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Old 07-12-2021, 18:23   #1
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Charting and navigation?

Hi all,Mrs. Here.

So hubs bought a Sailboat boat nearly 3mos ago and isn't sure of what programs to use for navigation and charting.
What do y'all use/recommend?
Currently, we have a laptop that's only 4gb.
Would we need to upgrade to 8gb? Would that be enough?
Thanks so much!!
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Old 07-12-2021, 18:27   #2
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Re: Charting and navigation?

So how comfortable is "hubs" with computers, etc? Do you use PC, Mac, iPad and/or Android systems? Size of boat? Where do you sail (and, perhaps, plan to sail)?

All can help others to provide suggestions (and I'll guarantee you'll get a wide range of suggestions).
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Old 07-12-2021, 19:32   #3
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sv_pelagia View Post
So how comfortable is "hubs" with computers, etc? Do you use PC, Mac, iPad and/or Android systems? Size of boat? Where do you sail (and, perhaps, plan to sail)?

All can help others to provide suggestions (and I'll guarantee you'll get a wide range of suggestions).
Yea that's the thing-he's not. VERY intelligent dude,just not good with computers
Currently, we have an HP laptop,4gb. It does the basics,you know.

Boat is a 46' And we're currently docked near Long Beach.
We've taken it out a few times around the LA harbor,but that's about it.

In the near future he'd like to go to Hawaii-then Tahiti.
Buut, he needs to get some hours in under his belt first.
Thanks so much!!
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Old 07-12-2021, 20:15   #4
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Re: Charting and navigation?

OpenCPN runs fine on a low end 4GB WIndows laptop, and there's lots of help avaiable for it from the developers right here on CF
https://opencpn.org/
For the US, there are free NOAA chart sets avaiable.
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Old 07-12-2021, 20:22   #5
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Re: Charting and navigation?

g'Day Mrs,

Many conflicting opinions on this subject, but in your position I would at least try downloading OpenCPN (info in the OPCN forum here on CF) and then loading the free US charts for your area. I'm sure it will run on your computer (I've run it on much older and weaker platforms), the charts for the entire USA are free to download, and if it doesn't work out, only time will have been spent. (That assumes that you have some sort of GPS already that you can hook into your computer. If not a "hocky puck" GPS dongle can be had for ~30 bucks).

Additional charts for future, more distant destinations are available, but most are not free. Lots of threads on the subject here in CF.

Good luck with it all...

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Old 07-12-2021, 21:46   #6
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Definitely suggest trying OpenCPN, as I believe decent alternatives for PC will be $$. It will take time to figure out how to use it, so expect to spend a bit of time looking over the docs or checking online for howtos.

At some point you'll probably want to get boat data into your laptop, which probably means setting up a wifi gateway so that apps on your laptop, phones, etc. can access depth/AIS/radar/speed/etc. But, that can come later.

Finally, don't worry too much about the computer. It's what you have now, so obviously it makes sense to start with it, but particularly for longer trips you'll want redundancy. It may be that a few inexpensive Android tablets, each preloaded with all the appropriate charts, publications, and apps, could provide that redundancy, and might be more convenient to use.

I should also ask what what navigational background you are starting: solid on the techniques but new to the electronic side, or coming in completely fresh?
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Old 07-12-2021, 22:06   #7
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Re: Charting and navigation?

I too recommend OpenCPN (I use it myself). All free (and free NOAA charts for USA). Also, charts for much of the world available at reasonable price from Open Charts.

Some find OpenCPN difficult at first, however. (Not my experience.)

Of course, an integrated chartplotter/radar etc system likely simpler initially, though much more expensive, less powerful/flexible, harder to install (more $) and other issues. But fully waterproof, etc.

Does the boat already have any navigation systems?
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Old 08-12-2021, 00:14   #8
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Thanks so much,everyone.
I sent him the link-he'll take a look at it when he gets a chance.
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Old 08-12-2021, 00:21   #9
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Does he currently use a mobile phone or tablet?
If so, have a look at Navionics (as well as OpenCPN).

Even better, sign up for a marine navigation course.
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Old 08-12-2021, 04:21   #10
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Re: Charting and navigation?

I have a question about OpenCPN, which seems pertinent to the discussion.

Will it run on a Chromebook ? Or should you use a real laptop ?

Thanks !
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Old 08-12-2021, 04:25   #11
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Re: Charting and navigation?

If you can afford a 46ft sailboat, you can afford to buy a chartplotter, AIS and more. While Open CPN is great (I have it) a helm mounted chartplotter is worth having because it is waterproof and when you are negotiating some of the reef channels you will be thankful ou have a nav aid at the helm.
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Old 08-12-2021, 04:31   #12
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Its also a good idea to download OpenCPN on the Computer you are using to post on this forum.

My boat's computer a small Raspberry Pi has 4 GB Ram and this one at Home has more but the point is you can learn how to use it while hanging out at Home.

I even have a small USB GPS Dongle I hook up to my home computer which allows it to show up on the charts as my "boat."

I live close enough to the water at home that it shows on the charts.

Picture is of the Raspberry Pi 4 Computer which I use on my boat and has 4 GB Ram and costs about $75. The entire kit can be had for about $99.00. They now have one with 8 GB Ram. The RPi uses a Linux OS. Home Computer Windows 10. I use the OpenPlotter free software downloads

https://openplotter.readthedocs.io/e...wnloading.html

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/canakit...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

Video is of my OpenCPN setup on my boat with AIS feed from VHF this past Summer. I have downloaded free RNC charts for most of the East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay South

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Old 08-12-2021, 05:25   #13
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Re: Charting and navigation?

I also use this old Lenovo Thinkpad Laptop with Windows 10 Pro on the boat and at home with OpenCPN.

It has 8 GB Ram but you don't really notice a difference from the RPi with 4 GB Ram.

Also have a Raspberry Pi 4 at Home and Toshiba Satellite Laptop all loaded with OpenCPN and charts

I actually spilled water on this laptop on the boat and had to replace the motherboard. Found one for $29 on EBay but it was a PITA to replace.
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Old 08-12-2021, 16:21   #14
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Unlike "hubs" I AM very skilled with a wide variety of computers (wrote part of the memory management code for the 1st multi-processor version of Sys III UNIX for ex, decode hex packet captures in my head, loads of pi and Arduino/ESP32 etc) and I STILL find OpenCPN annoying, frustrating, cumbersome, and non-intuitive in many ways.

I would strongly NOT recommend it for someone like "hubs".

Just get a new iPad and Aquamap (my pick) or Navionics. Add to it Tides Near Me, Predictwind (pref vs Windy), maybe Bouycast, MyRadar and a good data package.
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Old 08-12-2021, 16:36   #15
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Re: Charting and navigation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldManMirage View Post
I have a question about OpenCPN, which seems pertinent to the discussion.

Will it run on a Chromebook ? Or should you use a real laptop ?

Thanks !
Yes. I have run it just fine on an asus chromebook. I used the app version.

But I agree with flightlead. I am a tech guy and I do NOT recommend opencpn, especially to newbies. It works well but it is a pain to configure, download the correct maps, etc. Also you need to be able to receive GPS a on the laptop to run it. I will bet money that hubs laptop does not have gps, that a gps adaptor will cost more than a navionics subscription, and that configuring one will exceed his tech capabilities.

If you want simple and cheap subscribe to Navionics on your cellphone. Worth every penny. I came half way up the east coast using navionics on my phone.

The other thing, Mrs, is that where you need the charting is at the helm. Having a windows laptop at the helm is not realistic. Trying to run a laptop while driving the boat in the rain or when it’s hitting the fan is a bad idea. Having opencpn on a laptop at the chart table down in the cabin is fine, if you are not trying to navigate for yourself at the helm. For this you need phone, tablet or chartplotter.

Personally I use a chartplotter, with navionics on my phone and paper charts as backup. A Raymarine axiom 7 or Garmin chartplotter is not crazy expensive and is far superior at the helm to open cpn on a laptop.

I will never understand why people will spend 50-100k on a boat, and then try to get away with charting on used laptops from eBay. Charting is safety equipment. Would you skimp like this on your anchor or PFD? These guys that always want to push open source software, a raspberry pi and gps dongles on new sailors are irresponsible know it alls and should be ignored.
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