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Old 02-12-2009, 07:45   #61
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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Radar is perhaps the best piece of kit on board, and I take it before an autopilot.
You and I are clearly doing completely different types of cruising and have completely different priorities if you think radar is more important than autopilot. Given that, I will leave our discussion there as we are unlikely to agree on anything.

The reason I am making a bit of a point here is that I had a friend who was building a new boat and ask me for my recommendations and I suggested furuno for many of the reasons Nick has given. That friend went and bought a complete furuno 3d system and has been terribly unhappy, and when I went to look at the guts of the system (both hardware and software) it as obvious that none of furuno's vast and excellent commercial experience was built into this system. The software is based around a buggy (but getting better) version of maxsea, the charts are a proprietary format (.mm3d) which will lock you into more expensive chart sets and slower development, and the hardware is combination of recreational build with some military trickle down (the digital radar). The digital radar is the best part of the system and its too bad you can only get it with 3d.

I am just trying to pass on a lesson learned by another cruiser the hard way. 3D may well develop into an excellent system (although the proprietary chart seems like a fundamental design flaw) but to use your word, it is disingenuous to suggest it is already excellent because it is flow-down from furunos vast commercial product experience.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:57   #62
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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
You and I are clearly doing completely different types of cruising and have completely different priorities if you think radar is more important than autopilot. Given that, I will leave our discussion there as we are unlikely to agree on anything.

The reason I am making a bit of a point here is that I had a friend who was building a new boat and ask me for my recommendations and I suggested furuno for many of the reasons Nick has given. That friend went and bought a complete furuno 3d system and has been terribly unhappy, and when I went to look at the guts of the system (both hardware and software) it as obvious that none of furuno's vast and excellent commercial experience was built into this system. The software is based around a buggy (but getting better) version of maxsea, the charts are a proprietary format (.mm3d) which will lock you into more expensive chart sets and slower development, and the hardware is combination of recreational build with some military trickle down (the digital radar). The digital radar is the best part of the system and its too bad you can only get it with 3d.

I am just trying to pass on a lesson learned by another cruiser the hard way. 3D may well develop into an excellent system (although the proprietary chart seems like a fundamental design flaw) but to use your word, it is disingenuous to suggest it is already excellent because it is flow-down from furunos vast commercial product experience.

In my experience the NavNet 3D system works great. I would not trade it for any other system. Additionally, nobody beats Furuno's tech support.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:06   #63
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In my experience the NavNet 3D system works great. I would not trade it for any other system. Additionally, nobody beats Furuno's tech support.
Do you cruise outside the USA?

Furuno tech support told us directly and clearly 6 months ago NOT to buy 3D (for the large vessel I am fitting the commercial system to mentioned above) if we planned to cruise outside the USA. Which was consistent with the friend's experience I mentioned above.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:12   #64
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What was Furuno's reason?

No, I don't cruise the research boat outside the USA. Yes, I agree that Furuno's vector charts stink and wish they allowed others charts. I really wish I could download and install NOAA's vector charts. (I use the charts that came with Nobeltec on a separate computer.)

I really wish this proprietary chart nonsense for integrated systems would end. Someone needs to write a software hack that would work for Furuno, Raymarine and Garmin integrated systems. Wouldn't that be sweet.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:20   #65
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Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
OK, I've been intently following this thread and Nick has me convinced that I must have all the Furuno gear.. I'm sold.
If I ever need a job again, I'll tell Furuno they owe it to me ;-)

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So, next step... I started reading the manuals and doing my research... everything appears OK except that there appear to be issues with the maps... in that they're not available except in the US or somesuch.
There has been a lot of trouble with the charts and all that is all over the Internet. But it's also dated information.

The free downloads you read about are the NOAA charts for US waters. I don't know anything about free downloads for other area's.

I contacted Furuno USA with all my pre-sales questions and that is a great experience. I see that they don't have an office in Australia but you should try to contact the distributor and ask them about the charts. There's a big chance that units sold in AUS have local charts installed already.
Also, MaxSea and Furuno are one and the charts for MaxSea TimeZero are the same. They are also shared between the 3D and MaxSea TZ, over the ethernet connection.

For regions outside US waters, I still hear stories about better charts on other equipment now and then. There's always a better chart somewhere, but who is best is a dynamic thing and changes often. I always use additional charts on a computer for tricky area's and compare them etc. You tend to "pick up" charts along the way from other cruisers. So, although I want a decent chart on the plotter, it's the other features that are more important to me. I almost never meet a cruiser that doesn't have a laptop loaded with charts to supplement what they buy for their plotter, no matter which brand plotter they have.

I do know that Furuno USA support will only help customers that buy in the US. I hope the AUS rep's are as helpful for you.

cheers,
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:56   #66
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Oh my, the discussion heats up ;-)

First, 3D supports both raster and vector; it's really no use arguing about something that is a fact. Second, I don't know of any chartplotter that can use the charts that are copied illegally between MaxSea users or the open standard S57 charts, which are hard to find anyway. Some use C-Map, others Garmin and others Mapmedia. And it's the same with commercial plotters, you will have to buy the charts.
The NOAA S57 vector charts for US waters are available as a free download for Furuno 3D users, converted into mapmedia format. These are the NOAA charts, the only official charts for the US. But the US is slow (because it's free?!) so these charts are not complete. That's why many use the NOAA raster charts which are complete.
If some company sells vector charts for the US which are not available as a S57 from NOAA, they used a different source, it's as simple as that. If you are lucky, they converted a NOAA raster chart and may be they did that accurately. They might also have used a British Admiralty chart from the 1800's if you're not so lucky. I would always want a chart based on the official government charts for that area, except when that government doesn't have a hydrographic agency. In that case, it's always so-so. For example: the Imray paper and electronic charts I got for the Caribbean have errors, while the Imray charts for Western Europe are probably the best for that area. Here in the San Blas, the best charts are scans from the Bauhaus Panama guide which have been imported into SeaClear by cruisers. My 2006 C-Map ed.3 is okay too.

So, thinking about how we use charts for cruising to far away places, I conclude that a computer is a must. The charts on the plotter are just used for a base reference and off shore work. Whenever we come close to the reefs and rocks and shorelines in an unfamiliar area, we use the computer with many different charts and many different programs.

I also don't think it's fair to state that the Furuno hardware (the guts) are anything but excellent. I can come up with some brands that are equal to it, but I bet that cruisers with really old radars will tell you they have a Furuno in almost every case. It lasts.

I do agree that the software wasn't ready when Furuno launched 3D. It's only been weeks that it is available for the PC, which says enough. But all current users of 3D that installed the updates will tell you that it is fully functional now, with just some little cosmetic bugs that most never even discover. Compare what Furuno did with Microsoft: they never got Vista right and now replaced it with Windows 7. MaxSea did better because they got it worked out. Revolutionary new technology always comes with hick-ups and cruisers who didn't want that bought NavNet 2 instead. I think that time is behind us now and the ridiculous high discounts for Navnet 2 units show that they are indeed the end for that era.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:00   #67
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What was Furuno's reason? No, I don't cruise the research boat outside the USA.
I have spent a lot of time the past year talking to Furuno tech support and looking at Furuno installations. And I should say that I agree that furuno tech support is excellent and also that their commercial gear is excellent.

Furuno tech support gave two reasons not to put 3D on this particular vessel, which I have alluded to above. The first was the charting problem. The Furuno guys said they had gotten absolutely screwed by their chart supplier in the design process and they saw it getting better but never as good as it should have been. The second is that this vessel (112' Royal Huisman sloop) is going to the high latitudes and we wanted "commercial quality" and they said if that's what we wanted we needed to buy furuno commercial gear (which is a very distinct product line) and not 3D. They said if we wanted a combination of commercial quality and some bells and whistles we had three options: (a) go with the older navnet 2d which is a proven and bulletproof system, or (b) go with commercial hardware (Far2117 and Ch250) and add maxsea on a separate computer for the bells and whistles (and this is what we have chosen to do), or (c) go all commercial adding their commercial plotter which does have bells and whistles but is a large, expensive and power hungry beast.

It would be nice if Nick is right and 3D is all sorted out by now, But we do have two friends (one in the caribbean and one in Northern Europe) who are still struggling. Perhaps they have not gotten all the proper upgrades, which is hard to do when you are out cruising. But it seems to me like the charting is still an issue for what Furuno calls "ROW" (Rest Of World - eg outside-USA) cruisers.

Honestly that all (both the Furuno and IMO discussions) sidetracked the primary point I wanted to make in my post - which was just to remind lurkers that you don't need a nav station that looks like a stealth fighter cockpit to safely go cruising. The thread might lead one to believe that and it is certainly not true (IMHO). A depth sounder, simple low amp small screen plotter, excellent autopilot and vhf will get you there perfectly fine.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:03   #68
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the new Furuno weatherfax is great. It stores all on internal memory and you can use any device with webbrowser to get it, even an iPhone. The Furuno plotter uses it's internal web browser to access it too.

cheers,
Nick.
Nick what practical experience do you have with the above Furuno weatherfax? How far from a transmiting station can he receive? I tried to find out in OZ, the agent was totaly hopeless.
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Old 02-12-2009, 13:26   #69
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Maps, maps, maps...

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
If I ever need a job again, I'll tell Furuno they owe it to me ;-)

There has been a lot of trouble with the charts and all that is all over the Internet. But it's also dated information.

The free downloads you read about are the NOAA charts for US waters. I don't know anything about free downloads for other area's.
So can you tell me what these are then:

MapMedia Catalogue de Cartes Marines

You can click on a LOT of places outside of the US and when you eventually find an area - so for example East Coast Australia - you find a map file (Vector), "3D Data" and Satellite photos. All are downloadable, no passwords, registration etc... ??!?

Are these temporary crappy maps or the "end product" that everybody is waiting for?

Also - this is the warning you get when you download:

Caution: Only replace this data if you have accidentally deleted it from your computer or your NavNet 3D, or if you need to update. When downloading DO NOT modify file names or extensions.


So to me, this says "maps are ready outside US" (unless they're totally crap of course).


Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post

I contacted Furuno USA with all my pre-sales questions and that is a great experience. I see that they don't have an office in Australia but you should try to contact the distributor and ask them about the charts. There's a big chance that units sold in AUS have local charts installed already.
Also, MaxSea and Furuno are one and the charts for MaxSea TimeZero are the same. They are also shared between the 3D and MaxSea TZ, over the ethernet connection.
OK, this is the problem. Buying ANYTHING in Australia is a miserable experience. 99.9999% of staff don't want to help and just try to get rid of you as quickly as possible - or they plain just don't know anything and can't help. Not to mention that all goods arrive in Australia AT LEAST a year later than everywhere else.

Anything important/large - I buy directly from the US and import it (nothing is manufactured here anyway). I'll be doing that with this package as well.

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post

I do know that Furuno USA support will only help customers that buy in the US. I hope the AUS rep's are as helpful for you.

cheers,
Nick.
Not a chance! That's why I'm asking questions here.
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Old 02-12-2009, 13:30   #70
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Nick what practical experience do you have with the above Furuno weatherfax? How far from a transmiting station can he receive? I tried to find out in OZ, the agent was totaly hopeless.
This is what I mean. It's very sad. Not to mention that even though the AUD/USD are almost equal now, the prices for imported goods are STILL double what they are in the US. Pfft.

As for the Fax30 - I'm assuming that receiving just behaves just like a normal one right? ... and that's just based on antenna sensitivity and signal propagation etc?

(This is one of the features of the NN3d package that really got me hooked, ability to automatically receive and overlay weather on charts... nice)
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Old 03-12-2009, 22:00   #71
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Oh my, the discussion heats up ;-)
Whenever we come close to the reefs and rocks and shorelines in an unfamiliar area, we use the computer with many different charts and many different programs.
cheers,
Nick.
So tell me Nick if you use many different charts how do you know which one is the accurate one? As for different programs because they are also so different from each other would it be confusing for someone less smart than you. I remember the early days of word processors, word Star, Tasword and so on, each one with a different combination of keys. Even though I may still use Tasword I prefer to stick with M. Word these days.
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Old 04-12-2009, 00:38   #72
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OK, this is the problem. Buying ANYTHING in Australia is a miserable experience. 99.9999% of staff don't want to help and just try to get rid of you as quickly as possible - or they plain just don't know anything and can't help. Not to mention that all goods arrive in Australia AT LEAST a year later than everywhere else.
I couldn't agree more on this point. It's very frustrating. So many sellers/retailers/suppliers here seem to act like Australia is some far-off unconnected country, then set their pricing and standards of service accordingly.

I support North American businesses whenever possible, simply because they know how to do things right, and they're generally much more knowledgeable/educated (When it comes to their products).

I've sent a support email to Maxsea requesting more information on Australian charts and weather coverage. I'll post the answers here when I receive them.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:11   #73
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So tell me Nick if you use many different charts how do you know which one is the accurate one? As for different programs because they are also so different from each other would it be confusing for someone less smart than you. I remember the early days of word processors, word Star, Tasword and so on, each one with a different combination of keys. Even though I may still use Tasword I prefer to stick with M. Word these days.
You know because other cruisers that go the other direction tell you. They also hand you the CD's and DVD's with all you need.

I don't understand your standpoint that it would be too difficult to use different programs.... all cruisers do that here and I don't really think they are smarter than anywhere else ;-)

Experience in the area is 50% of safe navigation so when cruisers tell about area's you're heading to, you listen and take the software they give you. Here in Panama & Colombia we have a lot of boats that go down for various reasons, breaking up on reefs, sinking after hitting something in the water, whales, rig failure etc. etc. In Porvenir in the San Blas, French sailboats try to go over Sail Rock almost daily. Boats get abandoned and others pull 'm off, put them up beaches etc. All of those underestimated the importance of accurate navigation, or didn't listen to others (didn't understand English??!!!!)

Many, many charts are 0.5 nm off here in the San Blas. That's why some scans from the cruising guide, imported in SeaClear by cruisers is the best option for this area now.

cheers,
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:09   #74
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You know because other cruisers that go the other direction tell you. They also hand you the CD's and DVD's with all you need.
Nick.
So Nick you trust other cruisers. Some 42 years ago when I was teaching sailing in the South of France, some other “moniteurs” told me it was possible to take a short cut around a cape. So I did it just to be abused in my return by the head “moniteur” telling me that nobody did it before because it was to dangerous a pass. So the others “moniteurs” had me on. For this reason I only listen to fishermen and cruisers stories who did this and that.
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Old 05-12-2009, 16:15   #75
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So Nick you trust other cruisers. Some 42 years ago when I was teaching sailing in the South of France, some other “moniteurs” told me it was possible to take a short cut around a cape. So I did it just to be abused in my return by the head “moniteur” telling me that nobody did it before because it was to dangerous a pass. So the others “moniteurs” had me on. For this reason I only listen to fishermen and cruisers stories who did this and that.
You're right, I must change my statement: You listen to non-French cruisers. My French is rusty but I'm pretty sure that "moniteurs" aren't cruisers.

I think the area's that you have sailed are all charted and well known. But believe me, when you sail into area's that have just "unsurveyed" on the charts you really need to listen to locals and other who have been there before you. I wasn't joking about many boats going down here. Last week another one went down during a passage to Cartagena but the crew saved by a buddy boat.

cheers,
Nick.
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