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Old 06-07-2012, 05:42   #211
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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 David_Old_Jersey View Post
Aircon in all cars by 1982? Not in the UK! probably the majority by now - but by no means all. I have never owned a car with aircon! Admittedly, probably 10 years plus since I owned my own car - and it was probably at least 10 years old (I can't even remember what it was!).

They were certainly still selling small B/w Tv's in the UK back in the 80's......that probably linked to the TV Licence fee (that pays for the BBC) being cheaper for B/w.

I hope that one day the whole chart table would be a chartplotter screen!.......and cheap .....and maybe linked in to a small (24"?!) repeater at the helm.

I'm sorry but it's no great badge of honor to not have AC in your car ... where you live.

Try doing without it in rush hour in St. Louis, MO, which has had multiple days of 108 heat (over 42 in Celsius).
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:44   #212
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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 simonmd View Post
Maybe you guys in the good old US of A had aircon in all your cars in the early '80's but let me assure you that here in good old Blighty, we certainly did not! It was only available on luxury brands (there's that word again...) like Jaguar, etc. and even then it was usualy an extra cost option. I actually owned a Jaguar XJ6 that was built in 1984, it had leather, metallic paint, electric windows, mirrors, roof and even cruise control but NO aircon!

As for TV's, I didn't have a colour TV in my room until I was 14 and I was born in 1970, you do the maths.

Anyway, this is splitting hairs, surely you can see the point I was making. Picking holes in the exact items and dates is hardly productive. I'm simply saying that a chartplotter is NOT a luxury anymore. Anyone who can afford a boat, even a small one, can afford one.

1982? In 1972 I had to special order a car without AC. I simply couldn't afford the extra cost, but St. Louis in the summer without AC in your car is absolutely brutal. It depends on where you live. I'm from St. Louis, and they have had multiple days of 108 degree highs.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:51   #213
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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 Littlechay View Post
That's a bad example; I have both a paper chart and a widescreen, touchscreen, all the bells and whistles plotter in front of me. A glance at a light house on the paper chart and I see e.g. Fl.3.5s17m6M which tells that the light is white, flashes every 3.5 seconds is 17m high and has a nominal range of 6 nautical miles.

To get that same information on the plotter or computer I have to make sure the chart screen is selected, move the cursor over the light, press enter then maybe select light characteristics from the menu and press enter again, the resulting popup blocks my view of the five lights on the same headland. Whereas on the paper chart I can see all of them and all of their characteristics at a glance.

A plotter in the main will not give you more information than a paper chart and it may be harder to get to; however that only applies if we only talk about charts. Of course a plotter can give you satellite and air photo overlays, tides at the push of a button, current flow and direction, moonstate etc. etc.. It'll give you a continuously updating line showing your course over ground, it may also show heading, tack angle, lay lines bla bla bla. You can slap on the radar overlay to see if the chart is accurate or not.. Pop up the sonar window and check depth, bottom hardness, water temperature...Lovely tools indeed.

All that can be done on paper charts but it take work, and tables and books etc..

So for quick situational awareness, inshore, a plotter is great. my original comment was in the offshore situation where a chart of your section of ocean can show you a lot of information at a glance that is arguably more of a fiddle to find on a plotter.

The problem is that they are a all you eggs in one basket system. If my MFD (plotter) goes down I loose not just the charts, but also radar and sonar. For a cruising boat offshore they consume a lot of power.

I prefer a good software chart programe to any of the plotters that I have tried because I don't like the ergonomics of the plotters. Having a proper keyboard and a mouse or better a trackball (mice take on a life of their own at sea!!) is so much more comfortable to use. But again there are downsides , not robust or very waterproof unless you spend a lot of money, difficult to use at the helm! Pros - easy to use, cheap hardware, easy to upgrade, customisable etc. etc..

Horse for courses; you pays your money and takes your choice (or your chances).

Software (PC and chips for plotters) charts are undoubtably cheaper, or for those of you in the US, NZ, Brazil and a couple of other places free.

Nothing better than sitting around in the saloon with a glass of wine and some charts on the table planning tomorrow's trip, next years voyage or whatever... that doesn't work with a plotter

my opinions of course

:
A plotter in the main will not give you more information than a paper chart:


Then you bought the wrong chart plotter, because mine does EXACTLY that.

Using a chart plotter to figure out a blink pattern is like trying to use a screwdriver like a hammer. Won't work efficiently.

However, it simply is NOT POSSIBLE to zoom in on a paper chart and get more information.

No matter what you do, that paper chart will not guide you through channel markers you can't see in the fog. My chart plotter does exactly that. I don't trust it until I've compared the real channel marker to both the paper chart AND the chart plotter. I've never had to do that yet; pea soup fog is not common where I live although it does occasionally happen.

One has to know the strengths and weaknesses of each navigation tool. Your example of the blinking light was designed to make chart plotters look bad. I urge newbies to take any strong bias with a grain of salt and to make the effort to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each.

I had a fellow on my boat once who REFUSED to learn ANyTHING about the chart plotter. We had engine trouble and had to turn out. He didn't know it, but if we had continued, he was going to be put off the boat at the next stop with bus fare home. It's my boat, and if I want you to be able to use the chart plotter, that's what I expect you to do.
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:55   #214
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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 noelex 77 View Post
Funnily enough I was doing that just a few munites ago, but with an iPad, much better than lots of paper charts, I can zoom Into the anchorages and see what it's like, check the weather and put a google overlay to see if their are any shops nearby.
Technology is wonderful.

Exactly. Just because someone is extremely familiar with the waters he or she sails in and doesn't see the need doesn't make technology worthless. Nor does it make the sailor either lazy or lacking other skills, as is so often implied here.

Refuse to learn how to use the electronics I have carefully chosen for my boat and you're off the boat.

One question about the Ipads. Are they limited to coastal use, or would you get those signals, say, 50 miles or more from shore? (That's not a criticism; I like to know the weaknesses as well as the strengths.)
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:58   #215
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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 Tomahawk View Post
Air con... navigation...
I must be getting dim in my old age as I am having trouble seeing the connection??

It's all about the march of technology. It really IS all connected.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:01   #216
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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 Svanen View Post
Neither the oceans nor the celestial bodies have changed during the past three decades, and traditional (non push button) navigation still works as well as it ever did.

If someone prefers to use GPS for offshore navigation, that is certainly a viable option and that choice does not imply that they are in some sense a lesser mariner. However, there are alternatives and - with all respect - categorical statements to the contrary are simply incorrect.

I think it would be incredibly stupid and stubborn to go offshore without a chart plotter, and incredibly stupid to go without charts and a clue about how to use them. To reject such good technology -- why do it? It makes NO sense at all.

In fact, I would say have a backup, a handheld chart plotter. As chart plotters they stink, but they'll give you your lat and long very accurately. You'll know EXACTLY where you are. Then use those paper charts, and actually MARK YOUR PASSAGE on them.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:07   #217
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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
Aside from mounted, dedicated chart plotters that have costs running in the thousands, the "poor mans plotter" (laptop with PC connection to GPS) can be trashed simply by sliding off the bunk and/or something landing on it (not too mention moisture and battery failure).
Sextants are not as accurate as GPSs, but you don't have to be that incredibly accurate at sea anyway. People who have relied too heavily on GPSs accuracy have ended up on the rocks because they were not quite as accurate as they thought (friend of mine ended up on a reef that way).

HUH??? My 441 is mounted securely and is not at risk of being trashed. It cost about $450. It's easily protected in severe rain, but has come through use in the rain quite well. It uses very little battery power, and the most rudimentary monitoring of my batteries would prevent its failure from that cause.

My backup is a handheld and stored in a secure location where it cannot go flying. It's really not hard to do.

Your friend was an idiot if he didn't use chart plotter and chart together, but I will point out that it's the paper chart that's more likely to be out of date because chart plotters can be updated.

I AGREE with the argument that people who rely ONLY on chartplotters shouldn't even be out on the water. I've reported before about the guy who wanted CG to come out and guide him to the entrance to a channel -- a channel VERY easy to spot and RIGHT BY the Skyway Bridge -- not exactly a small landmark to find! His chart plotter had gone out. I overheard this on my radio.

But if your friend had used his technology intelligently, he would not have ended up on a reef.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:09   #218
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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 Svanen View Post
Hi David, Please elaborate. What do you believe may have changed (besides the availability of GPS)?
Sand moves all the time. I was just watching PBS last night and it had a fascinating report about finding Blackbeard's ship, "Queen Anne's Revenge." He ran aground outside of Charleston, NC.

One of the people interviewed was a CG officer who helped manage marking the very tricky entrance into Charleston Harbor, which was Blackbeard's undoing. He reported that the very treacherous sandbars there can move eleven feet in one year. The sea is constantly changing; that's just one example.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:36   #219
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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 Rakuflames View Post
I think it would be incredibly stupid and stubborn to go offshore without a chart plotter,
Why?

There's nothing there.

Where's the benefit over a passage chart?
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:45   #220
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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 Rakuflames View Post
Exactly. Just because someone is extremely familiar with the waters he or she sails in and doesn't see the need doesn't make technology worthless. Nor does it make the sailor either lazy or lacking other skills, as is so often implied here.

Refuse to learn how to use the electronics I have carefully chosen for my boat and you're off the boat.

One question about the Ipads. Are they limited to coastal use, or would you get those signals, say, 50 miles or more from shore? (That's not a criticism; I like to know the weaknesses as well as the strengths.)
To use the maps and gps do not need to be connected to anything. To download new maps you need an internet connection, but it's easy to download anything you may need in the future ( my iPad has maps for all of Europe on it for example)
To get a google overlay and current weather you need an Internet connection, but you can store google earth photos if you want and I often do this of anchorages I am heading to in case there is no Internet.

I still prefer a proper chartplotter. I came through a narrow entrance which was unmarked just a few days ago and the iPad gps went very strange. Not sure why it decided that very moment to do that. My ordinary chartplotter has never frozen like that. Annoying as the iPad map was the best of any of the options. Including paper. Someone had actually put a waypoint, with depth, in the centre of the Chanel which was visible with a " community overlay" which alows other sailors to put notes about anchorages, channels etc. this technology is already useful and will become much better in time.

With paper charts alone I would not have come through that channel.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:54   #221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames

Exactly. Just because someone is extremely familiar with the waters he or she sails in and doesn't see the need doesn't make technology worthless. Nor does it make the sailor either lazy or lacking other skills, as is so often implied here.

Refuse to learn how to use the electronics I have carefully chosen for my boat and you're off the boat.

One question about the Ipads. Are they limited to coastal use, or would you get those signals, say, 50 miles or more from shore? (That's not a criticism; I like to know the weaknesses as well as the strengths.)
With the version of iPad wih internal gps, you can receive L/Lo information anyplace in the world. Same as a standard gps. Regardless as what has been stated on CF, it does not need Internet or cell service to work.

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Old 06-07-2012, 07:14   #222
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

you are correct Dandrews, although when the iPad is using its internal GPS is gulps down electricity like mad - battery wears down is say 6 hours
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:19   #223
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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you are correct Dandrews, although when the iPad is using its internal GPS is gulps down electricity like mad - battery wears down is say 6 hours
It will run ( and charge ) off 12v with a readily available plug so the battery life is not a big problem.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:40   #224
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

I tried Googling for this but had no luck----has the GPS itself ever had a failure that has caused the earth based devices to be unable to get an accurate position? Is this a likley failure to eventually occur?
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:52   #225
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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I tried Googling for this but had no luck----has the GPS itself ever had a failure that has caused the earth based devices to be unable to get an accurate position? Is this a likley failure to eventually occur?
Individual gps units can and do fail, so you need backups. The gps system as a whole is very a unlikely to fail significantly.
It is possible to jam a gps signal easily over a short range with a transmitter. The military do this occasionally as do some people who have stolen cars. I have never experienced this and have lived on my yacht for the last 5 years with the gps on permanently.
I think a lot of reports from jamming are as a result of intermittent failure of the gps unit rather than the system.
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