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Jeff Mclaren of Newport Beach, CA asks:

You have said on numerous occasions how flawlessly your electronics have performed, this must be a testament to your favorite electronics contractor! I know you are carrying numerous electronic charting programs and types of charts. Which combination are you using primarily? Where has the cartography been good and bad? Also, are you placing long single waypoints to steer by autopilot or are you simply steering to your bearing and adjusting manually? (In Raymarine speak, are you using the TRACK feature to steer to a waypoint?)


Jim Leishman responds:

We have been incredibly happy with all our electronics and everything has been working perfectly. Amazingly, we're even happy with the SSB and have been using it daily. I have an aversion to the complexity of the SSB but Brian and Paul have all but mastered it. We've been collecting useful information on the daily nets we have discovered.

The Raymarine equipment is really excellent. The screens have perfect
brightness control and can be turned so low at night as to hardly affect our night vision. We have actually been very happy with the cartridges supplied by CMAP and are amazed at how much information there is on one chip. We've been using the tide information and even the facilities and service feature which gives details of fuel, water, boat yards etc..

We also have the Raytech software, which we have not used much as we don't have the electronic charts for worldwide use. CMAP sent us a program called ECS and worldwide charts for that program. On approach to a new port or in areas of reefs and islands we will have that system up on the computer and we refer to both the Raymarine system and the ECS system. Navigation has been the easiest aspect of this whole trip. In all honestly we have not opened up our supply of paper charts - feeling totally comfortable with the electronic presentation.

While underway we have set up waypoints on the Raymarine system and steered to them on an electronic bearing line. It's incomprehensible to me how the autopilot can keep us within 50 feet of that track. We always see 0.00 cross track error. Speaking of the Autopilot, Raymarine's got a winner here. Not the slightest glitch and we are approaching 3,000 hours of continuous service on that autopilot and all components.

The other noteworthy piece of gear we have come to depend on is the Iridum phone and its interface with the computer. We're sending and receiving 10 to 15 Emails daily and the system has worked great. We do have the Sailmail - tied to the SSB but I'm embarrassed to say, we just haven't fiddled with it.

Yeah Jeff - you guys get the highest marks in the electronics department.
Please give my thanks to Robert Kinney and everyone at Alcom Marine Electronics.


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