As a general comment... I don't race
and require lay line graphics which are a cool feature of some new B&G plotters. I was an early adapter of GPS getting one of the first very crude by today's standards GPS from Trimble for something like $6K if you can believe it.
When I got my first MFD (ray C80) with radar
I found the interface not intuitive or user friendly. Too many menus to drill down to find commands. I never really warmed up to it. I began to add waypoints for my various trips. Even keying in the name was a PITA... but I did. After a few crashes and losing waypoints I stopped saving them and never ever used a route. Makes no sense for where and how I sail. If I were to sail from say the mooring
in Northport to the anchorage in front of Ida Lewis in Newport
I have more than enough time to set waypoints. I don't need them to get out of the harbor into the Sound.
What IS useful to me... and this develops over time with use.... are the TRACKS which remain on the screen and which I can follow (or not)... but I at least know those are *safe*. Using the COURSE and HEADING lines is really all I need. I can see if my course is going to take me into thin water
, shoals etc... At night or in poor visibility I can use the course and heading lines to use a buoy as a mark to steer to and thread even tricky channels. I use the AP to steer which allows me to turn a dial... like a helm
... to the desired heading as I watch the display. If I am beating I can see both tacks and estimate where to make the next tack. It's all very simple and graphic and of course I confirm with my eyes and keep watch for other vessels etc.
I discovered this navigation
approach with a Garmin IQ3600... a handheld device with a smaller display than a smart phone
. It had Blue Charts
and a heading and course line...easy peasy panning and zoom to any area. I would still be using it in the cockpit
were it not for getting a B>7 (cheap) which as an built in antenna
... so it's like a larger display. I don't bother with waypoints on the B&G either.
The old C80 w/ radar
is below decks... and I will often program a waypoint. The C80's GPS data is repeated on cockpit
*dash* displays over the companionway
and on the KVH 103AC compass
display. This gives me *numbers* to sail by... course to waypoit, distance to waypoint, time to waypoint as well as SOG, COG, and so forth. A few (too often) system resets wiped out my library of waypoints. No big loss really. Obviously it was a waste of time to create them... because a waypoint is so easy to set... place the cursor and press GO TO cursor. I don't like the C80 interface and will not buy another Ray marine
MFD unless they change that. The B&G has a lousy interface... when I upgrade the MFD I will look at Garmin. I am not a fan of lots of integration and definitely not one of GPS driven APs.
To me (my way of sailing) it seems like waypoint libraries and routes are a complete waste of time. Routes seem like something for a power boat
who drives from buoy to buoy and usually letting the GPS correct the steering
keeping the boat on a perfect rhumb line.... something rare with sailing... though possible in some cases.
Lots of features probably make the software
slower and more likely to freeze and lock up.... Who knows?
KISS works for me. I have 8 GPS enabled devices on board including Navionics
on the smart phone
. I still have paper charts (not updated) and plotting instruments. I find touch screen devices not as user friendly and hard to use if the boat motion is not smooth.