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  #1  
Old 06-19-2011
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Question Electronic charts

While considering whether or not to include a chartplotter in the list of equipment I want to carry on board, I started questioning the differences in the types of charts available. I was wondering if there was any one brand (Garmin, C-map, Navionics, etc.) that seems to work better for cruisers who plan on exploring all the worlds oceans?

I have used my Garmin Colorado handheld extensively for lake cruising and kayaking/camping expeditions but would like the maps I purchase for my handheld to be compatible with my chartplotter, if I choose to carry one. I am hoping this post will generate some responses concerning coverage areas, accuracy, compatibility with various plotter brands, and ease of use. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure if any one brand covers the entire globe.

I prefer actual paper charts and maps but since I will most likely be sailing solo, I want something more weather resistant than paper to carry in the cockpit. I may need the wind to blow me to my destination but I DON'T want it blowing my charts overboard!
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Old 06-19-2011
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Dean,
I try not to keep paper charts in the cockpit unless I specifically need for close in work, strange harbours, reefs and the like. As for the handheld while I have used a Garmin handeld as my only GPS for some years I confess I don't like the screen size for actual chart work. Me, I'd just get whatever plotter system you prefer and go from there rather than trying to fit in with the handheld.

C-Map btw is world wide, or as near as dammit.
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Old 06-19-2011
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After many years with a Garmin Map76 we've moved to the Standard Horizon 180i.. it's a nice improvement on screen size over the Garmin, but not the intrusive pod of a Raymarine full size plotter.

Quite liking it so far, easy to read screen, decent menu and key commands, the Cmap Max data is useful and the internal antenna seems to be adequate (and simplifies installation) It will talk NMEA to my RM autopilot, and may connect to the radar as well, haven't gotten that far yet.

But for the price it's a good compromise. I believe the latest, (190i?) comes with a mapset, for ours we had to add on a $200 Cmap chip. Still we're into it for $600 all up, much less than the larger plotters once you factor in the modified binnacle, pods, antennaes etc etc....
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Old 06-20-2011
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Fast,
You might have noticed that the new girl has an SH300i which is the big brother of the 180 (slightly bigger screen) . Nice bit of kit. Seems to me that compared with Raven's Navman 5380 the SH is in all ways superior. Not sure how much a Northstar 538 (successor to Navman 5380) costs but cannot be a huge difference between that and a 180.
Not sure about the radar connectivity though. Our 300 has AIS add on but radar only goes to the Raymarine.
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Old 06-20-2011
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I use a Garmin 60cxs and my laptop as well as paper charts. I brought a Mac book for $150 when a school upgraded. I use a remote antenna to protect the gear. I coat my charts with Stormproof which renders them wetproof. I used this product in the Army for maps when I was in Special Forces and it works quite well. There are several companies that sell charting software. Google mapping software or marine charting software.
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Old 06-21-2011
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Thanks for the replies! From what I read in the advertising for many of these chartplotters, they are compatible with different types of chart vendors. I'm only familiar with Garmin maps and currently use the Inland Lakes set for my area. For actual coastal or offshore cruising, are there any major differences in charts from the major vendors? I would assume they all show aids to navigation and soundings. Has anyone noticed consistent errors or other problems with any certain brand?
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Old 06-21-2011
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VetMike, what is this Stormproof you speak of? Is it readily available anywhere or a specialty item? It sounds handy...
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Old 06-21-2011
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I hear its cheaper to get the chartplotter than constantly trading and buying new charts. However, I am wary to put al my faith in an instrument that relies on electronic calibration. 50' off course and I could be on a reef or worse. Are there any sailors here who rely purely on the electronical method of navigating? If so, how has it worked out for you?
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Old 06-22-2011
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You think 50' off course is bad? How accurate is your dead reckoning?
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Old 06-22-2011
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I Use both paper UK HO, and the laptop based charts for ease of navigation, ie course, distance and lat & Lon. I like to practice with the paper charts as that all there is if the electrics fail.
I also print of A4 sheets From the laptop to cover the areas I am cruising and keep these laminates in a file, usually places at the gangway. The folder also contains relevant info on places of concern ie Port Authority instructions for crossing or entering our very busy local international port, Dublin.
This way I have the necessary info at my fingertips agus I find this essential as I mostly sail singlehanded.
Recently purchased the Navioniocs Marine Ireland, UK and Holland for my Nokia phone and while haven't used at sea it look the part for a handheld backup system.
Safe sailing
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