Overflow from our readers’ postbag which we didn’t have room to publish in the June issue

Navionics planning kits

In the January issue of YM there was a feature reviewing various PC planning kits. But due to several inaccuracies in this, and what appears to be a misunderstanding of where our product sits in the market-place, we find ourselves continually having to defend and explain our products to potential purchasers who have read the article and been given a misleading impression. We have to point out the errors in the feature.

1) FOUR out of the SEVEN tested are generally bought by customers who already own charts for planning at home, i.e. NavigationPLANNER is generally bought by customers with Navionics charts, PC Planner by C-Map cartridge owners. So the price comparison should really reflect that fact.

2) It was mentioned that the author “could not get the software to run until after we rebooted” and mentioned that “if a reboot is necessary the installer should tell you”. A reboot is NOT normally required and if it is then the standard Microsoft Installer package performs the testing. We could not ascertain whether the tester tested this on more than one machine.

3) Key features and capabilities table. Of the TEN columns used FOUR were incorrectly shown for both Navigation Planner and NavPlanner.

a)    Upload waypoints – both are able to do this as mentioned in the text.

b)   Upload routes – both are able to do this as mentioned in the text.

c)    Download waypoints and routes – both are able to do this.

d)   Navigation Planner Tide streams – shown as gridded only but can also do diamond positions.

4) It was stated “NavPlanner was prone to crashes and NavigationPLANNER less so”. NavPlanner is a three year old product designed for Windows XP and has been replaced with NavigationPlanner for XP, Vista and Windows 7. It wasn’t mentioned that there is a very low cost upgrade from NavPlanner to NavigationPLANNER available as a download from the web site www.navigationplanner.com.

There have been no reported crashes logged for the product and any reports of problems receive immediate attention. We would be very interested to see the crash reports so we can establish the cause but your author was unable to supply any details. We know how annoying it is to have software crash and the developer has spent a lot of time on error checking in the software to make it as robust as possible.

5) We could not understand the comment that the product is “too choosey about compatibility with other plotters” since there is a pull down list in the product that states exactly which plotters are supported.

6) The web site URL is incorrect for NavigationPLANNER. It should be www.navigationplanner.com.

Note also, NavPlanner 2 has been dropped and will not be available in UK, Europe, Middle East, Far East, Australia etc. Navionics UK is distributing Navigation Planner as the replacement for the Navionics NavPlanner range of products and an upgrade for existing NavPlanner owners is available at www.navigationplanner.com.

It was unfortunate that we were not consulted or had the opportunity to review the

article before it went to print as we would have been able to suggest appropriate


Lance Godefroy, Navionics UK

Studland Bay

With reference to the letter from Neil Garrick Maidment in the April issue, there is indeed a need for better consideration of the “scientific” issues surrounding the Bay. However, as those of us who have tried to engage with the Seahorse Trust have discovered their concept of what is deemed “science” is very limited. It is of the variety that they know the answer, now lets look for some evidence to support this preconceived answer. This leads them to reject anything that does not accord with their view, which is classic behaviour of single issue campaigners.

According to their own studies, seahorses are commonly found in our waters and in locations such as marinas where there is no eel grass. The current review of the coastal environment reveals many locations where eel grass thrives (and possibly seehorses with it). What is unique about Studland is that both varieties of seahorses have been observed, but more importantly it is an easy location with an expanding expanse of eel grass – all easily accessible for divers and complete with car parking and a cafe for a post dive snack.So clearly an attractive site for seahorse observers.

While it is accepted that anchoring can cause local damage, there is no proven connection between this and the seahorse population. The local damage does not seem to affect the overall coverage as reliable eye witness reports suggests that the area of the beds has increased significantly over recent years.

This is of course a much more complex issue as anybody who has seen the research realises, and the Sea Horse Trust simplistic view does not help in furthering understanding. Their proposal for eco moorings may well be a solution – once there is a clear problem to solve. It is an expensive and restrictive solution and there are doubts about whether they will work in the exposed site.

It is easy to say more research is needed to understand the ecology of the site, but there are many that are of the view that there are so many variables that affect it – and the seahorses, that it is impossible to ever fully understand what is going on.

Neil’s last sentence is indeed correct and it is encouraging and there has been a noticeable change in attitude following changes in the people representing the SHT views, but being open minded is a two (or multi) way activity and one hopes that Neil will become more receptive to other peoples’ views in the future.

Stewart Dickinson