Re: Free or low cost GPS navigation software?
We have used SeaClear II for the the past two years. Although it is a little clunky to begin with, it becomes second nature with daily use. I loaded the program onto the cheapest netbook Walmart had to offer and added a puck GPS from Amazon. This went on a small swinging table mounted just inside the companion way. This setup was flawless from Baltimore to Georgetown Exuma and back. We did have a real chart plotter with Navionics charts but the small screen size and tedious route creation, it was not as good as SeaClear. We also had a spare laptop with the software loaded and ready to go. Offshore we would mark up our paper charts as we went along. While on the ICW, route planning took only a few minutes with SeaClear and Skipper Bobs anchorage book.
The netbook turned out to be pretty durable. Once in Nassau the backpack with the netbook went to the bottom of the dingy. Salt water poured from the netbook when we got to shore. We rinsed it in fresh water, let it dry out, and I,m using it now. For the Bahamas charts we used the CYC digital charts that came with our paper ones.
A wireless mouse made manipulating the program from anywhere in the cockpit a lot easier..