I have sailed many thousands of sea miles using Macs for GPS
navigation, and Satellite communications
For the next series of trips I have put several Macs on board. For Navigation I prefer to run NavimaQ OS9 version which actually runs on 8.4 - Classic
on 10.4.11. Version 3.0.4 is great as it will open any chart BSB
etc. whereas the newer Nav programs can't open the old Maptech
charts. I have purchased hundreds of charts over the years covering the Atlantic, Caribbean
etc, including IMRAY/IOLAIRE charts and they all open properly in NavimaQ 3.0.4. The OSX Version is 3.5.3 (4) and although it is a fine program, it will not open the Maptech charts.
If you buy an older powerbook (I use a G3 PDQ
Pbook, but even 1400C will work - all can be bought for a few hundred dollars in US), then it has both a serial
port to connect to GPS
and a PC card slot to hold the charts on a CF card - I use an 8GB CF card for all my charts. This way you can move the charts from Mac to Mac (on the G3 powerbooks and G4 powerbooks with.
It's a good idea to have a backup. The Mac runs off 12V using an auto adapter from Kensington. The older Macs use less power
than the newer. The GPS interface is just a Mac serial
cable with two wires used to connect to the GARMIN Magellan
or other (I use Furuno
also). I have the details somewhere that I can forward to you.
You can also hook up a TV display remotely and look at the charts on a weatherproofed TV (the Mac has a TV port setting to send the images
to a TV).
The NavimaQ program is a joy to use. The waypoint files and log files are in ordinary text so they can be exported to your personal logbook.
After more than ten years of using this software from version 2 through 3.5.3, I have never had a problem.
The software can be copied from computer to computer. You can run version 3.0.4 in classic
at the same time as version 3.5.3 on OSX (pre-Leopard) which is helpful to look at a destination
chart at the same time as a crossing chart.
Now where can you get it?
I imagine there are still some copies around on the internet
. Well worth searching for. Otherwise contact BARCOSOFT to find a source. firstname.lastname@example.org
I also use the Powerbook as a satellite
terminal for the KVH sat system so that I can send e-mails and receive NOAA weather
charts by mail (these are the same charts that are available on SSB). The KVH sat system is a bit expensive to buy, but I can download all the charts I need (10/day) for about $20 a day at sea. (My wife wanted to call Mama while we were in the ocean, and since she had never sailed before, I thought it prudent to get the KVH - today there are cheaper voice communication systems - but I have to get the real NOAA weather
charts also - not GRIB files which are only computer generated images with no weather forecaster involved in the preparation of them.
On board I have a powerbook G3, two 17" G4 Pbooks, a Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard
, and two G3 ibooks - one that runs OS9 natively and the other OSX and classic both of which have backup copies of all charts.
This combination of hardware and software is very affordable and very reliable for use at sea. The oldest powerbook has been on board for 12 years, and everyone of them still functions properly.
For a look at the boat
go to waeshael.com and click on the "sailing" link.
Hope this helps.