Would you buy a relatively un-known chart plotter from China for your boat? Well, we did. Last Friday DHL delivered our brand new 8 inch ONWA chart plotter directly from Hong Kong.
What made us do so? We did not want to rely on our PC navigation down at the chart table alone and thought we might want to have a little chart plotter up in the cockpit. This year I was researching, asking people, went to shops and almost decided on buying a small Garmin or Advansea plotter, just to have something. Additionally I was planning on buying an AIS transceiver to hook up with our laptop as well. I just couldn't do it, because I found all of the devices too expensive compared to what value they would add to our navigation. Come on, why do I want to pay USD 400+ for an AIS transceiver and USD 500+ for a small 4 or 5 inch chart plotter or USD 1,500+ for a 8 inch plotter, cables, connectors, interfaces and assembling all this together, what the industry should offer in one simple unit? There is only one brand that sells a combined AIS/Chart Plotter Unit and that particular one is only 5 inches or so (and doesn't look too solid either).
At the beginning of December I found a little company in Hong Kong selling a brand named ONWA. Michael from Huayang Technology came back to me within an hour after I contacted him. I quite like a good service attitude. I did a little research and found some good feed-back from boaters in the US and Europe, who already bought an ONWA chart plotter. Apparently ONWA is well-reputated in AsiaPac, but not so much in the rest of the world, like Europe and the Americas.
"What the hack", I thought and after a couple of eMails back and forth I ordered the ONWA 8 inch chart plotter along with a C-Map module for Europe.
Now here comes what I really like about the ONWA plotter. It has a built-in AIS transceiver. And guess what? The price tag was a whooping USD 665 (with AIS module) and USD 465 without the AIS module. Great stuff.
Add another USD 100 for customs duty and taxes + delivery and off you go with a large plotter that you can hook up with all sorts of gauges on your boat (like depth, speed, etc. but no radar).
Here are a couple of pictures from the unboxing :-)