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  #21  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

*raises hand*

I guess I'm one of the rare few who did update her charts with the weekly LNTM. Fortunately, not much gets updated in my area so it isn't hard to keep up. However, I find it very relaxing to look at charts (glass of something and a few quiet hours with some charts and I'm a happy pea) so it isn't torturous.

This year we're downgrading to free chart booklets and experimenting with two or three iPad apps. I used to buy new POD charts each year as close to our first sail as possible. I've had our netbook hiccup while we exited a tricky cove and reverted to paper. GPS satellites are not infallible but you can find schedules of known outages. Last year there was an unexpected issue with the satellites that shifted everything about 50 feet. Not good in some of the tributaries on the Chesapeake. It made exiting Bodkin Creek exciting.
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  #22  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Jeffery, I use electronic charts all the time for my navigation and I never plot positions on a paper chart. I would not like to be without paper charts. There are just certain times I feel more comfortable having the paper charts around. For one thing they are larger. I get a better feel for the big picture. For example going down the ICW looking at the Maptech strip charts one page typically covers about 20 miles while on my plotter about two.

When figuring a route in the Bahamas, the Explorer Charts are such an excellent resource with routes and waypoints already figured out for you. It would be hard not to have them available and why re-invent the wheel. I would imagine that other areas of the world also have their Explorer Chart equivalent.

Just a couple of examples why I like to have paper charts but that's just me and what works for me. Others are may see it differently which is fine. Whatever works for them, just be safe.
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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

I guess I am a Luddite in that I only use paper and pilotbooks for chart purposes. Most charts are Imray Iolaire but I have some NOAA charts which I printed out. I would not be comfortable relying on only electronic devices although I am aware that many do.

Some even use a smart phone as their primary nav tool with a second phone as a back up. The thought of that gives me the willies
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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

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Originally Posted by TQA View Post
...

Some even use a smart phone as their primary nav tool with a second phone as a back up. The thought of that gives me the willies
I think, in part, it depends on where you are and whether you sail the same area all the time to increase your comfort level. The original poster asked about the Med and if I remember correctly, it's his first time. Our slip neighbors use a smart phone (with chart backup) but they sail the Chesapeake exclusively.

My first time in an area? I want navigation plans A, B, and C.
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  #25  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

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Originally Posted by JeffreySiegel View Post
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.





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.
The software I have looked at from Nobeltec, and a couple of others all have the feature of being able to do DR, and also the overlay of your own radar, sonar, GPS and other instruments, which you can save and have as part of your updated chart system. Obviously the technology we have is far and away better than what Magellan, Columbus, and others had, and I bet if you had offered them the use of the technology we have now, they would have jumped on it with both feet...right after they got done talking about how it is sorcery and witchcraft and straight from the devil....kind of like the use paper only or you are not a real sailor guys are doing hehe.
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  #26  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
I think, in part, it depends on where you are and whether you sail the same area all the time to increase your comfort level. The original poster asked about the Med and if I remember correctly, it's his first time. Our slip neighbors use a smart phone (with chart backup) but they sail the Chesapeake exclusively.

My first time in an area? I want navigation plans A, B, and C.

I have an iPad with a built in GPS, the Garmin App and the Bluechart of Eastern North America to Trinidad with the Active Captain overlay. I've also got a Raymarine chartplotter which uses Navionics and a computer with Maptech. The iPad is an excellent plotter and in conjunction with paper charts I wouldn't hesitate to have it to use in an area in which I sailed exclusively. I believe that smart phones can use the same app but I don't know whether they also have built in GPS receivers.

I use my Raymarine to make my routes and it's tethered to my autopilot. I use that for navigation. The Maptech as a back-up and the iPad for detail.
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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
I have an iPad with a built in GPS, the Garmin App and the Bluechart of Eastern North America to Trinidad with the Active Captain overlay. I've also got a Raymarine chartplotter which uses Navionics and a computer with Maptech. The iPad is an excellent plotter and in conjunction with paper charts I wouldn't hesitate to have it to use in an area in which I sailed exclusively. I believe that smart phones can use the same app but I don't know whether they also have built in GPS receivers.

I use my Raymarine to make my routes and it's tethered to my autopilot. I use that for navigation. The Maptech as a back-up and the iPad for detail.
All smart phones here in the US have built in GPS functions, it is something that the government mandated after 911, and it was on most prior to that time. Not sure what apps are out there for ocean navigating, and since I cannot see the screen on a phone as well as some people can outdoors, I have to wear very dark sunglasses to keep my eyes from hurting a lot, I would not be able to use it as well as an ipad or the Verizon or blackberry tablets.

I have my laptop, my tablet, and I will have a good networking chartplotter tied in as well. Since in order for me to afford to sail I would have to have email and occasional internet access I am going to have to have the computers anyway, and I am comfortable using the tech, so the paper is not really something I would want, other than guides. Even the guides I buy are for the most part ebooks, which I store on multiple systems. I also back up to an internet site, in case I lose one or more systems, that way I can pull out a spare computer from a waterproof case and hook it up and reload everything if I have a serious hardware issue.

Even paper charts will take a bit of damage if you dunk them in saltwater and leave them there for a bit. Even laminated one, especially if you use them a lot, will get ruined, the water comes in under the worn edges. I guess the paper is the only way guys have them all stored in sealed rolls, and have backups in other sealed rolls, that way they are just like me, covering their butt for when the problem happens.
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  #28  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

Anybody know of an open format chart that can be added to a Garmin handheld (in this case a GPSMAP 76) for free or at least substantially cheaper than the proprietary Garmin bluecharts? I heard somewhere that there are some NOAA quality "e-charts" available free online but don't know where to look. Thanks for any help!
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  #29  
Old 06-22-2013
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Re: charts

I hope there is.
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Old 06-23-2013
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Re: charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grunthrie View Post
Anybody know of an open format chart that can be added to a Garmin handheld (in this case a GPSMAP 76) for free or at least substantially cheaper than the proprietary Garmin bluecharts? I heard somewhere that there are some NOAA quality "e-charts" available free online but don't know where to look. Thanks for any help!
I am not totally sure which formats the Garmin will accept, but I know you can get the charts directly from NOAA on their website.

Here: Electronic Navigational Charts: NOAA ENCs®

I would say that there may be a way to convert to the file format you need, and you may want to download the NOAA free chart viewer software and see if you get the options to convert the files to other formats. I will check it out myself maybe tomorrow and let you know here but like I said, I am not sure if the format you listed is the only one the Garmin will accept.
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