Wednesday, May 26, 2010

OpenCPN free Chart Plotting Software

Thanks to an alert friend, I have discovered a very nice piece of software that rivals my present chart plotting program. It's called OpenCPN and has these features:
* GPS/GPSD Postition Input

* BSB Raster Chart Display

* S57 Vector ENC Chart Display

* C-MAP Vector Chart Display (CM93/2)

* AIS Input Decoding

* Waypoint / Autopilot Navigation

* International Language Support

* Cross-platform support

* Grib Weather Overlay

It works on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. One of my favorite features is being able to see the direction and strength of local currents overlayed on the chart (orange arrows):

Thursday, May 20, 2010


My present thoughts on tenders are:

- tough enough to be beached on oyster shells (this would exclude skin-on-frame)
- light weight (this limits size, although a larger two-piece boat would solve that problem)
- row, tow, and sail well
- able to carry two people plus some cargo in safety.
- and most important, should be good looking!
My favorite build method is still 'stitch-and-glue'.

In the endless search for the 'perfect' dinghy, I'm now looking at two-part 'nesting' designs. This would provide for a larger boat with a smaller deck footprint, and the ability to be lifted onboard in two pieces ... ie. half the weight of a full dinghy.

When I did a Google search for "nesting dinghy" I was surprised at how many different ones came up. Some I found interesting are listed below:

Here's a nice fiberglass model, the NestingLite NN10.

and a  pram type: by BATEAU.

The Spindrift is a nice "pointy ended" model.
and a building log of same:

Another nice pram by Offshore Designs Ltd. , CHAMELEON.

The PASSAGEMAKER, by CLC is the same as my Eastport Pram, but a bigger boat. CLC's plans are very well engineered and easy to build. Of my 3 dinghies, my CLC Eastport Pram is my favorite one ... so far!

Another beautiful "pointy ender".

Here is a very basic pram, the Cats Paw, that comes in different sizes.

 NESTAWAY, makes several nice fiberglass models.

Here's a skin-on-frame nesting dinghy called STASHA, and although not as pretty as some, I like the concept. Imagine how light each half would be!
and a STASHA build log.

As usual, more research is needed. But I have all summer to ponder the subject, before buying a set of plans and laying in a pile of materials for a winter build. One thing about dinghies: they don't need much storage space!