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Old 28-07-2010, 17:37   #1
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Location: New York City
Boat: 1991 Lagoon 55
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Nav Systems, Charts and Weather Together

Background
I recently bought a 1991 Lagoon 55 and am going to depart for a year + of sailing with my family (wife, two kids aged 7 and 10). Leaving from NYC to Bermuda in November. Then off to the Caribbean for the winter. Back up to Bermuda for an Atlantic Crossing in May. Then the summer in the Med. Then.... Well the winds will take us somewhere...

Issue at hand

For navigation: The boat came with a Garmin 3006C (I have an iPad with iNavX for backup). It's got an old Furuno Radar which won't integrate with anything and an SSB (no internet connectivity there).

Question
Like everyone, I have limited budgets, but I'd like to have an AIS, electronic charts for the appropriate areas (paper too), and a weather system that'll work in Europe, US and the Caribbean. It doesn't have to all work together as long as I can see it all.

I'm seriously considering some sort of Sat internet connection, but I'm terrified of the costs associated with it. Then go with MacENC, and iNavX. And invest in lots of money with Garmin for the charts for the 3006C. Buy an AIS to integrate with both and live with the old radar unit.

But as you can probably tell from my question, I'm just not sure. I've been lurking here long enough that you've got lots of opinions, so fire away please if you have a moment.

James.

Oh yeah: No PayPal button. I've sold EVERYTHING to make this happen. Been my dream since I was a teenager.
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Old 28-07-2010, 18:40   #2
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James,

You will have a great time. I would not be too worried about the radar not interfacing. The cruising grounds you are headed for rarely require radar. AIS is a worthwhile option, particularly if you get one that also transmits. In my last trip to Bermuda I used an Iridium sat phone extensively for weather and emails through Xgate. Worked great, would not sail without it. The cost was very fair, $350.00 for the used phone and around $1.25 per minute for connection charges. Average connect time was just a few minutes a day for short emails and gribs.

Good luck

Soiree
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Old 29-07-2010, 19:18   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesANGreen View Post
I'm seriously considering some sort of Sat internet connection,
~~~~~
I've sold EVERYTHING to make this happen.
James,
1) I'll answer your questions below, but first I'm interested in what you require the Satellite Internet Connection for????

When reading this first line about considering satellite internet access, I started to think that you'd be working while cruising, but then this other line about selling everything to make this all happen, changed my thinking....

So, I'm wondering what other requirements you might have for Satellite Internet Connectivity????


Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesANGreen View Post
Issue at hand
For navigation: The boat came with a Garmin 3006C (I have an iPad with iNavX for backup). It's got an old Furuno Radar which won't integrate with anything and an SSB (no internet connectivity there).
Question
Like everyone, I have limited budgets, but I'd like to have an AIS, electronic charts for the appropriate areas (paper too), and a weather system that'll work in Europe, US and the Caribbean. It doesn't have to all work together as long as I can see it all.
2) Please remeber to consider you electrical system, and energy consumption / battery charging systems, before decidong on electronics / navigation equipment....as energy consumption / battery charging (hopefully from solar, etc.) WILL impact on what you use, how you use it, and how happy you are with it.....

I suggest at least one Garmin handheld GPS (~ $150) for primary use / mounted.....which will be very useful on long pasages where use of a chartplotter is unecessary....

And, in addition to the SSCA Chart Exchange ( SSCA Discussion Board • View forum - Chart Exchange ), contact Blue Water Books and Charts ( Bluewater Books and Charts ), and Bellingham Charts ( Discounted Nautical Charts, Reproductions, Electronic Charts & Navigational Software | Bellingham Chart Printers ), for paper charts.....


3) I agree with Soiree, the need for radar along your planned cruise is low.....so, if the Furuno radar works, that's good...but should it fail, no major worries and no need to spend big $$$ to repair....


4) The SSB is where you'll be getting most of your weather data / forecasts from..... ( National Weather Service Marine Forecasts )
And, in addition to safety / emergency comms, the SSB will keep you in touch with others out there....as well as provide you with telephone call ability (at $0.99/minute) via WLO ( www.shipcom.com )


There's been quite a bit of discussion on these matters lately.....
Have a look at these...
Ham, $$B, Iridium ?
If Data Connection Is Necessary, What's Best ?

Those threads cover a lot.....so, for specific details and info on weather data / forecasts, let me know.....

But, briefly, the "gold standard" of offshore / hi-seas marine weather data / forecasts are provided for FREE by the US NWS/NOAA Ocean Precdiction Centers / Tropical Prediction Center.....and weather charts (WeFax), you can use your SSB with a laptop and free software to receive this......text weather (SITOR), and Voice weather forecasts are transmitted by the USCG, mulitple times each day.....
( http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/home.htm )

And, the UK Met Office also provides offshore / hi-seas forecasts and trransmits WeFax charts.....for FREE....
(and the French Met office also provides these forecasts...)

Using the SSB for your weather data / forecasts, will work for your entire planned cruise....US, Bermuda, Caribbean, N. Atlantic, the Med, etc....
WeFax, Voice, and Navtex....are all FREE and will be useful to you...


5) NAVTEX is also very useful, when within 100-200 miles of the coast.... you'll find NAVTEX especially useful in the Med....
You can use your SSB with a laptop and free software to receive this also....or spend a few hindred $$$ on a dedicated NAVTEX receiver....


6) I have no personal experience with the Blue Charts, nor specifically with the Garmin 3006c.....
So, I suggest twp things:
a) determine what software version you have / update as necessary...
Garmin: GPSMAP 3006C Change History
b) ask a specific question (in a new thread) about Garmin's Blue Charts, specifically their accuracy and usefulness for your planned cruise....


7) As for AIS.....there's been a LOT discssued on this recently, check the SSCA discussion boards..... SSCA Discussion Board • Index page

But, in general, most have found an SR162 receiver (~ $200), or similar unit, connected to their chartplotter to be a very useful set-up....

However, I prefer (and have been using for 4 years) a stand-alone AIS unit....and am planning on a transponder (Class B) soon...
Whatever you choose, AIS is a nice addition to any boat, but of course is not a substitute for good watchstanding....


8 ) I have friends who have an iPad w/iNavX.....and they said "it's cool....but NOT something to be relied on".....
A nice toy, but not really an offshore navigation tool....


9) Internet access for web-surfing, on-line bill-pay, skype, etc....most find a decent external, long-distance wi-fi set-up to be almost an absolute....and some combine that with aircards / GPRS / G3 / etc....

And, while the "free" access is diappearing fast, pay-as-you-go access isn't too expensive (depends on where you're at)..


10) If you really want to learn about Satellite Internet access while at sea / out cruising in remote areas....have a look here...
Internet on Sailboat
SSCA Discussion Board • View topic - Satellite Internet Service?
Satellite Email / Internet / Phone


I hope this helps...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 29-07-2010, 20:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
8 ) I have friends who have an iPad w/iNavX.....and they said "it's cool....but NOT something to be relied on".....
A nice toy, but not really an offshore navigation tool....
Uh Oh. I've been using a 'toy' to navigate 5000 miles and dozens of ports this past year?

You can buy several iPhone/iPad units with software and charts for the cost of a chartplotter and the same charts. How's that for redundancy? Plus I can use it from anywhere in the boat.

The only downside I can see is that if you leave it on, which seems rather pointless, it runs down it's battery too fast. And if you put it to sleep it takes a little long, sometimes, to get a new GPS fix.

Wouldn't be a problem if the cigarette lighter outlets in the cockpit were more reliable...WM brand....something I'll fix someday.
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Old 29-07-2010, 21:06   #5
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G'day, mate. What model SSB do you have? It may be capable of using a Pactor modem through Sailmail to get weather grib data and basic email communication. Agreed with all on their radar comments. Cheers.
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Old 14-10-2010, 21:05   #6
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I've opted to get the Sat connection so I can get GRIB files. I could get the practor modem for my SSB, but I prefer the faster internet connection that is possible with the Fleet Broadband 150 that I've purchased. I know you can definately live without it. But I like the idea of being able to get any information on the internet whenever I want it if I need it.

The Radar comments were particularly helpful. I'm sticking with what I've got and am not upgrading.

And I've got a class B AIS on board now. Everything (GPS, Speed, wind, AIS, etc.) integrates easiliy with MacENC and the Navionics electronic charts that I've bought. (I also have paper charts for backup). I've now got a rediculous number of GPS backups (Garmin, independant feed for my PC, iPad, 2 iPhones and a handheld Garmin!)

Pretty sure I've gone overboard and could have survived with less. (I read lots of people here who have.)

:-)

I'm feeling pretty excited, we set sail for Bermuda and then the Caribbean from Manhattan on Nov 6th (or whenever the weather window appears) for at least one year.

James.
www.SailingOndine.com

PS I also have a HUGE electrical supply on board - 4 big solar panels + wind powering 6x8D batteries for something like 1,200+ amp hours @ 12 volts. So far I haven't gone below 95% usage. Hopeing to *never* use the generator that came with the boat.
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Old 15-10-2010, 20:38   #7
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A laptop with MaxSea. A separate radar unit. Grib overlay in MaxSea - gribs imported via Iridium modem (they say the new Inmarsat phone will have data early next year and Globalstar is up to something too).

b.
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