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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to by one. There seems to be a wide variety of models from cheap handheld to overpriced stationary. Any suggestions on model, what features to look for? I do not sail far: 1 - 2 days, so I do not need world map coverage. I sail from Channel Islands harbor in South California.

Thanks.
 

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Garmin Network capable, you could go as small as 3205 and still add on radar and xm weather when you're ready, won't break the bank either
 

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Larus Marinus
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The answer really depends on how you want to navigate with GPS. If you normally navigate with paper charts, and you want to continue to do so, then the chart display capability is less important, so the unit could be smaller and cheaper.
I started with a Garmin Etrex Vista hand held, and still use if for data logging (easier to take home or below to download). Then I have an old Philips that drives a Yeoman plotter (I like paper charts). The third, an MLR, is just there to feed the NMEA link. I take a TomTom 910 for trips ashore. But still don't have a chart plotter.
If you want a chart plotter, then go for what you can afford, bigger and brighter is better - but check the screen resolution too, more pixels on a smaller screen is better than fewer pixels on a larger one. But it has to be bright to see in sunlight and that means expensive - have a look at http://www.panbo.com/
 

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I like the idea of reduncdancy and the idea of multifunction displays.

With GPSs pretty cheap you probably can afford a small handheld for a back up.

The MFD concept allows easy firmware upgrades so the unit is more like a PC where you can load new software, operating systems and upgrades. You can also add transducers to the MFD so it can become a very complex integrated data management and display. Of course when the MFD goes down, it puts you in the dark for all the data. The overlays on charts is quite handy and makes radar reading a lot "easier".

The Raymarine C series has a good display as do the Garmins. I find their menu commands counter intuitive and you often have to drill down through menus to find something. Maybe I'm a slow learner, but years on I still have trouble with it.

Getting all devices talking can require some lifting and some supplementary network devices... but when you get it to work... it's quite impressive.

Since we sail from the cockpit and not below you need to consider where all the data is most useful. I rarely use the helm as I have a below decks autopilot and so a helm mounting for me would hardly be seen as I don't hang out behind the helm.

I discovered how useful a gps plotter is in the cockpit and I use a Garmin IQue 3600 PDA which provides a clear little picture (plotter with bluecharts). I also use it ashore for auto navigation. The below decks MFD is mostly for planning and is visible from the companionway for collision avoidance (radar AIS etc.).

If you have a crew member who can deal with data and you can deal with sailing this all could result in a different approach. Mine approach is geared toward singlehanded sailing.

jef
sv shiva
 

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Telstar 28
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A self-contained unit, like the Garmin 440 series might be a good choice, and a good deal less money than the 3205. However, it doesn't allow you to add radar like the 3205 would. If you have a smaller boat, then mounting it on a swing arm might allow you to use the same unit at the nav station and in the cockpit.

While the 3205 is a nice unit, I think the screen is a bit too small to effectively work as a multi-function display.
 

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What is your budget?

Hello,

You can buy a real cheap unit that just provides LAT / LONG for less than $100. You can buy the latest Raymarine system with integrated radar, TV, sonar, etc. for $10,000.

For $500 you can buy a Lowrance unit with a high resolution 5" color screen, detailed charts for the entire US, etc.

For me, I want at least a 5" screen, color, detailed charts. I don't need radar or XM radio / weather capability. I do want NMEA 0183 in / out for connection to a DSC radio. I don't need it to be portable, just easily installed and removed.

Garmin makes great units but they are pricey. My last two units have been Lowrance and I am very happy with them. Raymarine makes good stuff, but it is even more expensive than Garmin.

Good luck,
Barry
 

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While the 3205 is a nice unit, I think the screen is a bit too small to effectively work as a multi-function display.
I agree, nice unit but small, I opted for the 3206 to start, once I have the weather and radar installed, I'll see how it works out, I may then move the 06 to the nav station and put a 10 at the helm

On the Hale Kai, we have a E120 and it's like having a big screen TV in front of you,............... too big me thinks
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your replies. I think I'll opt for a cheap handheld device:
1) I like my charts on paper;
2) I make short trips;
3) The only time I really need GPS would be to get back in a fog or at night.

I guess what I am looking for is a handheld device with some basic information like coastal line and shipping lanes. Handhelds I looked so far do not have this - they just have a few waypoints...
 

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Telstar 28
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Drylander-

A Garmin 76Cx with BlueChart would be able to do that.
 

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Well, a 3005 or 3205 isn't much more dollar wise and not much bigger than a handheld, but the options and expandability are greater.

Just a thought
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I bought a garmin etrex vistaC at rei over 3 years ago and it has basic shorelines and buoys. I've used it at marina del rey, san diego and catalina. Not sure if it'll get you to your slip but you can follow it right down the channels.
frank
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They can be found for under 700.00, saw a 3205 at Boatersworld for 649.00, 3005 should be even less


but get whats right for you, I'm just throwing out options
Do not take me wrong, I do appreciate your input... My point was that for some people 46' is a small boat, while other may consider 28' as a luxury big boat...
 

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Drylander

If you want a chart display handheld first find out if you can get charts for it in your area. I had a Magellan GPS315 handheld and it worked very well. Then for Christmas several years later was given a Magellan Sporttrak Color that could display charts (extra dollars). Due to contractual arrangements with the powers that be or whatever charts for most areas of Canada are not available for Magellan - a very good reason to go with Garmin ... of course you can get streets, etc.. for the Magellan ....

Another consideration is where you place the unit. Many handhelds are now designed to be just that - in your hand. I mount mine on a swivel bracket on the bulkhead. The numbers are large enough to read but the Spporttrak Color is not nearly as visible a display from a distance as was the GPS315.

I have noticed that as GPS units become more commonplace for everyday activities such as driving that most handheld units are less and less designed for marine use. Meanwhile the chartplotters are cheaper than ever and are designed specifically for marine use.

My observations ... take them for what they are worth

Mike
Full tilt 2
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yep, seems like it has all I need, even an anchor drag alarm. I take it that it comes without charts, charts are extra $$$...
If you have a laptop, you can use free downloaded charts from NASA together with a free download of the SeaClear charting program with a simple hookup to a GPS with NMEA 0183 output.

Augie
 

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Telstar 28
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Augie—

NASA has nothing to do with the charts... they're done by NOAA...Seaclear only works with the BSB/Maptech raster format charts, not the newer ENC vector format charts.
If you have a laptop, you can use free downloaded charts from NASA together with a free download of the SeaClear charting program with a simple hookup to a GPS with NMEA 0183 output.

Augie
 
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