This is our second year with an ipad 2 using Garmins Bluechart app. We added it as a back up to a now ancient Garmin CP, our main source of navigation for 10+ years.
I'm finding it more useful this season. The tracks it records are a good tool. We sailed home into a 7 knot South breeze through winding Gilkey Harbor last weekend. tieing the islands together with a zig-zag stitch on the screen.
Averaging about 4.5 knots against a little current from the flood tide, our tacks, about a 1/2nm long, gave us time to enjoy the scenery. My wife and her sister did all the sheet grinding so I just steered and navigated.
We took a first-time short cut between some islands. Beware-this was an ipad assisted notion.
Over the years, my charts had been small scale and the slot never looked inviting. In the light air and study on the touch screen, we gave it a go. A little drama for the crew on the depth sounder,.."15 feet, 14-13-12-11-10(gulp!),....10,....10,.....11(phew)-12-13", and out into Penobscot Bay.
We left the whine of winches in tight Gilkey Harbor and took a long tack across Western Penobscot Bay.
Closing the coastline, a bearing dragged through our green track revealed 233 degrees. I dragged a new bearing line of 233 degrees off our harbor entrance several miles to the south. We left the bearing long-on the screen, and went onto starboard tack.
A few miles later, our boat icon broke through the new bearing line on the screen-we went back onto a port tack.
Not a new trick, I did this with compass bearings and parallel rules for years. The difference-this was deadly accurate and in a few miles, we put the rocks off Indian Island to starboard.
I also noticed that heaving to while we drop sails in the harbor, leaves a nice tidy "J" on the screen.