Here is an update a year after my initial post and after having the yacht for a year and about 8,000 km sailing.
1. The iPad as a chart plotter with navionics
has been the best purchase ever. Only equal to the Autopilot
2. I have never had a single problem with water and the device even in a storm but my cockpit area is well covered. I think this is the single most important point that the decision to use one should depend on the cockpit area.
3. I have never had a single problem with loss of GPS
signal even in the worst storm I have been in.
4. The usability of the software with the touch screen and pinch to zoom i think is much better than navigating with keys.
5. My paper charts
got wet when I accidentally left a window open and stuck together.
6. The most important thing missing for me is a radar
which really requires a proprietary MFD. While I have really missed this and it has made some crossings hard I am so glad I have waited and will most likely get a small HDS screen and 3G radar
. The only use of this will be for Radar
7. The added advantage of the iPad is:
a. it controls all the music through an airport express
b. the weather forecasts with wind patterns etc have been excellent
c. through google earth the ability to navigate close to reefs (in the Whitsundays) has enabled me to get into areas I would not have been able to do.
In summary if you have a relatively inclosed cockpit and can hold off on Radar
get an iPad. If not get a MFD and Ipad.
BTW the Navionics
running on an Android is no where near as polished.
Hope this helps.