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Old 05-11-2015, 04:28 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I think we can agree to disagree. I'll keep my paper charts and plotting tools on board.

I've got my rig set up to run with loss of any or all electrical or electronic component. Keeping paper charts is part of that.

You must not venture into areas with much lightning... Take a strike and you can lose most all electronics.
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There's not a recorded lightning strike that has taken out a mobile phone from someone's pocket (you wouldn't survive the defibrillation that would also occur). It's quite rare for disconnected electronics to have any ill effect from a storm.
<snip>.
Just catching up on this fascinating thread. Here are some of my observations - not telling others what to do of course!

I have chartered a sailboat that suffered a lightning strike in the Hawkes Channel off the coast of SE Florida. I was watching the interesting "cone of protection" phenomenon when all of a sudden we were in the middle of one. I can confirm that every single electronic item that was connected to the boat's power was destroyed. The only thing that worked was the single electric winch. Everything from GPS to alternator regulator to stereo to freezer was fried. Fortunately I had brought with me a laptop and handheld GPS with adequate batteries. I connected them up and ran The Cap'n (this was a long time ago) and found my way back into Biscayne Bay. My handheld VHF allowed me to call the coastguard and be put on watch.

On my recent trip from Ketchikan to San Francisco I had paper charts for some of the trip but not for all. I did have complete redundancy on the primary chart plotting (two laptops & GPS's) with at least two different versions of charts and power was available from the 12V house bank as well as two separate gensets. In addition I had a handheld GPS chartploter and batteries and at least two of us had Navionics on our phones. I have used paper charts in the past (LORAN wasn't something to rely on!) but not worked with them recently. I felt no need to have them on board whatsoever. I believe electronic redundancy is plenty adequate.

I do use depth as a primary indicator of my location even with e-charts and gps. For example, yesterday I wanted to avoid a large ship by hugging one side of an unmarked channel. I followed, roughly, a 20' contour that kept me out of the shallow SF South Bay waters but guaranteed that I couldn't be in the path of the ship. I wasn't going to trust the charts and gps to that accuracy without confirmation from my depth sounder.

I do think that many people venture out on boats with electronic chart plotters with a false sense of security. Lack of boating/navigations skills and experience is a bigger deal than paper vs electronics. Some folks on nice looking boats clearly don't look at charts at all.

Richard
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:33 PM   #82
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Exactly.

And you're right about drawing on the paper charts too. I'm sorry but if you're offshore guessing at set and drift, you're not navigating. You're guessing. You're using your experience in the area to get where you're going. Using that type of guessing in a very unfamiliar place over any distance is a great way to end up disabled in a bad place because you thought the rocks were 4 miles from your location.

Even at my best with DR, there is no way I could have done it right without writing down the times, marking the points on the charts, and having a stopwatch. Unless you have pencil marks all over your paper charts, I'm sorry, you're not being honest in this debate. You're being nostalgic.
I once heard that navigation wasn't figuring out as much as where you are or where you are going...it's all about confirming where you are as you should already have a pretty good idea.. Guessing is why the number of shipwrecks has fallen off dramatically....less "guessing" is needed.

also...if you aren't doing it 100 plus days a year....or did it that much for a career....

sure you might, and I do mean might, be able to do it safely...but if all, of a sudden my boat has a total lack of electronics....my "fun" has just abruptly ceased unless it is like 95 percent of the time I boat...reasonable visibility, sea conditions and navigation requirements.
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:55 PM   #83
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I went paperless on my present boat when I added a second Garmin GPSMAP. Then I installed HomePort and all of the current PDF nautical charts of my local operating area on an iPad. I made the determination that this was sufficient redundancy for my needs.

Honestly, it has been a while since I've attempted any dead reckoning.

Hmmmm, let me see if I can remember now . . . . yes, here it is:

dead reckoning - Traditional form of rough-estimate navigation used for hundreds of years by sailors, almost all of whom are dead. As it is practiced today, the technique involves the use of three special "chart darts" which are "entered" in the appropriate region of a nautical chart from 8 feet away. The resulting holes are joined by pencil lines to form a triangle whose central point is taken as the boat's position. - Sailing by Henry Beard and Roy McKie 2001

Yep, that sounds about right!
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:02 PM   #84
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dead reckoning - Traditional form of rough-estimate navigation used for hundreds of years by sailors, almost all of whom are dead. As it is practiced today, the technique involves the use of three special "chart darts" which are "entered" in the appropriate region of a nautical chart from 8 feet away. The resulting holes are joined by pencil lines to form a triangle whose central point is taken as the boat's position. - Sailing by Henry Beard and Roy McKie 2001
LOL. A cocked up hat.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:11 PM   #85
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How did they possibly manage?

LIST OF SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATORS
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:14 PM   #86
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Very Good Points, but I still disagree. The same argument could be made for electronic charts.
D
And in the rest of my post which you cut out, I very clearly made that point.

Now you indicate very few update chartplotters and the charts they use. I don't know what percentage do. I do know we download updates constantly. When we determine we're going to use the boat for a few days, that is one of the list of things we do.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:15 PM   #87
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How did they possibly manage?

LIST OF SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATORS
I think your statement might have more impact were it not for the fact that the first person listed in the table was lost at sea and never found...

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Old 05-11-2015, 06:25 PM   #88
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The reality is that navigating a boat from A to B is about the simplest, easiest process on the planet. You are here, you want to go there, you figure out a course from here to there on which you will hit nothing but water, you figure out the headings to hold on each leg, you get current (and wind if it's relevant) information and dial it in with your speed to get the heading that has to held on each leg or portion of each leg if it's a long one that will be influenced by several currents along the way, and that's it. Maintain the headings and the speed and you're done. You get to Point B every time. One reason it's so dead easy is that the stuff you're navigating around doesn't move while you're navigating around it.
That is so true for many of us. For us, it was all easy. We've had several friends who have decided to learn and just being with us, given the chance to practice a little, and soon they had their confidence and their own boats. Three of them are currently working toward licenses, just because they want to.

It's simple math to some of us. But that doesn't mean we're smarter than those who struggle with it, we may just be smarter in that area. For some people coming from varied backgrounds, the concepts are difficult to grasp. There's also a difference between those of us who have been around boats all their lives versus those who decide later in life or even at retirement it would be nice. So I'm not going to declare it's the simplest, easiest process on the planet, because it isn't for everyone. I do admire those for whom it is difficult but who work very hard to learn and develop the skills.

Now Astronomy was difficult for me in college and Celestial Navigation is. It's taken me a lot of effort to see the patterns in the sky. My wife thought it was the simplest thing in the world and she'd never taken Astronomy. She'd look at me like "Why can't you see something so obvious. Poor baby."
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:12 PM   #89
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So I'm not going to declare it's the simplest, easiest process on the planet, because it isn't for everyone.
Well, I don't really buy that. If a person can't figure out or learn how to do something then they shouldn't be doing it as far as I'm concerned. And navigation, particularly in only two dimensions, is so bloody easy even a caveman could do it. No wait, cavemen DID do it, although their "boats" were a bit crude.

BTW, citing the fact that some ancient mariner went on the rocks as an example of the drawbacks of old-school navigation doesn't really prove much. Exxon Valdez, Costa Concordia, the list goes on and on and on of vessels whose crews had the benefit of all the latest navigational bells and whistles and they still managed to crash their boats.

Which goes to prove that it's not the navigation system that's being used as much as it's the nature of the people using them that determines the outcome of a voyage.

Jeffery's contention that charts are dangerous when used by people who don't know how to use them is certainly true, but it's not any kind of revelation. Hell, the whole damn boat's dangerous if its used by somebody who doesn't know how to use it. A lawn mower is dangerous if it's used by somebody who doesn't know how to use it.

So nothing new here and the premise gets no argument from me.

What I find to be incorrect is the position or implication that paper charts have no place in today's boating. It might be true for Jeffery, but it's not true for the fellow I mentioned in an earlier post who has sailed these waters for decades with a depth sounder, compass, and charts, and still does. So what, is the guy I know wrong? Should he stop boating, or not take his boat out again until he fits it with a complete navigation suite of plotters and radar and AIS and whatnot?

And---- given the choice and knowing what I know about the fellow with the simply-equipped sailboat, I'd go out with him on a long cruise up this coast including exploring places he hasn't been before, as opposed to some fellow with a snazzy boat and a ton of electronics who pooh-pooh's paper charts as being worthless to have on board. As I said earlier, it's not the presence or absence of paper charts that would steer my choice, it's the attitude and character of the boater.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:25 PM   #90
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Tough to debate against better debaters whether the facts are clear or not..

But I guarantee that any modern boater that navigates the same way with electronic help,, the same way that one would navigate without it......doesn't really dead reckon the way it need to be done in tough situations.

Beware them also.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:40 PM   #91
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Tough to debate against better debaters whether the facts are clear or not..
I agree ! Or put another way... Some are better at expressing themselves than others, but that doesn't make them right... It just makes them sound convincing.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:14 PM   #92
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Mr Jim. Red right returning, not always.
Well, it always worked for me. Not saying it's right...
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:37 PM   #93
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Some are better at expressing themselves than others, but that doesn't make them right... It just makes them sound convincing.
And convincing is all that's required these days to be perceived as right. As the CEO of Air Malta told me during an interview, "Perception is fifty percent of everything today." This was in the mid-90s. Today I suspect it's 80 percent of everything if not more.

If you can't communicate effectively it doesn't really matter what you think or if you're right or wrong. Nobody will pay attention or take you seriously.

I'm not saying that's the way it should be. It isn't, in my opinion. I'm saying that's reality. Being perceived as being right is far more important today than actually being right. That applies to everyone from the president down to the fellow at the window who asks you if you want fries with that.

The ability to be perceived as right is worth six or seven figures a year if you're halfway decent at it. Ask anyone at an ad agency or any other communications job. It's a skill well worth mastering.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:14 PM   #94
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It got me to thinking, if you're traveling to or passing through waters never traveled before, how would you handle safely navigating to your planned next stop if all electrical equipment went out?.....Just thinking about it makes me want to take an in depth navigation class.
Don't know if you feel you've had your original question answered, but I think if a navigation class would be something you'd find interesting, and if you think it will give you more confidence to meet whatever challenges you think you might meet, then I think you should take the class.

I suspect you'll find it interesting, and you'll gain some knowledge and skills which I believe will enhance your use and understanding of your navigation electronics. It'll be a win-win.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:20 AM   #95
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At the risk of being perceived as a pedant it is "ded" reckoning not "dead". Short for deduced reckoning or DR.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:24 AM   #96
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I remember hang gliding and at one point hand deployed parachutes became available. I remember pilots that had flown a certain site many times w/o the device thinking to be comfortably safe basically thinking nothing of running off the top of a mountain for a soaring flight or a glide to a grassy field below.

After the parachute though they would drive 100 miles and up the mountain and discover they had forgotten their parachute. Many would fold up their glider and drive home. Wouldn't think of flying w/o their chute.

Now I hear boat skippers that mentally seem dependent on all the late electronic aids to navigation.

I built a 28' OB boat on the Queen Charlotte Is that was basically a hull w a temporary shelter/cabin for gear and sleeping. Took the boat to Prince Rupert and drove to the Seattle area for business. I returned to Rupert w the intent of running the boat south but changed my mind and went north to Juneau. For nav I had nothing but my eyes. I couldn't find charts anywhere as it was a busy year and all charts were sold out. They were $2 then. I found a map that the was popular on the ferries .. green for land, blue for water. A USFS map actually. And I found a compass. Like a FS "Silva" compass but not as good. Two pieces of glass w a quivering little needle to indicate north (and south actually). No damping.

I figured out the deviation by observing a N/S course and reading the difference in heading of the magnetic needle. I guessed what navigational aids were for and estimated time/distance by observing time and distance at the beginning of the trip. It all went quite well but at Holkham Bay it fogged in and I couldn't see much. I anchored there the night and proceeded in the morning one step at a time. While heading to a point or headland I'd establish a course slightly to the land side of the land end so as not to go right on past and out to an unknown place in Stephen's Passage. I'd pick up land and turn west. Usually 90 degrees on the compass until I'd find the point, turn 90 degrees north and continue. I crossed Port Snettisham (a narrow inlet) making 90 degree turns and picking up the opposite shore. Sometimes I could see 1/8th of a mile and other time 100 yds. Went past Taku Harbor, set a new course and broke out of the fog into sunshine 10 or 15 minutes later. Following the shore peering through the fog was dangerous but it wasn't uncommon to go long distances w/o rocks of shore. But w a set of charts what I did would have been not too dangerous.

Point is of course that you're not really dependent on the electronic devices to do the point A to B thing depending on what's between the two points.

I agree w others about the importance of sounders and the comment about charts being dangerous is is not impossible. One can read or use information gleaned from a chart in the wrong way and go astray but charts have so much value that dismissing them as dangerous is ______. They once steered cars w a tiller arm and when steering wheels came to pass it didn't mean tiller arms were dangerous. There is a tendency to think new things are so wonderful that older things are now useless. Old and new anchors come to mind. There I used the "A" word and my computer still shines brightly.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:29 AM   #97
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Submarines still DR. Their reckoning is just a bit more sophisticated as they use a multi axis inertial system (SINS). But they have three dimensions to worry about.

Charts and chartbooks are larger than the biggest electronic screen and are good for overview. I keep one at the helm for reference. Easy to show route to other relieving the helm without zooming out.

That said, I don't really navigate anyways, most of what I do would be considered piloting.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:32 AM   #98
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Tough to debate against better debaters whether the facts are clear or not...
Truer words have never been spoken. Take Marin for instance. He's a writer and an excellent wordsmith, creating mountains of information that boggles my mind. That, however, doesn't make him right! I get a kick out his flying parallels as if there aren't any other pilots or ex pilots on the Forum. (There are plenty, staying quiet & enjoying the banter.)

Now, I know that we are to be PC in our posts and not single individuals out for criticism, but I'm sorry, I just can't help it! Navigation is simple? Anyone can do it? I would have liked to see Marin at the Navy's Arctic Survival School in the 1960s where they gave you a map, compass, an unopened ration can & a knife and told you to Navigate through the Maine woods in December to a pre determined destination. That would have been worth writing about!
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:40 AM   #99
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I would have liked to see Marin at the Navy's Arctic Survival School in the 1960s where they gave you a map, compass, an unopened ration can & a knife and told you to Navigate through the Maine woods in December to a pre determined destination. That would have been worth writing about!
I already addressed that. You're describing the CONDITIONS under which you had to navigate, not the navigation process. The process was dirt simple if you had half a brain. The conditions under which you had to do it sucked, but that didn't make the process any different.

I had to do something like that in Hawaii in the mountains on Oahu once and the effort of dealing with the environment was a gigantic pain in the a$s. But the process---- plot a course on the map, use a compass to follow it---- Christ, my dog can do that and he doesn't even need the compass.

The unopened ration can and a knife are irrelevant to the navigation process, by the way. That was just your survival school getting their jollies at your expense.

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I get a kick out his flying parallels as if there aren't any other pilots or ex pilots on the Forum.
You think I don't know that? This forum was STARTED by a pilot for Christ's sake. I use flying analogies because they often ring true to what we do with boats. If the other pilots on the forum want to do the same thing, they are certainly free to do so. It often helps to clarify a point about boating.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:55 AM   #100
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Marin, the pilot in you would appreciate this paper in the Journal of Navigation by Peter Hoare on navigating lancaster bombers during WWII. RAF bomber command operated mostly at night and he writes about his experience. Most interesting are the Electronic Nav aids in use during the war.
http://journals.cambridge.org/action...73463307004249
I talked to Peter Hoare at length after the article came out, I found it interesting that he talked about Loran.
Pm me if you want to read the article, I have the PDF.


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