I'm eight months into this new water
life, and maybe two months from my first coastal cruise
My old monochrome plotter at the helm
is no longer viable, so looking into options on the Mac has been a past-time for weeks now. (I also use PC, netbook $300) And I'm lucky in that the free NOAA charts will serve my needs for at least a couple of years as I don't expect to explore the Caribbean for a while.
I have now mounted a 19 inch LED/LCD flat screen
on a hinge in the companionway
. A new Visio ($200) with a 12v input to the panel. It will be connected a Mac, a PC, and a tv antenna
. I also intend to mount a Garmin
76 ($350 with charts) at the helm
soon, funds permitting, but wish to have a large screen
view available as well mainly because of my eyes. Simply can't afford one of the large screen dedicated plotters. I wish to have redundant displays as well.
I won't be integrating with my old auto pilot. Simply creating routes and using them as a visual reference while underway. I am interested in easy access to weather
data and also using Google Earth
while underway. Intending to purchase
a MiFi type wireless for use along the coast and at the cabin
. Just cancelled the Wild Blue disc at my cabin
in the woods.
is stable for me. It seems to be a little harder to see on the non daylight screen (matte finish) to me and costs more than the alternatives. Route
management is taking longer to get nailed down as well. This would go away if I would stop going back and forth between the different software. I think it has more functionality than I need at my experience level and desire to keep things as simple as possible.
The beta OpenCPN
is stable for me. I like it, and it would be the smart choice since I use the same on the PC. Price is right. Seems a little easier to see on the screen. Waiting for the release version and tides, currents, object data. I am the most familiar with this software than the others so that biases my opinion.
is stable as well. I really like this software as the graphics are bold. More bold than the others and therefore more easily seen on the screen. (TV is set to "vivid" setting in picture controls) It is by far the best for my old eyes and for viewing at the companionway
from the helm. Also scrolls quickly when looking around the chart which I think says something about it's burden on the graphics chip. PolarView will be the first choice to actually spend my money on and the price is very reasonable. I don't think there is a PC version or I would buy it also for simplicity. I'll use it on the Mac and OpenCPN
on the PC probably.
By stable, I don't mean perfect, nothing is so. I do mean manageable in that knowing what not
to do will provide an acceptable level of reliability
and redundancy will provide greater peace of mind. I've never had any hard crash on any of these programs after a few days of use. If a program crashes in the first day of use, I don't get to upset. A month later if it is still crashing then something is not right for sure.
I'll have four sources for a GPS fix, counting the built-in GPS in my handheld. And will have paper charts to record
position as I cruise
, to see the big picture, and ponder alternate anchorages
Adding up to about 900-1000 dollars US plus my MacBookPro that seems to be a good bit of functionality for the money.
I know I'm wordy, I apologize. As always your feedback is welcome.