Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
Thanked 120 Times in 108 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Re: Voyaging on $500 per month
i bought a Standard Horizon VHF last year (not expensive) and has its own GPS. Nice for redundancy's sake. On our boat we have the GPS in the chart plotter, the GPS in the iPad, the GPS in the AIS unit, the GPS in the VHF, and the old Garmin 12 GPS. Surely one of these would work. In a thunderstorm we have been known to put the iPad in the microwave (Faraday cage apparently), and we have been hit by lightning so I know it is more than a theoretical possibility.
I think that there is a little bit of confusion in this discussion between knowing your location (what a GPS does) and plotting your location and progress (either with a chart plotter or on paper). The confusion is easy to understand since so many pieces of software and hardware combine the two functions seamlessly, even though they are separate.
Another thought, if you are going any significant distance, the cost of charts (not to mention the space requirements) are huge. We had paper charts when we crossed the Pacific and this came to 120 charts -and this was only for the South Pacific to about Fiji. We looked at perhaps three charts in a year just to get another look at things. For the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic we did not have any paper charts, just electronic redundancy (3 sets in total - on chart plotter, iPad, and laptop). What I would recommend instead of paper charts are cruising guides, people's blogs, letters in the SSCA Bulletins, etc. These provide the kind of detailed and current info you really need. BTW, when we were in Indonesia, paper charts from US and British sources (and electronic charts using these) were virtually useless since they showed no detail for the areas cruisers would be interested in. In a bay a mile wide there would be one sounding and it would be wrong. At one point we were anchored inland and crossed about a mile of land, while the depth sounder could not find the bottom (it usually is good to 400'). The Indonesian charts (old Dutch hydrography I assume) were better (not good mind you), but I have no idea where you get them - probably Djakarta but good luck arranging the purchase (they were also more than $30 each).
Some people say you can trade charts but this only works if you can mail them to someone upwind. The people you meet anywhere (let me pick a place - Tahiti) are not going where you have just been; they were there too. They also are going downwind toward NZ or Oz.
Finishing our major refit. Our trip to Newfoundland is off because it is too late. Hoping to go to the North Channel instead.