This decision is driven by many factors; boat size, sailing style - do you drive the boat from the helm
or let the autopilot
steer most of the time? Do you sail short handed and not have time to get lost
in a screen
I have found that I don't look at the below decks chart plotter very mush - it's a RayC80. I got it as a radar
and added charts and then AIS
. I wired the C80 to cockpit
repeaters for the GPS
, one was the KVH 103 compass
and another B&G repeater. Between them I can see all the waypoint and GPS data I need in the cockpit
. I would never interface an autopilot
with a GPS.
A few years ago I got a Garmin iQue on a lark and bought their blue charts to give it a go. I find the little hand held compliments the repeaters perfectly and I have no need for a large cockpit plotter and no need to look at one below decks. I use the hand held to confirm what I see with my eyes "on watch". Now with an iPhone
and the inexpensive Navionic app I have another alternative for a hand held plotter,. but one, like the iQue is not marinized. But from a data/information POV this works.
I only set one waypoint at a time if I set one at all and then adjust my steering
and trim from the cockpit. Even for far off waypoints which I can fetch I use the heading line on the hand held to steer to the waypoint.
In foul weather
and poor visibility I need to use the radar
and be below decks. Being single
handed this is troubling and a PITA going up and down keeping watch, looking at the radar and referring to the handheld.
I've worked with navionics
, cmap and blue charts and prefer the blues, as being most like the paper charts I am familiar with. The problem I have with the fixed mount plotters is the user interface which I find pretty awful. Lots of data and menu drilling required, most of which is of little use in the end, which is why I am liking the hand held which has less and makes it simple to use. KISS.
Ray has crashed a few times as well.