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Old 09-05-2012, 06:25   #136
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

Wow. I'm amazed that this thread is still going on. I think the subject of "chartplotter or not" must now, officially, be recognized as being right up there with "best anchor" and "guns or not." I'm pretty sure it now surpasses "best dinghy" on the "beating a dead horse" scale.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:39   #137
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Re: To Plot, or not ? Is a Chart Plotter a luxury or a necessity?

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Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
When a hend held GPS is connected to a laptop w/electronic charts and nav software via a data cable it becomes an a chart plotter. Used laptop and GPS <$100 + software and charts.

Yes, but that isn't what he said. And, computers can fail too. They have batteries, and I know of two cases of failed inverters. What if your batteries go dead? By the time you're connecting handheld to computer, you have TWO things dependent on power to rely on, not one. I think it's an imperfect solution. In addition there is the risk of having your computer in the cockpit or the need to go below to "check your charts."

I stand firmly on the side that says "technology will desert you when you most need it."
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:43   #138
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Not sure I understand your post.

The line above the line you quoted says, "A plotter is a luxury, a chart is a neccesity."

- "...all we would need is a compass" - A compass tells you nothing about where you are and it is impossible to determine current position or heading to new desired position without a chart - I dont understand your meaning here.
- "We have to take effects of current, leeway, etc. into account" - Neither paper nor electronic chart does that? I am still confused.

I'm sorry you didn't understand it. Apparently you DID get my point, but i never said "all we need is a compass." I also mentioned charts, but perhaps not all in the same post. I hope you're not truly trying to distort what i've said. I NEVER said that neither paper nor electronic chart allows to allow for the effects of current and leeway ... because I didn't say that.

The GPS is particularly useful for those last issues, but it can fail.

However, if you have also used a log, you already know what leeway is doing to you, and you also have good indicators about current. I have been talking about combining tools.

Some times, Ex-, what someone else posts will trigger a NEW and slightly different thought in another person. I dislike threads that are held in lockstep.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:54   #139
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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They might if they were down below plotting pencil lines on the chart
If you were close enough to run into a cliff - then it probably means you have a Chartplotter .

If not you, would probably have the wit to look out of the window ......and (if shorthanded) the sense to decide that now is not the time to be going down below, whether to write on a chart, cook a meal or read a book ......and if you don't already have a plan B to avoid a Cliff (expected or unexpected(?!), that requires neither a CP or a Pencil to immediately implement then you haven't actually been navigating...

......But the good news is that 99% of the time that doesn't actually matter.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:48   #140
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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If you were close enough to run into a cliff - then it probably means you have a Chartplotter .

If not you, would probably have the wit to look out of the window ......and (if shorthanded) the sense to decide that now is not the time to be going down below, whether to write on a chart, cook a meal or read a book ......and if you don't already have a plan B to avoid a Cliff (expected or unexpected(?!), that requires neither a CP or a Pencil to immediately implement then you haven't actually been navigating...

......But the good news is that 99% of the time that doesn't actually matter.
Their a very few crusing boats ( cats excepted) that can see anything out of the window forward. Even if the original design allowed for this, the tender, bicycles, kayaks, and pot plants get in the way.
On my own boat the forward view is great, but I would still struggle when sitting at the chart table especially at night.
Still I always have the radar on when down below and there is a repeater at the chart table. I wish to empise I will no longer do this now I relise what a great risk I have been taking even turning on the chartplotter/ radar
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:04   #141
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

Yep.

This is also one of the things that piss me off with plotters - I can see the whole paper chart at a glance but not the whole e-chart (well, unless you have a huge plotter, but the biggest I use everyday may be 10'', most are 4-7'').

On plotters you zoom out and detail is lost. This includes some pretty apparent rocks in the middle of an ocean that can put an abrupt end to a voyage!

;-(
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:47   #142
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

Getting back to the OP's question, I think yes, I would not be without one, for all the reasons already pointed out. But I would not be without paper charts eighter.

As for learning navigation, this site is great.

Advanced navigation courses - sailing schools Greece and the Greek islands

to quote the openning:

What is navigation?

Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse” is latin for: to sail is vital, to live is not. This phrase tells us that both sailing and the “conditio” of positioning are highly intertwined. Indeed, the art of navigation enables you to set a course and sail to your destination by using only nautical charts, a compass and your common sense
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:05   #143
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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(...) Indeed, the art of navigation enables you to set a course and sail to your destination by using only nautical charts, a compass and your common sense
Indeed, as far as I can remember from the college, the definition does not say anything about charts or compasses! It simply states that navigation is the science of getting a ship from one place to another.

art / science
common sense / educated judgment

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Old 09-05-2012, 13:59   #144
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

sounds like time for a poll "do you have a chartplotter on your boat"

I'll go post one even though I bet there are some old ones the same already.
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Old 09-05-2012, 18:34   #145
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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sounds like time for a poll "do you have a chartplotter on your boat"

I'll go post one even though I bet there are some old ones the same already.
chart plotter as in something that is actually sold as a chart plotter compared to a GPS connected to a laptop with nav software and electronivc charts (with all the other things that can be connected a laptop based electronic nav system has the potential of being more powerful than a "chartplotter".
When this thread started it was quite refreshing, everyone agreed that a chart plotter is not a nessesary piece of navigation equipment and anyone who relied on it to the point where it became nessesary was inviting trouble...like many threads this evolved to defending a point of view stressing the strong points without acknologing the weak points then pointing out the percieved drawbacks of the the opposing view without recognising it's strong points. This thread has evolved to electronic navigation vs manual....a "chartplotter" (this is only one part of an electronic navigation system)takes position input, electronic charts and other types of data and prosesses them, then displays the image. I do not have a chart plotter, I do have a GPS and can use the position (as well as position info from other sources) from that on electronic charts (displayed on a laptop w/nav software) and/or on paper charts.
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Old 09-05-2012, 19:07   #146
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As older boats change hands people either replace or "add" to the mix.

I would find it amazing to step aboard any boat (lets forget about dinghys and sub 20 footers) that doesn't at least have a costal chart on board.

A compass is almost as common and almost everyone has a gps in their phone now.

I think a distiction can be made between handheld gps and chartplotters. Handhelds can have chart info or just position read out and some hockey pucks need to be connected to something as they have no display at all.

Chartplotters have bigger screens and they seem to be getting bigger all the time. The capability to integrate inputs at a price that many boaters can afford is making them more and more useful for the private boater.

Radar, AIS, weather?, gps fix all laid onto an electronic chart has to raise situational awareness, reduce off deck time and reduce workload when integrated, trained for and used properly.

This doesn't require a ceremonial tossing of the compass and sextant overboard and a funeral pyre for the paper. It can be additive. I have been on boats that still have a Loran receiver on board.

On a ground up green field installation with say $8-10k to spend a lot of power can be put in the hands of the private boater. Whether that expense is justified is a matter up to the individual skipper. As an observation I would say $10k of electronic gear is pretty much overkill for daysailing and most coastal sailing.
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Old 09-05-2012, 19:57   #147
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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This doesn't require a ceremonial tossing of the compass and sextant overboard and a funeral pyre for the paper. It can be additive. I have been on boats that still have a Loran receiver on board.
A reminder though to check your local regulations before tossing the compass overboard, if you so choose. Around here, for instance, it is unlawful to be more than two nautical miles offshore without one - and they slap on fines, no questions.

So the humble compass may almost be an anachronism but they look impressive and are still required equipment in some places.
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Old 09-05-2012, 21:20   #148
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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As older boats change hands people either replace or "add" to the mix.

I would find it amazing to step aboard any boat (lets forget about dinghys and sub 20 footers) that doesn't at least have a costal chart on board.

A compass is almost as common and almost everyone has a gps in their phone now.

I think a distiction can be made between handheld gps and chartplotters. Handhelds can have chart info or just position read out and some hockey pucks need to be connected to something as they have no display at all.

Chartplotters have bigger screens and they seem to be getting bigger all the time. The capability to integrate inputs at a price that many boaters can afford is making them more and more useful for the private boater.

Radar, AIS, weather?, gps fix all laid onto an electronic chart has to raise situational awareness, reduce off deck time and reduce workload when integrated, trained for and used properly.

This doesn't require a ceremonial tossing of the compass and sextant overboard and a funeral pyre for the paper. It can be additive. I have been on boats that still have a Loran receiver on board.

On a ground up green field installation with say $8-10k to spend a lot of power can be put in the hands of the private boater. Whether that expense is justified is a matter up to the individual skipper. As an observation I would say $10k of electronic gear is pretty much overkill for daysailing and most coastal sailing.
$8=10K!!!! Buying a "marine electronic system" possibly....but for us poor sailors a used laptop connected to GPS (either handheld, mounted or "hockey puck) w/data cable can be done for under $100 (if you try hard enough). A laptop dedicated specifically to nav software doesn't require alot of power, so an old IBM Think pad is fine. Even though there are some expensive nav software programs there are alot of inexpensive and free ones out there (and charts can be downloaded free from NOAA)...my used Fujitsu Stylistic tablet ($100), Garmin 120 ($15) external antenna ($25),data cable ($15), Garnin 12 handheld ($10), data cable/charger ($15) w/assorted nav software and charts for BC, Western Central America and all U.S....total price for "chartplotter" and back up GPS...under $200 (my used 2001 RayMarine radar for $125 brings my total electronic navigaton system to a litltle over $300). How can I find marine electronics at such low prices...people who are convinced that they need (and can afford) the latest greatest faniciest equipment make it easy.
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Old 09-05-2012, 21:39   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfenzee

$8=10K!!!! Buying a "marine electronic system" possibly....but for us poor sailors a used laptop connected to GPS (either handheld, mounted or "hockey puck) w/data cable can be done for under $100 (if you try hard enough). A laptop dedicated specifically to nav software doesn't require alot of power, so an old IBM Think pad is fine. Even though there are some expensive nav software programs there are alot of inexpensive and free ones out there (and charts can be downloaded free from NOAA)...my used Fujitsu Stylistic tablet ($100), Garmin 120 ($15) external antenna ($25),data cable ($15), Garnin 12 handheld ($10), data cable/charger ($15) w/assorted nav software and charts for BC, Western Central America and all U.S....total price for "chartplotter" and back up GPS...under $200 (my used 2001 RayMarine radar for $125 brings my total electronic navigaton system to a litltle over $300). How can I find marine electronics at such low prices...people who are convinced that they need (and can afford) the latest greatest faniciest equipment make it easy.
Different strokes for different folks... There are lots of low cost options. I get by with ipad and iphone. I have a Garmin 296 somewhere that I never use. The laptop, free charts and hockey puck is certainly a great option and I have seen many in use. They do have one disadvantage in the area of cluttering up the cockpit when used above deck and when used below deck invite the up and down the companionway shuffle when compared to a binnacle mounted plotter.

However, I never get my knickers in a twist about someone else's choices. On a 200k plus boat there is nothing wrong with an integrated suite of nav tools. As I said $10k is an absolute splurge for 90% of the daysailors and coastal navigators and I find it amusing to watch skippers glued to the plotter, and course correcting every 2 minutes, rather than looking at the lighthouse 5 miles away...
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Old 09-05-2012, 21:49   #150
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

Luxury or Necessity?

I can't imagine being without one..... well, actually I can, off Dog Island after my laptop went tits up. Had to break out the chart and binoculars to get into Carrabelle, FL to remedy the situation.

Now I have a small plotter at the helm and a laptop backup. Plus an app on my Android phone. The small screen isn't a problem to me.

I think there are situations that a plotter really shows its worth. I've been day sailing Perdido Bay for a few months now, so the plotter is full of bread crumbs of where I've been. When I'm tacking upwind into the bay it's nice to glance down and see my position instantly in comparison to all the other tracks. The rational being that I didn't run aground there last time through. And the tracks are spreading further and closer to shore as I learn the area better.

There a several shoals that jut out well offshore that are hard to spot in a chop. So the previous tracks offer some assurance and allow me to use as much of the available water to more efficiently make way to a lunch spot and a nap at anchor.

A glance at the plotter and depth sounder are routine for me in this situation. And I'm not sure how I could use paper charts to any benefit here as well. Much less a sextant, which I'm certain I'll never have a need for. However I'm working on my DR skills with charts for off shore cruises.

So, doesn't it really depend on what type of sailing one is doing before passing judgement on the efficacy of a plotter?
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