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Epiphany 01-21-2004 02:09 PM

High Tech on the High Seas
From what I''ve read, it seems that sailing and communications technology is on the verge of what I want. That is, integrating GPS, chartplotter, auto pilot and radar with navigation software on a laptop computer that has internet connectivity from anywhere in the world by means of a satellite phone or SSB radio. Is this concept still future state, or is it now possible? Has anyone seen it or done it?

Bermuda 01-21-2004 07:34 PM

High Tech on the High Seas
FWIW, I have been using a self installed totally integrated system since 2000. Some items include a SSB (SEA-235) for some of the voice communication, email, weather forecasts and weather faxes. GPS (several Garmins), Nexus fluxgate compass. GlobalStar Sat Phone for voice, email and internet. Nav Software (Nobeltec 5.0 and now ver 7). I also have my Nexus instrument network tied into the laptop which gives me a complete picture of my envronment while I am below cooking in the galley, reading or resting while single handing. Everything is viewable from below including but not limited to speed and direction, COG, SOG, VMG, AWS, AWD, TWS, TWD, water temperature, barometric pressure, course to steer, cross trac error, depth and on and on ad nauseum. All of this information is also being recorded on the laptop at the same time based on a time increment I set in the system so that on passage end I have a complete and accurate log. I also keep a paper log and paper chart plot.

Additionally I have set my AP up to be controlled from below also so that I dont have to make a trip up to the binnacle in a blow when I see I have wandered off my desired track.

The only thing I would add or change is a remote radar unit below as my radar is located at the binnacle.

Oh and one more thing, if only I could figure a way to hook up the sextant to the darn system <;-)

Is this overkill? Probably. It does keep me interested in my progress and I never get bored.

Fair winds and calm seas,

Capt Bruce

GordMay 01-21-2004 11:30 PM

High Tech on the High Seas
I suspect that you do have your sextant networked to the "system". It''s called GPS.

Epiphany 01-25-2004 02:32 PM

High Tech on the High Seas

Looks like you''re on the cutting edge. Just a couple more questions. Iridium seems to be the only satphone with truly global reach (no gaps). Even though I don''t plan to be in some the gap areas (poles and the Southern Ocean), something about that appeals to me. Then again, I read something about Iridium being Motorola''s "failed system".

Question 2: If I buy a boat with existing equipment, i.e. radar, GPS, chartplotter, NIMEA compatiblity seems to be crucial. Would I be better off buying a boat with minimal equipment and installing a complete integrated system, e.g. RayTech?

Question 3: I''ve found laptops ranging from plain Jane to ruggedized to semi-marinixed, to fully marinized. Top of the line so far appears to be Argonaut whose fully marinized laptops start at over $5k and go all the way to just under $8k. Considering the potential of worst-possible sea conditions, is that kind of investment worth it? One site I visited even suggested buying two ruggedized laptops with one kept in a Pelican case as a spare. Your thoughts will be appreciated.

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