I haven't struggled through the entire thread, so what I'm about to raise may have been mentioned. In case it hasn't:
One good thing about paper charts
is that the technology is unchanging.
(It doesn't particularly need to change; it works OK. See below for one improvement #)
are likely to keep improving, as will the devices they run on.
When I'm doing something as important as navigating, I like to learn the skills good and solid, for keeps ... and it helps if the tools I use are familiar, durable and transparent to the user.
As an early adopter of numerical and digital devices for maths, engineering, 3D design, comms, music
, etc etc, I've become, over the last decade, somewhat averse to spending still more of my life, carrying on learning
stuff (particularly user interfaces) which won't be any further use --or which I will have to relearn -- the year after next
I'm similarly disenchanted with buying
gadgets which similarly have no durable value).
I don't care how cheap
it is to have umpteen different electronic devices on board. Eventually, carried to the logical conclusion, it'll be like being infested with electronic cockroaches, beyond a certain point of utility.
I think the human brain might use different circuits for novel information, and in my experience if you overuse those, you may eventually lose some capacity in that area (also if you underuse them, probably !
.... it's tough being a sentient being...)
BOTTOM LINE: I don't care if things keep improving, once they're at the point where they're good enough for what I need.
Sometimes it's nice to step off the 'upgrade treadmill'
Waterproof charts - now that's an improvement. Expensive, though, if proprietary. Unpigmented urethane varnish
, applied from a spraygun, works at a pinch, for charts you may use a lot in tough weather).
[ I like to have disposable photocopies of tricky sections, like tidal overfalls, that I can have in the cockpit
for eyeball pilotage. Sometimes I fold them and hold them up horizontally and sight over them like a plane table / pelorus. Beats using a sextant
for horizontal angles, in conditions where it's too rough to benefit from the accuracy, or when you don't need it that accurate.
I also like to carry tracing paper in chart sizes. Surprising how often a chart needed for the next port turns up not to be on board; I always double-check at least a day before departure, and go rowing if need be.]