My post has gotten a lot of good responses that will take some time for me to sift through. Thanks to all.
Iharmon – thanks. I do like your approach. I do like to play with the technology but I also love to sail. Last summer, I found myself turning the GPS off numerous times because all it was doing was draining the batteries. I’m still evaluating what the thing is really good – when and how I’ll be using it. I can’t say that it adds to my sailing enjoyment but if it adds to safety then I’ll use it as an aid. Last summer, I found myself often over using it because of the learning curve. I’m spending some time here at home over the winter playing with the software and hardware so I’m better prepared and not distracted when I’m back on the water. Hence, the reason for my post.
Keep in mind the contex of the situation and type of sailing of the various responses and suggestions you got. For the most part they are all usefull in different situations. I'm not an "all or always" type of person. Different situations require different approaches. Sometimes the paper charts are put away (for example when I'm in my home waters on a nice sunny day). Some times I have the paper charts out, the chartpolotter and radar on with a spare handheld GPS at the ready and a crusing guide out after reading and re-reading the remommended entrance to a new harbor in unfamiliar waters in the fog.
One thing I did not notice being suggested that I use the chartpoltter a lot for is the ETA and ETE features for purposes of selecting the destination for the day, when we need to depart, etc.
I have built up a large library of waypoints and routes for my sailing area over a 20 year period or so. The waypoints are in general named using some abbreviation of their locations name. Early on I found this easier to use than some type of numerical reference. The routs became a bird's nest jumble when they were all displayed in MapSource or were tough to find in a list on a GPS unit. What I did to keep them straight was to take que from the airline industry and consolidate and altered so that most of the routes started and ended in various "hubs". It made it a lot easier to find what I was looking for.
Don't be afraid to use the chartplotter, It can make your life easier. Just use common sense and compare what it is telling you with any other information you have.
Last edited by LinekinBayCD; 02-03-2011 at 12:34 PM.