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post #1 of 16 Old 06-07-2019 Thread Starter
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Heading and everything

I like to carry a real handheld chart plotter because I'm seldom on the same boat often enough to get good at the boat chart plotter.

For many years I used a Garmin Colorado until it fell apart in my hand.

Last year I bought a Montana 680 but didn't really dig into it.

Last weekend I had a three-day class so discovered what I didn't know.

The big difference between the models is that this new model has an internal compass that works (supposedly) even if not moving.

These are the fields I have and what I think they mean.

I'm allowed four fields on the map screen, these are the most important to me.

Speed (This is speed over ground)

Bearing (In degrees that I have to go now to get to where I want to go. The more this differs from Course the more I have drifted from the original course line.

GPS Heading (This is the direction the boat is moving which may not be the same as the direction the boat is pointing as I may be crabbing due to wind and tide. If the Bearing and GPS heading is the same I'm good.

Distance (Distance in nautical miles to next destination)

These four I put on the Compass screen because they are nice to have but not as important as the above.

Compass Heading (This should be the same as the boat compass but I haven't used it enough to tell. The more it differs from the Bearing the more I'm crabbing.)

Velocity Made Good (This is just for sailing because if I purposely choose a course other than the bearing I want to know if I'm making any progress. Maybe one tack will be better than another and I'll stay on that tack longer.

Moving Average (I don't know what this is but I'll see what happens. I'm guessing it is the boat speed as an average from the start of course.)

Course (In degrees that I should have to travel to get from where I start to where I want to go)

Besides GPS heading and Compass Heading there is an option that is just heading. As best as I can tell it is the same as GPS heading.

Do you think I have this defined correctly?

Any other field suggestions?

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Last edited by davidpm; 06-07-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

XTE. Cross track Error. Dies it have that?

My handheld Garmin Cx76 us dying and I need a replacement.

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post #3 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

Yes,

Bearing, is the direction to the destination from where you are now.

Course is the direction from where you started to where you're going.

The Compass needs to be calibrated ( away from any interference ) and could differ from the Ships compass which may or may not have some deviation.


Compass heading. The appendix in your manual defines it as "the direction that the device is pointing, Based on the compass" ?
That sounds like a bearing compass to me. If you don't choose "navigate by compass", or " course pointer" then I suppose it acts as a ships compass.

The Manual discusses navigation by Compass OR Map. So I think you decide whether you are going to set your waypoint on a chart and go to that using GPS data ( Map) Or set the waypoint and choose compass. I think I'd want to play around with it and see what's going on.

You should read the manual for this feature. This has a Course Pointer feature. Line of sight. You can navigate to a visible target, say a lighthouse. Point your device toward it and navigate by compass. vs map. A little triangle will always point toward your destination then and the compass will display any cross track error.

I like having my ETA to destination displayed on my Unit. An old 76 csx
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

What I find most useful in the hand held plotter is the heading line which when motoring crosses the chosen waypoint/mark. SOG is simply the resultant of boat speed and currents... and does not tell much about performance. The graphic plot is most important to me... the numbers less so. I have an ancient GarminiQue with blue charts. which has a super user interface and great (old) charts. Despite the small size it's very readable and useful... but it was a PDA not a marine chart plotter. It includes street nav as well... cost me $100 on ebay and still works 20 years later. My ZuesT7 has a mount that let's it sit in any winch... all I need is a 12v cig plug. Bigger display but used for the same data and same way as the old iQue.

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post #5 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

I kind of like SOG displayed. The Ship's Little Paddle wheel Transducer gives me STW. The difference gives me the amt. of current. I'm dealing with.

If, I'm motoring at a constant RPM, and I know that without current that I make 5 knots @ that RPM, any reduction or increase in SOG should then be the current. If I have current against me, and I decide to move closer to shore say, to find, less current, I can watch to see if SOG improves.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

Speedos need to be calibrated... and boats with foul bottoms and towing dinks go slower.

The heading line is most helpful even for tacking and gybing. You can easily guesstimate when / where to tack or gybe if you know how your boat performs. If you have been tacking back and forth or gybing... the bread crumb track will be a guide as to where and when to tack or gybe. Number display of COG is almost useless for that purposes.

No one would buy or use an MFD without the chart graphic.

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post #7 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

Top of the 4 we use on our Garmin is speed. Next comes the time of arrival, but we are always going somewhere, not out and back from a slip. I think it is one of the most useful tools as I can try to shave minutes off and that means I'm improving efficiency.
The third one down is XTE which is mighty helpful to see if you have any current or are making a lot of leeway. This is the biggest change from sailing the islands before GPS.
Lastly, and mainly for fun, is miles to go. Since most of our sails on a charter are from 7.8miles to 41 miles, the people often want to know, not because they are seasick or anything, they just aren't used to traveling at a paltry 15 km.
There are literally hundreds of combinations in 4 drop down tabs, but these seem the best suited for our kind of sailing.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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I also like xte.
Good for current mentioned above...like gulf stream intentionally increasing xte..and letting her come back along the crossing.
Also easy to read when on autopilot....x amount left or right
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

For sure if, as Capta does you are on a schedule or aiming to arrive ASAP... XTE, TTG and so handy to know... assuming you can do something about it... like sail better ;-) or turn the engine on. When we sail long legs we prefer to arrive in daylight as this is just safer and easier to find a better spot to drop the hook... and wifey wants to know when were are going to arrive... Difference between STW and SOG is nice to know but you can't usually do much about it.

For sailing true and apparent wind speed and direction is more useful sailing info and unless you have some sort of integrated system that data is not available on a hand held device.

Navionics on a smart device is a good alternative to a designated hand held plotter.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-08-2019
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Re: Heading and everything

Have navionics on a lifeproofed IPad and a very old hand held Garmin. Use the navionics a lot as it’s great when chatting with other cruisers discussing where to go and how to get there as well as being a backup to the RM.
Still, it’s time to replace the Garmin. Went to REI to check them them out. They had nothing which had the charts I wanted to put on it available at that store.
What model handheld Garmin is best for sailing in international waters?

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