Rather than wreck my paper charts
(my handwriting is so bad, some have suggested I should have been a doctor, and even I can't read it sometimes), I used to use tracing paper and a pad of very large graph paper (A3).
Transferring the outline of where I wanted to travel, along with essential points, to the graph paper, didn't take long, and the grid of the graph paper was really handy for plotting DR positions on (generally I used RDF and a hand bearing compass
, if my 5+ mile accuracy with a sextant
wasn't good enough - definitely not close to shore), though in my case as I had used graph paper a lot in all manner of ways, perhaps I was just more comfortable with it.
In fact a big pad of graph paper is going to be my 'Chart' across the Atlantic (as there's not exactly much in the way of fixed objects to bump into). A longitude a safe distance offshore
West (where normal charts end) at one side, and a longitude a safe distance offshore
East (where normal charts start) on the other, then plot latitude departure point and latitude arrival point, then the fixes in between. Then I can scribble all sorts of notes on it as I do my log (things like don't head
off this way, there be dragons). If it fills up with my illegible scribbles, I can rip the top sheet off and do another one.
I do like the thought of electronic charts I must admit, and as I was always aware of the very real inaccuracies with paper ones, as long as you are aware and exercise due caution, you 'should' be able to get along ok, and perhaps better, with the electronic ones.
I am very aware of not having too big a display in the cockpit
though. The trouble with computer screens is, they can easily be very hypnotic and distracting, and can take your eye off the ball as a result. eta: In fact you have to question the sanity of putting games on a cockpit
display, and even things like being able to select music
to play, play lists, and other such irrelevant nonsense. You can't exactly tell an oil
tanker bearing down on you to hang on for a bit, as you have to finish this level?
So for me it's laptop
down below (OpenCPN - with USA and UK Admiralty 'For Navigation' charts), and a 4" Dragonfly with Navionics
charts on the binnacle. With NOTHING 'networked'.
Too easy and too convenient, all too often leads to too lazy and too unaware of what's actually going on, and that frankly, is way too dangerous a place to even think of going to. When even pilots are crashing planes because the display screens are holding their attention, to me it's way past time for a rethink.