I've been doing some research on chartplotters and helm pods. Would appreciate views from others who are thinking about or have achieved the same.
I decided what I needed was:
- a chartplotter at the helm, no bigger than 5" (any bigger would get in the way on my Moody 33) with integrated AIS
- cartography which covers UK south coast and north and western France, with integrated tidal stream data
- chartplotter held in a reasonably secure and waterproof helm pod
I aim to fit radar in due course, but accept that with only a 5" screen will have to go for a separate system, with a bigger screen down below.
I would have thought that the combination above was a fairly common aspiration, but the options are fairly limited. By the time you price the chartplotter, add an AIS engine and antenna if you need to, the cost works out just shy of £900. Cartography-wise, the C-Map Mega wide coverage seems to trump the Bluechart and Navionics alternatives - bigger coverage, more data including tidal streams.
My conclusions are that a Digital Yacht SC500a (with integrated AIS), encased in a MSP6 marine pod, with C-Map Megawide chart and AIS antenna mounted on the pushpit would seem to meet the remit. The alternatives (eg Horizon CP180 with NASA AIS engine) appear to work but with more complication (separate AIS).
Links to the proposed solution are here:
Marine Chart (I've found it discounted to £129 when bought with the chart)
AIS Antenna railmount:
Best price I can find (inc VAT) is:
Antenna railmount £9
Grateful for views, or any upcoming sales which are known about! Also hope this research may prove useful to others.