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Old 02-04-2009, 11:18   #31
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Well another question for you, is do you have an auto pilot?
If you do, many of the "modern" chart plotters will also do great circle navigation which will save you plenty of time when crossing the pond. Additionally, they can correct for currents, drift...
Another nice feature is having an anchor drag alarm!
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:06   #32
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I have three chartplotters, 3 dif chart companies. The C80 is below decks and power MFD with AIS and radar. I don't use it much because when sailing I am above decks, but do go down for a look see and in inclement whether or night more frequently. The second older plotter is a back up.

In the cockpit I use a PDA from garmin the iQue3600 which doesn't support much nav bells and whistles but shows a heading line, keeps a track an displays charts beautifully to ANY zoom scale by drawing a marquee with the stylus - this is very usful.

I rarely drive from behind the helm - an auto pilot does that so I see no need to stick a plotter there. If I am driving the boat I can refer to the iQue which can be mounted anywhere it's needed... or taken ashore for use on roads.

I don't link the GPS to the autopilot since this is not only nonsense for sailing but it can be dangerous. I enter a waypoint and manually enter the heading into the auto pilot. I have cockput repeaters for the GPS which show all the usual data, COS, SOG, TTG. XT, CTW, DTW etc so after setting the waypoint on the C8i0 below decks I then enter the heading into the A/P in the cockpit where I can see the data.

The pretty picture I can look at with the iQue. and still maintain watch without standing at the helm.

It works!
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Old 02-04-2009, 13:58   #33
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We have a difference of opinion on the orientation: do most of you prefer Heads Up or North Up?
Sounds like you need at least one plotter each!

My personal choice is 'head up' on plotters with a vertical long axis - on nearly all courses this shows what lies furthest ahead. If my screen had a horizontal long axis, I may go N Up as my longest passages are E-W.

I find Head Up is easiest to orient to (i.e. 'sets the map' relative to your surroundings). But in either mode, showing the projected track forwards on the screen gives instant information on what lies ahead ...
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Old 02-04-2009, 15:35   #34
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do most of you prefer Heads Up or North Up?
North up. I don't have radar.
With North up I hate going SSW as I can never work out to plus 1 or minus 1 Lucky I dont have to try and use a sextant

We are leaving Sunday for a run through some coral reefs for 200 miles basically NW so I might switch it to Head Up and see the difference.

If you read a plea for a tug next week..........
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Old 02-04-2009, 16:14   #35
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I just went to swich mine. It has Course Up and Track Up. no Head Up.
So I put it on Track up. I take it theres no difference?

Does anyone use Course Up? When and why?


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Old 02-04-2009, 17:50   #36
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Does anyone use Course Up? When and why?
As you say, 'course up' equals 'head up'...

My 'big' reason is that objects at two o'clock plot there on the screen. Similarly, hazards, safe water and transits appear where they are as I look left to right. (My plotter is bulkhead mounted; same applies to pedestals.)

( The real reason is that my brain just does not work as well upside down. My neurons get all jingled when I rotate everything I see to match the chart, and jingled neurons make silly errors in the early hours. KISS.)

P.S. As you set up for 'course up', get the unit to redraw only after a notable course change (e.g. >20 degrees), otherwise plotters can make you giddy by redrawing all the time. (A reason some prefer 'North up'.)
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Old 02-04-2009, 18:26   #37
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It's good you still carry paper charts.

In my experience, the chartplotter at the helm doesn't tell you where you are, it keeps you from running aground. It is primarily an inshore tool. Offshore I don't see the need, except we use ours to display radar and AIS in reduced vis. I still like paper charts to tell me where I am, but that may be because I'm old.

They are very, very valuable inshore in fog or when making harbor at night. In fog, the radar overlay is big stress reducer (we have an E80 at the helm).

You don't need to go either large or small, there is a middle ground. One of our backups is a garmin GPSmap 478, with a big enough screen to be readable, built in antenna, and battery power. No install at all. We put an Edson mount at the pedestal that it snaps into. It can also take an XM antenna to get weather maps.

The autopilot is one of our most valuable, fatigue reducing crewmen offshore. Inshore, we rarely use it because steering is fun.

I am north up for all apps, but only since we got the radar overlay.
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Old 02-04-2009, 19:03   #38
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Oh, that brings up another question. We have Radar overlay as well though we havent used it yet. Does the radar have an orientation choice or is it heads up?
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Old 02-04-2009, 20:33   #39
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If I were going offshore for an extended cruise, I would get a system that had a chartplotter that would also show the radar and the AIS on the same screen, as in a Raymarine system. The handhelp such as a Garmin 476 with bluewater charts would be a backup. Also ties to the autopilot and shows the other instrument data as well. For me, the more info the better.
Just depends on how much data you want and how much you want to use electronics. Personally, I'd rather keep the sextant in the box.
ps: I am a techno geek and love the toys.
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Old 02-04-2009, 22:00   #40
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I cruise the SE of Tasmania mainly - lots of bays, points, channels etc etc and sometimes with limited or no visibility - shifting unpredictable winds and need to move anchorage sometimes - I have found my 5'' greyscale cockpit mounted and visible from wheel plotter invaluable. My only criticism is it is difficult to see in bright daylight - but then I dont need to. Lots of other info included - phone numbers of marinas, tidal information, course and other orientation etc etc. Wouldnt be without it - and it was cheap.
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Old 20-03-2011, 16:43   #41
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Re: To Chartplotter or not to Chartplotter, that is the question.

I have both Raytheon and Navman chart plotter repeaters up topside with a Raytheon at the Nav station along with a laptop with global charts and tides etc and all are capable of driving my auto pilots. Call me cautious but with 50 years of sailing the worlds oceans experience, I put safety above all else and knowing where you are at all times comes high on my list. Oh yeah, I also have up to date paper charts and a good old Portland should all the modern gizmos fail. My advice? Don't skimp on things that can keep you safe. Safe Sailing to you all.
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Old 20-03-2011, 17:07   #42
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Re: To Chartplotter or not to Chartplotter, that is the question.

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Not intending to hijack thread, but I am wondering the same question myself. The pricing stays relatively low with a smaller screen (5" or so) Are there regrets out there from anyone who went smaller, or do you get used to them and are they sufficient?
Because if hand helds work well then I would assume a small chartplotter would still be a great benefit.
However, if they only seem like a hand held that isn't portable then I see the dilema.
5-6" is plenty, thats one of the reasons for the zoom feature. That said, charts, compass, knot log, and sextant still are viable navigation tools, if thats the way you want to go. But then as I was outfitting the new boat, I asked the mate what she would like and she wanted larger, so we went with 13" right next to the radar,,,go figure. I guess I've gotten lazy, I like gps.
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Old 20-03-2011, 17:21   #43
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pirate Re: To Chartplotter or not to Chartplotter, that is the question.

Get the CP... yeah I know.. they're crap.. papers better but its another tool... and thats what counts... just keep a paper back up...
Electric/rechargable screwdrivers/drills are fantastic... but I always carry a hand drill and screwdrivers as well
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Old 20-03-2011, 17:35   #44
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Re: To Chartplotter or not to Chartplotter, that is the question.

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Oh, that brings up another question. We have Radar overlay as well though we havent used it yet. Does the radar have an orientation choice or is it heads up?
There are orientation choices. Just for a matter of information...the International Rules of the Road say that if you have operational radar, you'll have it on . I know it's a large current drain, but thats the rules.
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Old 20-03-2011, 17:56   #45
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5-6" is plenty, thats one of the reasons for the zoom feature. That said, charts, compass, knot log, and sextant still are viable navigation tools, if thats the way you want to go. But then as I was outfitting the new boat, I asked the mate what she would like and she wanted larger, so we went with 13" right next to the radar,,,go figure. I guess I've gotten lazy, I like gps.
Being past the midway point between the 6th and 7th decade my eyes aren't as good for reading as they used to be so I have opted for the biggest screen that will fit in my consule (10 in). at times I will also run Enroute with the Garmin maps on a 17 in screen lap top and on occasion I have tied this via HD plug to a 32 in flat screen, usually to entertain guests on board who want to see where we are and how we are progressing.
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