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Old 03-07-2006, 15:05   #16
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We run Capn Voyager software with a hand held GPS and a laptop. It is much easier to use than a chart plotter although I have an old green screen Raytheon chart plotter that I use as well. I recently went to a USB GPS that is much cheaper than a hand held, probably because there is no display or software. It is however powered from the USB port so you donít have to worry about batteries for the GPS.

We keep the computer in the cabin at the nav station, not out in the weather. I am not a big believer in steering by the GPS/chart plotter. They are great planning tools and are good for large scale navigation. When it gets to tight quarters, the eyes of the helmsman should be on the water and obstacles around him, not glued to a computer display.

I keep paper charts of the current area near the helm for quick reference. I love the electronics, but donít think they are about to replace my paper charts.

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Old 04-07-2006, 04:25   #17
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I have one of the small Garmin handheld GPS's and a cable to attach it to my laptop. It seems to work OK but I've yet to locate a reasonable software interface. I've tried a couple of the shareware offerings but haven't been happy with the results. Ultimately I would love to use the laptop as a chart plotter and also use it to set and manage waypoints and have the ability to upload them to the GPS.

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Old 04-07-2006, 08:19   #18
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We have a Garmin 45 with external antenna that connects to a laptop running an older version of Figawi, with BSB charts. That navigated us around nova Scotia for the past 6-7 years. The new boat (new to us) will have a Raymarine chartplotter at the helm. This seemed to be a "no-brainer" because we are buying radar and below-decks autopilot, and by the time you buy all the pieces to integrate those the incremental cost to add the chartplotter is essentially the cost to buy the Navionics charts. We might spring for a larger 8" display, but i'm not sure I can justify the addiitional $600 for 2 more inches of screen. (6.5 vs 8.4)

We will most likely upgrade Figawi and get the free ENC's for the USA as a backup to the Raymarine plotter. I am unsure what to do about back-up charts for the Bahamas to Trinidad, our eventual destination. We may just go with whatever Navionics have available plus appropriate paper charts and cruising guides - I suspect that is all we shoudl need.

John
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Old 04-07-2006, 13:48   #19
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I have a Furuno radar/chartplotter at the helm with its own GPS that also feeds the computer at the navigation table. I enter all my waypoints and routes on the computer then upload them to the chartplotter. That way I don't have to have the computer running all the time but its nice to be able to see a real map on the computer screen rather than the vector map on the chartplotter.

I have a backup GPS which uses a bluetooth interface to the computer so it has no physical connection to the computer. This GPS is like the small USB GPS mouse style ones mentioned previously with no display. It can be put just about anywhere on the boat and still provide a GPS signal to the computer with no wires.

Paul
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Old 05-07-2006, 06:51   #20
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Hi all,
Talbot, good point about the magnet on the mouse gps. I just got the usb mouse gps and have Cap'n Mosaic which it runs very well. I also like the free NOAA charts downloadable from net.

Several years ago, before I quit cigarettes, we sailed our monohull and had our pet cat with us. We used catfood cans for ashtrays. I made the mistake of having the ashtray next to the helm compass, and was below giving my wife gps headings for her to steer. She seemed off about 60 degrees, and it took us a while to realize the 'compass deflector' was in place. Thankfully we both gave up that nasty habit, and doing so puts about $70 a week EXTRA into the cruising kitty!

Bob
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Old 17-07-2006, 09:23   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot
There is no reason why you cant try the receiver in situ, and if it neeeds to be moved, then use a USB extender cable. However dont mount the receiver to close to the compass, as most gps/mouse have a powerful magnet in them!
Will do. Another thing: I'm obviously new to all of this and I'm surprised just how difficult it is to figure out how to get one's hands on charts to use with navigation software. Do I have to scan or buy? There's got to be some available on line, right? Scanning seems like far too much work, and prices are pretty outrageous ($250 US for the chart of Lake Michigan that I need).

I've tried to use NOAA charts, but haven't had any success loading them. It's pretty confusing.

I expect to use Sea Clear, at least to start...
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Old 17-07-2006, 09:55   #22
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You ar elucky in that USA makes its charts available for download free. UK you have to pay for them.

They are available in both Raster and Vector - I much prefer vector, but some people prefer the old fashioned raster.

http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/csdl/...direct_new.htm
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Old 17-07-2006, 09:58   #23
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pirate Oh, WE pay for them, just not at time of purchase

Yes the charts are 'free' after one has paid our ever increasing US Taxes! ha, but then that is one of the two things we can count on.

I'm still puzzling over Raster/Vector and don't really grok it. Can you point to a good explanation or give on in a few words without typing your fingers into blisters?

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Old 17-07-2006, 10:15   #24
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Raster - duplication of a chart by use of an image. Zoom up/down and information content remains the same, and chart gets out of focus.

Vector, digital storage of the information such that as you zoom in, greater detail is made available, thus avoiding cluttering the screen with stuff you can see on the charts of larger areas.

Some people dont like vector cause its digital, and they prefer old fashioned charts, but the charts are stored as digital info at the chart depots anyway!

Presumably you feel yourself to be in a "Strange Land"
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Old 17-07-2006, 10:21   #25
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Stranger and stranger

Thanks, Now I know why my charts turn into little pixellated stuff as I zoom in, must be RASTER from your description. I have no problem if it is digital, but whatever, they work, the little gps on the usb works very well, and I have an idea of where I am.

Glad you got the reference. Was a wonderful book and added a cool new word to our vocab... grok!

2 more weeks of work, then a 7 week break to go to FLORIDA to receive our 'new' 1999 Gemini 105m, do some outfitting, add solar panels, bilge pumps, and move it north. Then around the Gulf counterclockwise to Panama. Eventually to get out of the hurricane belt.

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Old 17-07-2006, 10:27   #26
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Comes of being a Sci Fi nut

Dont forget to post pictures when you have collected the new boat, and on your voyage


Good luck and fair winds
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Old 18-07-2006, 09:47   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot
You ar elucky in that USA makes its charts available for download free. UK you have to pay for them.

They are available in both Raster and Vector - I much prefer vector, but some people prefer the old fashioned raster.

http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/csdl/...direct_new.htm
That's a link to NOAA charts that are expressly not for navagation. I followed the link for navagational data, and eventually downloaded a chart covering Lake Michigan. But Sea Clear doesn't see it (ha!), although it's in the same folder at the program.

Anyone out there know how this works? Is it possible that NOAA charts in the wrong format for this program?
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Old 18-07-2006, 10:36   #28
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The above link is the online ENC viewer and of course you can't use that data directly. The ENC and BBS data is actually what you want. Sea Clear does not read ENC data, but it should use the BSB data. The trouble is you probably grabbed the ENC charts instead of the BSB charts.

Personally I prefer the ENC charts as they load together seamless and scale better than the BSB charts. It's the same data either way though the BSB charts have more parts to them. The full set of BSB charts ZIP up to about 3 GB. A high speed connection works well as the NOAA servers can download pretty fast.
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Old 18-07-2006, 10:54   #29
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Quote:
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The above link is the online ENC viewer and of course you can't use that data directly. The ENC and BBS data is actually what you want. Sea Clear does not read ENC data, but it should use the BSB data. The trouble is you probably grabbed the ENC charts instead of the BSB charts.

Personally I prefer the ENC charts as they load together seamless and scale better than the BSB charts. It's the same data either way though the BSB charts have more parts to them. The full set of BSB charts ZIP up to about 3 GB. A high speed connection works well as the NOAA servers can download pretty fast.
Er... okay, but the NOAA site is quick to brag about their ENC charts, but I can't for the life of me find any mention of BSB's. I've got a fast connection here but I don't know where to click.
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Old 18-07-2006, 11:03   #30
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Try:

http://nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/Index.htm

You want what they call the RNC charts.
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