Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-02-2006, 21:31   #1
Registered User
 
jemsea's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cruising The US East Coast
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 160
Images: 4
Adding Up The Navigational Numbers

I started the day with an informative talk with Bellingham Chart Printers and ended it wondering if I have the numbers right.

I checked a couple of the electronic software programs, their cost, and the cost of electronic charts for each program that I think would be nice to have on board in going from the Maine/Canadian border through the canal to the Washington/Canadian border.

Every time I run the numbers my bank account goes down about 4 boat units.

I only compared The Capn and Maptec but both were eerily close enough that I suspect all will be in the same neighborhood.

To make the equation more realistic I need to guesstimate the cost of paper charts for coverage of the same area.

Since I just bought paper charts for the first segment, Canada to Norfolk, my initial estimate is that paper will be more expensive than electronic.

So my question to all is this:

Is double coverage of electronic charts along with paper really necessary?

And secondly:

Once out of US waters are the electronic charts an expensive want rather than a need?

As always thanks in advance for any advise,

John
__________________

__________________
jemsea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2006, 22:36   #2
Registered User
 
CaptainK's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Phoenix, Arizona... USA
Posts: 2,386
Images: 7
Well. Which is actually cheaper. Paper? Or plastic-cased, silicon chipped pieces of equipment?
__________________

__________________
CaptainK
BMYC

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
CaptainK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2006, 23:13   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
Alan Wheeler's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand
Boat: Hartley Tahitian 45ft. Leisure Lady
Posts: 8,038
Images: 102
You can not and should not rely on Electronic charts for detailed navigational purposes. If you need to enter a harbour or transit an area that has fould ground skirting it and you need the detail, then you need the Paper chart.
The electronic chart is a luxury at the end on the day. It can be very helpful and make navigation a breeze, but it'saccuracy should never be relied upon.
__________________
Wheels

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
Alan Wheeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2006, 23:24   #4
Registered User
 
CaptainK's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Phoenix, Arizona... USA
Posts: 2,386
Images: 7
I liked your answer Wheels.

Especially in a marine environment. That's just one less electonic componant to worry about.

IMHO. I prefer the paper charts better. At least they don't short out!!
__________________
CaptainK
BMYC

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
CaptainK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 03:19   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,571
Images: 240
I agree, paper charts are a necessary adjunct to electronic, whereas electronic charts are an un-necessary, though useful & convenient, supplement to paper. Gotta have paper - donít need electronic.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 04:06   #6
Registered User
 
CaptainK's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Phoenix, Arizona... USA
Posts: 2,386
Images: 7
Yeah Gord.

I mean. I can trust those electronic gadgets. But, lets say when you need it. And the thing craps out. Then you gotta have the paper charts!!
__________________
CaptainK
BMYC

"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." - Benjamin Franklin
CaptainK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 06:31   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2006
Boat: SV Tin Cup
Posts: 60
We usually buy the paper charts (first and foremost). We also keep an eye out for cruisers (especially European ones) who might have charts and software that we might copy. Always looking for a way to save a little for rainy days etc. It is not as hard as you might think to make copies. If you have a laptop there are CDs around that have all the world's charts and you might be able to pick up a copy. Not suggesting that you break any laws though; would have to be ones not protected by copyright laws etc etc etc........ Just another option.......
Roger
__________________
Rippy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 06:55   #8
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
Uh oh.... this time I disagree with Wheels.

While I prefer paper charts, and really do enjoy them, I can't agree with saying that paper charts have more detail than electronic charts.

The only time this might be true is if you are using raster-image electronic charts. I wouldn't use anything but vector-image charts.

I know they are not available everywhere, but the NOAA (USA) ENC charts are what they use to print out the paper charts for sale. They just scale up the vector image to whatever scale they are looking for, print them, and sell them to you. If you have the ENC charts downloaded from NOAA, you are getting the source they use for paper charts, and you are getting more recent information. If a hazzard or aid to navigation changes, it's reflected in the ENC charts quickly. Not so in paper. Commercial ships navigate with ENC charts. I doubt they would do so if it wasn't completely sufficient for navigation.

As to less frequently surveyed areas (Carib, etc...) a chart (paper or electronic) is just a general indication of what's there. They are only as good as the last soundings. It should always be taken with a grain of salt.

So although I hate doing it (I prefer to work on paper charts), I am now switching over to chartplotting on the laptop (with GPS attached), finding waypoints from the laptop, and transferring the waypoints to 2 GPS units - one attached to the steering pedestal, and a portable I carry around. The extra handheld GPS helps me keep tabs on the boat when others are at the helm - good for charter! I will not have any paper charts aboard, unless I print one out using the printer. I will, however have 2 units capable of chartplotting and 3 position indicating units running, so there is a redundancy there. There is also a redundant factor (and possible room for error) in the fact that I always put every waypoint into the ship's paper log entry, along with true and mag headings and distances between them. This way, I'm never lost, even if all the electronics fail.

Future upgrade will include a waterproof touch screen mounted at the helm to display the laptop's chartplotting where you need to see it most.

What drove this decision was cost. Paper charts (and replacing them all the time) is too expensive. I'm going to have a computer and GPS onboard anyway, why not make them carry their weight? With ENC charts being free now, it made no financial sense to have the paper around. With 2 units capable of chartplotting - no need to worry about one breaking.
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 07:28   #9
Registered User

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Boat: Tayana 37, M-20/I-20 Scow
Posts: 250
Interesting that you depend primarily on vector charts.

THE problem with vector charts is the 'resolution' errors inherent in them. Vector charts for the most part are derived from sextant/pelorus and lead line data. Using vector charts at resolution/magnification much higher than the original chart is extremely ... WRONG and dangerous. This is due to the mathematical 'stack up' of the original measurement 'tolerance errors' of charts drawn from 'ancient' methods.

Until vector charts are derived from NEW/electronic/laser/satelite, etc. survey data, use them with *extreme* caution, especially at high magnification. Ditto, when 'pushing' magnification of the BBS charts. Using ENC charts that were derived from the original data using 'surveyors chains' and 'rods', optical instruments that could only be accurate to the nearest .2 of a degree and then 'pushing the magnification' to feet and 0.001 of a degree is ultimately going to expose you to a 'crash'.
__________________
Richhh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 07:28   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Currently based near Jacksonville FL; WHOOSH's homeport is St. Pete, FL USA
Boat: WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
Posts: 591
John, like so many topics related to cruising these days, a simple Q can have a complicated A...and you've asked a Q that's a good example of that.

First, Bellingham is a good way to go for paper charts but a) don't presume you need to use their 'kits'; you can 'cherry pick' charts to have copied for much of your Caribbean route and you'll have less bulk/storage/expense; and b) be sure you don't mind working with these before going this route; some folks find B&W chart images to be displeasing to use.

As for paper vs. electronic - and given your cruising plans - here is where I would start:
1. Definitely purchase one of the basic, versatile, inexpensive nav software packages that can utilize the NOAA ENC chart files, then download the chart files you need, and back all of this up securely (e.g. external hard drive). This means that, for a very small amount of expense, you have electronic charting available to you.
2. For bay & inland waterway sections, buy the chart kits - these are waters where you need detailed charts the most and the kits are most cost effective. Don't overlook that Coast Pilots are now on-line and free for downloading; very useful references for the coastal or offshore legs.
3. For Caribbean and Pacific C American segments, use mid-scale copies except where port detail is needed - e.g. Isla Mujeres, Colon, Balboa, Golfito, etc.
4. Supplement these Caribbean and Pacific charts with guides where that is possible (even tho' they may be dated; specifically Calder, Rauscher, Zydler, Rains) as the chartlets are very helpful and you get good routing and port info. Be sure to find a copy of Wallace Stone's guide to Cruising the Caribbean; it's out of date but little changes in much of the W Caribbean and the wx analysis and routing advice is timeless - highly recommended
5. Further supplement the charts & guides with a CD of the last 10 years of SSCA Bulletins (I think you already know about this; VERY useful when 'searched' using Adobe Acrobat).

I would call the above a 'basic package' with the emphasis on paper but with the paper chosen selectively using the NIMA Catalog. NIMA charts (what Bellingham will copy for you that covers non-USA waters) are often inadequate for cruising needs, even tho' the major port charts will be detailed and useful. But re: your Q, understand that you do have an inbetween option re: paper vs. electrons: a 'chartplotter' from Yeoman which is affordable, eliminates dependency on a laptop and 'interfaces' the GPS with a paper chart via use of a plotting 'mouse'. We used this (and paper charts) exclusively in the Caribbean before starting to use electronic charting and it works well. Not as helpful in confined waters unless you have a large scale chart, but otherwise quite functional.

FWIW I would wager that shortly after you leave USA waters, you are going to be presented with a variety of both hacked/pirated software packages and also the Cmap non-supported nav software and vector chart files. Consequently, spending a small fortune now may not be wise when you might find you can avoid copyright violations AND have electronic charting capability later.

Good luck on the run; sounds like great fun but choose Spring for the run up the Pacific side, going N.

Jack
__________________
WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
http://www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/WhooshSection.htm
Euro Cruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 07:31   #11
Registered User
 
jemsea's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cruising The US East Coast
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 160
Images: 4
I spent around $700 for the paper chart kits and guides that cover Maine to Norfolk.

The Maptec paper chart kits I purchased came with CDs also.
I downloaded Maptec's free chart navigator to view the CDs. They are rastor charts exactly like the paper chart kits.

With a GPS hooked up to my laptop I have pretty good planning capabilities being able to upload waypoints to the GPS and download positional info from the GPS.

In US waters electronic charts and nav programs are essentially free to very low cost. Wonderful tool to have on board.

So once I buy the paper charts, being that I'm of the paper generation, I'm set.

What to do outside US waters is the question.

From what I've read the availability, accuracy, and certainly expense of electronic charts puts them in doubt for me at least.

I think its fairly easy to get caught up in the advertising and feel if you don't buy this or that you will just not make it through the night, so to speak.

I'm hoping to find what is the reality is in regard to whats really needed and commonly used to navigate once outside the US.

Paper or Plastic??

Thanks for all the replies,

John
__________________
jemsea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 07:46   #12
Registered User
 
jemsea's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cruising The US East Coast
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 160
Images: 4
Jack,

As usual you came through with an answer based on experience.

Thanks,

John
__________________
jemsea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 07:46   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Currently based near Jacksonville FL; WHOOSH's homeport is St. Pete, FL USA
Boat: WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
Posts: 591
John, our think our last respective posts 'crossed'. Seeing what you just wrote, I would encourage you at the least to purchase some routing (small scale) raster charts. They will be compatible with what you already have and, for general route planning, I would assume you would find it helpful to continue being able to do electronic 'flight planning', enroute navigation, etc. - all of which is easy to accomplish on electronic charts. When building the 'flight plan' legs using electronic charts, you can place any waypoints that are critical (e.g. clearance off a Cape, or arrival at a channel or cut) using your detailed charts.

BTW what route are you selecting as you leave the USA? The Bahamas/WW Passage/Jamaica route is probably easier, all things considered...but you may hope to see the W Caribbean at the expense of getting around Cabo Gracia Dios and skirting the Nicauraguan waters. Any thoughts on that?

Jack
__________________
WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
http://www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/WhooshSection.htm
Euro Cruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 09:06   #14
Registered User
 
jemsea's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cruising The US East Coast
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 160
Images: 4
Jack

Our posts did cross and get out of order.

In regard to being able to trade charts plus take advantage of any charts that are free for the copying....is it a good idea to get a software program that accepts C-Map charts? What media CDs?

Our tentative route starting in Maine.

We will spend this year and a good part of 2007 along the east coast.

Fall of 2007 we will be going on south. I hope to be able to do that via Bermuda. I've been the Thorny Path and Bermuda before and like Bermuda best. Could be the Dark and Stormies...

After reading your route going west through the middle of the Caribbean we are leaning toward doing that rather than further south.

Once we get through the canal our plan gets a little hard to guess but we both enjoyed the times we have spent on the Pacific coast and would like to see more of it.

The South Pacific is both a big step and a big question mark for us at this point.

Since I'm thinking that is where you will be going next I may wait for publication of 'Whoosh Goes South' - A Practical Guide on setting up your vessel for a South Pacific cruise.

John
__________________
jemsea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2006, 11:09   #15
Registered User
 
rsn48's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Deep Cove - North Vancouver, BC
Boat: Catalina 27 - Leaky Cauldron
Posts: 350
If I were doing what you are doing

If I were doing what you are doing, I'd use paper charts only in the easy areas - there's not much to the California/Oregon coast. I would use the GPS in these areas for a fix and use paper charts only. Once in more complicated waters, like BC/Washington then I'd use the raster chart. You only need one raster chart from Seattle to Port Hardy at the top of Vancouver Island.

I can't speak with authority on the East coast as I am not as familiar with it, nor the canal, but if there are "easier" areas, I'd just go for the paper chart with a GPS fix.
__________________

__________________
rsn48 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Displaying Registration Numbers Sonosailor Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 2 14-07-2004 19:56
Hull I.D. Numbers GordMay Construction, Maintenance & Refit 0 11-04-2003 19:14
Adding images Gisle Forum News & Announcements 0 28-02-2003 23:57



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:14.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.