Which of the popular chart plotting apps would you choose and why? Elaine Bunting and I discuss our findings during our test

Once you’ve tried one it’s easy to see why iPads and other tablet computers are changing the way we work and play. Use one afloat with one of the better navigation apps and you may well start to wonder whether your dedicated chart plotter is necessary any more. You may also question why your built in plotter system and charts cost so much when you can apparently do the same thing with a tablet device and a quick download.

But beware. While the tablet revolution is a genuine breakthrough and provides some simple and effective ways to find your way around, there are plenty of potential stumbling blocks. There’s a big variation in the software packages both in cost and ease of use. Some are superb value for money and easy to use, while others will leave you gnashing your teeth.

The May issue of YW carries our extensive test report on some of the top iPad chart plotting apps.

In this video we discuss some of our findings and take a look at some of the key features that you might want to look for when choosing a chart plotting app.

In the May issue of the magazine, on sale 11 April, we take a close look at eight of the most popular chart plotters taking them afloat to try them out for real.

To do this we used a pair of 3G iPad2s and used the internal position fixing system.

Our test was conducted aboard a Nordship 430 during sailing trials based in Poole. This picturesque harbour and the channel approaches outside provided plenty of targets, twisting routes and a variety of tidal flows to see how the various systems coped.

Instead of simply focusing on a detailed comparison of the various functions, our test sought to establish how easy and practical the systems were when they were placed in the real world, on board, at sea and under way.

Check out the May issue of YW to find out how we got on.

May issue on sale 11 April