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Old 05-04-2010, 20:48   #16
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Brett, I think your best bet is to find out what model GPS will be on your boat and simply download the instruction to familiarize yourself with it ahead of time. I think spending simulated time that may not even represent your unit, may not accomplish much. You'll pick it up very quickly and as others have said navigating in the BVIs is very simple.

One of the things that is apparent to me, is that often all the people who produce charts are basing them on the same information, so it's easy for something to be inaccurate in almost every source. Some of my most memorable cruising moments are when I stop assuming the charts are correct and explore for myself.
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Old 05-04-2010, 21:15   #17
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Using electronic navigation in the BVI's is like using your cars Northstar Street Navigation system to drive around your local neighborhood. Everything in the BVI's is visible and distances are minimal. Only a good guide book with harbor and island anchorages is even remotely necessary. And you use them to primarily find out where the good restaurants and shops are.
- - Having said all that, the BVI's or any other "visual" island areas are good places to start to learn and get experience using e-nav systems - BUT - be sure somebody else on board is actually at the helm and steering the boat while you have your head down playing with the e-nav system. There are hundreds of other "crazy" and in-experience sailors all over the place heading in every which direction so you will spend most of your time watching, avoiding and dodging them.
- - Really, only the up-to-date guide books will have accurate information on passes, cuts and anchorages. Government charts will not have anywhere near the accuracy and reality of what is out there or under your vessel compared to a good guide book.
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Old 08-04-2010, 15:27   #18
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Just back from the BVI

Yes, the navigation is easy and you don't need a GPS really, but that was kind of the point - a good place to try out various ideas in a non-critical situation.

So, I tried PolarView. In general, I just found it easier to use than Open CPN (for a novice, I'm sure it's an excellent program too).

I downloaded the S63 charts from Chartworld and that worked great. Also, the GPS interface with PolarView was pretty seamless once I got it set up. The only issue that about 3/4 of the way through the trip, I could no longer get PolarView to start on my system, it just froze at the startup splash screen. Possibly a function of using the Beta version, I probably just need to re-install, which I'll do shortly.

In all, I really enjoyed the quick routing you could do, then follow and save tracks. You could really see your tacking angles, which improved as we got to know the cat.

I would recommend PolarView as for now I assume the hangs can be resolved, and I plan to use it again on a trip to Channel Islands next month off the coast of California.

Brett
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Old 09-04-2010, 22:24   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettnkay View Post
I downloaded the S63 charts from Chartworld and that worked great. Also, the GPS interface with PolarView was pretty seamless once I got it set up. The only issue that about 3/4 of the way through the trip, I could no longer get PolarView to start on my system, it just froze at the startup splash screen. Possibly a function of using the Beta version, I probably just need to re-install, which I'll do shortly.

Brett
Brett,

Thanks for the positive feedback!

The product is not in a Beta anymore, so any hang up is definitely not acceptable. Please contact me directly and I'll see what the issue may be (I am fairly sure it can be cleared up easily, but I'd like to try and get the state of your program to be able to potentially debug and find the root cause).

Due to some editing that is going on I am unable to provide a contact link. Please look it up in the Help dialog of your application.
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Old 11-04-2010, 20:48   #20
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I updated to the latest version of PolarView and now everything is working great again. You've got a great program there Brak, keep up the good work.
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Old 07-05-2010, 13:31   #21
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Just a follow-up to correct a statement I made back in the day. I recently had a chance to compare vector charts of BVI with satellite imagery. As I found out, it is the US chart that is off by quite a bit while UK charts are exactly correct when it comes to shoreline (particularly visible on Jost Van Dyke). I went to check the original raster chart (used as a source for US vector chart for the area) and it had a nice little diagram on it showing how old was a survey data for each chart area. Evidently, the British waters chart is based on pre-1900 survey!

Incidentally, being able to compare charts easily with aerial imagery helps find chart errors in a jiffy. I just found a few obvious errors in Fla. Keys NOAA ENC charts. I particularly liked the one where they marked what should have been a channel as a "pier" It is clearly a scanning/object marking error when going from raster to vector.
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Old 07-05-2010, 13:46   #22
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Brak, just got back from the BVI. Had a great time!

Being able to plan everything out down below on the laptop over a cup of coffee every morning was just great.

Thanks for the Tips!
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Old 01-10-2012, 14:58   #23
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Re: PC Charting for the BVI

OK, I'll give Polar Navy a whack. I've got a Mac and PC aboard and am bringing a 36' FP cat from Tortola to NH in either November if possible, April otherwise. Currently sorting thru captains apps. Bob
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:18   #24
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Re: PC Charting for the BVI

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Originally Posted by brettnkay View Post

Not too many other responses to this thread (possibly because most folks considering navigating the BVI's a trivial matter, which is probably true).
It's not so much that it's a trivial matter. It's that it is sooo nice there that spending a moment on a laptop for anything is a waste o'time.

Perhaps you don't have a boat at home and haven't had time to practice, but doing so while there can take away from the fun. Like: reading at anchor, sipping sundowners, having coffee on deck int he morning, snorkeling, sailing, navigating by eyeball (which is sometimes more important to know than playing "video-game" navigation), dinghying round, going out to eat, eating on board, going to a resort's pool, shopping for food, cuddling...

We've been there a half a dozen times, and still bring the 1986 PAPER chart we got the very first time we were there. It (the chart) still works and has all of our courses, plus our own log book. If I wanted to "share" I'd take a picture of the chart and email it to friends. Never seemed to need to do that.

Go and have fun, however you choose to do so, but I'd get my head OUT of the boat, first. I'd rather eyeball things than have my head stuck in a computer for a trip like that.

Have a great trip.

PS - Cooper Island Beach Club. And get TWO T-shirts, they eventually wear out and you'll miss it when you get home. Still have mine, but can't wear so often or it will wear out.
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