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Old 08-14-2010
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Best Computer Setup for Navigation / Instruments

Hi Everyone,

We have been having endless headaches with our "NavRoc" computers here on board. They seem prone to crashing, cables internally sometimes come loose and they always seem to be working hard despite fresh installs of everything and the minimum of software etc. I have been using OSX / Macintosh for my personal computer for 5 years now and I find it so much more robust and stable overall. I know they make some software but does anyone have first hand experience with this? Here is a list of things we need to run - the boat is 85' sailing sloop.

- Sirius / WX Receiver -> WX Mate (our weather software)
- GPS 1
- GPS 2
- B&G instrument data
- Radar

What would you recommend? I don't want to say price is no object, but it's not much of an object. I just asked my captain how attached he is to Nobeltec on a scale of 1-10 and he said "100"... but he's a smart guy and could probably switch if we had something that was worth switching to. Thoughts?

Best, C
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Old 08-14-2010
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If you have good trouble shooting experience with Windows and have the $600+ for Nobeltec, it is indeed very full-featured software. I crewed one delivery with it on the skipper's pc, and the only problem was that it has so many unfathomable features that we all kept getting lost in the menus and submenus. But then, a sort of shotgun approach to building in zillions of obscure features has been a religion with MS folks for many years.

For a lot less $ one can use something like GPSNavX
GPSNavX™ - Marine Navigation & Charting Application for OS X
on any Mac (even my "old" G4 iBook) and plug in the same BU-353 usb gps receiver (about $70.) that I have used for years on our boat. You can also plug in an AIS black box for somewhere around $200.

There are other choices, but I have no personal experience with them.

FWIW, if I were going to have a dedicated computer system on the boat, I would nowadays install the newest MacMini for $699. Of course even that may be supplanted quickly by the onrushing nav. capabilities of the iPad!

Happy computing,

ps: with a yacht large enough to have a professional captain whose judgement you trust and rely on, you probably do not want to step on his computing toes too much, as it were!

Last edited by olson34; 08-14-2010 at 01:32 PM.
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