We have three plotters onboard today where we are using mainly one and have two for backup. Would have been enough with one spare but last summer there was a sale on B&G here in Sweden where you got a 7″ plotter with included C-map charts for the Baltic’s for free. We also had Navionics Android app on a tablet and on the phone, but the version i had “Boating Europe” was discontinued and replaced with a new one and the yearly price went up from 25 Eur to 45 Eur, so i decided to let go of that for now. But i do miss to have something portable navigation tool, think i have to fire up the old Garmin Nuvi 500 for that.
We also use Garmin Homeport for route planning, easier to do that on the laptop with a bigger screen.
The Garmin 721 is a 7″ plotter that now has been replaced with the 722 (742 in US) model now. I like Garmin’s plotter’s, this is probably the fifth one i have. It has a really bright screen that is quick to zoom in and out with. It has NMEA 2000 connectiviy (which is a realy important feature), that means that i can show any data that is flowing around in the network on the plotter.
I have squares in the corners to show speed, depth, wind and engine temp (there are many options to show information). One thing that is not so good is that it lacks wifi connectivity, you can connect your phone but that is only to mirror the plotter on the phone through an app. There is of course the usual stuff with creating waypoints and routes, i am not really using that features. One could think that a 7″ screen is small nowadays but we have the plotter right in front of the wheel and there are not that much space around it. Dont think that i would be happier if i had a 9″ or 12″ plotter, that screens is to small for “big” navigation any way (im using Garmin homeport to take out coures with on the laptop, Garmin homeport is free). One thing i found out the other day is that when i updated the firmware on the plotter (you download a package from Garmin and put it on an SD card and boot the plotter), the package contained an update for the other Garmin devices that i have (displays and the blackbox for the wind meter). Garmin is using their own charts “Bluechart”, nothing to complain about that, but they are not cheap. When i bought the 721 it costed about 854 Eur.
Verdict: 9 out of 10
B&G Vulcan 7f
Have not yet taken the Vulcan 7 into use, i did get it really cheap 505 Eur including c-map charts for the whole Baltic’s. It has NMEA 2000 features, fairly good screen. Takes a while to boot it but it has a really good feature and that is you can connect to Internet with it through any availeable wifi. I will test it more thorughly this summer.
Verdict (so far) 7 out of 10
The DV42 (44cv in the US) is a really cheap plotter with a 4″ screen that im using as a backup. costed about 241 Eur.
Verdict: 6 out of 10