Thursday, March 3, 2016

2015: Going High Tech

iPad and GPS.  I'm not reporting on a breakage but a NEW toy.  For 2014 Christmas my eldest son gave me an iPad, a basic one but a lovely present nonetheless.  I added a waterproof case and a small Garmin GPS – the iPad and the GPS communicate via Blue Tooth.  We still use our laptop on the chart table below as the main nav system.  It’s a great system but, on occasion when you are entering harbour at night time for instance, it would be nice to have something in the cockpit so you don’t have to run up and down stairs frequently.  It’s not a big problem but now, we no longer need to do that .  We have the iPad in the cockpit! 

The iPad has Navionics which we down loaded from the Apple Store (app is free if I remember correctly) and then you download the charts that you want, in this case Europe, for a fee.   The GPS remains out of the way down below telling the iPad where we are via Blue Tooth.

Be careful, I ended up downloading the Caribbean charts too, completely unintentionally.  You can do this if you allow ‘one click’ purchase which I stupidly did thinking it would be more convenient in not having to re-enter information when making a number of purchases.  Well, I thought I was navigating around by pressing this and that but, as it turned out, I purchased a second set of charts.  Trap for (not so) young players.  Anyway, we’ll use the Carib charts eventually when we head back across the ‘pond’.

Anyway, the iPad in the cockpit is just so cool.  We even use it extensively as we just sail along to check on course, speed, etc – saves a trip downstairs.  I can’t speak more highly of this setup.

Another thing to bear in mind.  Unlike the CMap charts, which we have on our downstairs laptop and are loaded/unlocked from CDs/dongle mailed to you by CMap, the Navionics Charts are downloaded over the internet.  This takes some time as you have to download each chart one by one as you work your way along the coast in the area you intend to cruise.  Internet connection for data is essential for the downloading aspect, but otherwise it draws happily on the GPS. 

Fabulous solution - wished we'd done this earlier.  Trying to follow the river channel for nine hours up to Seville (Spain) springs to mind....

View from Castle of San Giovanni, Kotor, Montenegro - WJ3 on anchor