Chart Plotter Location

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Lew Morris, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. Lew Morris
    Joined: Jun 2001
    Posts: 124
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 92
    Location: Pismo Beach, Ca

    Lew Morris Industrial Designer

    All Hands,

    My partner and I are locked in irons over the best position for our chart plotter. Our funds are limited so we can only have a single instrument (no repeater).

    My opinion: it should below, at the navstation; requiring that the helmsman dash below, ocassionally, to check position (we have an auto-pilot). Not my favorite choice position really, but the protection offered the instrument is the best.

    His opinion: it should be mounted above, on the pedestal, within plain view of the helmsman. Weather bedamned.

    I admit to the benefits of the pedestal-mounted positon, but am concerned that ANY brand of manufacturer's instrumentation is really up to the task of living, long term, in the open above deck.

    We would appreciate any, and all, real-world experience feed-back regarding the pro's and cons of mounting position, weatherability, visibility, preferred manufacturer, etc.


  2. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    I my humble opinion, you simply must have your plotter near your paper chart Do not think that you can navigate properly without a paper chart, even with a big flat screen pc and maxsea, programme, i can not do without it. So I would place the plotter below and THEN as funds allow buy a handheld for cockpit
  3. betelgeuserdude
    Joined: Sep 2003
    Posts: 62
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Rainier, Oregon

    betelgeuserdude Junior Member

    Hi Lew.

    Aboard my last boat, I had a below deck PC, running digital charting (among many other things).

    My radar was in the cockpit, on the pedestal. I would have loved to have a slave screen below, but like you, finances dictated. Given the choice of a radar below deck or above deck, I feel that my real world experience makes any future decisions easy for me. A radar in the cockpit is the only way to go. Picture crossing a foggy river bar, during a salmon derby. I did. Had the radar been below, I would likely have had to wait for the 100s of fishermen or the fog to give up for the day.

    I viewed my digital charting program as a wonderful tool. So much so, that I will likely not carry the amount of paper charts that I used to. From here on out, I'll carry small scale (large area) charts, and do most of my nav work on the PC.

    A PC does so much more than MS Word and Excel. I used mine for communications via HF radio, pulling weatherfax, tide and currents, etc, etc... All of this, and digital charting is best done down below.

    Keep in mind that a chart plotter tells you where you are on the chart, not in relation to vessels, buoys, or land. At one time, my electronic charting told me that I was over a mile inland while approaching Bandaras Bay, Mexico. The radar, and sounder tell the real story.

    I think that if I really had to have a plotter topside, it would have to be a below deck unit, interfaced to the above deck radar. This would effectively give you two monitors upon which to view plotter information. The choice between radar or plotter is easy: I would not place much faith in an above deck plotter. If you can't see anything because of fog, darkness, etc., It would be better to be staring at a radar and a sounder, than a plotter.

    You can use a regular laptop if you find that convenient, or you could check into the various PC components like these:

    Hey, now that I think about it, a person could certainly utilize a waterproof mouse, and a personal monitor/eyewear to have a PC based plotter viewable (and controllable) from the cockpit. How complicated do you want to get? Radar is way more important and useful.

    Have fun.

  4. guest

    guest Guest

    You could mount the plotter on an arm that could extend to the companionway door.
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