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New to chartplotters?

Here's what you need to know to find the right chartplotter for your boat, by Mark Chisnell


When compared to a paper chart, a pair of dividers and dead reckoning, a chartplotter can seem like a minor miracle – particularly on a wet, windy night in close proximity to a lee shore. Accurate knowledge of the boat’s position can be a lifesaver and since the introduction of GPS, digital charts and chartplotters it’s something that many sailors have come to take for granted. 

To those new to the technology, the primary function of chart plotting really sells itself – who wouldn’t want to know exactly where they are in relation to the hazards all around them? The equipment is now capable of so much more than that though, particularly in the hands of a company like B&G with a decades long pedigree in sail boat racing. 

The data provided by a B&G chartplotter means something: the calculations derive from a race winning heritage that can benefit any sailor, no matter what they are doing or where they are going. B&G engineers have worked long and hard to provide the tools to make the numbers accurate, because the world's top sailors won’t accept anything else.

Coastal Cruising - Vulcan Chartplotter

There’s no doubt that these days accurate, clear and responsive charting feels essential in unfamiliar waters, even if we once managed without it! The Vulcan Chartplotter provides this and a lot more. The SailSteer panel uses a beautifully designed graphical interface to bring all the essential steering information to one simple screen. It also answers two of the most asked questions on any passage: how long till we tack? And how long till we get there?

Club Racing - Vulcan Chartplotter

The club racer can also benefit enormously from adding a Vulcan chartplotter to the boat. Apart from taking care of the essential navigational task of finding the next mark, the SailSteer panel will also help with the key tactical questions of layline times and distances.

 At first glance these are relatively straight-forward calculations, but for them to be accurate everything has to be right; from sensor calibration to wind angle corrections and polar tables. It’s B&Gs long-standing involvement at the elite level of yacht racing that ensures that all the required tools are available in the Vulcan’s software.

 This is technology that twenty years ago was exclusive to grand prix and America’s Cup navigators. Now– as befits the company that introduced on-deck computing to mainstream sailing with Deckman for Windows – B&G closes the loop with the Link app that brings all the data on-deck and to the weather rail by mirroring the display on your smartphone.

Bluewater Cruising - Zeus³ Chartplotter

The long-distance, blue water cruiser can really take advantage of the multi-station and integration capabilities of the Zeus³ Chartplotter – particularly if they are cruising short-handed. Zeus³ allows both viewing and control of all the key navigational elements like charting, radar and autopilot from different stations on-deck and down below.

 There’s also integration with B&G's ForwardScan technology, a forward-looking sonar that will provide crucial depth information ahead of the boat when venturing into unchartered waters – very useful for dodging sand banks, rocks or bommies.

 Another great feature of the Zeus³ is the integrated PredictWind facility for high resolution weather forecasting and route planning. This is the perfect tool for a yacht committing to a bluewater crossing, utilising the same digital weather technology employed by round the world race boats.

Performance Racing

The Zeus³ Chartplotter is also the ideal tool for the performance racer making all of B&Gs sailing software available at multiple stations on the boat, backed by fast processing technology and ultra-bright, wide angle displays.

 The SailSteer and RacePanel sailing software features all the tools needed by the Performance Racer, with layline distance and time calculations, a What If? app, and the WindPlot.

 Everything that’s required for smart tactical decision making is available wherever it’s needed, including the start line. Another innovation that began with B&G’s America’s Cup involvement is the starting display – now available on all B&G chartplotters to help with the key elements of a good start.

Superyachts - Zeus³ Glass Helm

The ZeusGlass Helm offers all the multi-station connectivity and integration of the Zeus3, and adds increased performance in processing power and speed, combined with a stunning all-glass, ultra-wide, HD touchscreen.

 It’s perfect as the beating heart of the fully-integrated navigation system aboard a big, blue-water cruising boat or superyacht. And of course – as with every other chartplotter in the B&G range – all the sailing software has B&G’s bona fide racing pedigree. So the numbers mean something, remember; the world's top sailors won’t put up with anything else. 

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