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Old 09-08-2015, 18:27   #1
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Electronic Charts Recommendations?

I have been giving some thought to using electronic charts, but have not clue on where to begin. (I'd still keep my paper charts and even my sextant.) I use a Mac and am not particularly computer savvy, so a relatively user friendly system would be desirable. Suggestions please.

Thank you in advance for your input.

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Captain Ron
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Old 09-08-2015, 18:48   #2
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

Quality of electronic charts can vary a lot by venue. For example, CMAP is a bad joke in Belize, but very detailed in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Where are you planning to sail? Good odds someone on here can comment on that venue.
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Old 09-08-2015, 19:52   #3
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Quality of electronic charts can vary a lot by venue. For example, CMAP is a bad joke in Belize, but very detailed in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Where are you planning to sail? Good odds someone on here can comment on that venue.

I am including the Bahamas and the Caribbean in my sights for now. But I must say the experience of Vestas Wind in the Volvo Ocean Race give me the shivers regarding electronic charts.
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Old 09-08-2015, 19:59   #4
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

I have a Macbook Pro running windows 7 and Maxsea with no problems. I also have OpenCPN (free software) running on a backup pc. USA charts are free to download: Nautical Charts & Pubs
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Old 09-08-2015, 20:15   #5
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

+1 on OpenCPN. I thought it would be difficult to get up and running, but it was not.

I bought an el cheapo USB GPS unit for $35 from Amazon and I had everything else (any computer) to run it.

I set it up in about an hour.
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Old 10-08-2015, 15:46   #6
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I have a Macbook Pro running windows 7 and Maxsea with no problems. I also have OpenCPN (free software) running on a backup pc. USA charts are free to download: Nautical Charts & Pubs
Hi Lepke;

Can you tell me what software do you use to run Windows on your Mac? Also are you happy with the Maxsea charts for the Caribbean?
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:42   #7
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

FWIW, I think there's a Mac version of MaxSea, so a Win7 emulator shouldn't be necessary. I know there's an iPad version.


For Ron: I use MaxSea on a laptop, but that's also partly because it matches my plotter software. And partly because I can use either raster or vector charts, and the vector charts can come from NOAA (free) or C-Map, or Navionics or whomever.


I would describe it as "as easy as possible given it's full-featured nature" -- which pretty much means the more it will do for you, the more you need to learn how to make use of it. (Pretty much as with all software.)


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Old 11-08-2015, 06:32   #8
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

I use Garmin. iPad with Garmin Bluechart Mobile. I like that Active Captain is integrated into Bluechart Mobile. U.S. And Caribbean charts are about $45. I can also transfer waypoints, tracks and routes to my 840 chartplotter.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:27   #9
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Re: Electronic Charts Recommendations?

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I use Garmin. iPad with Garmin Bluechart Mobile. I like that Active Captain is integrated into Bluechart Mobile. U.S. And Caribbean charts are about $45. I can also transfer waypoints, tracks and routes to my 840 chartplotter.
Definitely the way forward. You can keep your tablet at the helm station in a waterproof case, something you can't do with a laptop. Also the zooming and scrolling with your fingers is so much easier. I really like the Navionics app and their charts were great in Oz but suck in the US/Bahamas. The Garmin app with the explorer charts is much better for the Bahamas and US. I think the apps are easier to use than computer programs and anyone can pick them up in minutes.
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