Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
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Re: B&G Sailsteer vs Garmin Sail Assist
I used to have a Garmin 740S. I upgraded to a B&G Vulcan 7.
Raymarine Evo 100 autopilot
Simrad RS35 VHF / AIS receive
Raymarine ST60 speed, depth, wind (connected to Seatalk to NMEA 2000 converter)
My comments on the Vulcan:
Easy to install and works fine. My Garmin unit was on a N2K network, the Vulcan connected to the same network. During setup it found all of my other devices and shares data just like the Garmin unit did.
Vulcan vs Garmin (740S - so no sailsteer or layline info)
Vulcan Pros / Garmin cons:
-Sailsteer / layline information is cool. I do race my boat (casual beer can type stuff) and the sailsteer screen helps me recognize wind shifts and when to tack. With the electronics I am less likely to overstand a mark or tack to early and have to make additional tacks. My garmin unit was too old to have information so I can't compare the two
-StartLine Data: You set up the start line (very easy to do) and the Vulcan displays line bias, distance to line, etc. One key piece of information is doesn't display is the time to the line. Without that info I don't know if I am going to be early or late. Very silly that it doesn't display that info, because the device certainly can calculate that info
-Touchscreen - works well, easy to use, I figured it out quickly, etc. I haven't had problems with using it in the rain
-Wireless support - built in to the Vulcan. I can connect my phone and display the vulcan screen on it. I can connect my IPad and control the vulcan. You can also connect to a wifi hotspot and download upgrades, user manual, etc.
-COST - The Vulcan line is significantly cheaper than the Garmin line
-Data screens - you can display a screen of data which includes target boat speed.
Garmin Pros / Vulcan Cons:
-User Interface is easier to use
-Main Plotter screen is (IMHO) better than the Vulcan. I found it easier to set up the garmin screen the way *I* wanted it. The vulcan can be customized, but I prefer the Garmin unit (I gave my Garmin to a friend. I race on that boat so I still use that unit on a regular basis). I have customized the Vuican display, but it's not as easy.
-Running A Route - when you are navigating a route with the garmin unit it displays a bright magenta line right to the waypoint. It displays cross track error. So you can easily see if you are on course or not. The Vulcan unit does not display that info. Instead it has a 'steer' display which goes positive or negative to show you which way to steer. Not a big difference but I prefer the garmin unit. Perhaps there is a way to get the Vulcan to display the same thing? I haven't found it.
I wanted to upgrade to a plotter with sailing specific features like laylines, sailsteer, etc. The B&G Vulcan is significantly cheaper than the comparable Garmin product. I have never used a Garmin product with the sailing specific features, so I can't comment on them other than I would assume they work fine. If I could have purchased a Garmin unit at a comparable price I would have. All things considered I am satisfied with my Vulcan 7. I paid under $500 for it, and that included a free Navionics chart upgrade. That's a great deal IMHO.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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