• 159. Top Tips Tuesday - If All Goes To Plan - Electronic Nautical Charts and Updates


    If all goes to plan (never seems to in the Storrar household) we load the Mystery onto a low loader and truck her down to Port St Louis near Marseille and then sail her round to Corfu in mid May. If it had all been plain sailing from the time we purchased the hull and deck, Hindsight would have been in the water completed by  the spring of 2015. We would have then taken our time and sailed her down the East Coast through the Channel, across the Bay of Biscay and into the Med, however it was not to be. Why? Difficulty selling our last boat, family ill health etc etc! However feeling slightly optimistic this weekend, not sure why cos Jenny’s wrist which she broke some two weeks ago is not looking good and on top of that her car still has not passed it's MOT test, not that she could drive it in her present state, I sat onboard and ‘played’ with my Raymarine plotter after inserting the Navionics Platinum+ electronic chart 33P+. Maybe my ‘sunny’ mood was due to the fact that there is a special offer on them at present and Andy (now my boss and me a part time worker) suggested delaying my purchase till last week! Platinum+ gives you all the bells and whistles:

     *   3 Dimensional Views  *   Satellite overlays  *   Dock to Dock Autorouting  *   Plus of course HD Sonar, freshest data and community edits.

    Until the end of May we have a special offer on Navionics Platinum+ XL3 charts now at only £219.95 (RRP £299.95)

    If you are not starting from afresh why not take advantage of the fact that Garmin have just released their Bluechart update for the 2017 season, likewise C-Map, so if you want to be bang up to date send it back post haste (make sure you send it signed for) and we will upgrade it by return! If you're currently using Navionics, update your electronic chart at a discounted price against a new one and benefit from free updates for the next 12 months. Simply order an update card and you can do the update yourself online.

  • 57. Top Tips Tuesday - Don’t navigate 'on a wing and a prayer’ with a page from an atlas!


    If you do, you may end up on the rocks like intrepid sailor Michal did the other day. But joking apart if you haven’t updated your electronic charts for the 2015 season, now is the time to do so. Garmin BluechartsNavionics and C-Map (latest update due out this week) can usually be turned around same day. If you are ‘moving on’ you can of course update to a different area and if changing to a new chartplotter you can update to a different format if required. Navionics are now also offering updates to their charts from selected C-Map or Garmin products so bear in mind your old electronic charts still have value.

    If you have purchased a Raymarine plotter with C-Map essentials, a recent innovation, you are entitled to a free C-Map MAX+ local chart or for a small fee an upgrade to MAX full 4D with 3D overlays and easy routing.

    Of course one must not rely entirely on electronics you should always carry corrected paper charts of the area you are likely to be boating in, Imray updates hereAdmiralty updates here

    For more on the story mentioned above - The Telegraph Reported:

    Sailor rescued by coastguard is found on yacht with nothing but a page torn from an atlas

    Michal Trejbal, 40, was attempting to sail to Plymouth but was rescued by coastguards after his 25ft yacht collided with rocks


    A sailor was rescued by coastguards when his 25ft yacht smashed into rocks - and he was found with nothing but a page torn from an atlas. Michal Trejbal, 40, was attempting to sail to Plymouth, Devon, but got into trouble when the keel of his yacht collided with rocks near Ventnor, Isle of Wight. A nearby fisherman raised the alarm and teams from Needles Coastguard and Ventnor Coastguard were called to the scene. It is not known where Mr Trejbal, who is a Czech national, set off from but it is thought he eventually wanted to travel to Turkey.  The boat had no safety equipment, Mr Trejbal was navigating with one page from an atlas and when he was rescued he thought he was 30 miles away - in Southampton. Last August a man was rescued five miles off the Dorset coast after attempting to sail to America in a £300 dinghy.

  • Garmin proprietary cards are being phased out

    GarminPropGarmin proprietary cards are being phased out and will be discontinued effectively 31 December 2014 or when inventory is depleted, whichever comes first.  Affected products include BlueChart® g2 and blank Garmin proprietary cards.  Details are listed below.  Please plan to make final purchases accordingly.

    Compatible Devices include:  GPSMAP® 192, 198, 276C, 278, 292, 298, 376C, 378, 392, 398, 478, 492, 496, 498, 2100 series, 2200 series, and 3000 series devices

    IMPORTANT NOTE:  BlueChart g2 microSD™/SD™ format cards are not affected and will still be available for purchase as usual.

  • Oops! Lucky for this customer...

    "Oops those ruddy rocks kept getting in the way, however now I have just purchased a Garmin combined plotter/fishfinder hopefully I can stay out of trouble,Thanks to guys at Marine Chandlery for getting the prop from my Mercury outboard repaired in double quick time, saved me almost 50% on the cost of a new spinner".

  • TRANSDUCERS -All you wanted to know but were afraid too ask...

    Transducers - Choose the right mounting style

  • Fresh Out Of The Box...



    This Quicksilver 640 pictured leaving our yard is bound for a well known North Eastern company, no prize for guessing which one! For navigation Andy spec’d her with a Garmin GPSMAP 551S, communication the Standard Horizon GX1100 fixed VHF, plus a HX280 handheld. As she was MCA coded, other onboard equipment  included an Ocean Safety SOLAS B liferaft, 2 x Ocean Safety horseshoe slings, first aid kit, etc. Oops almost forgot the important bit ‘grunt' comes from a Mercury 100hp four stroke outboard, backup power is a Mercury 8hp four stroke long shaft.

    I must confess having been involved in the building and fitting out of numerous boats of all shape and sizes over the past 40 years I am most impressed by the build quality of the Quicksilver range!

  • Bluechart update

    Garmin have announced the availability of new marine cartography coverage for Germany France and the Netherlands. The cards include detailed mapping of inland waterways for regions EU060R - Germany Inland Waters, EU061R - France Inland Waters and EU018R - the existing Netherlands region now extended to cover also the inland waters. The new maps cover all major rivers, channels, canals and lakes and are available in both g2 and g2 Vision format . Also available is a number of extended nautical chart content of LARGE and X Large coverage cards for numerous European regions. The new inland waterways content has been added as a result of a data collaboration with C-MAP by Jeppesen, in continuation of the lately announced agreement.

  • Notice To Mariners - Dredging at Blyth

    Dredging will commence on Saturday the 26th of January in the entrance to Blyth Harbour, to see  the notice Click Here . Incidentally if you are ever worried about your current sounder, or don't have one, we have at the moment some very competitive prices on Garmin, Raymarine, Lowrance, depth and Fishfinders (which also give you the depth) If its fog you're worried about we have just one left of a Raymarine Marine bundle consisting of an E90W 9" touch screen multi function display, a 4kW 18" RD418D digital radome, 10m radar cable and RS130 GPS antenna. This package is great value at £1999.95 which is half the RRP!

  • It's a Garmin Giveaway...


    It's always a nice surprise when prices come down but I was shocked when I saw the price reductions from Garmin last week. With up to 26% discount off a range of their most popular units I first thought they'd forgotten to add the VAT!!

    What's even more surprising is these units were already very competitively priced bearing in mind they come pre-loaded with the g2 chart for the UK & Ireland (RRP for the chart alone is £230) but at these new prices they are probably the best value chart plotters currently available.
    The GPSMAP 451 4" colour plotter is now under £290 or the GPSMAP 451S combined plotter sounder version now les than £325. If you prefer a larger 5" screen, the GPSMAP 551 is now under £375 or the GPSMAP 551S is reduced to below £400. For a higher resolution 5" screen check out the GPSMAP 556 now under £510 and the GPSMAP 556S for less than £560
    For the next level of functionality, the GPSMAP 750 features a brilliant 7" touchscreen display, again comes pre-loaded with the UK & Ireland g2 chart and can also display radar when connected to a compatible radome. This unit has now been reduced to under £715 and the same unit with the built in sounder module (GPSMAP 750S) is now below £800
    If you're not looking for a chart plotter, the biggest reductions have come in the fishfinders. The Echo 500C with its 5" QVGA display, 500W transmit power and dual frequency transducer included has been reduced by a staggering 26% and now costs under £230. Alternatively, the Echo 550C boasts one of the best and brightest screens available with its 5" video quality VGA screen and comes complete with dual frequency transducer. All this for under £300.
  • Fair is foul and foul is fair

    "Fair is foul and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air." Shakespeare wasn't a sailor, but a terrific wordsmith, even now these lines from Macbeth remind me of the time we set off through the sea-lock from Crinan Basin in 1968 heading north for Oban in the tidal swirl past Corryvrekan. Two hours after setting off the fog closed down visibility to about 200m. The only instrument we had onboard those days was an echo sounder; GPS was but a gleam in some young man's eye. There was no point in turning back, so we kept on, navigating by the 'Barking Dog' technique used back then. Keep on a depth countour; if you hear a dog bark, shout out "Where are you?" In fact, the reply was "Easdale" which was a bit further than we expected, but we manage to drop a hook in there and spend a comfortable night. Many years on, GPS came along and barking dogs were redundant! My first GPS was a handheld Garmin 12. It didn't have mapping capabilities so I sailed round the safe perimeter of the waters around my base to create one. Then the day came -  a thick fog with visibility about 50m and I set off through the narrows with the Garmin ready. After half an hour, though I knew exactly to the metre where I was, I simply bottled out and turned tail for home, my handheld GPS showing the way. Now if I had radar? Radar is a second degree of vision and a very useful thing aboard if you know how to read it.

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