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Old 15-06-2016, 18:18   #16
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Thumbs up Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

I want to thank everyone for your responses and the great info. I have learned a lot. I need to do some more reading and researching but at least now I have an idea of what I want to do. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 15-06-2016, 18:48   #17
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

Welcome, great advice above, and yes, thank goodness you know how to use a Mark I pencil and chart. I tend to favor separate components, because a single screen display can fail at the screen itself, I have lots of panel space (most sailboats have only what can be clamped onto the binnacle), and I don't have trouble integrating the data from different sources in my head. Yes, start simple, maintain your paper chart, find that that is easier now days because you can plot your position each half hour from your GPS, and add components as they attract you. Each adds something - the very last on our list, an autopilot - turned out to be a big advantage when it came to night crossings and general fatique. A very basic starter set might be a mapping GPS, depth sounder, and VHF radio.
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Old 16-06-2016, 07:51   #18
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

Yep. This is true also. If one grew up with paper charts and parallels, why not stick with it? I use plotters etc. only because I have them, not because I need them!

Toys are fine but keep us away from sailing, trimming and other noble activities.

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Old 17-06-2016, 07:27   #19
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
I won't add much as most of the above is enough to go make a decision.

BUT, Welcome to CF

The only thing I would disagree with is whether GPS is a priority. In my opinion it is. For a start, your DSC is pretty useless if your radio has no idea where you are. And your chart plotter won't know where you are either without GPS. But as others have said, most MFD now have a built in GPS. They don't work fantastic in a steel boat though (which is what mine is). Though I've noticed my new Raymarine e9 worked with it's inbuilt gps quite well before I put an external gps arieal on it.

And I think in this day and age the claim that 'electronic' navigation is unreliable is not 100% true. It's not going to suddenly shut down and leave you blind. BUT, it's very true that the accuracy of charts in plotters are at times quite inaccurate, so I'd still recommend a good paper chart when in areas your not familiar with. Even in this 'Western' neck of the woods, boats are still running aground when blindly following their chart plotter. Usually in the dark.
Agreed 100%.

While it is true that many before us have sailed the seas with nothing more than a paper chart, compass, and watch, there are also numerous wrecks near every reef, as those folks usually didn't really know (for sure) where they were (despite the confidence the captain exhibited to appease the crew).

It is also true that one can dead reckon with uncanny accuracy, on occasion. One bad calc or set and drift estimate and, Whoops, there's a 'ole in me boat.

However, while there may be errors is GPS location fixes (but mostly in the mapping to electronic charts) they provide a much more reliable fix than virtually any other method.

I coined a new phrase yesterday, "Folks can be convinced of almost anything based on emotion (the alternative to logical reasoning)."

In this case, someone who wishes to avoid the cost of a GPS (which a basic one is relatively dirt cheap), can rationalize it by any emotional means. In reality, it's about the cheapest insurance one can buy to help avoid ending up on a reef.
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Old 17-06-2016, 08:05   #20
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

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Agreed 100%.

While it is true that many before us have sailed the seas with nothing more than a paper chart, compass, and watch, there are also numerous wrecks near every reef, as those folks usually didn't really know (for sure) where they were (despite the confidence the captain exhibited to appease the crew).

It is also true that one can dead reckon with uncanny accuracy, on occasion. One bad calc or set and drift estimate and, Whoops, there's a 'ole in me boat.

However, while there may be errors is GPS location fixes (but mostly in the mapping to electronic charts) they provide a much more reliable fix than virtually any other method.

I coined a new phrase yesterday, "Folks can be convinced of almost anything based on emotion (the alternative to logical reasoning)."

In this case, someone who wishes to avoid the cost of a GPS (which a basic one is relatively dirt cheap), can rationalize it by any emotional means. In reality, it's about the cheapest insurance one can buy to help avoid ending up on a reef.
While I concur with you about the usefullness of GPS using DR, paper chart, compass and clock hardly were a cause to end on a reef in the days of old. Storms, wars, pirates, broken gear and drunken sailors were..
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Old 17-06-2016, 08:25   #21
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

A common comment in this thread and others is the importance of paper charting skills in case of GPS failure.
I think this argument is overstated. GPS technology is now incredibly robust and cheap. Without trying too hard most people probably have several GPS systems already. It's in your chartplotter, its in your smartphone, in your AIS, in your EPIRB, in your DSC, in your tablet, in tracking software. In the rare event event of one GPS failure most people already probably have multiple backups.
Then really how many of use today really have good chartplotting skills and using a sextant is just about a lost art.
Yes, I passed the certificates in chartplotting but the chance of me making a serious plotting mistake is far greater than a GPS failure or error.
Once upon a time you had to learn Morse code to get a radio operators certificate. Thank goodness that is no longer necessary.
Maybe the day when paper charting is relegated to the hobby or curio category is also not too far away.

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Old 17-06-2016, 09:47   #22
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

It is difficult to make a choice with so many options available. I could share my priority list of that helps you:

1. Electronic compass, which practically means you need to choose an autopilot. Gyro stabilized compasses are best but you can also get a second hand Raymarine fluxgate with an ST4000 autopilot. Keep the magnetic compass as a backup.

2. Chartplotter. One of the best values I have found is the Garmin 44dv. It gives you GPS, charts, sonar/depth, AIS display and it is very fast to zoom and scroll. It also has a vertical display which is better in my opinion.

3. A modern VHF radio with AIS receive.

Once you integrate these three units and learn how to use them effectively you would be very happy.

You can buy the more expensive models as well but pay attention to the ease of integration, the user interface (many touch screens are incredibly slow and frustrating to use).

Also, try to keep non-essential functions off marine equipment. For example, weather, email, route planning, music - all of these are much better done on a tablet/phone than on clunky MFDs.

Good luck.

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Old 17-06-2016, 13:56   #23
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Re: Need advice on nav electronics...my last chart plotter was a parallel ruler

Quote:
Originally Posted by mausgras View Post

(...)

Yes, I passed the certificates in chartplotting but the chance of me making a serious plotting mistake is far greater than a GPS failure or error.

(...)
The game is not about the probabilities of a system failing. It is about the consequences of a fail. Think of passenger plane accidents.

Military pilots will have parachutes, passengers of a B747 will not. Sailing by the gps while not having and exercising strong, non-gps navigation skills is like flying a passenger plane.

Now move one step back. Think of passenger plane crash probabilities.

A sailor who is not secure in their chart work will likely make errors transferring a gps fix to a chart too. Unless they do not even carry a chart and rely on the plotter solely. Again, no parachute. Very smart.

Safe navigation is not about passing certifications, it is about possessing and exercising the skills required to pass them.


Sail safe,
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