A Scottish view on Chart Plotters

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cpedw
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A Scottish view on Chart Plotters

Postby cpedw » Thu May 26, 2005 5:31 pm

After reading some very favourable magazine comment and a few internet comments, I got enthusiastic about an electronic chart plotter. I was thinking of a Navman (uses C map charts) or Lowrance (uses Navionics).
But I was disappointed with the coverage of the electronic charts (and the cost) when I started to think seriously about it.
I sail mainly in the vicinity of Oban to Skye, extending a bit further once per year.
Does anyone here have a positive experience to report of using one of these devices? If so, which one?
Thanks for your attention,
Derek

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Silkie
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Postby Silkie » Fri May 27, 2005 10:50 am

I recently sailed on a boat with a chart plotter (Navman 5500) for the first time on a four day cruise and was very impressed with the functionality. This probably isn't saying a lot since, as a handheld GPS user (Garmin 72) exposed to this technology for the first time I'm sure I would have been impressed with any chart plotter.

I didn't pay as much attention to the details as I might have done since such sophistication is outwith my budget but I did remember something about chart coverage and did a google to refresh my memory. It's disappointing to see that the C-Map NT+ coverage has overlaps almost all round the coastline of the British Isles except for someone sailing out of the Oban area (as I do too) which is right on the border of two charts without an overlap requiring that two be purchased for even the relatively small area you mention in your post. This would enable you to extend your sailing area from Wales to Shetland though!

This is not the sort of in-depth reply from an experienced user I'm sure you'd hoped for, just my ha'porth. Where's Cap'n DaveS when you need him?

Dave

PS - Googling further I see that the new C-Map Max Megawide format offers the entire UK west coast on a single chart but I'm not sure which plotters can use this format. Can you tell I'm floundering around out of my depth now?

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Postby cpedw » Mon May 30, 2005 10:30 am

Many thanks for the tip about Cmap Max Dave; I had seen the sexy ads but not registered that it was anything to do with me. Their coverage seems better but as you mention, not many plotters use them and they seem to be the very expensive ones.
I'll wait for developments I think...
Derek

DaveS

Navman 5500 & CMap Charts

Postby DaveS » Mon May 30, 2005 5:28 pm

I bought one of these last year and have been very impressed by it. I bought (well, actually it was a present) the single "super wide" chart of West Scotland which covers from N. Ireland to Western Isles. I discovered last summer, however, that while there is full detail for the southern end of the chain this stops around South Uist! I intend to buy the "wide" Western / Northern Isles this year to complete coverage of anywhere I'm likely to go for the next few years.

A slight complication is that the "super wide" NT+ series was dropped when they introduced the Megawide version - but the "wide" series were given greater coverage and the boundaries all changed. So you must make sure you're looking at the 2005 chart catelogue. You'll probably still need to buy 2, but you'll get more coverage for the money than you would have last year.

The Navman 5500 doesn't take the Megawide charts.

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Chartplotters

Postby Malbec » Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:20 am

I have a Lowrance 3500C. It is excellent. The agents 'Silva' are located near you too!
The screen resolution is very good indeed. I think you will find it very useful. I sail in waters I know fairly well but still find the plotter a great aid.
You can download a product emulator and manual free from the Lowrance site. You cant use The Navionics charts on the Emulator so you wont see how good they are but you will be able to use the real plotter out of the box.

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Postby DaveS » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:27 pm

Belated update on previous post:

I bought the NT+ "Wide" cartridge of the Western and Northern Isles for last summer's trip. There is a fair overlap with my first (now withdrawn) "Superwide" cartridge, but this meant that I could change cartridges either side of the Minch as convenient. The detailed charting in complicated areas like Cheese Bay and the Sound of Harris was really excellent - to the extent that, having passed outward through the Stanton channel, carefully following all the transits and comparing the real world with the display, I was reasonably happy to do the return trip in poor visability effectively "instruments only" with all the transits invisible. Even following a chain of "safe water" waypoints, if I hadn't had the reassurance of being able to confirm at all times that the plotter display agreed with what I could see of the real world, I would have been extremely unhappy trying this.

A really useful gadget.

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Postby Silkie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:59 pm

Let me know when you're going to upgrade and I'll take the Navman off your hands for £50 Dave. :wink:
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Postby DaveS » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:11 pm

As the saying goes, "Aye, right..."

The new Navman models out this year take the Megawide charts and hold more waypoints. A bit like buying a computer - as soon as you do its outdated. If I was starting again I'd probably get the new model with the smaller screen - 5305 from memory - and the single Megawide chart that covers everywhere sensible. Total cost half that of my set up and more functionality; need to sit a little closer to see the screen, but that's no real problem, and it would take up less space.

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Postby Silkie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:18 pm

Wasn't being serious of course but you're really making me work for this completely senseless attempt on the fleeting glory of having Silkie as the most recent poster on all the Bluemoment forums.
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Success NM

Postby Silkie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:19 pm

:D
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DaveS
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Postby DaveS » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:20 pm

Well I think this qualifies as my fastest reply. (Got to do something to reduce the average after the 9 month old one.)

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Silkie
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Postby Silkie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:23 pm

Two firsts within a couple of minutes! It's getting just like a real forum on here innit?

Is Avilion in the water yet? Was she ever out?
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Postby DaveS » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:36 pm

She's due back in on 1 April, but I'm taking next week off so, with a bit of luck with the weather, I might be able to get some advance on that. Yourself?

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Silkie
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Postby Silkie » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:44 pm

2nd or 3rd of April But I've had such great weather for my last 2 visits that it's sure to be blowing a gale force blizzard that weekend.

Have you got the secret weapon installed yet?
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DaveS
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Postby DaveS » Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:42 pm

Secret weapon installed and two coats of hard a/f applied. All (well greased) moving bits moving like they're meant to. Eager anticipation of sea trials.


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