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Author Topic: Electronic charts for Chartplotters  (Read 1557 times)

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Roc

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Electronic charts for Chartplotters
« on: November 17, 2015, 04:49:29 AM »

Hi everyone,
I'm gathering information on chartplotters and the one thing I see that is so overwhelming, is the many different electronic charts available and what chartplotter uses what.  Here's a recent article from SAIL Magazine.  Not only do you need to search out what chartplotter to buy, but then you have to rummage through all the different electronic charts and see what chartplotter uses which software.  You can't buy a chartplotter, then choose whatever electronic chart to use.  You have to make a decision based on both the hardware, and the software it will support.  Many chartplotters have the ability to use multiple charts.  Garmin, on the other hand, seems to only support their own "blue chart g2".

Interested in getting dialogue on what's good and not so good with respect to chartplotters and the software they support. 

http://www.sailmagazine.com/boats/design-and-technology/chart-plotting-in-the-digital-world/?utm_source=sail-enewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=textlink&utm_campaign=enewsletter

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Roc - "Sea Life" 2000 MKII #1477.  Rock Hall, MD

Stu Jackson

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Re: Electronic charts for Chartplotters
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 06:24:23 AM »

Roc, you're right about that.  Unless, however, we could get into an endless discussion about hardware and software, I really think it's important to state where one intends to sail.  If you're sailing just the Chesapeake or SF Bay, the proprietary Garmin charts, which may have a more intuitive hardware interface, would be fine, 'cuz you'd only "need" one chart.  If you go to the Bahamas, you may want two different charts, so Garmin wouldn't work.

The issues are more than just the two you mentioned:

hardware
software
charts (coverage and more)
touch screen or buttons or hybrid
size (i.e., physical, handheld, mounted and, if so, where)
interface with radar
chart updates - ease of use, availability of input (your own internet access as well as vendor's service)

I'm sure we'll think of other criteria.

Disclaimer: I'm a happy user of a Garmin GPSMap 76Cx from 2008.  I've never had to update my charts because they rarely change around here, and now I can't because Garmin stopped supporting the Blue Chart CD-ROM.

See?  There's more new criteria:  customer support and length of service for chart updates.

Yes, the choices are wide and varied and it takes some looking around to find out what works for your and on your boat.  It's such a personal choice.  Re: my "Disclaimer" --- I bought it with charts from here north.  If I go to Seattle I'm fine, if I sail to Los Angeles, I'd need another device.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Roc

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Re: Electronic charts for Chartplotters
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 08:41:40 AM »

Thanks Stu....  my cruising ground is Chesapeake Bay.  I currently have a handheld Garmin Map 76 (less than what you have) and I don't have the map upgrade loaded, just what came with the unit out of the box.   I would like something with a large screen, maybe in the range of 9" to 12" diagonal.   I did some snooping around at the boat show last month, in talking to the various chartplotter companies.  I like both B&G and Garmin.  From what I've heard, B&G is geared more towards racing.  Just about every new boat I see (I'm talking BIG boats not only at the boat show, but around marinas I visit and notice late model big boats, that have electronics I see often is B&G). Garmin is more for the 'average guy' and they are tops in customer service.  I also know that Garmin is very user friendly and intuitive...  So I am leaning toward Garmin....... But, I just want to hear from real live 34 owners and get a feel of what they use and pros/cons about their decisions.
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Roc - "Sea Life" 2000 MKII #1477.  Rock Hall, MD

Stu Jackson

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Re: Electronic charts for Chartplotters
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, 09:19:20 AM »

Roc, from what I've read on the www.cruisersforum.com site, there are a lot of skippers who have B&G and wish they'd either stayed with what they had or used something else.  Why?  Because they claim that the B&G equipment is non-intuitive for the important input and settings.  They do, however, simply gush over the sailing stuff, but, unless you're a hardcore racer, that information is a lot more than most of us need to get from A to B, and can be figured out with a little knowledge of math, vectors and experience.  I can figure out true wind speed and direction from experience and my direction and speed.  There's a handy little converter I stumbled across recently (although I forgot to bookmark it! - how could "link man" ever mess up like that?!? :D) that will take boat speed, apparent wind, directions and compute true wind speed and direction.  I do it with my eyes, ears and "feel."  And looking at the water!   :abd:

That's why it's always recommended that you go to a marine store and actually spend the time to try out the equipment, and download and read the manuals completely before you buy anything.

For example, my buddy Dave who sailed with me every week for six years, had a Garmin handheld 72.  I HATED that thing.  It required gong through six menus to set a new waypoint!!!  I was "off" Garmin for years, continued using my old Blazer Magellan, like yours with no charts.  I finally tried  the Garmin I bought.  Like night & day, they finally got it right.  It is sooo easy to use, I never bother with anything in the manual, although I have it onboard and a digital copy on my laptop & desktop computers.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 09:25:39 AM by Stu Jackson »
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Stu Jackson

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Re: Electronic charts for Chartplotters
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, 09:49:53 AM »

There's a handy little converter I stumbled across recently (although I forgot to bookmark it! - how could "link man" ever mess up like that?!? :D) that will take boat speed, apparent wind, directions and compute true wind speed and direction.

Found it:

Apparent Wind Calculator

http://www.hydesailsdirect.com/Articles.asp?ID=278

You can enter true or apparent wind speeds and directions.  It's fun to play with.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 09:52:09 AM by Stu Jackson »
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."
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