What is the canvas in the pictures that are part of your signature?
That's the C250 version of a pop top. It requires pivoting the hatch up, which fully blocks the forward view and makes it unsuitable for sailing. It's strictly for on the hook and at the dock.
I have considered fashioning a dodger-like cloth that uses the stainless sub-structure of the pop top, but haven't come up with anything that wouldn't interfere with the winches.
...I'm not familiar with the Catalina 250. The Catalina 22 in all it's manifestations, including the Capri, has plenty of room to walk forward on side decks. Do you have to step up from the cockpit seats all the way to the cabintop?..
Yes. In rough seas I crawl.
...I agree with you about acknowledging alarms. PITA. I'd love to be able to set a mode that is "no alarms" - in good weather and lots of visibility I can see the 8-story slab of steel I'm passing. Sometimes I just turn the AIS off completely (New York Harbor, Annapolis anchorage, Thimble Shoals Channel, Charleston, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, ...) because the alarms become a bigger problem than the value-add of the data. I can always turn it back on...I'd love to have a simple flashing indicator in the databar rather than a beeping indication with a pop-up that blocks the screen...
OpenCPN, which is the chartplotter I run in my tablet, has highly configurable alarms which can greatly reduce the alarms. You can set limits on CPA, TCPA, audio/no audio, acknowledge timeout, distance of vessels, anchored vessel suppression, etc. You can even turn off the alarms completely. I have tweaked it to minimize the false alarms. But I do not want to turn it off completely because a couple times a year I will get a an alarm for a vessel coming directly behind me with a 5 minute TCPA, and turn around to see it there.
In my case the most common false alarm is a vessel coming "around the bend" whose 5-minute vector crosses my stern. I know he's not going to hit me because when he completes the turn to follow the channel he's headed another direction, but OpenCPN does not know that. That's an acceptable tradeoff for the benefits of the alarms, but I still need to have the tablet close enough to me to see what's going on.
The single greatest benefit of AIS for me is to show me that the vessels 2-3 nm away are actually anchored (as the vast majority are) and not moving. And to show me when they start moving (as they always eventually do).