I used OpenCpn and the 3G radar when we crossed from Ventura to Santa Cruz
island and returned to Oxnard, in SoCal. Good experience, radar overlay and AIS
were a great asset.
Thatís 25 nmi across the Santa Barbara Channel where one encounters container ships going and coming in marked traffic lanes, oil
towers and sometimes, fog
. All conditions where the radar, AIS and accurate chart plotting is needed. No, not dramatic but a good test. And when we went the winds were up with good wind
waves, at least for Journey On. Small light boat, bouncy wet ride. On the way back it was like a pond, sorta.
So, I fired up the PC, brought up the radar, AIS and GPS and left Ventura. Good position and routing (straight line, actually.) The radar showed the sea bouys, oil
towers and shoreline all in their proper places, which was comforting. When we got near the shipping
lanes, AIS picked up a tanker heading south at 20 knts, which was soon by. A second ship was visible and on AIS, but we waited until it went by. Got to learn to read the AIS better, it was going at about 5 knts and we spent a lot of time waiting. OpenCpn crashed a couple of times, but was easily restarted. Donít know why.
On the return trip, samo samo. One AIS target from a container heading north, behind us. AIS marker grayed out, donít know why. Assume because it was behind and couldnít hit us if it tried. Again, OpenCpn crashed, restarted. One restart required a PC restart.
Adjusted the radar range manually, didnít follow the chart re-scaling/re-sizing. The boat was bouncing and it was difficult to get the mouse pad to do what I wanted.
Used OpenCpm ver. 4.1.602, Radar plugin Ver. 1.2
Everything worked well and I thank the developers. Itís clear that one needs to practice with OpenCpn, not at home or in a harbor, but out on the open. It isnít something one would use for the first time in an emergency
. Thatís true with any navigation
program Iíve ever used.