How much do you use your Chartplotter? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 64 Old 02-24-2014 Thread Starter
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How much do you use your Chartplotter?

While cruising for extended periods how often is your chartplotter powered up? Do you leave it on all of the time or do you turn it on to check your position and then turn it back off?
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post #2 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

If it's wired to the house system it's on any time we're underway.. Back when we had a handheld, we'd sometimes spot-check it to preserve batteries.

Truth is, most of our navigation here is piloting visually amongst islands and channels and really the plotter is rarely 'necessary'.. but it's nice to have, and I find the record of progress made/distance remaining useful and more informative than 'I think that island looks closer now'.

With their recent advances like tidal predictions and current info they are more helpful still.


But in the end, as many say, ultimately rely on the 'mark I eyeball'. Goes without saying, too, that proper paper charts are on board as well.
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post #3 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Mine is a portable Garmin GPSMAP 478. It is on whenever I am under way - provided that I remember to bring it with me to the boat. Like Faster, I use it to show my SOG, review where I went, and where I found that uncharted rock...


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post #4 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 GulfTriton View Post
While cruising for extended periods how often is your chartplotter powered up? Do you leave it on all of the time or do you turn it on to check your position and then turn it back off?
I leave it on all the time. Mine is integrated to AIS and Sirius weather with weather alerts so there's a constant stream of chatter and warnings popping up. Extended periods for our cruising in the Great Lakes mean segments of 12 to 48 hours, not more than a couple days. Might be different if the rhumb line was 6 days.

As a Raymarine product, it has the curious feature of sometimes rebooting itself at arbitrary times, on average about once every 36 hours. After returning to Raymarine several times and being replaced once, I've resigned myself to acknowledging this as an inescapable attribute of the product.

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post #5 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

On most all the time. It is my second source for depth(sonar) and also has AIS and radar. I frequently scan for AIS sigs and that the spot sounding agree with my depth instruments. That being said, I also always have a chart book next to me.

But we mainly rely on the upgraded MKII eyeballS.

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post #6 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Ours goes on before the anchor is pulled and off about an hour after the anchor is set, to check for any dragging. If the wind is above 25 or 30 knots, or we are unsure of the anchor, it goes on, with the anchor drag alarm set. We have a second one in the aft cabin which also doubles to monitor the boat and the helmsman, and an anchor alarm (or proximity alarm with the networked radar under way) while sleeping.
It not only supplies a very accurate chart (at least for everywhere we've been), it supplies speed, X-track error, course made good and several other things I like to know while sailing and especially in areas where the currents are irregular. Why in the world would anyone turn such a handy piece of expensive equipment off, while underway?
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post #7 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

In the past 2 years I've gone from "never on" to "on occasionally to double check my position", to "on all the time". They are very tempting devices aren't they?

I prefer to not rely on them but ease and accuracy is remarkable. I intend to be back in the "on occasionally" camp this season.
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post #8 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
Ours goes on before the anchor is pulled and off about an hour after the anchor is set, to check for any dragging. If the wind is above 25 or 30 knots, or we are unsure of the anchor, it goes on, with the anchor drag alarm set. We have a second one in the aft cabin which also doubles to monitor the boat and the helmsman, and an anchor alarm (or proximity alarm with the networked radar under way) while sleeping.
It not only supplies a very accurate chart (at least for everywhere we've been), it supplies speed, X-track error, course made good and several other things I like to know while sailing and especially in areas where the currents are irregular. Why in the world would anyone turn such a handy piece of expensive equipment off, while underway?
Well, to conserve power, perhaps? :-)

As usual, the answer for me is "It depends"... Primarily upon where I happen to be sailing at the moment, and of course whether I'm under sail, or under power...

I have 2 plotters on board, a smaller Simrad below, and a larger plotter/radar in the cockpit. The latter consumes a fair bit of power when running, so I'll usually only run it if I feel I really need it, when under sail...

The smaller one stays on most of the time underway. It is an older model, and is pretty slow to start up and acquire a fix, so whenever I'm anchored in a tricky spot, if there's any possibility I might have to bug out in a jiffy or in the middle of the night, it will stay on...

But on any passage of any real length, unless I need to be running radar, I'll try to use this stuff as little as possible... One advantage for me of having AIS integrated to the VHF, I don't have to be running a more power-hungry plotter to enjoy the benefits of AIS...
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post #9 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

We have two. One at nav station one in cockpit. Cockpit only ever gets turned on when outside harbour. If I cannot sail around Sydney Harbour without a bloody plotter then its time for me to give it away.

On passage we'll have both running at night, cockpit only during the day.

If anchored in an uncomfortable spot then we'll leave one running overnight for anchor alarm.

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post #10 of 64 Old 02-24-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

My AIS is on all the time.

The plotter, one of three, will be on in congested waters with the AIS integrated.
Off shore on passage the plotter is off unless I am asleep (to allow the AIS alarm). Before AIS the plotter was on a couple of times per day, or when my ex was onboard at the end of each watch to not position.

I dont use paper charts as I think they are obsolete, unsafe and will be outlawed within some period of years.

Yes, my eyesight still works, I dont need irrelevant junk to see.



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