Full-time sailors are an amazing source of knowledge in the maritime navigation community as they are able to test and identify best practices before anyone else. This is what Rebecca Childress and her husband Patrick have been doing for over 12 years now.
We were able to ask them a few questions about their use of our TZ iBoat App during one of their numerous stops around the world.
Can you tell us about your project?
“We are a full time, circumnavigating for 12+ years now, older couple, on our 1976 Valiant 40 BRICK HOUSE. We are currently cruising in Tanzania Africa, soon to be departing to South Africa. We will haul out there for a while for maintenance, and then continue on, possibly to Uruguay!”
Why did you choose TZ Navigator and TZ iBoat?
“We use TZ iBoat, along with Navionics Boating as one backup method for our primary navigation on our Raymarine chartplotter, in which we use preferably Navionics charts for, but also C-map charts for cross checking accuracy. We use Navionics Boating on the iPad to have a backup for the Navionics charts. But we wanted a good backup for C-map too, and TZ iBoat has C-map for their charts. So with these 2 products for our iPad, we perfectly mimicked the capabilities, almost, that we have with our primary navigation of the built-in chartplotter. Backups are essential on a boat because it’s not IF something goes wrong….it’s WHEN it will go wrong. We run our backups almost all of the time when we approach land and go into a harbor. They are not backups that sit in a closet somewhere until needed. This way, if something goes wrong, we have instant backup capabilities without missing a beat.”
What are your first impressions of our marine navigation software in comparison to the other programs that are available?
“I have looked at both TZ iBoat and TZ Navigator. TZ Navigator, because I am using it as a backup, is way more than I need…it has soooo much capability. TZ iBoat is a perfect companion to my array of backup capabilities…it too has a lot of capability without being cluttered and difficult to learn. I like it a lot.”
TZ Navigator is a complete marine navigation software for planning and sailing with supreme control and comfort. It combines all your navigation instruments with chart data in a very intuitive interface that is fully touch screen compatible. On top of this, thanks to TZ iBoat, it has never been easier to check your charts, weather information and navigation data; all of this in real time and on your iPad. While Rebecca uses her chartplotter as her primary navigation tool, the integration of the TIMEZERO solution is very complementary and has her covered no matter what.
Why is TIMEZERO software so important for you?
“I think it’s important to have a number of quality charts to compare each other to, especially when approaching a new area, as well as backups, standing by, waiting for failure. A boat is too big of an asset to put all of your eggs in one basket for. We don’t insure our boat, so this extra expense is a form of self insurance. But even if insured, who wants to hit something…for lack of quality charts that are accessible and dependable? We have found the 2 most reliable charting softwares and digital charting to be Navionics, and C-map, and with Navionics Boating and TZ iBoat, we can have both. TZ obviously sees this need and the quality of the 2 chart types, because they offer both chart options in their PC product.”
TZ Navigator, our PC software is capable of loading C-map, Navionics, NOAA and Raster (provided by local hydrographic offices) charts.
What is the most important feature for you?
“Most important for us is the use of C-map as the mapping option. We know they are dependable high quality charts. And we know with Nobeltec’s history and expertise, the software won’t crash or have flaws in it.”
Raster and Vector charts can be purchased on TZ iBoat. All the Vector charts are from C‑map and the Raster charts will be from the respective local hydrographic offices. To get the best out of your charts, TZ iBoat has an extremely advanced chart engine that allows you to smoothly and seamlessly zoom in and out of your charts without wasting any time.
Can you tell us about your last navigation with TIMEZERO or any anecdote you would like to share?
“Sorry, boring is good…it means everything is working, and not breaking…we haven’t had any excitement with this product to share…our primary navigation has never failed…nor have our backups!”
Any further information you would like to add?
“If one could bolt down their laptop, completely marinize it, hardwire it in, and put on an external GPS antenna high on an arch somewhere, it seems to me that TZ Navigator could almost be a primary navigation tool. However, one would need to restrain from using it for anything besides navigation, and never go on the internet with it…because we all know computers break. But if one was aware of the risk, was tech savvy, and had an excellent backup plan that works full on, it seems TZ Navigator would be worth a serious consideration as a chartplotter, on the right hardware setup. We plan to stick to a chartplotter though because I could not be disciplined enough to not have a laptop break on occasion.”
Rebecca makes a great point here, for sailors that are concerned about the reliability of a PC , it is a well-known best practice to have two computers on board; One solely for navigation purposes used for nothing else than running TZ Navigator and other one for everything else such as emails, social media, entertainment etc. Either way and as Rebecca mentions, it is always great to have a backup solution whether you use a chartlotter or a PC as your primary navigation tool.
For sailors that want the best of both worlds, our TZ Navigator software is compatible with Furuno NavNet Multi Function Display. The NavNet can synchronize with TZ Navigator on your PC, this means you could for example plan your route with the TZ Weather Routing module on your PC and then have it appear on your chartplotter.
For two free online courses on navigation, one of which is on Marine Electronics, be sure to check Rebecca’s post here.
Rebecca and Patrick also have a Youtube video on how they use their chartplotter, laptop, and IPad for Navigation, Communication, and getting weather. Watch it by clicking here.