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      I am about to fit a plotter on the binnacle of our Bav33 and would like to talk to someone who has a C70 and whether they are regretting not getting the larger C80. Also, can you see the plotter through polaroid sunglasses?

      Many thanks,
      0118 9476837


        We have a C70 at the helm which works just fine for us, but then it is just a plotter, things might be different if you had AIS and radar plots on it.

        Yes – we can see it ok through sunglasses unless it is in direct sunlight but I expect all plotters would suffer in the same conditions.

        Of course I would have liked a bigger display but anything bigger than a C70 increased the costs substancially as the console has to be modified to accept the bigger/deeper screen as well as the additional cost of the larger plotter.

        Hope this helps,



          Thanks Paul – we decided to play it safe and have ordered a refurbished C80 for the same price as a new C70 (excluding pod).


            We fitted a C70 to our 33 in February, but rather than mounting it in the binnacle we set it onto a bracket, with a second bracket on the chart table. This means that it can be used in either position and taken off the boat when away for security. The C70 was chosen as when it sits on the binnacle bracket, we can still see the other instruments. The C80 blocked them. It has proved fine visually.


              Hi, all this talk about different Chart Plotters and where to locate them, makes me think i must be sailing in the past, have no chart plotter on Storm Dragon, just the usual instruments plus radar and have covered around 9000 miles in her during the last 6 years, just use the charts and have never needed anything else, do not even have AIS as always somebody on watch…..Ed Holmes


                Ah – but the advantage of the AIS is that whilst we were crossing the channel close to the TSS we had a convergance of 10 ships that the AIS neatly kept track of, gave us early warning of the impending doom, then with a subtle change to the alarm settings, got us through the melay with little change in course/direction. Having kept a periodic visual check going I could just relax and let the AIS take the strain.


                  A man after my own heart!!! Well said, Ed.

                  Ian Culley
                  Another Fantasy


                    C80 on my Bav 38 and I can get you a new second hand one from a new boat that upgraded to the new e80 via a contact at Hamble, I paid £450 for mine and totally legit, call me on 07957 655978 if i can help, Paul.


                      I have everything possible on board to make navigating safer, including C120, AIS, Radar, Sea Me, Navtex, and of course, Paper Charts which I regularly use as back up. If you have never used AIS (in addition to eyeball) then you dont know what you are missing.

                      John, Loblolly.


                        Unfortunately AIS was not around when i bought Storm Dragon in 2003. Then in 2004 i sailed her to Lagos with rally Portugal,then continued onto Almerimar. Then in 2005 spent the summer cruising to the Balearics from Almerimar, and as only day sailed did not see many large ships apart from the odd ferry, but they were generally too far off to worry about. Then in 2006 i attempted to sail back to England, but unfortunately lost the rig on the way, so then motored to Barcelona but kept well inshore and therefore never came into contact with large ships. When i left the UK to sail back to Spain in 2008 the only area’s where ships might have been a problem was around Ushant, so we sailed further west to avoid the shipping lanes. When i decided to return to the UK in 2009 AIS may have been usefull but anything for a boat abroad tends to be double the UK price, to that end i paid 400 euro for 1 coat of antifoul, plus 300 euro for liftout/in plus pressure wash, so decided to carry on without it, and fortunately never came close to any large ships, but most of the time there were 2 people on watch whilst sailing. Now back in the UK i am thinking about installing AIS, but will it be any advantage if i return to the Med

                        Ed Holmes Storm Dragon


                          Hi Ed

                          I find that AIS is most useful on the cross channel run. I have used it ‘in anger’ several times now to contact ships that are showing as on a collision course. It’s main benefits are a)automatically calculating the closest point of approach and warning you if below your preset limit (I use 0.5 miles), and b) giving you the name of the vessel so you can call them direct (channel 13) on the VHF.

                          I use an old Dell laptop (266MHz) running Yacht-AIS along with Maptech for navigation. Works for me, as they say!

                          I have also started using my Dell PDA with Memory Map software and Maptech charts in the cockpit and it works a treat for close in pilotage. No need for an expensive chart plotter now!



                            Hi Roger, ok AIS could be ok in the channel for warning of a likelyhood of a collision, but would never think of contacting a ship in order that he could take action to avoid a collision, when all i would have to do is alter course by 10 degrees to miss him, after all we are out there for pleasure, he is out the doing his job of work and has a shedule to keep. Before the advent of AIS, if it seemed likely by using a hand bearing compass or looking at a ship’s position relative to the horizon that a collision seemed likely we had to change course, so what has changed.



                              Oh the perfect scenario – where you see a ship and can alter your course by 10 degrees in order to miss it without encountering other shipping!!
                              Like you, I wouldn’t think of radioing a ship routinely to ask what avoiding action he was intending to take … however I would feel quite happy about radioing them to ask what action they would like ME to take – and indeed the last time this was done the ship said they’d seen us and were altering course.

                              AIS also helped me this year when crossing just east of a TSS where there is a concentration of ships – it allowed me to track 10 ships without any worry and knowledge that we could ‘miss’ contact by a much smaller margin without stooging around for an hour or so to wait for them to pass.

                              Whilst AIS isn’t the be-all and end-all of collission avoidance it is a very useful addition to the yacht skippers arsenal of tools.


                                I guess plotters and AIS sit somewhat in the same bag as Sat Nav and reversing alarms in cars, we don’t need them to get safely from A to B but at times they can make life easier and less stressful.

                                As Ed said, we are out there for pleasure therefore if a plotter or AIS helps you enjoy it more then I for one don’t see anything wrong with that. Alternatively if you get your kicks from paper charts, pencil calculations and hand bearing compasses, then go for it.

                                If the question is: ‘do you need a plotter and/or AIS’ then I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer, it just boils down to personal preference.

                                If the question is ‘does my chart plotter make me a better sailor’ then the answer is ‘No, of course not’, but then I don’t think it makes me any less of one either.


                                  would seem the answer is academic you sail with what ever you are comfortable with chart plotter /charts, ais/ radar doesnt make you a better or worse sailor just more confident in knowing whats out there.on the east coast /thames area playing with big ships is a way of life.a chart plotter showing you the swatchways into the thames certainley helps your navigation ais can tell you if a ship is coming up or down the channel even if you cant see it.
                                  east coast sailor.

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