We've been using a Cmap mega chip (Mediterranean) in a Standard Horizon 300i chart plotter for three years now - sailing from Holland
via the UK, Atlantic coast of France
, then Mediterranean Spain
, Balearics Corsica
and Sardinia. Find it a real practical (and financial) benefit, since we carry far fewer paper charts
now; tho' old habits die hard and we still maintain plotted positions on paper.
It's very helpful for coastal sailing, particularly at night: also when you are constantly entering new ports/anchorages,it has virtually done away with the old anxieties of identifying land features to make sure you are where you think you are! Using the 'track' feature is another bonus for re-negotiating unmarked channels and shallows: ditto the 'zoom' feature for navigation
We also have a C-Map
card reader, and via a USB connection to your laptop
you can do everything on your computer that you can on the chart plotter. I find it easier to use the PC for passage
planning etc., which is a bit fiddly to do on the plotter - a large keyboard and screen
display is much preferable. Another benefit of using it with a PC is that you can print off sections of particular interest - large scale plots of strange harbours, navigational hazards etc for use with a passage
The chip can easily be updated - I think the cost is about 40% of buying
a new chip.
We have ours mounted at the chart table by the bottom helm
so no problems of visibility. We have only had one 'glitch,' when the screen
display went AWOL. But that was quickly remedied by taking the chip out of the CP, wiping the electronic contacts clean and re-inserting te chip.
Sorry no experience of any other systems.