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Old 14-09-2006, 23:07   #1
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Cmap NT+ no more?

Hi
I have a raymarine C520 chartplotter on the boat we have just bought but no cmaps. I rang cmap distributers her is Australia and they say that cmapNT+ has not been updated and is not likely to be updated and that I shoudl buy a new chartplotter!!! Great, who has any money left over after purchasing a boat!

I asked about getting the pc version and being able to save the chart area I need to a cmap disk and he said it could not be done. Is this true? I looked at the us cmap site and got the impression you could do just that.
Has anybody else heard this?

So my question is what do I do? We have to get the boat from Sydney to Adelaide and will have the paper charts but would like to use the autopilot as well..... the intention ( given the weather ) is to do it in about 10 days. ..not my idea of a cruise but the captain wants to get it back in the shortest time possible. Me I am planning on at least 3 weeks.

So do we buy the cmap nt for a grey scale chartplotter and hope that we don;t waste our money or do we spend big bucks on a new chartplotter and newer charts?

Glenda
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Old 15-09-2006, 03:57   #2
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Try C-Map directly. http://www.c-map.com/
I recently purchased a plotter and updated the OS to run both MAX and NT+. It may be that your plotter just needs new software.
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Old 15-09-2006, 06:25   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenda


So my question is what do I do? We have to get the boat from Sydney to Adelaide and will have the paper charts but would like to use the autopilot as well.....

Glenda
Can't you use the autopilot without the chartplotter? I know with the plotter the autopilot can track which corrects for set or leeway but the autopilot should steer a course without gps/chartplotter input. Am I missing something?
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Old 15-09-2006, 21:10   #4
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Vasco you are probably right I am just very new to all of this.
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Old 15-09-2006, 22:26   #5
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You do realise most electronic charts are already out of date when published and not legal 'charts'. Only the paper ones are.

Just getting a 60fter ready for a trip and it has all the wizz bangs. When updating all the bits I found all of this out.

Personally I find that very spooky and assumed, like most I've talked too, electronic gismos would be updated when required. C Map only updates once ever 6 months and you have to pay for a whole new chart not just the update. 80% of the people I have spoken to did not realise they were on seriously out of date gear and, sadly, most had chucked their paper charts.

Probably means it is not a Microsoft product as it updates glitches every 2 mins. Then again it could be having to pay again and again for the same thing.

Needless to say I have now a nice pile of curent paper charts and a pencil. I'll take a pile of DVDs and see if the wizz bangs are good for them at least.
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Old 20-09-2006, 19:10   #6
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Just because the charts have not been updated doesn't mean that you cannot use them. Its not like there has been any significant tectonic activity on Australia's eastern freeboard recently. Frankly, as far as I can tell, the updates will probably ony show changes to fish farm positions! Bearing in mind that having an autopilot running off your chart plotter does not divorce you from your obligation to maintain a proper lookout at all times, I would suggest that there will be no problems with using whatever electronic charts that you have. I am using the Cmap 1994 vintage charts, and they are definitely "close enough for rock 'n roll" as far as I'm concerned (in fact I used them coming from Queensland to Hobart last year and managed to avoid hitting anything )
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Old 20-09-2006, 22:19   #7
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It doesn't take tectonic activity to make a chart obsolete. My four-year-old CmapNT+ charts did not reflect the changes that had been made to the buoys in Kaeohoe Bay, Oahu, when I was there this summer. Fortunately, I did have a current paper chart, and was aware that there had been changes -- I would have been playing pinball with the coral heads if I had tried to use the old electronic chart and buoy numbers.

I am reluctant to spring for the Cmap chart updates, since my chartplotter isn't really supported by Raymarine any more, and I plan to be getting new gear real soon now that will use different chart chips (and have some really nice new features).

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Old 20-09-2006, 22:47   #8
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This is true, Paul, and I was being a tad facetious. Nevertheless, changes to the charts are quite unusual.... certainly around here. It would definitely be realistic to spend a relatively small amount of money on a couple of paper Admiralty Charts (which the original poster says they will have anyway), with the lastest update notes, with which you can, presumably, manually update or annotate the "out-of-date" electronic charts.

They are planning a delivery from Sydney to Adelaide. I am reasonably familiar with the section from Sydney to Gabo Island (where they turn right and I keep going!). To my mind there is nothing in particular along that section that would require anything more than out-of-date electronic charts and up-to-date admiralty notes.

My point is, I guess, that with a functional chartplotter (even just with the in-built world charts), out of date electronic charts, up to date paper charts, an autopilot, (and a hand held-held gps, for emergencies), one probably ought to be able to find Adelaide from Sydney without bashing into any of the rocks in between (my best hint: turn right out of Sydney heads and thereafter keep the dry looking bits on the right). No disrespect to the original poster, - it is good that they are planning carefully for a safe delivery, but it is important to keep a sense of perspective and realise that we can still get from A to B without all the most modern gadgetry with basic navigation skills and basic seamanship.
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Old 20-09-2006, 23:09   #9
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We are in violent agreement! I sail regularly in the San Francisco area, and since I am so familiar with it I haven't felt the need to update the electronic charts. I just wanted to point out that there are times and places when it could make a difference (and you may not know when or where until it's too late).

And I do remember that the electronics can quit at any time, so I try to be at least a little prepared to get home the old fashioned way. I do love my gadgets, though.

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Old 20-09-2006, 23:29   #10
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You are entirely right, of course (damn it; I hate it when a good argument synthesises into an agreement )

I like my gadgets too, but I prefer to not rely on them unless I have to... that is to say that I will give a shallow area a wide berth if possible, rather than trusting my plotter that says that I should be able to get through. Of course, there are times when one has to trust ones instruments implicitly (thick fog, for example), but I hate it when I am a slave to them, rather than when they are slaves to me.
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Old 21-09-2006, 03:59   #11
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agree with most of the above, except in one are. I am violently opposed to connecting the autopilot to the plotter.

Primarily this tends to reduce the amount of attention being directed at the navigation, and can also cause the boat to change direction at a time that is required by the plan, but bears no relationship to other boats on the water.

Furthermore, slavishly following what appears to be the straight line on the chart is not the quickest route betwen A and B. Tide can make a big difference, and for example the quickest route across the english channel will plot out as a sinosoidal curve.

slaving the autopilot to the plotter is primarily a mobo affection, and has lead to a number of collissions with buoys where the waypoint has co-incided with a buoy!
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Old 21-09-2006, 05:08   #12
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The deal with current charts concerns mostly updating change to nav aids I would assume. Although Digitial charts are expensive for a region, to buy a current set of charts for that same region would probably cost a heck of lot more.

And if you have paper charts... those too could be outdated if new nav aids have been added moved or removed.

I think if you are going to sail in unfamiliar waters you should obtain the most current information for that region before setting out... In the end it is a small price to pay when you consider the cost of everything else and what level of safety this provides.

Driving an autopilot on a sailboat often makes no sense at all because one has to trim and it is rather rare to be able to sail rhumb line courses from waypoint to waypoint. But that doesn't mean you should hand steer. Once you have established the course to a waypoint you can often set the autopilot to that course, trim the sails and trim and trim as long as the wind is in a favorable direction. Once you can't fetch the waypoint because it is to close to the wind...or say dead down wind, steering to the waypoint by the autopilot is useless.

Now you have to do some plotting and planning and tack or gybe and so the concept of a position fixer driving the autopilot is uselesss. You have to set a course, trim and then enter a new course tacking or gybing back and forth across the rhumb line.. that is if you have a fairly consistant wind angle.

But there are favored tacks because of current and predicted wind shifts and so on.. and if you plan them right you might find yourself do best by tacking on headers for example over to the favored tack and hopefully follow a lifter right back to your rhumb line. These are all tactical navigational decisions that a poisition fixer driven autopilot cannot do without YOU inputing the headings.

No one should have to suffer the tyranny of the helm, so autpilots to make great crew, but the idea of dumping a bunch of waypoints into a GPS and letting it ghuide you along from one to the next has nothing to do with sailing.

You could do this under power... and this preciusely what power boats do and makes one wonder if they even bother standing watch.. since the GPS autopilot rigs can do rhumb lines pretty accurately.

I like to caution people with the following story.

I sailed many tme between English Harbor Antigua and Des Hais, Guadalope in both directions. Since the angle of the prevailing winds allows one to sail a rhumb line in for each coarse... you can enter the waypoint which is perhaps 50 miles away... set the sails and pretty much let the boat sail you there. Ain't those trades great!

What I found one day when I was preparing lunch down below was a sailboat passed by right next to my galley port. I race to the cockpit totally freaked to have such a close encounter 25 miles from land. But as I look forward I saw a line of sailing vessels headed my way in what looked like a line of single file.

We we all on GPS driven autopilot reciprocal rhumb line courses. Since that time I realized that this was essentially a highway in the sea between the two ports and collisions were possible at anypoint on that highway because vessels were departing each port at all hours of the day. The most common collison point was obviously mid day as most sailors start out early for a daylight arrival in the evening.

This IS the danger of navigating rhumb lines between commonly used waypoint, using autopilots and not maintaining constant watch... In my case I single hand and so I need to leave the ccockpit such as above when I was perparing lunch... but now I am much more cautious and will pop my head up and survey the horizon as often as possible when I am on these highways.

OK there are no roads out there as we know on land.. but there are now virtual ones made possible by GPS and autopilots... and there is no concept of separation there... so sailor beware!

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Old 21-09-2006, 07:12   #13
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Defjef,
I really appreicate your story. I recall a boat that tried to pass Necker island on autopilot and failed. Add to that Calders comments on the inherent inaccuracy of chart making in general I have always been leary of the idea of "programming" a boat to go to a coordinate on a chart. With that thinking it had never occured to me that the opposite might be true, that using waypoints and an autopilot would actually increase the risk of collision with other vessels planning a similar route.
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Old 21-09-2006, 15:24   #14
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As I mentioned in one of my above posts, steering one's boat on autopilot does not mean that you do not have to maintain a visual lookout at all times. If I recall correctly, this is a COLLREG requirement. Even if it isn't, it certainly makes good sense.
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Old 22-09-2006, 00:11   #15
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I think it shows that I really don't know what connects to what yet! I have 15 or so charts to buy to get from Sydney to Adelaide as we have none and I definately want them all. We have to purchase our maps here at about AUS$30 each. They are what we will mainly rely on. I though i needed the chartplotter to run the auto pilot but it is obvious that we do not. My thought were we would only use the autopilot for relatively straightforward sailing.
Never fear there will always be two people on watch!
My main concern was whether I was throwing good money after bad. Sound like I should just go ahead and buy the Cmap NT+, given that a lot of the maps I am going to purchase were originally done in 1966 and have had less the once a year updates.

Glenda
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