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Old 01-11-2018, 11:15   #16
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

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I'm a proponent of having paper charts as a backup to electronic navigation and for situational awareness purposes, but a dedicated chart-table will consume a lot of precious space to accommodate the only-occasional use of paper charts. It may be due to my own acclimation to having very little space as a pilot (if it won't fit in your lap you can't use it), but I have a piece of smooth wood sheet that I store under a cushion for plotting on a paper chart.

That "portable chart-table" can also be brought up to the cockpit when it's convenient, and referring to the chart from the cockpit helps in relating charted objects to visual observations. I still take bearing sights with a hand-bearing compass (or compass in my binoculars), and it's a hassle to write down the bearings and then have to carry them down to the cabin for plotting. I use spring-loaded clips to hold the chart in place in a windy cockpit, and a shackle and lanyard to clip the entire board to secure it from being blown overboard. A strip of wood at the bottom of the wooden sheet keeps my pencils from rolling away. Primitive but cheap, light, and effective.
A really superb solution for paper chart backup.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:19   #17
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

A dedicated chart table is only justified if a) it permits a full chart to be laid out to its full extent, and b) it permits leaving a chart and the instruments on the table without interfering with other operations aboard. It takes a big boat before those requirements can be met. Ergo, the dinky “chart tables” furnished in small boats do not merit the name.

In my 30-footer, the dinette table (dimensioned to seat four, though I forget the exact measurements) serves as the “nav station”. It does NOT take a full chart, but I have no problem maculating my charts by “quartering” them so that a quarter of a chart can indeed lie flat. The quarters stow flat in an overhead rack above the dinette. Transisting from one quarter to another is no different from transisting from one full chart to another. Every quarter obviously has a portion of the full chart's marginal degrees/minutes scales on it. Transfering "magnetic north" from the compass rose by means of a protractor from one quarter to another is obviously no trick at all, and only requires doing once in a chart's life time. True north obviously does not need to be transferred.

The “lift top” on so-called chart tables is nothing but a nuisance. Tools are best stowed in racks on the bulkhead so they are always readily to hand and secure in a seaway. I don't like parallel rulers or rolling rulers. I use two draftsman's triangles, one 45/90/45ļ and one 30/90/60ļ.

I am in the midst of rebuilding the “nav station” that was in the boat when she came to us. Because I use the dinette table for serious navigation, the old lift top abomination will be replaced with a narrow shelf for a full size PC keyboard and mouse, which I require for touchtyping, and a bulkhead-mounted 18” monitor mounted “just so”, which the condition of my eyes requires.

As always, there is no “one size fits all” answer to the sort of question you ask. The trick is to furnish your boat in a manner you like, and in a manner that suits your particular personal requirements. A little introspection will tell you what those are :-)!

All the best

TrentePieds
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:50   #18
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

IF a boat (cat, mono, tri) is designed around "being underway" as its primary pleasure mode and purpose, and not around underway being "an occasional and unavoidable inconvenience" then the nav station becomes the preeminent location - the nerve centre - with radar, comms, depth/speed/GPS readout, and of course charts and plotting instruments and celestial plot sheets. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see how the saloon table can accommodate all that AND seat a crew for lunch. Chartplotters are a nice dinky little toy that can be located anywhere (preferably well away from the nav station IMO) but the fun and pleasure of navigating a small vessel comes from actually doing it, navigating that is, using the human brain. It's what boats were traditionally designed and built for: voyaging. If the art and craft of voyaging is not your thing then you don't need a nav station, let alone a chart table.
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Old 01-11-2018, 13:59   #19
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

Thanks all.

For some context, I was thinking of boats like the Lagoon 40 and 42, or the Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 or Astrea 42.

Those boats have pretty small salons and then they're compromised further by cramming in over 2sqm of nav station. I was just wondering if there was something I was missing.
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Old 01-11-2018, 14:44   #20
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

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Thanks all.

For some context, I was thinking of boats like the Lagoon 40 and 42, or the Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40 or Astrea 42.

Those boats have pretty small salons and then they're compromised further by cramming in over 2sqm of nav station. I was just wondering if there was something I was missing.
Those boats have SMALL salo(o)ns??? What a strange statement! I keep hearing how spacious they are compared to similar sized monohulls, and that's how they look to me.

But, there needs to be some central place for electronics, switch panels, battery gauges and so on. If not at a nav station, then where? Most folks now days need a place where they can type at a computer. Choices seem to be saloon table or dedicated nav station. Some don't want to have the dining table cluttered with that stuff... a matter of style, I guess. A place for chart work is important to some, not to others... a matter of navigational ethos, I guess. The point being that it is a matter of individual choices and how you run your boat, not a matter of what is right or wrong.

And the funny thing is that I managed on a 22 foot trailer sailor years ago (solely chart navigation) and on a 30 footer (doing celestial workups on paper) and on a 36 footer doing a combination of celestial and early sat nav work, and now on a 46 footer doing primarily electronic navigation, but with chart backup and plotting. One always manages to work out a usable technique;you will too.

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Old 01-11-2018, 14:46   #21
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

I don't see the chart table so much being useful for looking at paper charts these days (most are too small for this anyway). I think the big benefit of a chart table is that it provides a location to centralise the install of all the cool displays, controls and other doodads, and puts a cherry on top by having a seat in which to sit down and admire them all!
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Old 01-11-2018, 15:02   #22
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

Absolutely. I thought, with laptops, computerized charts, gps, etc, that they were outmoded. Until my last trip of over 600 nms. It came in very handy. All electronics were visible there and useful at night and in horrible weather. The currently applicable chart was stored on top (yes, along with lots of other junk). The manuals were stored nearby and came out there and were read there. Under way, in poor sea states, the salon table was unwieldy to open, if not impossible. Also, one of us slept there as the only comfortable spot in 6 foot seas and 20-30 kt wind. Donít ask me why we ended up in such horrible conditions. It was, in my mind, unnecessary.
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Old 01-11-2018, 15:07   #23
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

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Those boats have SMALL salo(o)ns??? What a strange statement! I keep hearing how spacious they are compared to similar sized monohulls, and that's how they look to me.
Compared to a Seawind 1160 (38'), 1260 (41'), Lightwave 38, etc. The Australian boats seem to prioritize interior lounge space. Which suits me better I guess.

It's much more important to have a chair with a back than a dedicated desk to me, and none of these small-cat nav-stations have anything more than a stool typically (monohulls typically seem to have an edge there). So even if I had a nav-station, I can't imagine using it for work.

But that's just my preferences.

I'm not trying to be argumentative. I really appreciate the input. And I definitely wouldn't turn down a boat just because it had a dedicated nav-station.
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Old 01-11-2018, 15:17   #24
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

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........
My chart table is totally useless and is covered in crap I haven't yet figured out how to fit anywhere else.
Waste of space.
So... if you didn't have a chart table where would you put 'all the crap (you) haven't yet figured out how to fit anywhere else'?
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Old 01-11-2018, 15:27   #25
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

Maybe an Aussie thing? I like the saloon better than the salon as long as the drinks are cold.
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Old 01-11-2018, 16:00   #26
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

We sail monohulls, and have been for 37 yrs plus, maybe more. So not really acquainted with catamarans other than to see photos in magazines.

Lots of room for people , and parties. I like that idea.

I use a chart table for charts, and nav tools, pens, pencils, hand bearing compass, back up hand held GPS, log book, and ships documentation, mooring and fuel receipts, and cruising guide.

And lay our the chart, on the top of the chart table to plot courses and D R track lines, note fixes, positions, study depths, shoals and off shore dangers, and entries to harbors and passes thru reefs. etc,.

We do not have living room, or dining room table, breakfast bar, etc., but we stow everything in its proper place , through out the vessel, so nothing can go adrift. Yep, monohulls can heel over, but we keep that to a minimum by reefing down.

I would think that having a chart table on a catamaran, would be 100 % up to the owner of the vessel . What to they feel good with, What is important to them, and done deal.

We also like a snug in chart table seat to work from, and not be standing up in a strong seaway, just trying to keep our balance, and work with the chart, or cruising guide .

Many of the large motor vessels that I skippered for Charters, did not have a chart table . I worked with what ever was convenient . So, catamarans are kind of in the same category, and a chart table is more than likely not necessary .

Erica and I have talked about this before, as to living on board . It would be a catamaran or good sized power boat. Alas, we will just continue bare boat charter monohuls, but the glimmer of that dream seeps into the psyche as we walk along the docks of our local marina, and look at all of the boats.

Good on you all , for living the dream.
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Old 01-11-2018, 23:21   #27
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

A chart table as in a big enough space to place a chart can be any flat surface with a means of holding the chart in place. Yes you can use the saloon table but you should have a roll up cover if you do otherwise the dividers make a mess of the varnish and you get butter and crumbs on the chart. Better still is some sort of fold down chart table the covers the saloon table so it is quicker and easier to put away.
What is essential is a dedicated nav and communications space. You need your nav and ref books plus radio radar ais permanently set up in one place so you can use it in the dark. Think about that storm tossed night when you are closing a lee shore and find the GPS position on you chart-plotter seams to be a couple of miles out... Or when the batteries fail and you are making landfall with no electronics... These things happen and whether they lead to a wreck is quite possible down to how well organized you are for sailing rather than living aboard
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Old 01-11-2018, 23:28   #28
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

I'm surprised at the many who have mentioned putting the radar at the nav station. Bad idea IMO, for it should be visible from the helm if it is to be of much use. I went to the expense of buying a new radar to replace the old CRT display that had to be below decks. The new one is waterproof enough to live under the dodger where it is easily seen and adjusted by the watchkeeper... far more useful, it is!

Similar feelings about the AIS.

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Old 01-11-2018, 23:51   #29
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

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I'm surprised at the many who have mentioned putting the radar at the nav station. ...
Some of us are old-fashioned, traditionalists, or broke... and those old radars last forever.
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Old 02-11-2018, 01:32   #30
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Re: Is a chart-table necessary?

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IF a boat (cat, mono, tri) is designed around "being underway" as its primary pleasure mode and purpose, and not around underway being "an occasional and unavoidable inconvenience" then the nav station becomes the preeminent location - the nerve centre - with radar, comms, depth/speed/GPS readout, and of course charts and plotting instruments and celestial plot sheets. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see how the saloon table can accommodate all that AND seat a crew for lunch. Chartplotters are a nice dinky little toy that can be located anywhere (preferably well away from the nav station IMO) but the fun and pleasure of navigating a small vessel comes from actually doing it, navigating that is, using the human brain. It's what boats were traditionally designed and built for: voyaging. If the art and craft of voyaging is not your thing then you don't need a nav station, let alone a chart table.

I think this hits the nail on the head.


Is doing actual navigation and passage planning a big part of what you do on your boat, or not?


If it is, then you certainly need a place to do it.


If you use your boat as a floating condo which occasionally gets repositioned to another marina, or anchors out for a weekend, then not.
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