GPS for BVI charter and Garmin BlueChart frustration - SailNet Community

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Old 03-02-2010
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GPS for BVI charter and Garmin BlueChart frustration

I've been doing research for a few months on handheld GPS. I need one for an upcoming charter and for use around Puget Sound also. Most reviews say Garmin is the best, but with their BlueChart recall it seems a waste of an investment.
I talked to Garmin and their suggestion was to not purchase the BlueChart Vision and also wait for the new software to be released. Since they don't have a date for this release and I would like to have something for our April trip I have come to a dilemma.
I've looked at eBay and Craigslist but even if I bought a used model I would still need to purchase the card for the Caribbean which is now recalled. Seems like a waste of money.
I've looked to rent one but rentals don't come with the appropriate charts, so same issue.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-02-2010
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I'm not sure what the problem is with the BlueCharts, but I have a Navionics card in my plotter and, while it works for much of the BVI, it would put me on the reef in Anegada; so any handheld using the same cartography data should be treated with caution. The paper charts and guide books that come with every charter boat are more than sufficient for the BVI and using GPS is a bit of overkill and a nice-to-have instead of must-have.
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Old 03-02-2010
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I've been dealing with the Bluechart recall issue for a handheld Garmin myself. Off the record, one of the tech support guys at Garmin told me he's heard they are trying to come out with the 2010 version of Bluechart by end of March. They're not promising this publicly, but FYI, for what it's worth. I had purchased one of their other charts covering the same area, and it didn't have the detail I needed for some harbors, so I need to wait for the new Bluechart release.
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Old 03-02-2010
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GPS is absolutely not required for a BVI charter. Navigation is as easy as it gets, the paper charts are very good, and the briefings before the charter cover the few danger areas.

My suggestion, with over 40 years experience sailing in the islands, is to forget the GPS and other gadgets and enjoy the charter. It's a wonderful place to learn about just limin' :-) Afterwards you can return to the pressure cooker.

Bill
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Old 03-02-2010
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Yes, I agree a GPS is not necessary in the BVI's. But I really did want to take one. I thought it would be a great place to teach my partner also. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2010
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Great. You can do the teaching without charts for your GPS. Teach her/him to read paper charts, and to locate your GPS lat/lon readings on the paper charts.

Have fun. And, have a Mt. Gay & coke for me :-)

Bill
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Old 03-05-2010
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The Blue chart recall as far as I know really only relates to errors along the coast of Denmark, I'd go with one of the handheld models that are preloaded with all US coastal charts. You would need to get a data card for the Carribean in any case. I didn;t think they were affected by the recall.
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Old 03-05-2010
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I investigated this and Garmin says that they dont KNOW of any errors in charts outside of the Baltic sea but they are possible and "out of an abundance of caution" they recalled all of them (could be maybe a lawyer had something to do with writing that dont you think?).
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Old 03-05-2010
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I've spoken with Garmin tech support about the issue and they don't support recalled software and any updates in the future. They say that their retailers have returned all products with the recalled software so only option would be eBay or such, but then you'd have a non-updatable GPS. Unless of course you purchase the new software that will come out who knows when for $$$. Might be a low-tech charter.
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Old 03-05-2010
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Just back from the BVIs.

You do not need a GPS! We got to Anegada using dead reckoning. Getting back was easier.

Folks should learn to use their eyes and charts before they learn to use GPS.
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