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Old 04-15-2016, 11:26 PM   #21
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Ah, Eric, you are always going in a straight line between one way point and the next.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:47 PM   #22
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The way point is a series of straight lines of course. But the shortest distance between two points that require numerous course changes is a curved line. Following waypoints if not excessive in number will be a greater distance than an ideal curved line route ... what I do not using way points. Not for that reason though.
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:16 AM   #23
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The way point is a series of straight lines of course. But the shortest distance between two points that require numerous course changes is a curved line. Following waypoints if not excessive in number will be a greater distance than an ideal curved line route ... what I do not using way points. Not for that reason though.
There are systems that can curve the routes.

Now, I'm sure you're convinced though that you can do the perfect curve. You can't even do a straight line as well as an autopilot can. Perhaps some of the time you'll save some minor distance in your route but at a lot of effort expended. Not an issue perhaps if you don't cruise long distances, but then your savings will be minuscule. As to your statement that you achieve "an ideal curved line route", dream on. Neither you nor anyone else here is capable of doing that.

You abhor all technology that you have no experience with. That's fine for you, but misleading to others trying to make choices.
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:34 AM   #24
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BanB,
I'm out to enjoy myself.
Perfection not needed.
"Systems that can curve the routes" .... that does sound interesting.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:02 AM   #25
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BanB,
I'm out to enjoy myself.
Perfection not needed.
"Systems that can curve the routes" .... that does sound interesting.
But you just claimed you could achieve perfection. That was your argument against waypoints.

I quote: Following waypoints if not excessive in number will be a greater distance than an ideal curved line route ... what I do not using way points.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:53 AM   #26
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I find entering WPs on MFDs tedious compared to using Coastal Explorer on a laptop. I build the course there on a 15" screen with a mouse and fast panning and zooming, and start the route. Then tell the AP to accept steering instructions. Under way I might nudge a WP a bit, but the AP doesn't have to know - it doesn't care about WPs.


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Old 04-16-2016, 07:07 AM   #27
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The only curved line that is shorter than a straight line in navigation is a great circle route.

I doubt many here run that many great circle routes, if at all.

Unless one is talking cutting a corner, and then depending on the course change, you can plot way points close enough to the turn radius that the boats turn is essentially "cutting the corner"......thus really no less efficient than a hand judged turn accomplishing the same thing.

Now it may just be what the OP is having an issue with. If his chart doesn't zoom in enough for a small radius of way points rounding an island , that one way point that forms an acute angle is way out of the way and hand steering is sort of the answer whether by wheel or making the turn with the autopilot.

So petdoc4u, yes you need to zoom in closer with a different chart or live with the "cutting corners" by hand.
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Old 04-16-2016, 07:41 AM   #28
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I plot all my routes on the computer. I take some time in doing that so as to get the shortest and safest route. I never move the boat without the route in the plotter. If alternate routes are a possibility, I plot on the computer and up load to the plotter in advance.

Only one time have I had to plot a route on the plotter. We were in the Bahamas and were anchored off of Great Sale Cay in the Abacos. The winds were from the south and being anchored on the south side of the Cay it was a bumpy anchorage. So I reviewed our location on the plotter and found a cove on the western side of the Cay that offered some protection from the south wind. I plotted a route to the cove avoiding a shoal area on the way.

It was a much quieter anchorage. I wasn't the only who thought so as there were 6-7 other boats already there.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:26 AM   #29
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Brings to my mind the number one thing that I emphasize to most as beneficial regardless of chart systems. That is larger monitors/screens. The problems people are having in waypoints and the reason many find computers and other resources more useful, is the lack of space and inability to zoom in to detail and maintain all they need on the screen. It can be the nicest plotter software in the world but if you handicap it with a small screen you never get the full benefit.
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Old 04-16-2016, 10:04 AM   #30
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I'd love to have room for a large screen on my chartplotter, but I live with a 7" screen. As many have said, plot a few waypoints while zoomed out, then zoom in and adjust, often adding a few more to mark the route through trickier places. Often more than one zoom in and out. It's an iterative process, but to me worth the effort.

Having waypoints that I'm sure will mark a safe course (even though I don't always follow them exactly), and the chartplotter set to show "course up" so that it more or less matches what the radar shows, and what I see through the windshield, reduces confusion.
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:59 AM   #31
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If you have room for a laptop, you can get a large enough image to plot your whole course on the screen, then zoom in and reposition the waypoints as needed.
Without knowing the kind of plotter you are using, we are all guessing, trying to fit your question to our own experience.
I use a laptop, recently renewed with a larger screen, 18" corner to corner, so the whole route method works for me. I also have a 5" plotter that lives up on the FB and goes in the dinghy. Both of those locations lend themselves to VFR, so I don't often want to plot a route. When I do, I feel your pain.
When following a route electronically, the AP does go by the most direct route. When just setting the AP and following the route visually, with corrections as the XTE grows, the route traveled is not as efficient, but WAY better than not using the AP.
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:06 PM   #32
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I'd venture that if you are auto-navigating to a waypoint using a chartplotter / autopilot purchased within the last 10 years then you are likely following a great circle route.

My Furuno Navnet has the option of Great Circle or Rhumb.

Rhumb lines

A ‘rhumb line’ (or loxodrome) is a path of constant bearing, which crosses all meridians at the same angle.

Sailors used to (and sometimes still) navigate along rhumb lines since it is easier to follow a constant compass bearing than to be continually adjusting the bearing, as is needed to follow a great circle. Rhumb lines are straight lines on a Mercator Projection map (also helpful for navigation).

Rhumb lines are generally longer than great-circle (orthodrome) routes. For instance, London to New York is 4% longer along a rhumb line than along a great circle – important for aviation fuel, but not particularly to sailing vessels. New York to Beijing – close to the most extreme example possible (though not sailable!) – is 30% longer along a rhumb line. (excerpt from Calculate distance and bearing between two Latitude/Longitude points using haversine formula in JavaScript)
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:48 PM   #33
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It would help to answer your question to know what electronics you are using.
I have two 16" touch screens at the helm, a MS Surface running Coastal Explorer and an iPad with the Garmin app on it. I can plot routes on all of them.
I actually plot our daily route on the iPad and it shows the boat riding along it all day. The ipad is very easy to create a route on, but I do not use it to "drive" the boat via autopilot.
On the helm plotter, one screen is zoomed in at .5 mile and one screen is at 2 miles or 10 miles, with radar overlay.
I have several tracks north/south on ICW so I can usually just follow a prior track. A quarter mile one way or the other is not going to make me fret about fuel or anything.
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:44 AM   #34
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Do you have your auto pilot linked to your GPS?. If so your GPS probably has off-line route planning and plotting where you can prepare in more detail while you are at the dock and spend the time you need focusing on it.
Similar to the laptop idea mentioned above.
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:46 AM   #35
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I'm old school

I like to work w a paper chart to plan a course and pick waypoints that make visual sense...
by that I mean ones I can check and confirm visuslly while underway...

I do have a PC based program and do the "work" at home and upload on the boat.
I finding the advanced planning a fun part of taking a trip.

eg... Always abeam of a nav aide...on a heading towards a stack or water tower or light house etc

For the above you obviously need to see the big picture.
For routes I will reuse I record them in a section of my log and include
WP ID, True & Mag heading & distance (SM & NM) to next WP
If interested let me know and I can send you an example.

If you have a local Sail & Power Squadron nearby they offer two piloting courses that include chart & GPS plotter use...two of their most interesting IMHO
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:33 PM   #36
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The advantage of using routes created by placing Way Points is that you become more familiar with you planned route before you just Wing It. The second and most important reason to use routes to travel common places is to obtain a high level of confidence in your proven lane of travel. So when the sun falls or the weather turns into a white out you can spend your time looking for other boats and obstacles, instead of hoping your not about to run aground. Especially if circumstances have you out at night and you are exhausted.
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:56 AM   #37
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...I have not yet mastered the technique or secret to plotting a course which is practical. Typically I find my waypoint miles off shore which if followed would result in wasted time and fuel. Zooming in to place each waypoint is a challenge as the big picture is lost. Is there a way to plot waypoints effectively? or does everyone deal with this?
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When I place waypoints on the chartplotter I am never able to place them where I would like to go. Perhaps it just takes practice in waypoint plotting to get the desired route.

As others have said, and you've mentioned in passing... zooming is part of the answer. Placing waypoints contextually first (zoomed out) and then more precisely (zoomed in, drag the waypoint if necessary) can work relatively easily.

But then once you've connected all those waypoints into a route, I can also recommend you actually "fly" your resultant route in advance while zoomed in... so you can be sure you're not going to run over a rock or whatever that's not visible when zoomed out.

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Old 07-03-2016, 07:39 PM   #38
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Thank you to everyone for your input. Various perspectives allow us all to expand our understanding of interfacing electronics with cartography to facilitate getting from A to B safely and efficiently. I use a 14" Raymarine MFD with Navionics Platinum chip. I have no complaints about the hard or software other than the time it takes to plot a course. Garmin has an autoplot feature which I have heard good things about.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:25 PM   #39
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The zooming in should get easier with practice.
Take the time to zoom in close to set up your waypoint accurately, and give it a name that will help you remember what it is.
Then on later trips when you want to use that waypoint again, just select it from the waypoint list rather than the map.
I have hundreds of waypoints on my local grounds, have to hide them to see the map!
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:58 AM   #40
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Quote:
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Garmin has an autoplot feature which I have heard good things about.
I have a Garmin that does that. I use it, but with a LOT of skepticism.

First, it doesn't always work. If the route is too complicated, it won't even try.

Second, it isn't always safe. It's been known to plot a course over dry land. But more often, it chooses really "stupid" courses, like finding that tiny stretch of 4' deep water among big rock piles. Theoretically possible, but what if there are 2' seas (and 2' troughs) in that 4' area? If you set the minimum depth too deep to compensate, it'll totally bypass areas that ARE safe.

Third, it does stupid things. Like going miles out of the way when there's a clear channel to where you want to go. No clue why sometimes it seems overly cautious, and other times reckless.

That said, it's an interesting technology that will no doubt get better with time. And every once in a while, it chooses a decent course that you can follow with minimal modification.

Unfortunately, Garmin (like most manufacturers) has no interest in updating the device you bought last year. All their efforts are directed at next year's model. So I don't expect to see those improvements.
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