To answer the narrow question posed by the OP: you have gotten good advice -- you don't need a chart plotter in a dinghy
(and how would you power it?). All you need is a simple handheld (or better wristwatch-type) non-mapping GPS
with lowest possible power consumption
, and a good supply of lithium batteries. And paper charts
in a good waterproof pouch. Needless to say, going far offshore
in any vessel, you will want to have a PLB or EPIRB
with you. You will want flares in a waterproof container, and a handheld VHF
, preferably with DSC
, a battery tray, and a supply of lithium batteries.
I know you were not asking for advice about your plans in general, but it would be irresponsible for us not to comment on them, although it may not be what you want to hear.
Sailing to Iceland
from the UK is a singularly unsuitable trip for a dinghy sailor. The reasons are very simple:
1. The temperature of the water around Iceland
rarely exceeds 10 degrees C. I think a number of people giving advice above did not quite take that into account.
2. You cannot be sure at all of staying out of the water in a dinghy in rough weather
3. The average person is unconscious in one hour in water of 10 degrees C.
4. In many cases, it would take rescue
services many hours or days to find you, in the sub-Arctic North Atlantic.
5. That sea area has frequent violent gales (and incidentally, when it's not storming, often has lengthy, dead calms, which can also be dangerous in a motorless dinghy with limited food
and water carrying capacity). The sea state produced in such storms will overwhelm a small boat without a keel
6. The distance is far too great for you to be certain about your weather
window, sailing at the speed of a small dinghy.
All this adds up to this trip amounting to a reckless risk of your life, and that of anyone trying to rescue
you. If you don't care about life, and the choice is between this and suicide; if you don't have any family
members or friends or loved ones whose lives would be damaged by your throwing away your own life in a gratuitous fashion; if you don't care about the lives of people you might put in the position of trying to save you -- then by all means, go ahead.
Otherwise, I strongly suggest that you should either choose a vessel more suitable to this cruise
, or choose a sailing area more suitable to your vessel. A trade-winds trans-Atlantic would be a far more reasonable thing to do in a dinghy, than a trip to the sub-Arctic North Atlantic. With warm water and predictable weather, a long voyage in a dinghy starts to become less stupid.
I have planned a trip along the same route
myself, have good friends who have done it, and am quite familiar with the charms of these places. If your main goal is to visit these magical places by sail, rather than doing some luridly reckless thing which will be fun to tell about in bars, in case you survive, then there are plenty of suitable vessels available for little or no money
. If you look hard enough, you can find a battered old Contessa or some other really good sea boat like that, practically for free, plus the time and labor to fix it up a little. There are thousands of such boats available in the UK; someone would probably donate one for a cool trip like that.
It will still be a big adventure and big challenge, in a small but sturdy keel-boat. You run a significant risk of being rolled and dismasted if the weather does what it often does in those parts
. It will not be without danger
. But the crucial difference is that such a boat will most likely keep your body out of the cold water, come what may. A dinghy won't, beyond a certain sea state. I spent years and years sailing (and capsizing) dinghies, and know what I'm talking about.
Sorry for preaching, but it would have been irresponsible for me not to have made these comments.