Adventures aboard a Nordhavn 68
I've loved reading your blog. I found it while googling "chart plotter vs ipad" and have spent the last two days reading older posts. Great job! and I particularly love the technical bits. A few things: I know it's now late in your process but wonder if you've ever tried MacENC or it's companion app for the Ipad INaxX. I've used them cruising various sailboats in the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean and am totally sold. Customer service and tech support has always been fantastic. We have some friends who run a 100' charter yacht/trawler in French Polynesia who use the software everyday as well. BTW I'm not associated with the company, just love their products. On another note, we've relied on solar as our main power source for the last 5 years afloat in the tropics. We get by on 375W. I think you'd need at least 3x that on a Nordhaven but it might be worth it. I've found that using solar drives me to reduce/eliminate loads which in turn saves money and makes my job as chief engineer so much easier. Lastly, I'd love to hear about the sound deadening treatment your boat's getting. My wife and I are ready to move on to a trawler but noise is one thing we'll have a hard time getting used to.Enjoy the Bahamas! Adam
Hi Adam,Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you have enjoyed the blog.I was certainly aware of MacENC when I was making my nav software decisions, but it didn't get very far into the process before I rejected. Trouble is, I don't remember why. I'm now looking through their web site and I can't tell if they have natie N2K support or not. They support the Actisense NGT-1, but I can't tell from either the MacENC site or the Actisense sight how thoroughly they support N2K. Many devices just translate the N2K messages into 0183 rather than process then directly. There are also a number of very important N2K configuration capabilities that are really important, and one of the big advantages, for an N2K system with any level of complexity.For example, I have multiple GPSs. In N2K, you can identify each with a unique Instance number, then tell each listening device which of the two to use. Then, if there is a GPS failure, you just make a quick configuration change and you are back running on the other GPS. But you need to be able to tell each device which GPS to use at any given time. Without any hint that the MacENC/Actisense combo can do any of this, I probably concluded it wasn't worth the time to pursue it further. That would certainly be my conclusion reading it now. If they DO support it, then it's unfortunate that they do not provide more info about their products.The other thing I notice is that MacENC doesn't have quite the richness of chart support that CoastalExplorer does.All this said, I'll be the first to admit that my requirements are a bit different than most since we will be cruising in some pretty odd parts of the world.I didn't try iNavX, but almost did a while back when I was looking at iPad chart software. I ended up with the Navionics ipad app, mostly because I wanted to see what their charts actually look like in some remote areas. So my iPad foray was much more about viewing charts than anything else. I think it really sucks that none of the chart vendors provide any way to view their charts before you buy, and once you buy there is no return. I've been burned by this twice now with charts that are defective in some important way. I've reported the problem, and after some amount of denial and blame casting, both parties ultimately agreed that the chart was broken. After MUCH complaining, one vendor gave me a free update about 2 months after I was past the defective area (I bought a different $300 chart to get through at the time). The second time is currently pending, but I am once again well past the island that moves 1/2 mile when you zoom in.Anyway, all this has highlighted the importance of having multiple chart sources whenever possible.Getting back to iPad software, I still haven't found the ipad apps to be useful nav tools. A chart plotter and/or computer is way more capable. For example, I find the integration of 1) charts, 2) Radar, and 3) AIS to be indispensable. Seeing all that overlayed on a chart along with your boat and its heading is just the balls in my opinion. I'm not aware of any stand-alone iPad app that can do that. The only way I know of to get that is to use once of the chart plotter company's apps that mimics the chart plotter screen on the iPad. That, I think is useful. I like the idea of what is essentially another chart plotter screen that you can carry around with you. The other apps like Garmin, iNavX, Navionics, etc strike me as interesting and entertaining, but not really a navigation tool other than as an emergency backup.
Part 2....Speaking of "screens you can carry around with your", I've been playing with a VNC viewer app on the iPad. It lets you replicate the Mac's (PC too, probably) screen on the iPad. I've tried it as a way to take Coastal Explorer up on the fly bridge with me. It's OK for viewing only, but I find the user interface seriously problematic for controlling CE. It's unclear, and certainly unintuitive to me when your gestures are controlling the VNC viewer, and when/how you use them to control the program you are viewing - in this case CE. Sometimes when you drag you are just moving the viewport into the CE screen. Then other times you are dragging the cursor for the Mac that I'm viewing that's running CE. And sometimes when you tap it does nothing, and sometimes when you tap it causes a click of the CE mouse. I have yet to figure out how to click and drag through to CE to, for example, move a waypoint. I'm probably just being a spaz, but so far it's only useful as a view portal.Re solar, I really want to add it, but as you surmised, the issue is really about reducing consumption much more so than it's about adding solar. I just can't start the process of measuring and slashing consumption until I'm on the boat. My spreadsheets say it will work, but other boat owners report crazy high loads. With some conservation measures, reality will be somewhere in between, but I need to be sure it's close enough to my spreadsheet to make solar worth the effort. I remain optimistic.Re sound deadening, I actually don't know what the layup is on the Nordhavn, but I do know they are very quiet. Up in the pilot house you barely know it's running. From teh scraps of material that I've seen in pictures of the boat under construction, I'd guess it's 2" of Sounddown material or the equivalent. That's about what's in the Grand Banks and it's real quiet too. I measured the sound level and it's high 60's at a slow cruise, and mid to high 70's cranking along. In contrast, the Back Cover that we had before was over 90db at fast cruise and was totally unacceptable. We had to wear ear plugs all the time while running. But you are right to check this carefully. You can get a sound meter from Radio Shack for about $50. I'd sea trial any boat that's of interest and actually go around and measure the sound level. In my experience, mid 70's or below is best, and I'd set 80db as the max.
Hey Peter, any more news on either the build or the Bahamas? - Craig
Yes, stay tuned......
Peter, my next purchase will be a watermaker and Spectra is at the top of the list. Any update on the replacement watermaker you were getting from Spectra back in January? Thanks, Wil
Yes, it was just a small fitting that needed to be replaced, and the repair is covered here http://www.mvtanglewood.com/2014/01/watermaker-repaired.htmlThe biggest challenge was getting the FedEx package from Freeport to Hope Town which took about a week.
Sounds like you're still happy with the Spectra. Also, thanks for providing a very good set of data points for understanding the newer nav equipment & how to integrate it. This is my first live-aboard, go far boat, so it's important to find reliable, cost-effective, feature rich nav equipment. After reading your blog on how you derived your nav choices, I have a good start on that. Congratulations on your new steed, may she carry you far and wide with joy and reliability. Cheers, Wil
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