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post #11 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

I keep it on all the time while sailing. Keeps a daily and running record of how fast, how far, and I find it's useful in conjunction with the depth finder as we get into the shallows. At anchor, it's on all night with this alarm.
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post #12 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post

I dont use paper charts as I think they are obsolete, unsafe and will be outlawed within some period of years.
That will probably happen around the same time that possession of a printed book will be "outlawed", would be my guess... :-)
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post #13 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

I used mine just yesterday. As I left the last green mark exiting Dinner Key on Biscayne Bay to starboard, my chart plotter said I was leaving it to port. Go figure.

My reservation with plotters is that one can believe that one is really where the plotter says you are relative to the hard things that will break your boat, and you too and maybe you aren't there.

The relative inaccuracy of the process of using my GPS and looking at where I think I am on a paper chart, has me more vigilant and therefore, in my judgement, safer.
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post #14 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

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Well, to conserve power, perhaps? :-)
If you haven't the power to run your chartplotter with all the handy dandy features on it, that aren't just for show by the way, for the duration of your voyage, perhaps your power situation should be looked at. With the inexpensive windgens and solar systems on the market today, "conserve(ing) power" for your chartplotter should not be a major concern. Running lights now eat a tiny bit of electricity compared to a few years ago, probably saving what a modern chartplotter uses.
Little changes in speed, course and/or VMG which can't be seen without the constant use of the equipment, can alert the navigator to a developing situation, long before it becomes critical. I can see a ship when it gets close enough to be a danger, but a set beginning to push me into a rocky shore, perhaps not quite as easily, especially at night. No thanks, I'll take the chartplotter over the AIS.
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post #15 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

I fire it up when I leave the dock, and turn it off when I return to the dock. I have the Lowrance HDS7, which draws very little power, it's also my depth finder, and in a few months, it will also be my radar screen as well. It's my anchor alarm, speedometer, plotter, and soon will also be connected to the engine instrumentation. I've had GPS/ploters since they first became available, always used Lowrance, and never had a failure. I think the technology has advanced so much in the past decade that if it works right out of the box, the only way you'll be able to kill the machine is with a shotgun.

I still have a chart table filled with paper charts and book shelf with loads of chart books. They have not been used in more than a decade. Maybe one day they'll become valuable antiques and I can sell them for big bucks.

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post #16 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Ours is on all the time. I have a small Lawrence HDS5. Very very little power draw. I think it's "fun" to track the speed and see any differences as I adjust sail trim, course, "rail meat" position, etc. I think it helps me learn my boat better.

Even at anchor it's on too. 1) to keep an eye out for dragging, and 2) the sonar display to watch for big fish hanging out in the shade below . . . that just "might" become dinner for us that very night!!!!

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post #17 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
If you haven't the power to run your chartplotter with all the handy dandy features on it, that aren't just for show by the way, for the duration of your voyage, perhaps your power situation should be looked at. With the inexpensive windgens and solar systems on the market today, "conserve(ing) power" for your chartplotter should not be a major concern. Running lights now eat a tiny bit of electricity compared to a few years ago, probably saving what a modern chartplotter uses.
Little changes in speed, course and/or VMG which can't be seen without the constant use of the equipment, can alert the navigator to a developing situation, long before it becomes critical. I can see a ship when it gets close enough to be a danger, but a set beginning to push me into a rocky shore, perhaps not quite as easily, especially at night. No thanks, I'll take the chartplotter over the AIS.
Perhaps I wasn't clear... I have 2 Simrad plotters on my boat, and as I wrote: "The smaller one stays on most of the time underway."

My power situation is adequate, a larger house bank than one would find on most 30-footers, and the capability of making amps under sail from either solar, or a towed water generator (I only use a wind generator at anchor) So, I suppose it's more of a case of old habits dying hard, I've just always made a practice of trying to conserve stuff like power and water when under sail because, well, you never know ... :-)

Naturally, if I'm sailing along the coast of Maine, for instance, the larger plotter in the cockpit will likely be running... But, off soundings or away from the coast, I simply don't see the need to have TWO plotters running simultaneously (the larger one gets its fix from the smaller one at the nav station)... Plus, at night, I prefer to keep the cockpit as dark as possible, so unless I need to be checking the radar, I'd rather have the one above deck blacked out...

Once one gets away from the coast, or clear of any off-lying dangers, most of those "handy dandy" features of most plotters become pretty useless, they're not telling me much of anything that my little old Garmin 48 handheld GPS cannot. If I'm making the trip from, say, the Bahamas up to Beaufort, once off the bank and clear of any hazards, the use of a plotter becomes pretty superfluous, and I'll just mark my progress for the next few days on paper, instead...

Hopelessly old fashioned, I know... :-) But it works for me, still gives me a better feel for my progress, and a sense of where I am, and what my strategy should be...
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post #18 of 64 Old 02-25-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Mine come on prior to castoff and stay on, with the rarest of exception. It's a pre-launch checklist thing to know your stuff works before you need it.

For coastal cruising, power consumption is virtually a non-issue for us. For longer passages, one really should have sufficient capability to keep one running.

Of course, one should also be able to live without it. Electronics are not bulletproof, so redundancy and low tech backups are mandatory.


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post #19 of 64 Old 02-25-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Both my handheld and my PC-based chartplotter stay on all the time when underway. The handheld is a backup always at the ready, and more importantly it logs my position at all times. I tack back and forth in a river, so I use it to determine how close I go to shore before I come about (it's more proactive than a depth finder, which I also use). Both are powered by internal batteries with 6-10 hours, and I have 12V right at the helm for longer trips.

Occasionally I look up.


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post #20 of 64 Old 02-25-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Unless I am tied up in a slip, my chartplotters are on 24/7. At anchor, just being able to look at the bread crumb trail to see how the boat is swing at anchor is nice. At night, I use it as my anchor alarm (along with a hand held GPS in my bunk).

Mine (I have two mounted side by side), don't use enough juice, especially with my solar panels, to make it work cutting them off.

On the northern Gulf of Mexico.


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