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Navigating - Raymarine, iPod & iPad

Navigating safely has been getting better and easier. Recently we got an iPad with GPS and Navionics charts and I’m looking forward to trying it out on the upcoming cruise.

Last year’s cruise with the new boat we had two new instruments to make navigation easier. The Raymarine E90Wide plotters were great! We have one right at the helm in a pod, and the other up under the dodger (sprayhood) as we use that position at sea. These plotters are a hybrid using touch screen but also have buttons. I loved the buttons and used them most of the time but on rainiest days sometimes switched to the buttons. Often we found ourselves using both. Buttons are convenient for zooming, and then dragging the screen to a new position. Nice!

The plotter at the helm is often right in the sun and this highlights one of the biggest advantages in my mind about a proper marine MFD (multifunction display). The E90W is completely readable in even bright sun. Try that with your laptop! It is also dimmable right down to almost nothing for use at night. It won’t ruin your night vision but you can still see the screen. It it completely waterproof and ready for tough marine conditions like a rough day on the Kattegat as seen here...

As a fun test I got the Navionics App for my iPod last spring. So we have had a full season cruising and have got to recommend them! We got the Apps for UK/Holland and found it a great tool. It has the tides as well as the full charts for the area and I often found myself using the App to plan our departure times and course - especially in the trickier tides of the Channel Islands. The screen is too small for use with serious navigating but it still had one interesting use. Because it is so small and I always carry my iPod around, I often found myself using the charts when comparing notes with other cruisers. We might be meeting up on someones boat and discussing upcoming destinations. I could pull out my iPod and put on a recommended waypoint or anchorage. Very cool!!

Now we have an iPad I have added the Apps for it too (available in HD for the bigger screen). It will be fun to try this out on the next cruise! I am certain it will it will be a useful addition to our navigation equipment.
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