Do you use a Chartplotter?


Author
Message
Dick
Dick
Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 765, Visits: 1.3K
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE - 3/28/2020
We use a chart plotter on Destiny, or rather a PC based version running Time Zero Professional. It runs a screen at the helm and two at the chart table for planning and a radar watch. The helm can display radar, chart or either on overlay or a split screen. AIS targets are on both we can interrogate a target and track it at the touch of the screen. We run a full redundant system as well as isailor on a tablet that also shows all AIS targets.
Simply put we do not use paper charts and have not done so for 30,000 miles. Commercial ships and planes fly without paper charts, it is time the leisure market was trained to do likewise. We are not against the tradition of paper and dividers, as it teaches you the basic skills but the RYA are slow to train the correct way to use electronic charting. We have sailed 2 vessels that used integrated autopilot but neither made an automatic turn without human intervention which rightly you mentioned as unwise but routes made on paper or electronically are still only as good as the navigator that created them. 


   
Hi Janice,
Sounds like a very workable system with redundancy.
It is a nice safety feature to not have the interfaced autopilot make an adjustment to course without a crew OK’ing it. What do you consider the safety advantages of interfacing autopilot and plotter? And what are the “convenience” advantages? Any down sides you have found?
Agree completely about the use of plotters vs paper. Plotters now are just much easier, more accurate and faster, but clearly demand training and experience. I am sorry to hear that you consider RYA slow to come to appropriate training in this area. And I still believe that to properly understand electronic navigation, training in tradition plotting is necessary, but that may not hold for very much longer
You mention “touch screen”: how does that work out at the helm with rain/spray and or wet hands?
I still prepare for what I think of as “lightning strike” mode: all electrical is toast. To that end I carry small scale (large area) paper charts for the areas we are cruising: enough to get us just outside a port where we could follow a fishing boat etc. in to safety. We also carry paper for areas where we wonder whether electronic will be accurate: Greenland a recent ex. And we were pleasantly surprised by how accurate our e-charts were: perhaps more accurate than our borrowed paper charts.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Richard Hudson
Richard Hudson
New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 23, Visits: 31
Dick - 3/29/2020
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE - 3/28/2020
We use a chart plotter on Destiny, or rather a PC based version running Time Zero Professional. It runs a screen at the helm and two at the chart table for planning and a radar watch. The helm can display radar, chart or either on overlay or a split screen. AIS targets are on both we can interrogate a target and track it at the touch of the screen. We run a full redundant system as well as isailor on a tablet that also shows all AIS targets.
Simply put we do not use paper charts and have not done so for 30,000 miles. Commercial ships and planes fly without paper charts, it is time the leisure market was trained to do likewise. We are not against the tradition of paper and dividers, as it teaches you the basic skills but the RYA are slow to train the correct way to use electronic charting. We have sailed 2 vessels that used integrated autopilot but neither made an automatic turn without human intervention which rightly you mentioned as unwise but routes made on paper or electronically are still only as good as the navigator that created them. 


   
Hi Janice,
Sounds like a very workable system with redundancy.
It is a nice safety feature to not have the interfaced autopilot make an adjustment to course without a crew OK’ing it. What do you consider the safety advantages of interfacing autopilot and plotter? And what are the “convenience” advantages? Any down sides you have found?
Agree completely about the use of plotters vs paper. Plotters now are just much easier, more accurate and faster, but clearly demand training and experience. I am sorry to hear that you consider RYA slow to come to appropriate training in this area. And I still believe that to properly understand electronic navigation, training in tradition plotting is necessary, but that may not hold for very much longer
You mention “touch screen”: how does that work out at the helm with rain/spray and or wet hands?
I still prepare for what I think of as “lightning strike” mode: all electrical is toast. To that end I carry small scale (large area) paper charts for the areas we are cruising: enough to get us just outside a port where we could follow a fishing boat etc. in to safety. We also carry paper for areas where we wonder whether electronic will be accurate: Greenland a recent ex. And we were pleasantly surprised by how accurate our e-charts were: perhaps more accurate than our borrowed paper charts.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hello Dick, dsmith and Janice,

Like you, I find chartplotters to be wonderful devices. When singlehanding into an unfamiliar area, it is so helpful to be able to glance at the plotter and know your position with confidence. As well, the ability to make charts from pictures of paper charts or from Google Earth has been hugely useful to me when cruising poorly-charted areas and in areas that I hadn't planned on visiting before leaving ports where charts could be bought.

To me, the decision on whether or not to back up chartplotters with paper charts depends more on risk analysis than on navigation training, and varies with vessels and crews.

I do not think that commercial ships and airplanes navigating without paper charts necessarily indicates that yachts should do the same.  Commercial ships tend to have highly skilled engineers aboard to keep their systems operational, and airplane crews, equipment and maintenance are regulated far more strictly than are yachts, yacht crews & yacht maintenance. Some yacht crews are highly skilled at maintaining all systems and equipment onboard, but not all.

My first offshore sail was about two decades ago. I had a very reliable hand-start diesel engine, the alternator on which was my sole way of charging batteries. I carried a spare alternator (with regulator).

I had installed an electric bilge pump with the outlet just below the deck, a long way from the waterline. I had not put a valve on the through-hull for the outlet. During a gale, while running the engine to charge the batteries, waves pushed water down the outlet hose, past the bilge pump and into the bilge. As the water level rose, the engine flywheel threw it around the engine room. When I noticed, I shut down the engine, pumped the bilge and plugged the bilge pump outlet so no more water would get in.

A few, tropical, days later, the alternator was a mass of corrosion, and had stopped charging. No problem, I thought--that's why I carried a brand-new spare. But the bolt that held the alternator had also seized, and I was unable to get it off to change the alternator! While we did eventually run the batteries down and lose all electrical power on that voyage, we made landfall safely with paper charts.

I was thankful to have paper charts to navigate with.

Now, clearly, I had made a mistake in installing that bilge pump. And having multiple charging methods would have been more robust than one. But people make mistakes...

In my opinion, deciding whether to navigate a yacht solely with chartplotters requires thinking about possible modes of failure (ie power, connections, software updates, physical damage, lightning strike); how likely those failures could be; and what can be done about them (spares, tools, skills).

Nowadays, on my boat, I mostly navigate with a chartplotter (powered by a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, and carry three spare units). I have two laptops with navigation software for backup, and also have paper charts as backup and for overall voyage planning (it's easier to look at long routes on paper charts). My boat's batteries are charged by engine alternator, generator, solar & wind, and I carry an extensive set of tools to help keep things running. 

I agree with Dick that paper charts (and using them at least occasionally to keep in practice) are still valuable for many boats and crews.

Best wishes to all, and keep on sailing.
Richard

Dick
Dick
Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 765, Visits: 1.3K
Richard Hudson - 3/29/2020
Dick - 3/29/2020
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE - 3/28/2020
We use a chart plotter on Destiny, or rather a PC based version running Time Zero Professional. It runs a screen at the helm and two at the chart table for planning and a radar watch. The helm can display radar, chart or either on overlay or a split screen. AIS targets are on both we can interrogate a target and track it at the touch of the screen. We run a full redundant system as well as isailor on a tablet that also shows all AIS targets.
Simply put we do not use paper charts and have not done so for 30,000 miles. Commercial ships and planes fly without paper charts, it is time the leisure market was trained to do likewise. We are not against the tradition of paper and dividers, as it teaches you the basic skills but the RYA are slow to train the correct way to use electronic charting. We have sailed 2 vessels that used integrated autopilot but neither made an automatic turn without human intervention which rightly you mentioned as unwise but routes made on paper or electronically are still only as good as the navigator that created them. 


   
Hi Janice,
Sounds like a very workable system with redundancy.
It is a nice safety feature to not have the interfaced autopilot make an adjustment to course without a crew OK’ing it. What do you consider the safety advantages of interfacing autopilot and plotter? And what are the “convenience” advantages? Any down sides you have found?
Agree completely about the use of plotters vs paper. Plotters now are just much easier, more accurate and faster, but clearly demand training and experience. I am sorry to hear that you consider RYA slow to come to appropriate training in this area. And I still believe that to properly understand electronic navigation, training in tradition plotting is necessary, but that may not hold for very much longer
You mention “touch screen”: how does that work out at the helm with rain/spray and or wet hands?
I still prepare for what I think of as “lightning strike” mode: all electrical is toast. To that end I carry small scale (large area) paper charts for the areas we are cruising: enough to get us just outside a port where we could follow a fishing boat etc. in to safety. We also carry paper for areas where we wonder whether electronic will be accurate: Greenland a recent ex. And we were pleasantly surprised by how accurate our e-charts were: perhaps more accurate than our borrowed paper charts.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hello Dick, dsmith and Janice,

Like you, I find chartplotters to be wonderful devices. When singlehanding into an unfamiliar area, it is so helpful to be able to glance at the plotter and know your position with confidence. As well, the ability to make charts from pictures of paper charts or from Google Earth has been hugely useful to me when cruising poorly-charted areas and in areas that I hadn't planned on visiting before leaving ports where charts could be bought.

To me, the decision on whether or not to back up chartplotters with paper charts depends more on risk analysis than on navigation training, and varies with vessels and crews.

I do not think that commercial ships and airplanes navigating without paper charts necessarily indicates that yachts should do the same.  Commercial ships tend to have highly skilled engineers aboard to keep their systems operational, and airplane crews, equipment and maintenance are regulated far more strictly than are yachts, yacht crews & yacht maintenance. Some yacht crews are highly skilled at maintaining all systems and equipment onboard, but not all.

My first offshore sail was about two decades ago. I had a very reliable hand-start diesel engine, the alternator on which was my sole way of charging batteries. I carried a spare alternator (with regulator).

I had installed an electric bilge pump with the outlet just below the deck, a long way from the waterline. I had not put a valve on the through-hull for the outlet. During a gale, while running the engine to charge the batteries, waves pushed water down the outlet hose, past the bilge pump and into the bilge. As the water level rose, the engine flywheel threw it around the engine room. When I noticed, I shut down the engine, pumped the bilge and plugged the bilge pump outlet so no more water would get in.

A few, tropical, days later, the alternator was a mass of corrosion, and had stopped charging. No problem, I thought--that's why I carried a brand-new spare. But the bolt that held the alternator had also seized, and I was unable to get it off to change the alternator! While we did eventually run the batteries down and lose all electrical power on that voyage, we made landfall safely with paper charts.

I was thankful to have paper charts to navigate with.

Now, clearly, I had made a mistake in installing that bilge pump. And having multiple charging methods would have been more robust than one. But people make mistakes...

In my opinion, deciding whether to navigate a yacht solely with chartplotters requires thinking about possible modes of failure (ie power, connections, software updates, physical damage, lightning strike); how likely those failures could be; and what can be done about them (spares, tools, skills).

Nowadays, on my boat, I mostly navigate with a chartplotter (powered by a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, and carry three spare units). I have two laptops with navigation software for backup, and also have paper charts as backup and for overall voyage planning (it's easier to look at long routes on paper charts). My boat's batteries are charged by engine alternator, generator, solar & wind, and I carry an extensive set of tools to help keep things running. 

I agree with Dick that paper charts (and using them at least occasionally to keep in practice) are still valuable for many boats and crews.

Best wishes to all, and keep on sailing.
Richard

Hi Richard,
That is exactly the kind of “risk analysis” that informs much of my writing and I should have labeled it as such. And that is exactly the kind of unpredictable, but statistically possible, event that one should plan for and that leads me to carry charts that will get me at least to the entrance of what I consider “bail-out ports”.
And yes, it’s a bitch to learn from your own mistakes: far better to learn from others. So, thank you for sharing your story
BTW, to continue to capitalize on your misfortune to good ends, I would want to note that a high water alarm would have prevented that particular disaster (see further my article of flooding prevention and flooding response in the Forum).
And whenever I get salt water on equipment such as engine parts, I liberally spray all areas with with WD40 (do the alternator while running). It displaces water and at least gives you a fighting chance.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
BTW, I have heard good things about the Raspberry Pi way of operating computers/nav programs and such, but it was way above my skill level. You might start another stream where you describe the advantages and challenges.

Richard Hudson
Richard Hudson
New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)New Member (32 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 23, Visits: 31
Dick - 3/30/2020
Richard Hudson - 3/29/2020
Dick - 3/29/2020
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE - 3/28/2020
We use a chart plotter on Destiny, or rather a PC based version running Time Zero Professional. It runs a screen at the helm and two at the chart table for planning and a radar watch. The helm can display radar, chart or either on overlay or a split screen. AIS targets are on both we can interrogate a target and track it at the touch of the screen. We run a full redundant system as well as isailor on a tablet that also shows all AIS targets.
Simply put we do not use paper charts and have not done so for 30,000 miles. Commercial ships and planes fly without paper charts, it is time the leisure market was trained to do likewise. We are not against the tradition of paper and dividers, as it teaches you the basic skills but the RYA are slow to train the correct way to use electronic charting. We have sailed 2 vessels that used integrated autopilot but neither made an automatic turn without human intervention which rightly you mentioned as unwise but routes made on paper or electronically are still only as good as the navigator that created them. 


   
Hi Janice,
Sounds like a very workable system with redundancy.
It is a nice safety feature to not have the interfaced autopilot make an adjustment to course without a crew OK’ing it. What do you consider the safety advantages of interfacing autopilot and plotter? And what are the “convenience” advantages? Any down sides you have found?
Agree completely about the use of plotters vs paper. Plotters now are just much easier, more accurate and faster, but clearly demand training and experience. I am sorry to hear that you consider RYA slow to come to appropriate training in this area. And I still believe that to properly understand electronic navigation, training in tradition plotting is necessary, but that may not hold for very much longer
You mention “touch screen”: how does that work out at the helm with rain/spray and or wet hands?
I still prepare for what I think of as “lightning strike” mode: all electrical is toast. To that end I carry small scale (large area) paper charts for the areas we are cruising: enough to get us just outside a port where we could follow a fishing boat etc. in to safety. We also carry paper for areas where we wonder whether electronic will be accurate: Greenland a recent ex. And we were pleasantly surprised by how accurate our e-charts were: perhaps more accurate than our borrowed paper charts.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hello Dick, dsmith and Janice,

Like you, I find chartplotters to be wonderful devices. When singlehanding into an unfamiliar area, it is so helpful to be able to glance at the plotter and know your position with confidence. As well, the ability to make charts from pictures of paper charts or from Google Earth has been hugely useful to me when cruising poorly-charted areas and in areas that I hadn't planned on visiting before leaving ports where charts could be bought.

To me, the decision on whether or not to back up chartplotters with paper charts depends more on risk analysis than on navigation training, and varies with vessels and crews.

I do not think that commercial ships and airplanes navigating without paper charts necessarily indicates that yachts should do the same.  Commercial ships tend to have highly skilled engineers aboard to keep their systems operational, and airplane crews, equipment and maintenance are regulated far more strictly than are yachts, yacht crews & yacht maintenance. Some yacht crews are highly skilled at maintaining all systems and equipment onboard, but not all.

My first offshore sail was about two decades ago. I had a very reliable hand-start diesel engine, the alternator on which was my sole way of charging batteries. I carried a spare alternator (with regulator).

I had installed an electric bilge pump with the outlet just below the deck, a long way from the waterline. I had not put a valve on the through-hull for the outlet. During a gale, while running the engine to charge the batteries, waves pushed water down the outlet hose, past the bilge pump and into the bilge. As the water level rose, the engine flywheel threw it around the engine room. When I noticed, I shut down the engine, pumped the bilge and plugged the bilge pump outlet so no more water would get in.

A few, tropical, days later, the alternator was a mass of corrosion, and had stopped charging. No problem, I thought--that's why I carried a brand-new spare. But the bolt that held the alternator had also seized, and I was unable to get it off to change the alternator! While we did eventually run the batteries down and lose all electrical power on that voyage, we made landfall safely with paper charts.

I was thankful to have paper charts to navigate with.

Now, clearly, I had made a mistake in installing that bilge pump. And having multiple charging methods would have been more robust than one. But people make mistakes...

In my opinion, deciding whether to navigate a yacht solely with chartplotters requires thinking about possible modes of failure (ie power, connections, software updates, physical damage, lightning strike); how likely those failures could be; and what can be done about them (spares, tools, skills).

Nowadays, on my boat, I mostly navigate with a chartplotter (powered by a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, and carry three spare units). I have two laptops with navigation software for backup, and also have paper charts as backup and for overall voyage planning (it's easier to look at long routes on paper charts). My boat's batteries are charged by engine alternator, generator, solar & wind, and I carry an extensive set of tools to help keep things running. 

I agree with Dick that paper charts (and using them at least occasionally to keep in practice) are still valuable for many boats and crews.

Best wishes to all, and keep on sailing.
Richard

Hi Richard,
That is exactly the kind of “risk analysis” that informs much of my writing and I should have labeled it as such. And that is exactly the kind of unpredictable, but statistically possible, event that one should plan for and that leads me to carry charts that will get me at least to the entrance of what I consider “bail-out ports”.
And yes, it’s a bitch to learn from your own mistakes: far better to learn from others. So, thank you for sharing your story
BTW, to continue to capitalize on your misfortune to good ends, I would want to note that a high water alarm would have prevented that particular disaster (see further my article of flooding prevention and flooding response in the Forum).
And whenever I get salt water on equipment such as engine parts, I liberally spray all areas with with WD40 (do the alternator while running). It displaces water and at least gives you a fighting chance.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
BTW, I have heard good things about the Raspberry Pi way of operating computers/nav programs and such, but it was way above my skill level. You might start another stream where you describe the advantages and challenges.

Hi Dick,

Good point, yes, a high-water alarm would have prevented or reduced that problem of the alternator corroding (I have such an alarm now--can't remember why I didn't have one back then), and spraying with WD40 is helpful for displacing water and preventing corrosion. 

I'll give some thought to writing more about the Raspberry Pi as a navigation computer--it's a low-cost system with a lot of functionality.

Richard

Dick
Dick
Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)Forum Expert (617 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 765, Visits: 1.3K
Richard Hudson - 4/1/2020
Dick - 3/30/2020
Richard Hudson - 3/29/2020
Dick - 3/29/2020
Janice FENNYMORE-WHITE - 3/28/2020
We use a chart plotter on Destiny, or rather a PC based version running Time Zero Professional. It runs a screen at the helm and two at the chart table for planning and a radar watch. The helm can display radar, chart or either on overlay or a split screen. AIS targets are on both we can interrogate a target and track it at the touch of the screen. We run a full redundant system as well as isailor on a tablet that also shows all AIS targets.
Simply put we do not use paper charts and have not done so for 30,000 miles. Commercial ships and planes fly without paper charts, it is time the leisure market was trained to do likewise. We are not against the tradition of paper and dividers, as it teaches you the basic skills but the RYA are slow to train the correct way to use electronic charting. We have sailed 2 vessels that used integrated autopilot but neither made an automatic turn without human intervention which rightly you mentioned as unwise but routes made on paper or electronically are still only as good as the navigator that created them. 


   
Hi Janice,
Sounds like a very workable system with redundancy.
It is a nice safety feature to not have the interfaced autopilot make an adjustment to course without a crew OK’ing it. What do you consider the safety advantages of interfacing autopilot and plotter? And what are the “convenience” advantages? Any down sides you have found?
Agree completely about the use of plotters vs paper. Plotters now are just much easier, more accurate and faster, but clearly demand training and experience. I am sorry to hear that you consider RYA slow to come to appropriate training in this area. And I still believe that to properly understand electronic navigation, training in tradition plotting is necessary, but that may not hold for very much longer
You mention “touch screen”: how does that work out at the helm with rain/spray and or wet hands?
I still prepare for what I think of as “lightning strike” mode: all electrical is toast. To that end I carry small scale (large area) paper charts for the areas we are cruising: enough to get us just outside a port where we could follow a fishing boat etc. in to safety. We also carry paper for areas where we wonder whether electronic will be accurate: Greenland a recent ex. And we were pleasantly surprised by how accurate our e-charts were: perhaps more accurate than our borrowed paper charts.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hello Dick, dsmith and Janice,

Like you, I find chartplotters to be wonderful devices. When singlehanding into an unfamiliar area, it is so helpful to be able to glance at the plotter and know your position with confidence. As well, the ability to make charts from pictures of paper charts or from Google Earth has been hugely useful to me when cruising poorly-charted areas and in areas that I hadn't planned on visiting before leaving ports where charts could be bought.

To me, the decision on whether or not to back up chartplotters with paper charts depends more on risk analysis than on navigation training, and varies with vessels and crews.

I do not think that commercial ships and airplanes navigating without paper charts necessarily indicates that yachts should do the same.  Commercial ships tend to have highly skilled engineers aboard to keep their systems operational, and airplane crews, equipment and maintenance are regulated far more strictly than are yachts, yacht crews & yacht maintenance. Some yacht crews are highly skilled at maintaining all systems and equipment onboard, but not all.

My first offshore sail was about two decades ago. I had a very reliable hand-start diesel engine, the alternator on which was my sole way of charging batteries. I carried a spare alternator (with regulator).

I had installed an electric bilge pump with the outlet just below the deck, a long way from the waterline. I had not put a valve on the through-hull for the outlet. During a gale, while running the engine to charge the batteries, waves pushed water down the outlet hose, past the bilge pump and into the bilge. As the water level rose, the engine flywheel threw it around the engine room. When I noticed, I shut down the engine, pumped the bilge and plugged the bilge pump outlet so no more water would get in.

A few, tropical, days later, the alternator was a mass of corrosion, and had stopped charging. No problem, I thought--that's why I carried a brand-new spare. But the bolt that held the alternator had also seized, and I was unable to get it off to change the alternator! While we did eventually run the batteries down and lose all electrical power on that voyage, we made landfall safely with paper charts.

I was thankful to have paper charts to navigate with.

Now, clearly, I had made a mistake in installing that bilge pump. And having multiple charging methods would have been more robust than one. But people make mistakes...

In my opinion, deciding whether to navigate a yacht solely with chartplotters requires thinking about possible modes of failure (ie power, connections, software updates, physical damage, lightning strike); how likely those failures could be; and what can be done about them (spares, tools, skills).

Nowadays, on my boat, I mostly navigate with a chartplotter (powered by a Raspberry Pi single-board computer, and carry three spare units). I have two laptops with navigation software for backup, and also have paper charts as backup and for overall voyage planning (it's easier to look at long routes on paper charts). My boat's batteries are charged by engine alternator, generator, solar & wind, and I carry an extensive set of tools to help keep things running. 

I agree with Dick that paper charts (and using them at least occasionally to keep in practice) are still valuable for many boats and crews.

Best wishes to all, and keep on sailing.
Richard

Hi Richard,
That is exactly the kind of “risk analysis” that informs much of my writing and I should have labeled it as such. And that is exactly the kind of unpredictable, but statistically possible, event that one should plan for and that leads me to carry charts that will get me at least to the entrance of what I consider “bail-out ports”.
And yes, it’s a bitch to learn from your own mistakes: far better to learn from others. So, thank you for sharing your story
BTW, to continue to capitalize on your misfortune to good ends, I would want to note that a high water alarm would have prevented that particular disaster (see further my article of flooding prevention and flooding response in the Forum).
And whenever I get salt water on equipment such as engine parts, I liberally spray all areas with with WD40 (do the alternator while running). It displaces water and at least gives you a fighting chance.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
BTW, I have heard good things about the Raspberry Pi way of operating computers/nav programs and such, but it was way above my skill level. You might start another stream where you describe the advantages and challenges.

Hi Dick,

Good point, yes, a high-water alarm would have prevented or reduced that problem of the alternator corroding (I have such an alarm now--can't remember why I didn't have one back then), and spraying with WD40 is helpful for displacing water and preventing corrosion. 

I'll give some thought to writing more about the Raspberry Pi as a navigation computer--it's a low-cost system with a lot of functionality.

Richard

Hi Richard,
If you ask around, I suspect you will find that a surprising number of boats do not have a high-water alarm and, back when you were writing about, they were much rarer. Very little $$ or effort for a potentially boat-saving device.
My best, Dick

Mike Northcott
Mike Northcott
New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)New Member (12 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 6, Visits: 3
Dick - 2/25/2020
dsmith - 2/25/2020
Having a plotter, or a repeater at the helm or under a spray hood (I'd class both as being at the helm, if the Helmsman can see it.) , is a great benefit to the Helmsman.

Not only can they see the course to steer, they have a live picture of what is actually happening. If they are getting off course by wind, tide or both, they can see it and adjust accordingly; rather than doing 30 min or hourly adjustments if you need to plot it on a paper chart. 

If you're lucky enough to have an intergrated RADAR, even better for getting into those cosy little anchorages or harbours at night or bad vis'.

I guess it's a case of what you're used to, and how competent your are with using it. I'm lucky to have done an ECDIS course and  I use ECDIS in work every day.

If it's set up correctly and your electronics, batteries, genset, etc are up to it, you don't need to carry paper charts except for emergencies. 
Hi DSmith,
Thanks for weighing in with a differing take on this issue. I agree that being able to see a plotter from the helm is of great benefit: improves safety. I also agree completely about having access to being able to see a radar display from the helm: mine is visible from the helm and is under the dodger. I also suspect that luck played little role in your having an ECDIS course under your belt: rather good judgment on your part in choosing the course in preparation for your cruising.
I do disagree with seeing the plotter at the helm as the same as a plotter under the dodger. I will elaborate my reasons for thinking the chart plotter at the helm is not the wisest location on an offshore sailboat (and actually, to a lesser extent, on any sailboat).
Neither Phillip nor I are against being able to see the chart plotter from the helm: quite the opposite. I can see mine under the dodger quite easily accomplishing all the visual cues that you so correctly value in your post. Phillip also mentions his being visible by those in the cockpit. So, if one can see the chart plotter under the dodger from the helm, the only reason to have it at the helm is to do navigation and plotting: to work its controls. Possibly there are really big boats where helm position is too far a distance to see a plotter under the dodger, but I have seen this accomplished on boats in the mid 50s in length.
For most far-ranging boats, the helm is rarely manned. The vast majority of our mileage is accomplished with no one at the helm. I believe this to be the case for most passage makers and even, most coastal cruisers. An under dodger chart plotter is much easier to monitor and manipulate from one’s usually watch position sitting in the protection of the dodger.
Anyone at the helm actively driving the boat should never have interference with his/her situational awareness, most of which should be directed outside the boat with occasional glances at the chart plotter. Doing any navigation plotting interferes dramatically with situational awareness. This is fine in open water with no obstacles about, but active adjustments and navigation decisions are often made when entering a harbor, transiting a passage or in the vicinity of obstacles. Think, perhaps, of the danger inherent in handheld cell phone manipulation while driving.
Lastly, instrument manufacturers have come a good way towards making equipment truly waterproof, but having such an important piece of kit and its many electrical and data exchange connections exposed to rain/sun etc. and to the assaults of salt water and seas when offshore seems to be asking for trouble somewhere down the line. Then there is the ease with which it might be stolen, something I think about even in the more hidden area under the dodger where my plotter lives.
So, in the end, I see no advantage to a helm position plotter and lots of potential disadvantages.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy



When we bought Aleta we updated her chart plotter to a Raymarine Axiom that we mounted at the helm in a Navpod The prior owner had a C80 at the navigation station and a repeater under the spray hood. Not being blue water sailors at the time, it took a while to understand the wisdom of locating the display under the spray hood. That said, the Axiom has built in WiFi so now we use our phones as slave monitors. It's not perfect, but it works.

The question of theft is there, but that's always present. We regained a lot of real estate on the cabin top and at the nav station. Navionics' app will sync charts, waypoints, routes between our phones/tablets and the Axiom and it's how we maintain redundancy. We especially like the plotter at the helm for close quarters work like anchoring and berthing. Our next step is a new tablet with GPS and a secondary mount at the helm in case the Axiom fails. Fumbling with a phone doesn't work. Having committed to electronic charts, we can't have too many backups. 
GO

Merge Selected

Merge into selected topic...



Merge into merge target...



Merge into a specific topic ID...




Login

Search