drape a white cloth over it to keep the sun from overheating it until I want to look at it. Works a champ for less than $200 all in and I really like using the iNavx. Their customer service people got back to me in one day with recommendations for the GPS antenna. And upgrades won't break the bank either. I'm going to add a wifi enabled AIS this year and I'll be set.

Ask me why I still have my Furuno 841 radar . No one other than Furuno makes that portrait shape. :(  

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2 hours ago, DDW said:

The Navionics broadband radar is viewable on a computer or pad with the right software, as is all instrument data and AIS.

If you pay $4000 for a new Raymarine MFD it is either a very large one or you are shopping at West Marine. One with a screen the size of an iPad is between $1000 and $2000, includes software, charts, GPS, WiFi, depth sounder, card reader, mount, sun cover; is daylight readable, waterproof, has a 3 year warrantee in boat service and 50% resale value at 5 years on - the laptop or iPad has few or none of those features. Yeah, you can't do email or Facebook on it (but you can watch movies....). The price gap has closed considerably in the last decade. It will just work, no cobbling together an assemblage of hardware and software bits that barely work together and require frequent updates with a new round of debug.

The generic navigation suite has improved in the last decade as well, and I'm not saying it isn't viable. Just that the real price difference isn't actually that great, so if you want to use the equipment, rather than own it as a hobby, there is still a very good argument for an MFD.  

This.

You can do the iPad/tablet thing, no doubt about it. But you still need an assemblage of 'stuff' to make it work.

My Simrad G09 (9" screen) was $1300 from Whitworths here in Australia, including echosounder transducer I didn't fit. Has wifi as well as NMEA2K. Talks to Navionics - sorta - at least sends GPS and depth data. Simrad has a 'slave' program you can install on a tablet.

I *like* fucking about with stuff but for my primary nav device, I just want it to WORK. That's worth paying for IMO.

A week ago I installed my latest 'box of electronic crap' as a secondary device. It has a Pi 4 with a USB GPS puck and 2 single port terminal servers converting NMEA0183 data from an AIS/GPS and heading/GPS units to a tcp/ip data stream I feed into OpenCPN running on the Pi.

It all works but - as expected - the screen readability SUCKS as it's a standard HDMI monitor behind a layer of perspex. Been here before. I keep coming back to this - a screen with at least 1000 nits brightness level is essential, 1400 nits better still. And that's under the hard dodger.

Below decks, different story. I'll use VNC to copy the deck display to the bulkhead mounted 18" monitor below.

And I'll still have Navionics running on my tablet because it updates its bathy maps from the Simrad depth data and I can't find a way to get OpenCPN to do that, or the Simrad plotter either for that matter.

All a big can of worms. Simplest approach, get a tablet, live with its power hunger, lack of weather resistance and shutdown when hot.

But not for me, if I could only have one thing I'm keeping my Simrad plotter. Designed for the marine environment, waterproof, works.

FKT

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On 12/22/2021 at 5:43 PM, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I’ve never really found the need for an outside-use plotter/e-chart - perhaps because I’ve never had one.  Certainly for offshore nav, you don’t need anything in the cockpit.  And even coastal sailing, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to pop down and check a chart quickly.    Ideal?  No.  Totally do-able?  Yes.

It depends on the bottom topography, whether there is reliable buoyage, how well you know the area, and how close you're going to cut it.

Last summer I sailed Lake Vermilion in Northern Minnesota.  Beautiful area and we sailed around the islands.  There are any number of islands we sailed around with a chartplotter in the cockpit that we would never have attempted if we had to "pop down below" to see whether we were going to clear the rocks or if we were going to have to tack again.  In a crowded area with freshening winds this became a big deal a couple of times.

The bottom there is steep and rocky with hundreds of islands and peninsulas.

People with any sense don't try to sail anything bigger than a beach cat on that lake.  It is possible that we were the largest sailboat that had been on that lake, ever.

It was a great experience and I am thankful we were able to do it.  25 years ago the charts weren't good enough to make it possible.

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On 12/22/2021 at 2:46 PM, Fah Kiew Tu said:

I have Navionics on a Samsung tablet and an iPad.

Pluses, simple and works.

Minuses, not waterproof, power hungry and will shut down if it gets too hot in direct sunlight.

FKT has the essence of it.  I was using Navionics on a phone for my first three years sailing and it worked but had drawbacks.  On hot days I would put it in the cooler with a USB charge cable connected for an hour so it would cool off and recharge its battery.  A fact to consider is that there may be a more limited selection of cartography and less opportunity to load your own charts (photos of paper charts, marina layouts with dock space numbers, etc) than with a chartplotter.

 

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3 hours ago, Elegua said:

I've found fixed plotters, like the electronics in a car, are already obsolete when you install them and the next generation is rarely the same size hole in the boat. It's much easier to upgrade the both the software and charts on an a tablet.  The gap between the embedded software and the apps continues to grow. 

 

When you mount an MFD - or any marine electronics - don't cut it into your priceless inlaid teak and walnut facia. You put them in a panel that is easily and cheaply replaceable because replace you will. Preferably cut with CNC so a new one is very easy, all the screw holes are in the same place, etc. I will note that the same is true of iPads and phones, which have come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sure you can buy a new mount - just as you can cut a new panel.

On the gap between embedded and apps - not at all sure about that. In the trawler I run a high end laptop right next to a medium/low end MFD (but newish) and play a lot with both - what else are you going to do on a trawler? The MFD software is overall better - better integrated mainly, but also shows its single purpose intent. There are some very high end packages that are pretty nice - but these cost by themselves as much as the MFD. I've run many of the cheaper packages (including iNavX). The Raymarine software is upgraded - for free - several times a year and has added many functions in that process. Since the software upgrades are system wide, there is never (well, rarely..) an issue with this new software component being incompatible with that old software component. 

On the sailboat I've changed out both MFDs (nav station and binnacle) twice now in 12 years. Raymarine E120 -> eS12 -> Axiom XL. At each change I have sold the old unit on eBay for ~ 50% of purchase price, and on each new purchase the price is lower than the last time, while the features and screen size have gone up. If I had done it with iPads and kept them up to date I'd have spent around the same - any difference lost in the roundoff error of a boat budget. I prefer the MFD over keeping the iPad in a hokey mount inside a garbage bag with a towel over its sun shade. 

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1 hour ago, 2airishuman said:

A fact to consider is that there may be a more limited selection of cartography and less opportunity to load your own charts (photos of paper charts, marina layouts with dock space numbers, etc) than with a chartplotter.

That's a weird thing that I never got to the bottom of, last time I upgraded Navionics.  From the web site, it appeared that charts outside the US & Canada (e.g. Central America) were available for the iPad app, but not on cards for chart plotters???

Edit: A bit of searching reveals that such cards have since been released.  For some reason they don't seem to be available on the Navionics website but only from third-party sales. ??? 

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3 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

This.

You can do the iPad/tablet thing, no doubt about it. But you still need an assemblage of 'stuff' to make it work.

My Simrad G09 (9" screen) was $1300 from Whitworths here in Australia, including echosounder transducer I didn't fit. Has wifi as well as NMEA2K. Talks to Navionics - sorta - at least sends GPS and depth data. Simrad has a 'slave' program you can install on a tablet.

I *like* fucking about with stuff but for my primary nav device, I just want it to WORK. That's worth paying for IMO.

A week ago I installed my latest 'box of electronic crap' as a secondary device. It has a Pi 4 with a USB GPS puck and 2 single port terminal servers converting NMEA0183 data from an AIS/GPS and heading/GPS units to a tcp/ip data stream I feed into OpenCPN running on the Pi.

It all works but - as expected - the screen readability SUCKS as it's a standard HDMI monitor behind a layer of perspex. Been here before. I keep coming back to this - a screen with at least 1000 nits brightness level is essential, 1400 nits better still. And that's under the hard dodger.

Below decks, different story. I'll use VNC to copy the deck display to the bulkhead mounted 18" monitor below.

And I'll still have Navionics running on my tablet because it updates its bathy maps from the Simrad depth data and I can't find a way to get OpenCPN to do that, or the Simrad plotter either for that matter.

All a big can of worms. Simplest approach, get a tablet, live with its power hunger, lack of weather resistance and shutdown when hot.

But not for me, if I could only have one thing I'm keeping my Simrad plotter. Designed for the marine environment, waterproof, works.

FKT

I agree. But in reality, a tri-ducer and a GPS get you 90% of what you need for naviguessing.  I think the boat should have a strong backbone of basic instruments that should never fail. I would add an AIS transponder to that list for places with a lot of commercial traffic. Chart-plotters, radar and AIS are very nice-to-have add-ons. 

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1 hour ago, DDW said:

When you mount an MFD - or any marine electronics - don't cut it into your priceless inlaid teak and walnut facia. You put them in a panel that is easily and cheaply replaceable because replace you will. Preferably cut with CNC so a new one is very easy, all the screw holes are in the same place, etc. I will note that the same is true of iPads and phones, which have come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sure you can buy a new mount - just as you can cut a new panel.

On the gap between embedded and apps - not at all sure about that. In the trawler I run a high end laptop right next to a medium/low end MFD (but newish) and play a lot with both - what else are you going to do on a trawler? The MFD software is overall better - better integrated mainly, but also shows its single purpose intent. There are some very high end packages that are pretty nice - but these cost by themselves as much as the MFD. I've run many of the cheaper packages (including iNavX). The Raymarine software is upgraded - for free - several times a year and has added many functions in that process. Since the software upgrades are system wide, there is never (well, rarely..) an issue with this new software component being incompatible with that old software component. 

On the sailboat I've changed out both MFDs (nav station and binnacle) twice now in 12 years. Raymarine E120 -> eS12 -> Axiom XL. At each change I have sold the old unit on eBay for ~ 50% of purchase price, and on each new purchase the price is lower than the last time, while the features and screen size have gone up. If I had done it with iPads and kept them up to date I'd have spent around the same - any difference lost in the roundoff error of a boat budget. I prefer the MFD over keeping the iPad in a hokey mount inside a garbage bag with a towel over its sun shade. 

Well, just for the record. I've never had to use a garbage bag, or a cloth.  Most times the tablet sits with the chart booklet and the phone in my pocket.  So far I've never had to change mounts and the mounts I use don't screw in anywhere.  Scanstrut does makes nice mounts for the times required.  I haven't had to sell used equipment yet because usually the tablet/iDevice was either my current personal device or a "retired" one.  Most tablets and phones have excess capacity compared to the demands of most navigational needs.  With the apps I can pick best of breed and move on if they fall behind without any hardware changes.   One thing I also really like is the tablet has a PDF viewer so I can keep my Coastal Pilots, Lights ListNavigation Rules Handbook, and Local Notice to Mariners cruising guide ..etc...up-to-date and close to hand.   It's nice to have searchable PDFs for the occasion I need to look things up.  

That said, the devices are backed up by a simple and robust instrument and GPS/AIS system in the odd case that all  the portable devices die.  I also keep the rest of the key systems stand alone because it's just easier. 

At the end of the day there are many ways to run a safe and efficient boat.  This is just my personal preference at the moment. 

 

 

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The PO of my sons (and his boat partner) new boat (Pearson Vanguard) had installed a 'nav station' in the starboard quarter berth way back. I had to explain to 2 near 30 year olds, what a Nav station was for.

I think they saw it just as a cool place to sit. In reality, it's horrible, too small and done by someone who doesn't know they shouldn't touch wood tools. 

I don't where they'll take this old boat in the future but I do know for sure, all their nav gear will be in their pockets. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying, it's over. 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Elegua said:

Well, just for the record. I've never had to use a garbage bag, or a cloth.  Most times the tablet sits with the chart booklet and the phone in my pocket.  So far I've never had to change mounts and the mounts I use don't screw in anywhere.  Scanstrut does makes nice mounts for the times required.  I haven't had to sell used equipment yet because usually the tablet/iDevice was either my current personal device or a "retired" one.  Most tablets and phones have excess capacity compared to the demands of most navigational needs.  With the apps I can pick best of breed and move on if they fall behind without any hardware changes.   One thing I also really like is the tablet has a PDF viewer so I can keep my Coastal Pilots, Lights ListNavigation Rules Handbook, and Local Notice to Mariners cruising guide ..etc...up-to-date and close to hand.   It's nice to have searchable PDFs for the occasion I need to look things up.  

That said, the devices are backed up by a simple and robust instrument and GPS/AIS system in the odd case that all  the portable devices die.  I also keep the rest of the key systems stand alone because it's just easier. 

At the end of the day there are many ways to run a safe and efficient boat.  This is just my personal preference at the moment. 

 

 

Yes the ready access to info on your person is key.  On my tablet during a race, I'll have the nav software, instrument connections, race instructions, race rules, and any other pertinent info open during the race.  I can switch between apps and get any info I need in a couple secs or so.  

Same while cruising- any pertinent info I have open for quick access.  And the great thing about it is I spend less time looking at a screen and more time up on deck sailing cuz I can do a quick glance for pertinent info, then get back to enjoying the ride.

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I have to laugh about questions like this, as the best answer is almost always "it depends" IMHO. Where do you sail? Lotsa shoals and shallow waters and/or unmarked hazards? Heavy currents? How do you sail? Balls to the wall or easy does it? Single/short-handing, or multiple experienced crew aboard? Fair weather daysails in known waters, or long passages with arrivals potentially in less than ideal conditions? Of course "What's your budget?" plays a big role too, as does personal preferences. I love smartphones with nav apps, but I've come to believe that a medium sized, daylight readable, waterproof screen at the helm is hard to beat when you're just not feeling good about how things are lining up, or the weather really goes to shit in tight spot, especially if you're short-handed. That said, for years I only used paper charts down below at the chart table (next to the LORAN). Everybody has an opinion, just like....well, you know. Happy New Year!

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On 12/29/2021 at 6:39 AM, someoldsalt said:

Good topic-to reignite-a question for the tech savvy.  Let's say I have new Raymarine sailing instruments, new ICOM VHF with AIS and a new fancy Raymarine radar - would it be relatively simple for a simpleton to "see" all of that info on a laptop/toughbook as described as an option above.  The Navionics (or whomever) are pretty straightforward.   Makes alot more sense to my to buy say a $1000 laptop if it has full capability rather than say a Raymarine MFD for more like $4000...In simpleton terms isn't a branded MFD basically a computer for proprietary software?  It seems like radar is the biggest obstacle, my understanding is that radar cannot be "seen" on an Ipad...?

Thanks in advance for your technical expertise....

600$ laptop(tough book police surplus).  Drop proof to about the height of an oil drum over concrete as that's the height I have tested it at.  Not intentionally.  Waterproof to a long ways if the port covers are closed.  Touch screen works with gloves or a tool.  Screen is transflective so the brighter the sun the brighter the screen though a bit washed out.  Police car dock and you can bolt a mount for it that supplies power onto something for about 150$.  In tablet mode I have hung it off of things to navigate on another person's boat.  The handle is a nylon strap, so I just secured that to hang it facing me.  

I have preferred Raymarine for a long time.  Now I will likely go with the new B&G solid state radar since it has no moving parts, is scarily light and uses a lot less power.  Oh and the ethernet cable can be plugged into a router and fed to computer.  My understanding was that the new Raymarine is a bit different and isn't recommended for this by the supplier of the laptop, though I haven't personally checked into it yet.  

 

On 12/29/2021 at 2:42 PM, toddster said:

That's a weird thing that I never got to the bottom of, last time I upgraded Navionics.  From the web site, it appeared that charts outside the US & Canada (e.g. Central America) were available for the iPad app, but not on cards for chart plotters???

Edit: A bit of searching reveals that such cards have since been released.  For some reason they don't seem to be available on the Navionics website but only from third-party sales. ??? 

As near as I can tell Navionics is shaking things up with their product line.  Didn't give me as much of a headache as trying to figure out WTF C-Map is going on about, they have so many versions of the same chart now, or what charts cover where.  I tried for an hour to figure it out then had enough.  The iPad/android app is the simplest. BlueChart from Garmin seemed simple, but I think they supply Navionics now instead.

I came across this place: https://www.chartworld.com/web/

that seems to produce their own affordable charts that will work with Open CPN.  

If anyone knows of another good source for worldwide chart coverage or close to it I would love to know.  

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