Living in HCM city

Our first week in HCM (Ho Chi Minh) City has come to an end. The departure and the flight went well, Schiphol Airport was not chaotic for a change. To reclaim VAT, Customs in departure hal stamped 2 large invoices without any objections.
And Emirates is an efficient airline. Baggage immediately labeled to HCM, you only have to walk km in Dubai from one side of the terminal to the other end. We flew a B777 and an A380, lots of legroom. That makes me happy.

A lot of luggage
A lot of Luggage

The queue for immigration in HCM City was long. 2, 3 classes of American teenagers were called to order. They had to line up behind each other and shut up. They were indeed joking around and tired of waiting. In Vietnam, a green uniform with epaulettes and stars on it, means that you have to listen with respect and do what they say.

All of our luggage was there, undamaged. We walked to “Declare Goods” with an English / Vietnamese letter with an explanation etc.
Customs kindly helped to put the items on the scanner belt and without any action we passed. Taxi, hotel, sleep.

We used the first week for a combination of sleeping in, factory visit and shopping. From crockery to cushions, to pots and pans. A bit of walking around, eating out, etc. Life is relatively cheap, if you eat locally and you don’t drink cocktails or wine, you will pay € 20 per diner. Prices can range, a pair of Skechers costs € 60, a pair of Bitis €12. I think they are made in the same factory.
We have a cold from the air conditioning, they are turned on everywhere. Outside it is 32 degrees. According to an old Surinamese custom, you don’t walk directly in the sun and in the afternoon you just have to rest instead of … In Vietnam, also on the northern hemisphere, it is ‘winter’. On a cloudy, windy day you see people with an extra hoodie for the cold (25 degrees)


We have been to the factory and had a conversation with the owner of Seawind. He is very interested in our adventure and the North Pacific crossing. And he has pledged to help find solutions if we experience further delays.
There is a delay on SV Kiskadee, as we learned from our second conversation, with the Line Manager and Customer Services,.
We discussed the daily schedule and concrete dates. But also seen that ~ 10 parts are still missing, 9 of which are due to arrive on the 28 of February and one part of the watermaker even a week later.

There is no slack in terms of planning for favorable sailing weather and my wish to visit Gabriella’s graduation ceremony.
Our two crew members also have to rescheduled their journey. We are now waiting for 28 February for a conformation of the planning, before we start re-planning again.

Weather and Current Pilot Chart for the month May
Weather and Current Pilot Chart for the month May

Our next serious date with the factory is the 20 and 21th of March to do an technical inspection of SV Kiskadee. On 24 of March they launch & rigging started. And from the 27 of March we start sailing from HCM to Nha Trang, a 270 NM journey together with the factory people. Formal delivery in Nha Trang around the 2 of April and then departure, provided the weather forecast is good.

In the week of March 2 – March 8 we will go up the Mekong river and via via to Phnom Penh and then Angkor Wat, both in Cambodia. A real holiday trip and the easiest way to activate a new eVisa for Vietnam.

Leuk en Verdrietig

De datum van 6 februari 2023 nadert snel, we vertrekken naar Vietnam om onze sv Kiskadee op te halen. Daarmee ervaren we een gezonde spanning, leuk en verdrietig. Ten slotte werken we al 5 jaar naar dit punt toe.

De beslissing om een Seawind te kopen, 2 maanden voor de algemene lockdown voor Covid. En dan de aanbetaling en het wachten tot de bouw gaat starten. Gevolgd door vertragingen met gedoe in de supply chain van 1/2 januari naar eind februari, misschien wel midden maart.

Zeilen, zeilen, zeilen om meer ervaring op te doen. En het behalen van diploma’s voor ongeveer alles. Van vaarbewijs tot aan ehbo. Lezen, lezen, lezen, leuke verhalen, technische verhalen, reviews over producten. Ach lezen is leuk.

Lijstjes, de lijstjes. Wat te doen en wat mee te nemen en wat vooral ook niet. Onze eerste neiging is alles te kopen, ook dingen die niet direct of zelfs indirect nodig zijn. Lijstjes zijn soms boodschappenlijstjes en spulletjes kopen is leuk, we zullen beslist extra luchtvracht kilos nodig hebben als we naar Ho Chi Minh City afreizen.

De eerste verkenningen om ons huis te verkopen, van een mooie taxatie tot aan de verkoop, net voor het ineenstorten van de huizenmarkt. Het opzeggen van mijn baan, het vervroegen van het pensioen van Therese. Dat zijn grote stappen met gemixte emoties. Als je op de bank zit en het nog eens overdenkt, dan pas zie je alle kanten en moet je echt afscheid nemen. Inclusief wat ontkenning, rouw en berusting.

Algemene trend in dit alles is dat je al die activiteiten ongeveer 3 keer doet. Het idee, de uitwerking met alles er op en aan en het weer downsizen naar een handelbaar volume. De boordapotheek als voorbeeld met dank aan de huisarts en onze lokale apotheek. Maar een hecht setje moet je dan weer zelf bij de medische groothandel kopen. Grrrr.

Een aparte paragraaf voor de bureaucratie. Het uitzoeken of je ingezetene blijft of uitschrijft, Wat, ja dat is een complex verhaal, zie Briefadres, INGEZETENE of uitschrijven. Je hebt een zeiljacht en wilt het registreren, ook nodig voor je MMSI, je verzekeringen, inklaren, je veiligheidsmiddelen etc. Veel dingen die niet mogen of kunnen. Dus, je merkt dat geautomatiseerde systemen geen rekening houden tot het helemaal niet aankunnen dat je een uitzondering bent. En dan is een schip in Nederland registreren terwijl het ver weg gebouwd wordt, praktisch onmogelijk. De frustratie loopt dan op en dat helpt niet. Vriendelijk blijven, vragen blijven naar wat wel kan, het liefst in persoon afstemmen. En er is altijd wel een andere oplossing. Omdenken, omdenken, omdenken!

En dan is er het afscheid nemen van familie, vrienden, je sociale leven, werk. Met meer emoties dan we dachten, het valt niet mee. Ondanks dat we tegen onszelf zeggen: kom, kom we gaan lang op vakantie, het is niet emigreren. (Misschien is zeilen over de wereld nog wel minder vast) We hebben gewoon moeite met afscheid nemen. En dan zijn wij nog redelijk internationaal georiënteerd en gaan echt weg voor iets leuks en bijzonders. Daarom alles samengevat

We vertrekken, met vreugde en verdriet !

Our selection of options

We do receive questions about what options we selected and why when ordering our Seawind 1260.

Arch and davits are part of the Solar update
Arch and davits are part of the Solar update

Our goal is to live aboard and have a circumnavigation for 5-7 years. A lot of destinations are remote and rural, low on resources. We are fairly well DIY. 

So in search of a suitable catamaran, we are very happy with Seawind. The quality of build, used brands, options and new equipment from the previous generation. I can perform maintenance on a Yanmar 3YM30AE, a non common rail, non fully electronic regulated, non turbo, diesel. I also opted for the Suzuki 2 stroke outboard instead of the Honda with a full electronic ignition.

Oké options, is our list. And we finally added the Westabo diesel heater as well. The option package is balanced and not that expensive because of all installations, factory guaranty etc. The basis is to produce water and electricity ourselves, be able to navigate in any circumstance and have adequate safety options. 

Yes to options

  • So, yes we opted for radar. Upgrade to Zeus3s and of course the auto pilot
  • So we were thrilled Seawind started supplying Vesper Cortex instead of B&G VHF.
  • Yes for Iridium and Predict Wind integrated into B&G navigation station. Because of our route we opted for the iridium package otherwise we would go for Starlink. (aug. 2022)
  • A maximum upgrade of Solar, Lithium and inverters. Included a Galvanic isolator. The aft arch is part of the solar update. Arch and Davits are essential for us.
  • We upgraded to Spectra after reading of Rainman issues and added a Galley Charcoal Filter as our primary source of drinking water.
  • Upgrade the sails, mast steps and MPS Deck Fitting Kit (for Parasailor, bought separately). Third reef.
  • Anchor options, on which I am not completely satisfied. I am a bit old fashioned so tie raps and no chain counter.
  • Fans, screens and blinds, extra cupboard, extra outlet sockets. Heating for comfort and partly for dehumidifying.
  • Built in washing machine.
  • We added an Ikea single induction plate, 1200 watt. Redundancy and a different energy source to our gas stove.
  • Oven, BBQ and electric toilets are a bit more luxurious.
  • Yes to a 340 Highfield, 15 HP outboard, Life raft etc.

No to options

After doing a current balance sheet there is no room for an airco without replacing the two rear 250 watt solar panels with high capacity 430 watts panels, extra converter, adding a third lithium battery etc. etc. Or a generator, the most failed and noisy appliance in the sailing community. So no airco. Fans, mosquito screens and windows that open. 

We will go easy on household appliances, if you are not careful you will bring a coffeemaker, tea kettle, bread maker, microwave, yoghurt machine, a dozen chargers, electric toothbrush, laptops, tablets, tv etc. Part of our journey is a simpler life, all that stuff weighs another 100 kg and there are alternatives. Mostly do it the old fashion way, bread in the oven or pan, hot water and a coffee filter.

And it comes to…

The big question on options is what are your sailing plans?  Can options be swapped later on? And talk to Seawind, putting in plumbing and wiring in the build stage, even if you don’t buy the option straight ahead. For example air ducts for heating. And of course everything is budget driven…

Biggest Mistakes (April 2023)

  • Iridium Go package, the PredictWind app integrated into B&G is a 4 year old version, not updated ever since. Your Iridium Go is to download weather onto your phone, tablet, PC via the Offshore app. Calling, Mailing, Texting are the only other functions available if you are able to get a separate app on your Android or iPhone working. Multiple disconnects etc. In this way also a very limited safety device. Currently I would buy a Starlink Global Roaming (april 2023) and an inReach device for safety (in addition to EPIRB and PLB3)
  • I would, in second tough, also add the bow sprit and the deck hardware for a screecher as well as the screecher itself.
  • Talk to the factory to extend the support of the solar arch sideway to accommodate a dish.

What is a Galvanic Isolator?

It’s all about shore power and underwater metal corrosion, for example your sail drive on our Seawind. I struggled with the concept. Why buy a galvanic isolator? A post from Charles Fort was helpful.

When SV Kiskadee is plugged into shore power, it is electrically connected to everyone in the marina via the green wire, the grounding conductor. All boats are part of one galvanic cell.

Galvanic Corrosion

The weakest metals, like your aluminium sail drive and anodes will corrode because there is always current in a galvanic cell. The weakest metals with the most surface will function as a ground connection to earth, for the whole dock.

It’s one electric circuit. So your anodes are also contributing to the corrosion protection for all the other yachts plugged in. Your fresh, unpainted anodes will be sacrificed for all your neighbors.

Galvanic Isolator

To solve this problem there is the galvanic isolator. Its successor is an isolation transformer, more expensive, more weight, electronically monitored, but functional the same. When connected to shore power on a regular basis, you need a galvanic isolator installed in your shore power system.

Look for a marine rating when buying a galvanic isolator. The isolators must be rated for system amperage. If you have a yacht with an older isolator installed, or if you experience at any time a high power surge from shore or lighting or … test your galvanic isolator. Here is a simple instruction with a multi meter.

Corrosion types

Worn anodes are still the primary cause of corrosion on engine, hull, sail drive, propeller and rudder. If anodes seem to be suddenly wasting away, you may be a victim of galvanic corrosion. Shore power and no protected of a galvanic isolator is probably the second common cause of corrosion. Local rusty spots special on stainless steel components are either surface contamination or a leaky, shafted 12v AC wire to a sidelight etc. Also easy tested with a multi meter. Metal corrosion is sometimes hidden or out of sight. Can be prevented with painted coatings, PVC busses, isolating kit or using the same metal.

Metal Corrosion

Chain & Anchors

Actually this story is more about the chain than anchors. And all obervations are infuenced by the weight of your yacht, deep or swallow anchoring, multi hull and a few other parameters.

Take our SW1260, supplied for a circumnavigation, she weighs, all in, about 26.500 lbs or 12.000 kg and is in most tables a 42´ heavy. Calculations and reference tables are done with 30 knots, 7 bft, wind.

LightMediumHeavyChainWeight /m
46’–50′41’–45′37’–40′5/16″ or 8mm
1,4 kg
51’–60′46’–54′41’–48′3/8″ PC/BBB ~
10 mm grade30
or 5/16″ G4
~ 8mm grade43
2,1 kg
1,4 kg
Diameter of chain based on the 1/16¨ per 10´ or 9´ or 8´ length rule
( Light, Medium, Heavy)

Maxwell HRC8 Windlasses

The standard windlass is a Maxwell HRC8 which is able to handle 5/16″ BB, 5/16″ ISO G4, 8mm DIN 766, 8mm ISO 4565. For 10mm, 3/8¨ chain a H10-model is necessary.

Chain Length and Grade

Oké let’s start with the basics, old fashion is a 7 to 1 ratio on chain length to depth. With modern anchors, it’s 3 to 1 for calm and or swallow anchoring up to 5 to 1 for a rougher, deeper anchoring, is oké. So the upgrade from Seawind to 80 mtr is on a lower limit. I prefer 100 meters of chain.

RVS chain
Example of a chain, 8 mm RVS (318) grade 60, beautiful, strong and expensive

I think that the standard chain Seawind offers is Grade L aka PC/BBB/grade30 and again on the lower limit. In my opinion grade43 should be the standard and I prefer grade70. See the table for strength and weight and prices. (In Holland, prices in Q1 2022)

grade (8 mm)WLL in kgBLL in kggewicht kg/m€/m (ex VAT)
308203250 1,48,47
4312004400 1,47,77 – 9,83
70320070001,49,87 – 20,50
(RVS 316)
300062001,437 – 40
30 (10 mm)127551002,311,61
WLL = Working Load Limit, BLL = Breaking Load Limit

So my strategy is upgrading to the Seawind option of 80 mtr standard chain. It will last a year. Afterwards I would order 100 mtr (DIN 766, Ø 8 x 24 mm) chain grade 70 or 43. Far stronger and enough length for my sailing area, the Pacific. Buying a 8 mm higher grade chain is always less expensive than upgrading to a HCR10 Maxwell and 10 mm chain, grade 43.


Modern plow or scoop anchors (Excel, Delta, Spade, Mantus, Manson perform well compared to an older plow like CQR or a claw anchor like a Bruce or a Danforth anchor like a Fortress.

I would strongly advise to upgrade from the standard 45 lb CQR anchor to a 48 lb Sarca Excel No 5 galvanised anchor. The Excel anchor is well known for its good initial setting on a relatively short chain and its holding power. The big question is what is the right size anchor, I find this article on the UK site of Jim Green helpful.

LOA (mtr)10-1212-1515-17
Weight (ton)3,5-77-1515-21
Sarca weight (kg/lb)16/3522/4830/66
Sarca type456
Sarca Excel Supplier Recommendations

I am comfortable with the Sarca Excel #5 and find it a balanced solution with a Maxwell HCR8 windlass and a 8 mm chain, grade 43.

We opted for the secondary anchor, a nice 35 lb Delta to be used as stern, tandem or temporary anchor.

Other important stuff

Buy an anchor swivel, always a pleasure to position the anchor on the bow roller. Most swivels attach directly to the anchor, using a bit of blue lock-tide. On 8 mm chain you use a 10 mm swivel. Almost all modern swivels like Mantus, Ultra, Lewmar are stainless steel and corrode your anchor and chain. Swivels are expensive. Rex Francis, designer of the Sarca Excel is not a fan of swivels because of lesser resetting of the anchor and lateral forces breaks swivels. Something to think about.

Buy the Anchor Bridle, it´s not an option. To release the tension of the chain from the windlass, you need an anchor bridle. I prefer nylon double braided because of its quality to stretch and flex.

Length indicators, 1 white tie wrap = 10 mtr of chain, 2 tie wraps etc. Or buy any fancy indicator.

Have a 8 and a 10 mm high quality Bow shackle with you. Always handy when something brakes. I also like a Kong Stainless Steel Universal Chain Lock

And I always carry a spare chain hook. A RVS hook will get bent and forged one breaks.

Shopping in Vietnam

We did an early visit to Vietnam. Let ´s get familiar with shopping. What to buy here and what to bring with us as luggage.

Lessons learned so far

  1. Shopping in Vietnam is oké. A lot of shops, supermarkets, stores etc. From food to crockery, cutlery, pots and pans, from trousers and shirts to underwear and socks, from storage tins to flour, pasta, rice, canned food. All is available and reasonable priced.
  2. Shoe sizes for men up to EU 43 ~ US men 10
  3. No customer marine shops, so for sailing gear and wear, from a windbreaker to a life jacket, bring it with you.
  4. We were advised to bring your own bed linen, duvets and towels because the stuff sold in Vietnam is partly polyester. Although in the Japanese store Kohnan they had micro fill, down and bamboo filling duvets and pillows and 100% cotton towels.
  5. Importing stuff to Vietnam aka sending a shipment is expensive, 10% VAT and ~ 20% import tax. The way around is to let Corsair Marine import your stuff. They are allowed to buy ´in transit´, all equipment must be new, billed to Corsair Marine and there is an administration fee.
  6. The current is 240 volt, European plugs, so is our home and our Seawind.

We are still looking for a few items

  • Coffee maker / machine, like our current Inventum KZ718D, the alternative is a thermos and coffee filter and a electric watercooker
  • We are still searching for poly carbonate or acrylic glasses and coffee cups. There were not available in the Lotte Mart. But can be ordered online.

Lotte Mart

Lotte Mart is a big supermarket. Nearby in district 7, but in district 11 near the airport even a hypermarket on the second floor. For questions, just post and we shall try to answer them.

Taking on water

I read an advertorial on on pump capacity and because Google is smart it serves my an article on a sailing crew fighting to keep up with the incoming amount of water after a collision with a whale or container or refrigerator. Which made me added 2 essential parts on my safety list on preparing our Seawind 1260 for an circumnavigation.

Bilge pump real capacity

Interesting article with one picture saying it all. In a normal situation you will lose ~50-70% of the advertised capacity of a bilge pump. 70% of 2.000 litre per hour ( ~510 gph) is a 10 ltr bucket per minute. Alternatives are water intake of your engine, 70-100 litres per minute and the manual bilge pump at a max of 50 litres per minute.

It will handle a leak on your water system, rain, sea or bow water in heavy conditions. But it is a false feeling of safety to think it will keep you afloat.

Real capacity versus advertised

Industrial Sewage Pump

Part of the problem is the use of 12 volt DC. You need a lot of ampere to obtain a higher wattage. So switching to 230 volt AC is a first step. Second step is you need a more industrial design to pump a higher volume. So after looking around I opted for a sewage pump of Vevor, heavy duty, big hose etc. You need electricity, at least one engine running and your converter higher up, not in the engine room.

Vevor 200 litre per minute 230 volt, 500 watt pump
Vevor 200 litre per minute 230 volt, 500 watt pump

Anti-leak agent

Everybody odd to have conic wooden plugs for an broken valve or hull transit. But for a real crash or a rip that is useless. A lot of stories and experiments on other solutions. Remarkable good is stuffing a pillow into the crash hole securing it with wooden beams etc. In a closed bow compartment stuffing in fenders, classic cork life jackets etc to suppress the water and obtain bouncy, also works. For larger cracks a sail outside the hull, but it is difficult to deploy and to keep it in the right place. And of course there is fiberglass and epoxy.

Composite Patch from aplTec
Composite Patch

A Spanish company, aplTec, took that idea to the next level and developed a product called Composite Patch, a easy to deploy fiberglass sticker to repair survives, even underwater. It´s around now for a decade and seems to work quit well. The shelf life is 18 months.

SAS.Planet explained

Ok, I looked into SAS.Planet as a standalone tool for offline satellite images as an aid to navigate sparsely populated areas with errors in mainstream navigation charts. What is SAS.Planet, is it legal because it contains a lot of chart content, is it safe to use because its a Russian product, is it tracking me via back doors or extra code?

How does it technically works?

SAS.Planet is a program designed for viewing and downloading high-resolution satellite imagery and conventional maps submitted by internet services as Google Maps, DigitalGlobe, OpenStreetMap, Bings Maps (Bird’s Eye), ESRI and Navionics. But in contrast to these services all downloaded images will remain on your computer and you will be able to view them, even without connecting to the internet.”

After selecting a satellite source SAS.Planet fetches from the internet the view and stores it locally as a gis file. Even a detailed sonar map of Navionics is a call the chart server. SAS.Planet emulates too be an app using an application programmable interface.

Storing it locally as a gis file, called Cache, is nothing strange. And the parameter Internet & Cache is anything a disconnected sailor wants.


Yes, its maintained by a group of Russians, the primary language of the website is Russian and also the default language of the Program. But with Google translate on the site and English as the language in the app, its a useful tool.

The program is written in (Borland) Delphi a slightly older but common programmers language. I checked all internet/server requests while using it and in my opinion, version 201212, is doing exactly what its made for, fetching maps from general internet sources. For example:{x}&y={y}&z={z}&s=Galileo&scale=1&hl=en

SAS.Planet is 100% file based, the executable, ini-files, preferences and maps are all in a directory. So it didn’t need to write to the Windows registry. It works well on a W10 operating system.

SAS.Planet, a powerful tool for offline satellite images

Using it

In general there are to ways of using is, as a stand-alone tool to study an area or an approach. If you buy a stand-alone USB GPS receiver SAS.Planet will turn into a navigation aid.

A second way is to study an area or approach, save the images and export them in an mbtiles or other format, as explained in this youtube video.

There is a ton of functionality, most not needed for a sailor wanted only to use satellite images. I made a custom version with only satellite maps activated. <link>

march 2022

Commissioning in Vietnam

Commissioning in Vietnam, with a Seawind 1260 as a new yacht, is a bit complex. Getting familiar, repairing little mishaps on commission and departing the country in 3 to 5 days after accepting ownership, is tight.

We will try to charter an Seawind 1260 in the med or US to get familiar with the yacht and the B&G equipment. We are both experienced sailors and will do as much preparation as possible. Test driving our Seawind for 1 or 2 days, the basic on commission, is short. So we will prepare for detecting small failures while making a maiden voyage of 900 NM. We will talk to the support office of Seawind what is possible to extend the commission or other solutions.

Route and Crew

The maiden voyage is to the south of Taiwan. A backup plan, sailing to the Philippines, is necessary. We will avoid China, to much of a visa hassle. A second thought is the accompanying of 1 or 2 crew members. Which will make this first trip more comfortable. Lets see if a local delivery crew is available, again with the help of the support office of Seawind. (Skills, payment, Passport, Visa, Return flight) An alternative is asking around in our circle of friends, or even within the Seawind community.

Global route form Vietnam to Taiwan, staying on the Philippine site
Commissioning in Vietnam, sailing toward the America’s, first stop South Taiwan

Spare Parts & Tools

Oke, I have a list of tools put together by comparing other lists with two thoughts in mind. First downsize aka limit the total amount of weight. Second ship it to Vietnam of buy it locally?

Spare parts is a second list to work on. A big yes to service kits and lubricants. A maybe to some service kits. And an “I don’t know” to complete spare units. I hope the Seawind factory can provide me with some advice and getting this these items in Vietnam.


Well from crockery to bed linen, fresh food to cans and beans, yet a few more items to consider what to bring to Vietnam or buy locally.

C-Map vs Navionics charts

My new B&G Zeus3 accepts both C-Map and Navionics charts, which one to choose? The top of the line, C-map Max-N+ (now REVEAL) or Navionics Platinum+, offers a lot of features of little interest to me. Pseudo 3D, relief images of the bottom, too colorful. (march 2022: C-Map renamed its product Max-N+ –> REVEAL

There is also a price argument. Navionics is more expensive, there is a price increase of 50% between Navionics+ and Platinum+ and a smaller covered area. For Navionics+ the coverage of “large” is UK + Ireland + Netherlands (€ 243 in 2020). You need 2 Platinum+ cards (UK + Ireland and NL for 2 * € 365), which is an increase of 300%. The subscription costs 50% of the purchase price annually.

C-Map is more affordable, the largest covered area is called Continental Charts or Extra Large. For example Northern Europe for € 233 and the Pacific side from Panama to Canada € 179. There product is renamed form Max-N to DISCOVER. The subscription costs 50% of the purchase price annually.

C-map is therefore the winner of this competition, but you have to look at your sailing area. For us: Vietnam to Japan, the crossing to Canada, hoping to Panama, Micronesia towards NZ and Australia, an unusual route that crosses both densely populated and sparsely populated areas.

Navionics+ Pacific Charts
Navionics+ Pacific Charts
C-Map Pacific Charts
C-Map Continental Pacific Charts

And then it is clear that island hopping from the very south of Japan to Central Japan is not covers by a C-map Continental chart. Look for the Wide (Costal) equivalent or if absent buy a Navionics map. The same goes for Micronesia towards NZ.


Navionics and C-map provides maps for South Pacific toward NZ, but it is well known that they are not very accurate. Looking for alternatives there is one valid option, Satellite Charts or Overlays. If you are the owner of a Navico plotter, like B&G, then you can integrate them on your device, otherwise you an alternative like OpenCPN or Ovital or .., I still look to sailors forums for input on converted maps of that area. So there are a few ground rules for navigating ‘uncharted’ waters.

  • Always search for information before creating a route;
  • Zoom in or activate the correct number of detail layers on your chart plotter;
  • If possible, activate an alarm depth of ~ 5 to 10 meters, quickly respond with an opposite heading when sounding;
  • Put way-points 5 NM away from your destination, obstacle, reef barrier;
  • Never approach at night, go slow (I broke this rule a few times);
  • Use satellite imagery to aid in your navigation at that particular entrance.

OpenCPN with satellite images

New features on the top version of C-Map and Navionics are Aerial Photos. But not available in C-map Max-N + Continental charts and for Navionics Platinum + only in relation to SonarCharts, the community database. Guess what, you have to be online and the coverage of sparsely populated or economically uninteresting areas is low.

So satellite overlays is it. Satellite overlays can be done in a number of ways. It all started with:

  • Paul Higgins who wrote GE2KAP (Google Earth to KAP, Chart Image Files) started the Satellite Overlays movement. Known, works with old version of GE, Windows oriented, see . Currently known as SAT2Chart.
  • SAS.Planet, a Windows standalone program to download images from different providers, also see my article on how to integrate SAS.Planet images on the B&G Zeus3.
  • Venture Farther, is a plug-in on top of OpenCPN, works with a database in which images are stored. A great feature from the same programmers is a tool for uploading your NMEA depth data from your course as a favor to other users. For more information Vfkaps Charts on OpenCPN or their own website at

I will do some research on SAS.Planet, especially using its offline. To be continued …

Edited, march 2022

Preparations and circumnavigation of a Seawind 1260