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Old 06-12-2007, 01:29 AM   #1
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G'day folks, I'm looking at buying either a handheld GPS and using charts or a small plotter. The problem with the plotter (Navman 5380) is that it is a small screen. I have seen the same charts on a laptop and have been spoilt. I don't have a laptop nor the room for one. My cruising will be coastal near Brisbane Queensland. I am learning to navigate using traditional methods as well. So choices are handheld with paper charts or the smaller plotter option. I would appreciate any info and opinions.

Good sailing folks
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:41 AM   #2
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Hi Triton,

There is some feedback available on this forum regarding the subject. See 'search' at the top right side of this page, click on it and type in 'chartplotter'. On a small craft, the use of a handheld GPS to provide lat/long, transferred to the chart is an excellent way to get around Moreton Bay. You will need to be accurate in transposing the data, but otherwise, no problem. I think a small, cheap GPS is preferable to a plotter with a mini screen.

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David.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:53 AM   #3
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We have two GPS--one is hooked up to a laptop and we can follow our progress on the screen. Its fun the first time you use it. The other is an old, old (did I say old?) raytheon GPS that only gives us lat/long. Big ol' thing and all you get is lat/long position. Believe it or not, we use the old one all the time because we're used to having the chart out in the cockpit and using paper charts. I just stick my head in the companionway, get the lat/long and then go back to the paper chart. The only time we actually use the laptop one is when I feel like "playing" with something. And, at night I set it up so I can check it when I wake up thinking that the anchor has dragged (one of the many things I can have panic attacks about) and its hard for me to check bearings with the binoculars. Hubby just uses the binos.

Being familiar with paper charts and dead reckoning is an essential skill to have. I wouldn't "spoil" myself with a chartplotter until using the paper charts and plotting was really second nature. I know that technology is great, but I believe dead reckoning should be something that is so ingrained that the GPS just gives you the confidence to keep doing what you're doing.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:20 AM   #4
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I heartily agree with redbopeep! We have a small chartplotter on Watermelon, and it just doesn't offer the range or information you need to safely cruise, and I just don't use it except to take off Lat/Long. Best example of what can happen is the disastrous grounding of Flying Pig. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheFly...og/message/136

Lots of things went wrong on their first passage, but having to work so hard to get a good idea of what was ahead was probably the biggest problem.

Even though I have our charts and a GPS on my laptop computer, I still use paper charts, and consider them the easiest and most accurate way to have a good idea of all that is around the boat, and what the boat is heading for, always available "at a glance."

In order to keep from destroying our charts with multiple rhumb lines and position notations, we mounted a clear vinyl sheet on the chart table under which we laid the chart. We used dry erase china markers to record our positions onto the vinyl. Colored markers could be used to highlight future dangers this way, as well. Replotting our course was easier and more informative this way, and it was easier to see if there were going to be any problems on any person's watch.
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for your help guys. I think I will stay with the hand held GPS and practise my skills.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:33 PM   #6
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Just to add my 2c worth:

GPS is one of the things on a boat that I think is worth having backup for. Few of us are sufficiently skilled to be 100% confortable navigating by more traditional methods, so in the (unlikely) event that our primary GPS fails, it is, in my opinion, worth having a secon independent unit. For me, that means a chartplotter installed at my nav station (which, incidentally is connected to a GPS repeater dispay on deck) and a small hand-held GPS and a spare set of batteries in a sealed bag, in case of failure of the plotter.

Some purists tend to denigrate reliance on modern gagetry, but, frankly, why not take advantage of the available technology, especially since it is not particularly expensive these days?
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triton View Post
G'day folks, I'm looking at buying either a handheld GPS and using charts or a small plotter. The problem with the plotter (Navman 5380) is that it is a small screen. I have seen the same charts on a laptop and have been spoilt. I don't have a laptop nor the room for one. My cruising will be coastal near Brisbane Queensland. I am learning to navigate using traditional methods as well. So choices are handheld with paper charts or the smaller plotter option. I would appreciate any info and opinions.

Good sailing folks
https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=161&pID=351#

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Old 07-03-2007, 09:14 PM   #8
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Greetings Triton, An intermediate way of using GPS with traditional paper chart navigation, yet gaining the convenience of plotter 'position location', would be to consider use of a Yeoman Plotter. Cheers, Ron
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:03 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your input. I will probably go down the handheld route with paper charts. I have not forgotten the plotter just a little strapped for cash at present. However I won't let that stop me from getting out there and enjoying the elements. Again thanks.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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I like the combination of a compact chartplotter (with a screen of five inches or more) for close-in work and small scale charts for planning and tracking a passage. These compact chartplotters are more expensive that handhelds, but are still pretty affordable.

Being brought up on paper charts I still find it easier to orient myself on paper than on a screen.

The back up to these are a handheld GPS--and then a dusty sextant.

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Old 07-07-2007, 01:59 PM   #11
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I have said it before and I wil say it again, many mistakes are made in plotting positions on charts. It does not matter if it is an astronomical position line passing through a calculated position, a D.R., an E.P. or a position derived by electronic means. By using a plotter one eliminates the possible error in committing a position to a paper chart. I would therefore always advocate using a plotter backed up with a paper chart. This back up is necessary as errors have been found on digial charts and in case the plotter goes south.

An alternative to the above, which I use on NAUSIKAA, is a GPS linked to a computer. I use digital British Admiralty rastar charts as I am familiar with the format which is the same as BA paper charts and they are of the best quality. Unfortunately they are also expensive. I have paper charts as a back up.

Aye

Stephen
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:39 AM   #12
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The unit pictured above has a MSRP of like $482, but can be found for $325 new by using froogle.com, and even cheaper on ebay, fyi.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:28 PM   #13
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Hi

I had similar concerns. I found that paper charts are much faster to use and more comfortable for me then laptop and even more then tiny chartplotter.

From my experience, electricity fails during bad weather, when carefull navigation is even more important then usual. Working on paper chart one have always dead reckoning as a powerless backup and in emergency one can take a map on the liferaft.

I have Garmin eTrex GPS which cost $80. It gives you position, speed, course, bearing and distance to the waypoint its waterproof and runs on AA batteries. I don't need enything else. As a backup I have Davis Mark-15 sextant for $130 and handbearing compass. All this is less then $250 but requires paper charts and tables.

For me it's the optimum set. The only drawback is the cost of the charts.

Piotrek
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