Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?
I use the Garmin GPSMap 541 and it is on all of the time while underway.
I don't rely on it exclusively for my navigation but as part of an integrated navigation network made up of: the chartplotter, depthsounder, paper charts, Ports cruising guide, sailing directions, compass and, most importantly: eyesight.
I usually plan my cruises by reviewing my intended route on paper charts, starting from the smallest scale and working down to the largest. Then I get on my PC using an old version of Offshore Navigator. I explore anchorages, areas of concern and points of interest there. I use Sailing Directions and Ports Guide to review any specific features of the areas.
I do all of this at home - usually over the winter.
I copy coordinates from Offshore Navigator into Garmin Trip and Waypoint Manager and load them onto an SD card that I can load into my chartplotter.
I have many of the Georgian Bay anchorages and ports loaded onto my chartplotter now so that I can easily access them if I need to in a hurry. The chartplotter also has a listing of marinas, fuel docks and points of interest that you can access easily while underway. There are also satellite shots of marinas and so on for reference.
Once underway I usually start my day by reviewing my paper charts. I always have my paper charts in the cockpit for the area in which I am sailing - even my home waters. I use the chartplotter mostly as a speedometer, but also to calculate ETA etc. I will refer to it on long crossings (especially away from land) to make sure I am on course. In my area there are very few times when you are out of sight of land so I am conning most of the time.
1989 Hunter 30'
Southern Georgian Bay
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Yves Cousteau
Last edited by flyingwelshman; 02-26-2014 at 04:00 PM.