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  #11  
Old 04-17-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

Quote:
Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
Yes move the plotter up to the helm. Down below I would use an iPad or old laptop with Open CPN a free chart software that is well supported and will integrate with future electronics. It will even work on an old netbook, does not require much.
I agree that OpenCPN is great, and very flexible to integrate with electronics if you're handy with computer interfacing. I use it as my primary chartplotter at the helm, but I'm a fair weather daysailer, so everything stays dry.

However, I do want to point out that OpenCPN does not run on an iPad. It needs Windows, Linux, or Mac. But no iOS version. This year I'm running it on a Windows 8 tablet (Miix2 8" on a RAM mount at the helm) in addition to having it on my home and work PCs and my backup netbook at the boat). I plot my routes on the large screen at home, and copy the .gpx files to the tablet.
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  #12  
Old 04-17-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
I certainly don't want instruments mounted so high that they block sight, or will get grabbed or otherwise broken.
Agreed. There are lots of ways on just about every boat to mount instruments over the companionway so they aren't in the way of sight or subject to damage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
I like to have the plotter near the wheel so I can easily use it for the task at hand. If I'm racing I want to see distance and time to waypoints. If I'm anchoring I want to see the SONAR display. If I'm just daysailing I might not even turn it on. If I'm cruising and in bad visibility or at night or in a crowded area I want to see AIS targets. I don't want to have to move back and forth between the pedestal and the companionway to make changes.
The benefits of having the plotter under the dodger are manifold. Most significant is that it keeps you from fiddling with the plotter when your head should be outside the boat. Cruising with the autopilot engaged you'll likely be under the dodger anyway and placing the plotter there is more useful than on the pedestal. Racing, depending on your boat and the size of your crew your navigator, tactician, mainsail trimmer, or a jib trimmer can read you the data.

I can see my 8" display under the dodger from the wheel just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
The C&C has Raymarine ST60 units mounted in the bulkhead at the forward end of the cockpit, next to the companionway.
Not a fan of bulkhead mounted instruments - crew and guests are often in the way.

The companionway is a great place - only someone standing in the companionway blocks the view of the instruments from anywhere in the cockpit. You know what "they" say about people who stand there. *grin*
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

For myself, the primary purpose of a chart plotter is as a recording device. Unless I'm well offshore, there's not really anything the chart plotter can tell me that my eyes can't. It can confirm what I see, but it's certainly not a substitute for what I see. So for me, having it at the helm is merely a distraction. In fact, the only instrument I have at the helm is the compass.
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  #14  
Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer View Post
For myself, the primary purpose of a chart plotter is as a recording device. Unless I'm well offshore, there's not really anything the chart plotter can tell me that my eyes can't. It can confirm what I see, but it's certainly not a substitute for what I see. So for me, having it at the helm is merely a distraction. In fact, the only instrument I have at the helm is the compass.
I guess it depends on where you sail. Having a chartplotter at the helm has basically eliminated "anchoring with my keel" here on the Chesapeake Bay since it shows me where the shallow water is.
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Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

Don't you have possible anchorages in mind before you start out? That's what I do while eating breakfast. Primary, alternate and along the way.
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  #16  
Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

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Originally Posted by PBzeer View Post
Don't you have possible anchorages in mind before you start out? That's what I do while eating breakfast. Primary, alternate and along the way.
I think he was referring to how the chartplotter helps him avoid running aground.
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  #17  
Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

I think this thread highlights how greatly our use of chartplotters differs with our sailing range and objectives. An ocean sailor says, "Why would anyone need a chartplotter at the helm?" because there's almost nothing to bump into out there and he only needs to check it infrequently. Yet a shallow water sailor (like on the Chesapeake) needs it at the helm to avoid underwater obstacles.

I sail on a river with potential for lots of commercial traffic. I like having my "chartplotter" at the helm to show me where/when the big freighters are coming from, or whether they're just anchored on the horizon. I get frequent AIS alarms and need to tap the "acknowledge" button to turn the alarm off. If I had to leave the helm to walk up to the companionway every time an alarm went off, it would create a hazardous condition. I need to have it at the helm.

Since I tack frequently (otherwise I'd run into the sides of the river), I use my chartplotter to give crew a "2 minute warning" of upcoming tacks. My software projects a vector in front of my boat indicating where I'll be in 2 minutes, so as soon as that vector hits skinny water, I give the warning to my crew. This allows me to use as much as possible of the river's limited width.

FYI, I don't have a real "chartplotter." I use a Windows 8 tablet running OpenCPN to display GPS and AIS, and a separate handheld GPS as backup and for recording my tracks. It has a lot of really nice features, including the configurable alarms and prediction vectors.
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Last edited by TakeFive; 04-19-2014 at 09:10 AM.
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  #18  
Old 04-19-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

As a coastal cruiser I prefer the chart plotter at the helm (a fixed mount with radar in my case, a Garmin 3006). Down below if I need to check position / course I'll use either a handheld Garmin Oregon 400c or GPSMap 478 kept as backups or the ipad or iphone with Garmin apps. I prefer the redundancy of separate systems rather linked units where one might be dependent on the other.

Last edited by LinekinBayCD; 05-24-2014 at 08:05 PM.
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  #19  
Old 04-19-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

Quote:
I think he was referring to how the chartplotter helps him avoid running aground.
I understand that. For myself, I find the depth sounder far more of a reliable instrument than a chart which may or may not be accurate. That's why I plan ahead.
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Ontario 32 - Aria

Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
JCP


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  #20  
Old 04-19-2014
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Re: Chartplotter at the nav station

For what it's worth, we have a large Garmin chart plotter at our navigation station below (where we always have paper charts laid out for the area we're traveling for comparison), and a second 3205 Garmin at the helm station that can be dismounted when not needed. Both units are wired to allow them to feed data to our computer at the navigation station if/when needed. The helm station display is very useful and especially so for my (much) better half who sometimes has difficulty steering to a compass course but has no difficulty "follow(ing) the arrow" or "stay(ing) on the highway", both display options on the 3205. The 3205 displays AIS data which allows one to "see" approaching traffic and can be linked to one's radar and depth sounder/fish finder if desired. The foregoing arrangement has proven very satisfactory. Notably, several of our friends that decried the usefulness of a chart plotter at the helm installed one of their own after traveling with us.

FWIW...
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