The basic sailing functions in the B&G Zeus are useful, but have not seemed really revolutionary to me. I do love the Sail Steer screen
(only on the Touch version!). But the laylines have been as much an annoyance as a boon, and I can visualize laylines without having them on the screen
, to tell the truth.
But yesterday, playing around with the Zeus, I discovered that you can adjust the laylines to suit your exact tacking angle. Moreover -- and this is the best! You can set them to compensate for tidal currents!
Now that last is actually tremendously useful! That is because you really cannot figure out precisely the effect a tidal current
will have on your tacking angle (over ground!) and on your laylines. When do you need to tack in order to lay that headland? When the tide is running, you can only guess (or go down to the nav table for some intense trigonometry and study of tidal atlases, something you never have time for while trying to beat upwind). As it turns out, the Zeus, which has tidal flow data in it, will calculate it for you! And once you've adjusted the laylines to suit your boat's real tacking angle, it works like magic!
I sailed from Poole to the Hamble yesterday, about 40 miles upwind, with a friend from the Forum. On a spring tide. It was really cool to watch the laylines close up when the tide turned. And having this data dramatically improved my tacking strategy.
I have liked my Zeuses from the beginning, but would never have said that they have changed my life or that I couldn't live any more with a normal chart plotter. Now I'm starting to change my mind.
This function is really incredibly valuable for anyone who sails
in tidal waters!