- Nov 8, 2010
A counter thought.... I’m not a huge fan of helm mounted plotters. I’ve seen too many times that the ability to see it all the time can create an over dependence on the plotter and the accuracy of the chart. In almost all close quarter piloting, I want to depend on my eyeballs, not some electronic chart.In the Chesapeake we like to say, ‘There’s them that’s been aground, and them that’s going aground’ but man, you really have to work at it to hit a rock in the Chesapeake!
A hard grounding is my absolute nightmare, I spend hours at chart study when we sail the thorny path and still I fret. In the early years we easily spent 75% of our sailing time confirming our location and reconfirming. First with LORAN and later with first gen GPS handhelds I filled my bookshelves with lists of lights and cruising guides, carefully entering the lat Lons for each and every rock, coral head and shoal in my cruising area. I set guard waypoints.... Our locating effort dropped to maybe 20% of the sailing day. I had more screen time than a teenager with a new iPhone. When the first of the helm mounted chart plotters came out I was an early adopter. I would not be without a GPS plotter at the helm. If I am on a strange boat I have a type of RAM mount for my handheld. There is still a chart on the seat, but there is always a chartplotter at eye level.