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Old 08-17-2011
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I, for one, currently use the "Garmin 76" route and I'm about to switch to either a dedicated chart plotter or a laptop. I'm doing it, because the screen on the 76 is just too small for my middle-aged eyes to be comfortable using. Quite frankly, I'd prefer the chart plotter, but from an economic standpoint, it may be wiser to go laptop. It's as much personal choice as anything, so don't fear as I'm not sure there's a "wrong" decision. If I go with the laptop, then I've already got plans for a "swing-out" pedestal from the cabin, in the event of inclement weather. Plus, the laptop can serve dual-purpose which is always a plus on a sailboat. Now, having said all that, I will always keep the 76 as a back-up.
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Old 08-17-2011
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Welcome to SailNet and congatulations on your new boat. Make sure you have up to date paper charts and know how to read them. Learn the basics and enjoy sailing. If you are not going off shore, save your money for comfort upgrades. A Garmin 76 is a good unit, small enough to take up less space but powerful enough to give you the information you want. Enjoy sailing without the need to be dependent on the electronics.
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Old 08-18-2011
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Isn't it funny when someone tells you that your setup, the one that you have been successfully using, doesn't work?

I've used a PC connected to a USB GPS puck for a long time. As long as it is either water proof or you don't use it in the cockpit, it's fine. When it quits working for you, change your setup.
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1969 Crealock/Columbia 36 Sloop completely refitted in 2000 and new Yanmar in 2006.
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Old 08-18-2011
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Hi guys, thanks for the replies,

Rythmdoctor, you seem to have a nice setup but it is a little bit more than what I want.

First of all, I have maps of the lakes I want to navigate and the gps is more for "toying" with the technology. My neigbor is an officer in the Canadian Navy (reserve) and he teached me all the basics and more, as well as giving me sailing tips etc...

I choosed the Sirius mainly because of the swing keel, since from my home, I can drop the boat in Lake St-Louis (2000') or Lake St-Francois (20Km or 15 miles). The boat was in excellent condition and the price really good, a kind of deal you can't let go...

The gps will be more usefull next summer, as my wife wants to navigate from Lake St-Francois all the way up to the thousand islands, is St-Laurence river. I checked the map and there are many narrow areas, shallow water etc. We will not be able to sail but will use the motor to navigate around some islands. That is probably when I will like to have the gps to know my exact position.

I will probably go with the PC in cabin and 7" monitor mounted in a water resistant frame that I will make, installed in the cockpit. Like someone said, the tiny screen of handheld gps is scaring me. Anyway, it is going to be a nice winter project and if the results are not satisfying me, i'll just buy the marine unit.
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