Sunday, January 28, 2018


One of the most interesting things I saw this year at the Dusseldorf  boat show was a chart table. I am one of those that think that the big dedicated chart table is a thing of the past. They were needed and justifiable when for coastal navigation we had to have big charts and had to do a lot of graphic work just to know where we were. Offshore, after using a sextant,  a lot of calculations were need to be made and  tables consulted to determine position. All of that took not only time but needed a dedicated space.

Today a chart is used as a backup to the plotter, or laptop, where the navigation is done. The chart is used not only for confirmation but also because the small size of the plotter does not allow a global picture covering the space where we are to where we want to sail. A lot of zooms are needed and sometimes, somewhere along the route marked by the "go to",  reefs or sandbars can escape our eyes.

Also where a lot of islands or reefs exist, a small plotter can be difficult to work with, in what regards choosing the best courses around the obstacles. That's where the bigger chart is still very handy allowing to do that quickly.

And what if the plotter were as big as the chart? And if it did not serve only as a plotter but also as a screen for TV, movies, games and as a computer? That would be perfect and sometime in the future it will happen on small yachts. No, WRONG, it will not be in the future, there was on Dusseldorf a relatively small yacht equipped with not one but two of those systems, a sort of overkill LOL.

The Allures 45.9, a French voyage aluminum boat had mounted the first of these new  multi function chart tables designed for yachts, produced by another French manufacturer, Kara technologies, that makes multi touch screens with an incorporated computer for different types of users, now for sailors as well.

And chart tables is a way of saying it because on Allures not only the chart table is one of those screens but also the saloon table. This allows a new definition of spaces on the boat with the possibility of part of the saloon table or even all of it to have a new function, dispensing for good the conventional chart table. Off course a space has to be previewed for storing papel charts (as a backup).

I tried the chart table (well, much more than a chart table) and it is a pleasure to use. The only drawback, a big one, is the price that is relatively high (a plotter of that size is not much cheaper), about 12 500 euros for one of those babies including telescopic lift, tilting hinge and software. It is a very resistant system with an anti-scratch screen, prof shock (IK10), with a high resistance to water (IP 65) and a consumption of 12.5 Amps (42''). The consumption is not as bad as it looks since the system enters in sleep mode  consuming almost nothing when not in use while most plotters are draining energy all the time.

 A touch screen with a computer included of about the same size costs less than 6 time that price but will not be suitable for this use without a complete modification and a costly one. I hope  that the price of these wonders will come down, as it always happens with electronics, because this is certainly the way to go.

The movie is self explanatory regarding the multifunctionality of the "chart table":

1 comment:

  1. I modified the post to include relevant data provided by the manufacturer: consumption (12.5 Amps) and water resistance level (IP65).