Originally Posted by capta
If you haven't the power to run your chartplotter with all the handy dandy features on it, that aren't just for show by the way, for the duration of your voyage, perhaps your power situation should be looked at. With the inexpensive windgens and solar systems on the market today, "conserve(ing) power" for your chartplotter should not be a major concern. Running lights now eat a tiny bit of electricity compared to a few years ago, probably saving what a modern chartplotter uses.
Little changes in speed, course and/or VMG which can't be seen without the constant use of the equipment, can alert the navigator to a developing situation, long before it becomes critical. I can see a ship when it gets close enough to be a danger, but a set beginning to push me into a rocky shore, perhaps not quite as easily, especially at night. No thanks, I'll take the chartplotter over the AIS.
Perhaps I wasn't clear... I have 2 Simrad plotters on my boat, and as I wrote: "The smaller one stays on most of the time underway."
My power situation is adequate, a larger house bank than one would find on most 30-footers, and the capability of making amps under sail from either solar, or a towed water generator (I only use a wind generator at anchor) So, I suppose it's more of a case of old habits dying hard, I've just always made a practice of trying to conserve stuff like power and water when under sail because, well, you never know ... :-)
Naturally, if I'm sailing along the coast of Maine, for instance, the larger plotter in the cockpit will likely be running... But, off soundings or away from the coast, I simply don't see the need to have TWO plotters running simultaneously (the larger one gets its fix from the smaller one at the nav station)... Plus, at night, I prefer to keep the cockpit as dark as possible, so unless I need to be checking the radar, I'd rather have the one above deck blacked out...
Once one gets away from the coast, or clear of any off-lying dangers, most of those "handy dandy" features of most plotters become pretty useless, they're not telling me much of anything that my little old Garmin 48 handheld GPS cannot. If I'm making the trip from, say, the Bahamas up to Beaufort, once off the bank and clear of any hazards, the use of a plotter becomes pretty superfluous, and I'll just mark my progress for the next few days on paper, instead...
Hopelessly old fashioned, I know... :-) But it works for me, still gives me a better feel for my progress, and a sense of where I am, and what my strategy should be...