The first issue with a laptop is that unless it is weatherized, you can't mount it permanetely at an outside helm
station. It can just get too WET. I was coming on a friends 54 Hatteras on the Sunday before Ophelia was to hit the North Carolina
coast. We were coming up from Bald Head
to Wilmington. We were running through the Cape Fear Inlet for a significant portion of the journey. We were in the Upper helm station, a good 16 feet above the water
and we were drenched from breaking "Spray". We could not keep the laptop up there!!
For open water navigation
, having a laptop or charts in a location beside the helm is just fine. You can put the old autopilot
on and plot to your hearts content. But, after coming through various inlets on the eastern coast of the U.S. I am sold on having a plotter at the helm station. With markers for the inlet and markers for chanels and markers for the intercoastal, it can get VERY confusing, VERY quickly. Since these inlets seem to be tricky all by themselves, it is very welcomed to have a helping hand.
While coming up, we had originally intended to do a comparison of the Cap'n to the Raymarine
system. With all the spray, we largley abandoned that idea. But, the Raynav system worked wonderfully!!!! It made a challenging passage
, less stressfull. (Well there was that part where we lost
while trying to pull into the peer <chuckle>) The point being in the worst of times is when you often need assistance, not when the sun is shining and you can see for miles anyway.