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  #11  
Old 06-21-2013
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Re: charts

I have paper charts of just about everywhere I've boated from the Dry Tortugas to the Maine coast. They're all in a watertight container, where they've been for years. I switched to digital charts when the first became available, and never looked back. My Lowrance HDS7 has an incredibly crisp, clear, high-resolution display, and zoomed in or out, that 7-inch screen is great. I no longer need to look at the "big picture" with a large paper chart spread out on a table. And I love the ability to zoom in and look at each and every location in great detail and having all the information right at my fingertips. And, I can go online and update the charts at no cost.

No paper for me except in a dire emergency such as a complete electrical failure - something I've never experienced in six decades of boating.

Good Luck,

Gary
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2013
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Re: charts

I have a different view and after being on hundreds of boats over the 11 years I've been doing cruising, I'm even more convinced...

I only use electronic charts on a variety of platforms. I literally gave away every paper chart we had onboard in late 2010. I haven't looked back. This includes an offshore, overnight passage where all of the built-in electronics died and went black (the melt-down, most feared situation). Spoiler alert - we lived.

In all seriousness, from my observation of the charts carried and used on most cruising boats, paper charts add a significant amount of danger and risk on boats. I've debated this topic about 25 times. I know all the issues (lightening, power loss, GPS constellation loss, etc) and take all of that into consideration. I honestly think that there's no question about the subject today.

It's interesting to note that ships are no longer required to carry paper charts from the latest IMO standards.
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
I have a different view and after being on hundreds of boats over the 11 years I've been doing cruising, I'm even more convinced...

[snip]

In all seriousness, from my observation of the charts carried and used on most cruising boats, paper charts add a significant amount of danger and risk on boats. I've debated this topic about 25 times. I know all the issues (lightening, power loss, GPS constellation loss, etc) and take all of that into consideration. I honestly think that there's no question about the subject today.
Interesting... Not every day one hears the argument advanced that there is "no question" that the presence of paper charts aboard a sailing yacht "adds a significant amount of danger and risk"...

How so?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
It's interesting to note that ships are no longer required to carry paper charts from the latest IMO standards.
Well, I'm not sure what sort of boat you sail, but I find it interesting to note that there is very little similarity between my own little tub, and the typical merchant vessel plying the world's oceans today... Their nav station is likely to be elevated a hundred feet or more above the water surface than my own - thus making it just slightly more impervious to the risk of water intrusion - and such vessels are considerably less likely to suffer something like a knockdown, or a complete loss of electrical power than mine... In terms of the capability to generate emergency/backup power, or to avail the navigator to a variety of backups or alternatives to the ship's primary computer or plotter, I'd suggest there's precious little comparison between my own 30-footer, and a virtual floating city thousands of times her size, equipped with a suite of electronics/nav systems that alone likely represents a greater monetary investment than the value of my boat itself... (grin)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 06-22-2013 at 12:37 AM.
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  #14  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

There are several very good CD based navigation programs out there, I have looked at a bunch of them, and I am thinking that the one I am most impressed with so far is the Nobeltec Trident Timezero system that gives you the same data that you would find in those commercial ships, links it all together and works with all of your other navigation equipment, and instruments. I know the electronic charts are not cheap, but you can get the mega wide view charts covering the largest part of the world for about $450.00 per region, and it has very deep detail for the entire region.

I am not saying I am buying it, because I am still researching, and it may be just more cost effective to use GPS/Chartplotter networking from someone like Raymarine, Garmin, or Furuno, which will do everything except the satellite view layering that the timezero software does, but the graphics are so rich on the software and the view is like Google Earth on steroids with radar, sonar, AIS links to every ship or vessel equipped with it, and a ton of other features.

Link......... Nobeltec TimeZero Trident and landfall also has a lot of other good software. Watch the video for the Trident software and tell me you would not like Santa to put that in your stocking.
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  #15  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

I use paper charts most. I use GPS for confirming my position on paper charts.

I'd add that I find cruising guides an indespensible addition to my charts. They show and describe what is most important in my cruising. The destination. Charts are great but I like to know and see photos of the anchorages and windy channel entrances and hear "stay 100 yards east if the first buoy, it shoals at low tide". If I had to put it in order

1. Paper chart. Scale 1:80,000
2. Guide
3. GPS
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  #16  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

The best source for paper charts is the government of the area in question for paper charts in Med. You can find paper charts of close areas in the neighboring countries. It is best to buy from local selling shops. Greece has charts of Turkey but they do not have all the details of Turkish charts.

For electronic charts I am not so sure. Med area is the best known sea for centuries. But the electronic charts are not as precise as paper charts. In one of the chart plotters a rock clearly marked on paper chart was approximetely 1/2 miles off its location on the electronic one. Now I am using only Max Sea as a secondary device to paper charts with the raster charts. Although vector charts can contain a lot more information on the same amount of memory, they do not(especially for med area). The raster charts of the Med contain a lot more information although they need more
memory.
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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I use paper charts most. I use GPS for confirming my position on paper charts.

I'd add that I find cruising guides an indespensible addition to my charts. They show and describe what is most important in my cruising. The destination. Charts are great but I like to know and see photos of the anchorages and windy channel entrances and hear "stay 100 yards east if the first buoy, it shoals at low tide". If I had to put it in order

1. Paper chart. Scale 1:80,000
2. Guide
3. GPS
I like all of the above in one package, which is why I am looking at the software I am looking at along with other things.
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  #18  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

SAS Planet Nightly is very good for planning a cruise. It uses Google, Yandex, Bing and a lot more satellite views, some of them are better for a specific area than the other. The program records the images when you check with internet connection and you can use these images while cruising, even if you do not have internet connection.
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  #19  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Not every day one hears the argument advanced that there is "no question" that the presence of paper charts aboard a sailing yacht "adds a significant amount of danger and risk"...

How so?
It requires having an honest discussion about the equipment and charts onboard. There are 2 reasons:

1. When I looked at the paper charts I used to carry, they were typically 3 years old. I never replaced them yearly and every cruising boater who's boat I went onto never had up-to-date charts. They're just too expensive to maintain and the feeling of them being on paper leads many to think that they're "good enough." Now if you boat in a smaller region, then sure, it's possible to update a couple of charts every year. To be honest, I've never been on a regional boat yet that updated their charts yearly either. It's possible that someone does that somewhere. Most don't.

Contrast that to my electronic charts. My main charts are current to March 2013. Other systems of mine have charts that are (seriously) about 2 weeks out of date. Now in some places (like Maine) that doesn't matter much. But compare that this season to the coast of NJ that has some major changes to the charts. You'd be shocked at the number of buoy and daymark changes every week on charts. I'd estimate that 10 fixed marks are destroyed every week on just the ICW (I'm in a position to know that fact because of our hazard markers). And that's just the ICW.

2. If the most catastrophic failure happened to the GPS satellite system, I'd be left with only the visible chart displays on the variety of screens I have - laptops, tablets, phones, chartplotters. Those displays would allow me to do DR navigation just as easily as paper charts. In fact, it's easier since the old marks can be removed without erasing and damaging the charts. We practice DR on digital displays. If you've never done that, you'd be surprised how nice it is. And there are some products like Coastal Explorer the do real time DR for you. When there's no GPS signal, you enter course, speed, set, and drift, and it plots your live position like like the GPS-derived display although it warns you that it's a DR position. I've yet to see a paper chart that does that.

OK so given that this digital DR mode would only happen in the worst of worst cases of all visible GPS satellites blowing up, this mode of navigation is exactly the same as paper chart navigation on the most beautiful day when every GPS satellite is working perfectly. And the reality is that I've yet to have a moment of GPS constellation failure - and when GPS is working perfectly, paper charts still don't show me my position without a lot of error-prone manual plotting. Now add some bad weather - I mean serious bad weather. I'd rather have the reliable GPS system. And if GPS managed to fail right then during a bad weather event (an incredible coincidence) then I'd be in the same position as paper charts.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I'd suggest there's precious little comparison between my own 30-footer, and a virtual floating city thousands of times her size, equipped with a suite of electronics/nav systems that alone likely represents a greater monetary investment than the value of my boat itself... (grin)
Except for a few facts. Ships have regulations that are carefully determined by governments who want to guarantee safety. Every ship represents significantly more danger and monetary loss than hundreds of copies of my boat. Governments can require (and did) that charts be kept up-to-date - even kept to date with the various notice to mariners. [And again, having an honest discussions about it - do you update your paper charts to the LNTM every week? Digital charts in the US are updated every week today for LNTM.] If there were the slightest bit of extra safety provided by paper charts, governments would require them. They used to. They don't any longer. It's not just for tankers and container ships either.

I think there's a feeling by some that you're not a real sailor unless you've got paper charts below in a nav station or out on deck in plastic. I think those feelings are no longer true in 2013. For me, the cutover happened in 2010. I'd rather see the dim glow of a GPS chartplotter on the passing sailboat's binnacle at night.

It's really OK to throw out your paper charts today. You'd be shocked how nice everything becomes.
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  #20  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Jeff makes some good points. I use electronic nav as primary, but always crosscheck electronic nav with something else. Usually my eyeball on the nav aid that the plotter says should be there, but will crosscheck to paper in unfamiliar places for landmarks.

I will have a set of paper aboard somewhere. Not often used, but available. I have had both GPS signal failure and had display failure in real life. Both were in an aircraft in instrument conditions. It happens. However, I will agree that happening at single digit speeds is not much of a crisis, you just need to have another plan.
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