Chartplotters...best at helm or at nav table? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 06-07-2011
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I'd like to chime in here.

When I was spec'ing my boat I planned to put the plotter at the helm. A number of people I respected changed my mind. Now with many many deliveries behind me and the opportunity to sail different configurations there is no question in my mind.

If you are to have one and only one display the place for it is under the dodger. You can see it from the wheel or tiller without being tempted to fiddle with the buttons when you should be paying attention to the world outside. It's in the right place for the watchstander when you are underway with the a/p steering.

A second plotter or networked laptop or roaming tablet below is nice, but secondary.

I've used the night color schemes on a number of plotters and found they are not as good as just turning down the brightness.
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2011
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Swing bracket works best for tiller steered boats. With less than perfect old farts eyesight and small gps, reading from behind the wheel was impossible.

Large size plotter is quite clear mounted under dodger. I find less problem with loss of night vision with this setup than helm mounted.

Oh yes, and I second Dave's point re lighting. With brightness turned right down all is well.
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Old 06-07-2011
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I learned to sail on a race boat in the early '80s.

I learned navigation before there were chartplotters.

As such, I am still of the belief that navigation rightly belongs below.

My concept of a "heads up" display is my eyes looking ahead and around, not staring down at a screen.
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Old 06-07-2011
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My Standard Horizon display has a night setting...

FWIW we've got both plotter and radar display at the helm.. never really could figure out how a radar screen down below was going to be terribly helpful steering in fog, esp alone.....
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Old 06-07-2011
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Be aware the electronics next to the helm may effect the compass. Mine needed to be about a meter away. I installed the plotter below and will run a high res video monitor from the (Simrad NSE8) video out port. Monitor can live under the bimini & could be bagged or boxed.
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Old 06-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NICHOLSON58 View Post
Be aware the electronics next to the helm may effect the compass. Mine needed to be about a meter away. I installed the plotter below and will run a high res video monitor from the (Simrad NSE8) video out port. Monitor can live under the bimini & could be bagged or boxed.
Yep

I use a boat with twin helms and twin compasses and a cockpit chartplotter. The compass near the chartplotter on port has "worse" deviation than the one on starboard.
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Old 06-08-2011
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It seems I tried to end this thread prematurely.
I think it's fair to say that depending on all the particular features of a specific boat, there is still some consideration to be made about where to install the primary(or only) chartplotter, esecially if options include a repeating monitor at the helm, or even just keeping your favorite handheld at the helm for quick reference purposes and having your more elaborate chartplotter below deck (which is a very economical alternative ie. West Marine had a Map76cx for sale a few weeks back at $179). Still, it is hard to argue the point about radar only being useful at the helm, esp. if your single-handing, except to say that most of us, I presume, rarely sail in heavy fog.
And finally, most of us have limitations, either financial or otherwise.
Individual priorities about sailing come into play as well. I currently sail without radar, auto-pilot, or any roller-furling. However, other than the integrity of your sailing vessel, and your own seamanship, I think the navigation capabilities and resources you have on the boat are very high on the priority list, so those issues have my attention at the moment.
Again, thanks for all the valuable opinions from everybody.
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Old 06-08-2011
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Or...you can look at Rythmdoctor's post of 2-17-11 and the thread about the Best AIS for the buck and jump into the star wars level of bluetooth integration where you apparently can have chartplotters and computer screens anywhere your heart desires.
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Old 06-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NICHOLSON58 View Post
Be aware the electronics next to the helm may effect the compass. Mine needed to be about a meter away. I installed the plotter below and will run a high res video monitor from the (Simrad NSE8) video out port. Monitor can live under the bimini & could be bagged or boxed.

It should go without saying that any changes within a few feet of the helm should require the compass be re-swung. I use a pro for this and do it regularly. When installing electronics on customers boats close attention is always paid tho what happens with the compass and the suggestion is always made to hire a compass adjuster to "finish" the job.

For sailing in the fog, as we do quite often, and will be doing in about 45 minutes, there is no replacement for a plotter/radar display at the helm.

Our chart table plotter only ever gets used to plan routes or when I have a long off shore passage and need to drop below for a few minutes.. Our helm plotter can be rotated 360 degrees so it can be seen from nearly anywhere in the cockpit not just the helm. This allows me to sit under the dodger and view the helm plotter..

I too grew up sailing and navigating in pea soup fog long before electronics, when I was commercial fishing I navigated about 80% by depth only, but I have not held onto my buggy whip/nav station electronics location and have seen the huge value in helm mounted plotters..

When we bought this boat the radar was at the nav station and it was utterly useless for thick Maine fog. As the skipper of the vessel, who is 100% responsible for the ships actions, I don't want to rely on anyone but myself to track and monitor targets, and I include my wife who is very good with radar, when I say this. When off shore I relax this but when coastal, along the busy Maine coast, no way. I can't be in two places at once and trying to track boats that sometimes show up as a sea clutter spec from 7 feet away is just not prudent seamanship IMHO.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 06-08-2011 at 07:21 AM.
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  #20  
Old 06-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post

If you are to have one and only one display the place for it is under the dodger. You can see it from the wheel or tiller without being tempted to fiddle with the buttons when you should be paying attention to the world outside. It's in the right place for the watchstander when you are underway with the a/p steering.
That is what we did. Then we added a second swivel mount to the overhead below.


It takes less than a minute to move the plotter from one mount to the other.

I originally designed and built a double-jointed gooseneck mount that would allow the plotter to swing through the companionway, but discovered all of the disadvantages noted earlier.
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