Out of the Fog

A simple, functional, and cost-effective GPS from Garmin will keep you on course, whether you can see it or not. "Gear Up" from the June 19th /eNewsletter/. "Gear Up" from the June 19th /SW eNewsletter/


Courtesy Garmin

The fog rolled in shortly after the start of the Round the Island Race in the New York Yacht Club's Annual regatta. Visibility got down to around 50 yards and my job became more navigator than tactician on the J/105 I was sailing. There were gains to be made as we reached toward the south end of the island and the skipper handed me his Garmin GPS Map 76 Cx. "Use this," he said. I hadn't used a handheld GPS in a few years but I was able to figure out this one right away. The controls for charts were intuitive and the charts themselves were easy to read on the color display. We knew where we were and the course to the next mark the whole race. It's easy to download charts from MapSource CD's onto the standard 128 MB microSD card from your computer. Once the card is loaded simply plug it into the GPS. In the dripping the fog we were glad the unit was waterproof. A pair of AA batteries lasted two days.The only scary moment that day came on the backside of the island as we ran north in light airs and voice came out of the fog, "Have you got this guy, Kenny?" The bow of the 90-foot Rambler appeared, hardening up after a jibe to cross our stern. Garmin GPS Map 76 Cx $400, www.garmin.com