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Hey guys,
This is my first post but I have been reading the forums on Sailnet for over 3 years now. I am planning a trip down the east coast of South America in an International Folkboat. So I need to get a good gps and a back up but I don't really know where to start. I was hoping you guys could give me some ideas of models that I should be looking at. I will be using electronic charts on my laptop and would like to interface that with my gps system. Alright well thank you all for any advice!

~Ryan
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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lots of usb 'hockey puck' gps for direct laptop use.
The garmin gps76 is pretty common & popular.
This site store most likely has them at a good price
 

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I have used a Garmin Map 76 and Map 76cSX for years - both are excellent for offshore sailing. The 76cSX is primary and the 76 is now just a back up.
 

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Ryan, pretty much any GPS will do these days. Your choices are to buy one that uses a serial or USB interface--match whatever your computer and nav software need--or even Bluetooth GPS, which is probably just a waste of power on sailboat.

Look for modern chipset, like SirfIII (Sirf3) which is more sensitive and better able to see the satellites through a cabin top, etc. If the GPS maker supplies a figure for "sensitivity" the new ones will all be something like 150db or more. And they tend to use less power, so batteries will last longer than they used to.
 

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I concur with everyone above with one addition. You might also get a good handheld mapping gps (like a garmin) to use as a backup.
 

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Thank you guys so much! I have am placing an order for a Garmin gpsmap 76S tomorrow morning. I'll also be buy a hockey puck gps reciever with sirf3...I think I'll take PBzeer's advise on the globalsat. Alright well thanks again! That's why I love sailnet's forums!
 

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I have an older Garmin GPSMAP 176C as my primary. I think I paid CDN$100 for it on ebay. Full Bluecharts for Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. I have a RAM mount (CDN$45 on ebay) for it on the pedestal that I can swing to where I am as I usually steer from ahead of the pedestal. The beauty is that it is tied to my 12 volt system as well as having a battery compartment. I always (and I mean ALWAYS) have a minimum of 12 spare AA batteries on hand as my Pentax DSLR uses them. I also have a mount in my car as it does well with road maps for those weird trips to get stuff for the Admiral. I take it home and connect the laptop to program routes and to download my tracks and for security.

My backup is an Etrex colour model that also uses AA batteries. That one lives below and also has Bluecharts loaded.
 

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Picket...keep us posted on your cruising plans...we don't hear a lot about that part of the world for cruising. I've sailed on a folkboat and was amazed at the ability to balance the helm under sail for long periods of time. Enjoy her!
 

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I will be using electronic charts on my laptop and would like to interface that with my gps system. Alright well thank you all for any advice!
PC-based electronic charts are great, but don't forget to have some paper charts with you -- sufficient to get you from anywhere along your route into safe harbor. I was once 2000 miles from nowhere when the PC hard drive crashed and could not be restarted. In addition to our electronic charts we lost wx fax and email. We could skip email and we had a back up source of wx info via SSB and sat phone, but without paper charts we would have had a much more stressful landfall.

Good luck with your trip.
 

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I have used a Garmin Map 76 and Map 76cSX for years - both are excellent for offshore sailing. The 76cSX is primary and the 76 is now just a back up.
Very interested to note that a couple of responders to this thread mention this small-screen receiver. I bought a GPSMap 76C several years ago. Although it has limited capability for independent waypoint and route editing, and the screen is small, it has been doing the job so well for me on race nights and coastal cruises, on my boat and others, that I have had a tough time committing to something new. However, I usually travel with a laptop, which allows me to edit waypoints and routes on the laptop and then upload them to the 76C (and download tracks to the laptop). If there is sufficient power to run the laptop for navigation under way, the 76C works as a GPS antenna for the laptop too, allowing me to use the big screen and non-Garmin electronic charts on the laptop. It works great for travelling on family holidays and work trips too, for navigating on roads in rental cars. I believe in navigating with paper charts in addition to GPS, so perhaps that's another reason I don't miss a bigger GPS chartplotter receiver. Of course, if budget were no concern ...
 

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I'm planning on getting one of the new small "hockey puck" GPS receivers mentioned above, but I can't find any information about what computer mapping software will support it. I use DeLorme Topo. Many use National Geographic. What about Cap'n or other chart software packages? Have they become plug and play? I find it hard to believe that companies that make both software and hardware want to make it too easy to mix and match. :mad:

Thanks for any help.
 

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lievra - first off, the original post is several months old, although I'm sure you had good intentions in responding :). The actual comment I want to make, though, is that the NOAA maps are available for the US only. Most other countries require you to purchase maps through them directly or sources such as ChartWorld. Since the original poster is planning on cruising South America, they will most likely have to purchase any charts for the areas they will be in.
 

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nodakpa, I use it with Maptech's Offshore Nav
 

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Nodak, nothing and everything is plug and play.

What you need to know is whether you are buying a SERIAL GPS or a USB GPS or one of the rare few that supports both.

Then if it can output NMEA DATA which is the norm but not quite universal.

If your software is up to date, it won't care about whether the GPS is serial or USB, it will be able to read data from either one. Some software is old and can't deal with USB, or with COM ports above COM4 or COM8. (Newer versions of Windows may assign COM ports up to 255.)

So you pick your software and then buy hardware that matches the limits of what it supports.

there are usb-to-serial emulators and converters, but that's a whole extra layer of complications best simply avoided.
 
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