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Old 04-06-2015, 03:15   #1
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Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Hello,

I am preparing my boat for offshore cruising and don't know where to start with navigation options. Currently have a dated Navman with 5 inch colour screen which only has charts for NZ and South Pacific.

So what do people use who want an affordable option for extended cruising?

I looked at updating my chartplotter but the charts seem very expensive, so if you go with laptops or Ipads is there an affordable way of getting the navigation software and charts?

I have a Farr 44 just to give an idea of boat and size.

Thanks in advance for advice.

Anthony
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:01   #2
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Where are you Anthony? I might be able to help with some lower cost options?
Send me a PM with your contact details..
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Old 04-06-2015, 14:06   #3
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Asked Garmin Rep's at a boat show about the cost of charts for long distance cruising. They said that they can make up custom chart chips to cover large areas way cheaper than buying the individual readily available chips. Might give then a shout to see what they can do for you.
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Old 04-06-2015, 14:19   #4
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Didn't read the o
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Old 04-06-2015, 17:25   #5
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Hello.
What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you, though what follows may not be what you expect.

My Suggestion?

Name the following first:

1. Your budget.
Everything follows or is allowed by a your budget for this. Without knowing what your total budget for this, how can people make the best suggestions to fit your other needs or goals?

2. Where do you intend to cruise (From where to where?).


3. Are you "handy" and do you feel comfortable installing all the electronics yourself, or will you need to hire someone to do that for you? (Labor cost)

4. Do you currently have a Laptop or Mac or iPad to use on the boat?

If you do those two things, I think it will increase your chances of getting some better answers.

For example, after naming a budget ($$) the forum members will likely be happy to spend it for you with their suggestions.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:46   #6
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

For long ocean passages, you need nothing more than a $99 garmin etrex (or older versions, even cheaper used). A handheld GPS will give you the great circle course and distance. Thats all you need in the middle of the ocean.

As for charts for when you get there...I'll leave that to the others to reply. I find that chartbooks are the best value for paper. As for e-charts...the rules change every day. have you seen this:

Navionics Webapp

Maybe I'm old, but that site alone blows my mind. Great for trip planning.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:04   #7
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We sailed from New York to the Med with an old chart plotter that had very limited charts, so we considered that to be back up, used mostly for radar display. Our primary navigation instrument was an iPad using the Navionics program and their electronic maps. I think the program cost about $10us for a smart phone and about $50us for a tablet. Charts cover the world in very large chunks at about $70us each and are RESIDENT on your phone or tablet. No need for cell coverage other than to download them originally.

We had three tablets and two phones with all loaded up for navigation (you can load each purchase onto two devices, so was not that difficult). We added twelve volt charging at helm and various other places around the boat and bought an inexpensive mount to put the I-device on the nav pod. Used one devise all the time and Kept it always plugged into a charger, but we had the others as backup if needed. We had limited paper charts and backup GPS's but the iPad tok us everywhere and always had detailed charts in US, Bermuda, Azores, Gibraltar, Spain and Belarics, Italy, Greece, etc.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:12   #8
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

As all good sailors will be able to tell you, electronic navigation is only an aid to navigation ,all off shore and deep sea voyages should be accompanied by paper charts as alluded to by the previous writer,the idea what happens when the electronics break down,you will then bless the day you had a paper chart, only the misguide sail long distance without paper charts .




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Old 05-06-2015, 09:29   #9
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pirate Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Anthony.. Get in touch wth Mike Quinn at Nimble Navigator - Marine Navigation and Charting Software all you need is a laptop and you have all the charts plus the program to sail anywhere in the world.. $125us last I looked
I've been using it for 4yrs now.. Brilliant
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:38   #10
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Belingham chart printers does very good, very cheap prints on heavy paper in black and white (to keep the cost down). Take a look at their website:

https://tidesend.com/

Chips for chart plotters are expensive, but if you have a computer (and i presume you do since you're on here!) download openCPN. There are hundreds if not thousands of charts available for free from the NOAA website and the New Zealand Hydrographic Office. South American charts are also free.

If you happen to bump into someone along the way, and they happen to have an extensive electronic collection............. a USB stick will assist you in expanding your collection significantly. Buy a GPS USB dongle for $50 or so and you've got a fully-functional chart plotter on your laptop.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:44   #11
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrysandling View Post
As all good sailors will be able to tell you, electronic navigation is only an aid to navigation ,all off shore and deep sea voyages should be accompanied by paper charts as alluded to by the previous writer,the idea what happens when the electronics break down,you will then bless the day you had a paper chart, only the misguide sail long distance without paper charts .




The rewards of a life lived well is to plant trees under who's shade you do not expect to sit
........and here we go again.
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how long has this been going on and why wasn't I told about it earlier.....
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:04   #12
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

We used plain vanilla stuff: paper charts (often only X-copies but originals if I could get any), compass, log, sextant, etc. Nothing fancy. There is very little navigation to be done offshore. Get from A to B not hitting the rock (only if there is any).

On the electronics front I swapped between two identical Garmin handhelds. Should one die, I did not have to re-learn the interface. For long offshore legs I had the handhelds pre-fed with our intended WPTs and with alternative landfalls (as well as obstructions WPTs, if any).

We sure had things like electronic charts etc. but I considered them toys and tools that were nice to have but not essential.

My fave way to use all this combo was to set the handhelds up prior to departure (I did most planning in MaxSea then sent the WPTs to the handhelds). Under way I could pull out the handheld and look up (and take down) our whereabouts in about 30 seconds. I would keep regular notes of our fix, most often on the paper chart in use.

I took sights and plotted astro now and then, mostly when the weather was friendly. I got to within 5 miles on an average day and to about 20 miles on a very rough one. Good exercise in case the electrics and electronics go to the dark side.

Well. So my two cents is just try not to overnavigate things. Use the tools you are comfortable with and sure keep your options open when offshore. Loosing all power and electronics (as in a lightening strike) should not be a reason to push that red button.

Fair winds,
b.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:08   #13
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burge View Post
Hello,
Currently have a dated Navman with 5 inch colour screen which only has charts for NZ and South Pacific.

I looked at updating my chartplotter but the charts seem very expensive, so if you go with laptops or Ipads is there an affordable way of getting the navigation software and charts?
Anthony
By the sounds of it you're looking for cheap. You can go one better and have free if you're willing to spend a little time.

You don't say where you are, but given you mention New Zealand, LINZ provide all NZ charts in raster format as a free download on their web site here. In the same was as the US Govt provide all electronic charts for free here in S57 format. (Many Governments do this, it just takes a bit of Googling.

An option is OpenCPN here. An excellent system that accommodates a wide range of chart formats including those above. The software has a huge following here on CF and dedicated forums here. versions available for Windows, Android, Linux etc.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:24   #14
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

get paper charts and a handheld compass, service your ships compass and get and learn to use a sextant. When the electric is gone you won't be lost or embarrassed when you've used the last of your water and send out an sos with your epirb and find land was only 50 miles behind you.
As mentioned before electronics are handy and just that handy. I use them regularly, but also practice the true art of navigation when ever out of site of land. I can and do use my GPS to check my accuracy. Waterproof local charts and pilot charts and a standard sextant - in a case- a good compass and a quarts time piece, an almanac for the sun and a simple calculator and paper and pencil are indispensable. you can load up all the references and learn calculus to pin point if you want. But the sun and polaris have gotten me around the atlantic 4 times and through the caribbean for years. Bermuda, canaries, St Maarten to name a few land falls. I broke down and bought a GPS about ten years ago. it
s a cool tool and makes navigation near land easy. But I have to watch for the laziness and stay in practice with the art of navigation or I'll lose that skill. it takes practice to stay accurate.

There are many articles of those lost or rescued for electronic failure and there are stories from those who kept going when technology failed. I prefer to minimize my need to ask for help and be of little burden , altho I'm not above asking when the need arises.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:40   #15
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Re: Navigation Options For Offshore Cruising

I have found C Map mega wide charts on a computer to be the cheapest option for coastal and detail charts, I use SOB for software. As backup I use Plan2Nav on a 7" tablet which will run on a small solar panel. I agree that there is no need for anything other than a basic GPS offshore plus a paper chart. The base maps are fine for this but I prefer paper and turn off the electronics to save power. You only need one or two charts for an ocean crossing so this is quite cheap. Tried the B/W printed charts but did not find them very water resistant and would not do it again. For the extra I would say it is worth going with the UK hydrographic charts.
Currently trying a 10" windows tablet for main nav which seams good at the moment. Cheaper and more flexible than a plotter but not as weatherproof. Laptops are fine and with modern screens no need for more than about 10" which saves power.
Hope this helps
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