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First String
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868 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a weekend sailer with a ambition to go off shore more and more. I have a Garmin 215 from the 2000's that is going bad. I would like to know your imput in what I should replace it with. I dont have $700.00 bucks. I am a man of limited means.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Coastal cruising and offshore easttern US.
thanks
 

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3,184 Posts
Some thoughts rather than a particular recommendation : (had my Lowrance HDS 5M for 3 years now)

The 5" screen on my fixed is far more useful than the less than 2" one on my handheld. I'd only recommend a handheld if you're changing boats a lot.

In SF Bay with currents, I love the "projected line of course" feature. It projects the actual course in a line (I have it set 1 mile ahead). So you can see where you are really going, not where you are pointed.

NMEA2000 support is nice if you want to have all the instrumentation interconnected (for example, GPS speed displayed on the GMI 10, and so on)

The AIS target display on the Lowrance is nice (connected to a AIS receiver)

The Lowrance is powerful for the money, but not easy to use. Garmin have a better reputation for ease of use.
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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13,645 Posts
A lot depends on what you want to do.

INshore, a $200 tablet with free nav software and charts works.

OFFshore, pretty much any GPS will do, you don't need charts to show you open water.

So a lot depends on what you want to do with it.
 

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First String
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868 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well mostly we will sail the Rivers in and around the AICD Charleston to St Augustine Fl,
I want to know where the bottom is. I want to be able to see my COG and Hull Speed. I want to start going off shore more and more and need to know where the channel to the rivers are. Along the coast here you can find very shallow water 5 miles off the beach. I need to know where I am at knight. I want to start training this coming summer for overnight sailing. From my dock to Charleston is an over night offshore. So I need a all around GPS I guess?
I have a Garmin 215 Black and white that use to work o.k but the screen is starting to go.
Thanks guys for the help. They are so expensive anymore I don't to end up with the wrong unit.

Let me know if this helps.
 

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The GPS will give you COG and SOG, but if you want speed through the water, you'll need a knotlog/paddle. If they are both nmea2000, you can use the plotter to display the speed from the paddle.

In fact if you buy a DST800, it'll give you speed and depth. Another $250 though.
 

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Remember you're a womble
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WM are knocking out the Lowrance 5 with Gold charts and a transducer for $430. Seems like a good deal.
 

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The GPS will give you COG and SOG, but if you want speed through the water, you'll need a knotlog/paddle. If they are both nmea2000, you can use the plotter to display the speed from the paddle.

In fact if you buy a DST800, it'll give you speed and depth. Another $250 though.
.. and temperature, useful in crossing the Gulf stream etc...
 

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First String
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868 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Mark,
Are you saying I can use the st50 instruments I have. They will somehow hook up to a GPS?
I got most of them working now except the wind direction, "the feather is gone off the top of my mast" but the cup's are still spinning and reading.I would have to hire someone to do this. I have ability to do this kinda wiring. I have a set of paddles on a transducer laying in the forward bilge for the speed but, the paddles seam to be sticking some?
I got the compass swung in like the book said. Looks its 4 degrees off the helm compass. It would be nice to think I could somehow integrate them so I could use GPS instead of the gyro compass?


Let me know if you think this can be done.
Thanks.

 

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Sailor
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928 Posts
I would look into used chartplotter on E-bay. I would not go with a screen smaller than 5' diagonal, particularly with where you want to use it and would lean towards a Garmin unit as they are very user friendly.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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22,037 Posts
Unless you're wedded to having it right at the wheel, you can use a laptop, hockey puck GPS receiver and charting software (I use Fugawi). All within your budget (if you have a laptop to use). Especially if you use SeaClear (free).
 

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First String
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868 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I think I need it at the helm. I sail in the Broad river, the May river and Port Royal Sound most of the time. Around the Hilton Head area. These waters are very shallow in places. I want to be able to do them at night. I want to start training for offshore and need I think a plotter that will leave me a trail. I need to be able to see it while sailing. I got the st4000 working "finely" last weekend. This will help some. After looking around on the net this morning I like the Lowrance idea. I just don't want to mount a transducer on the bottom. I like the Garmin that has an above deck mounted antenna. My Garmin 215 I have now uses that type now. That GPS was a good unit. the screen is just going out. Its an older model I guess..
Thanks I will study and Look on e-bay to see what I can find. Should I be worried a bought buying used from e-bay?
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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I have a Garmin GPSmap 478, and love it. It is waterproof (IPX7), can run on an internal battery, or 12V. It has a small screen... but shows what you need, and speaks NEMA 0183. It has all the land maps for the US, and the entire US coast charts.

I used it to travel for my job, and broke the screen. Garmin took my old one, and sent me a completely refurbished one (updated charts, new battery, new antenna) for $180.

You can find them on eBay for $400-$700.
 

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Sailor
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928 Posts
I too like the chartplotter at the helm. It makes it easy to plot your way through shallow and shoal areas!

I find that the sellers on E-Bay are generally honest and responsive to questions. If you see a product you like that is used, ask questions about why it is for sale, any known issues, charts that are included, ability to upgrade charts, etc.

Make sure that your plotter can connect using nmea 183 to other electronics if you want it to communicate but, depending upon what you want to connect, I don't really think that is critical. I have never connected mine and never thought I was missing anything. The plotter shows your vessel's position on the charts in real time anyway. I crewed on a boat delivery where the plotter was connected to the autopilot and found it to be frustrating. If I needed to divert to another course to avoid traffic and then re-engaged the autopilot to the course, we would make a hard turn towards the course and then a hard turn the opposite way once we were back on the route. It was annoying and would only be effective under power. So I ended up never connecting the autopilot to the plotter's course. The only connections that may be important would be connecting the gps / plotter to a vhf with DSC and an AIS unit.

Tod
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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North end of Hilton Head is one of my stop points, so I know the area you're speaking of. All I can say about using a laptop, is I don't steer by an electronic chart, only with my eyes and depthsounder. I use the laptop to verify where I am in relation to observed landmarks and buoys. And have no problem ducking in to check if I'm doubt.

As for leaving a trail, the Fugawi has tracks, waypoints, route planning, etc..
 
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██▓▓▒▒░&
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Uh-oh, I see an autopilot head in that mix, and that changes everything. Assuming you can feed an NMEA-standard output into that, then you want a marine gps map (chartplotter) to allow for that. You'll need to check with RayMa-whosis to make sure, because some of their stuff requires RayTalk and other stuff can use an adapter and still more stuff can sometimes just play nicely with NMEA standards. That can be a stopper.

Otherwise I'd say to look for a 7" or better yet 10" inexpensive tablet, download free charts to it, stick it in a waterproof pouch, and cheap out that way. For $200 you've got a decent solution that can always be used for other purposes if you decide to buy something better.

Of course a real marine chartplotter will have a far better "daylight readable" screen on it, but it is also going to be way more expensive. This is a game where you usually won't get any more than you've paid for.
 

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First String
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868 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
My wife said around $500.bucks.
I would love my other instruments to feed into one unit. I dont know if I need a sonar unit if I already have a dept sounder with temp from ST50 Autohelm can I use that ?
 
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