Navionics on the Ipad is clear, easy to use and looks like it will be a very useful addition to our paper charts. Annoyingly it is not available as an app on a Mac. Even more annoying is that I'd have to purchase the charts all over again if I want to run it on my Android phone. I did a bit of digging around and found Opencpn -an open source chartplotter that works on Macs, Android phones but not on Ipads. This could be a perfect set up as I'd have two separate charts to draw comparisons from. The catch however is that the only charts I could find for the Med that run on Opencpn are dated 2011.
After a bit more research I discovered that with a little bit of wiring and a 9 pin rs-232 connector I can hook up the Mac to our Navicom RT-650 AIS enabled ships radio. While not able to transmit AIS data we can receive it, meaning we can keep an eye on nearby traffic and set up collision alerts. GPS data is fed to the Navicom from Bumblebee's Furuno 1650 plotter which is getting on a bit and hard to find charts for.
The cool thing about AIS is all the info available. In real time you can see any large ship's data including where it's come from, where it's going to, vessel details and MMSI, enabling a radio call directly to the bridge.
It looks like Opencpn on the Mac will be our main chartplotter while we are in open water. Navionics on the Ipad will be used alongside providing reliable up to date details. Opencpn on my Android phone will be a backup and paper charts will be used to double check everything.