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Old 04-15-2016, 03:15 PM   #1
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Using waypoints / autopilot

On several occasions I have plotted waypoint courses thru the San Juan and Gulf Islands, amongst other places. Once underway I often over-ride the AP and modify the waypoints as 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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Old 04-15-2016, 03:20 PM   #2
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Never used a waypoint.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:27 PM   #3
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Have often plotted waypoints....and used them both extensively onboard many vessels using autopilot to do searches/planned patterns...plus helicopters doing precise searches.

What are you plotting them on? They should be within meters of what you want.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:42 PM   #4
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Miles off? Maybe a tenth or two. You can try using more waypoints nearer to landmarks, depth contours, or picking the lat/lon off a paper chart. MapTech chart kits have key waypoints already plotted.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:59 PM   #5
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Perhaps I was not clear. The autopilot takes me precisely to the waypoint, that is not a problem.
My problem is, for example, if I were to steer a course it would be time and fuel efficient. 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.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:08 PM   #6
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I don't use way points. I steer the autopilot two ways:


1. I use the heading projection arrow to line it up where I want to go.


2. For longer legs where the projection arrow is too short, I advance the pointer to where I want to end up. Then I read the bearing from the ship to that point. I then set the autopilot's course to match up with that bearing. As I get closer I go back to #1 to fine tune it.


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Old 04-15-2016, 04:18 PM   #7
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What type of plotter do you have? Many makers offer a companion program you can use on your PC then transfer waypoints to your plotter, as well as from other PC programs like OPNCpn, Coastal Explorer, MacENC.

I take it your plotter has a very small screen.

I use waypoints a lot, for a variety of purposes, but other than open ocean, don't like using the GPS based auto-nav function. I liked lining the course up to the next way point and tweaking the AP as we went along.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:20 PM   #8
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If you put a waypoint where it needs to be and you set an autopilot to steer there...... there is no more efficient way.


now...there are plenty of times that it is more work than just dialing in a heading and letting an AP hold a course.


HOW are you setting the waypoints that they aren't exactly where you want them?
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
If you put a waypoint where it needs to be and you set an autopilot to steer there...... there is no more efficient way.
?
My wife much prefers using the increase or decrease in XTE to move the AP wheel in areas of tidal current. Kinda like sailing to hit a mark, drift counts.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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When plotting your course zoom in closer then set the waypoint. If you leave the plotter zoomed out, you're wayupoints will be close, but not close enough for precision piloting.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:22 PM   #11
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You just need more practice plotting the way points. The boat goes where you tell it to go, you're just not telling it where you really want it to go.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:37 PM   #12
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psneeld says;
"If you put a waypoint where it needs to be and you set an autopilot to steer there...... there is no more efficient way."
Only if you're going in a straight line from point A to B.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:41 PM   #13
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When plotting your course zoom in closer then set the waypoint. If you leave the plotter zoomed out, you're waypoints will be close, but not close enough for precision piloting.
That's the key! Not only will it put the waypoint exactly where you want it but it also allows a much closer inspection of the course for obstacles, shallow water, etc. Always set your waypoint when zoomed in.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:02 PM   #14
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You just need more practice plotting the way points. The boat goes where you tell it to go, you're just not telling it where you really want it to go.
What B said. As you do it more you will get better at it. I will often edit and move my way point as I get close to the spot and fine tune where I want it. You can also just set a waypoint at your current location.

Just don't be like the PO of my boat. He really liked his waypoints! This is his plotter navcard. Can't see the chart for all the waypoints.

I use waypoints a lot. The waypoints around the waters that I cruise frequently are well refined which makes them very useful.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:03 PM   #15
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I plot my waypoints/route, then zoom in and add more for turns, check for hazards, and move others to get closer to where I expected to be. I plan routes at home using Coastal Explorer and save the routes on dropbox. My onboard computer is also connected to dropbox so when I turn it on, it loads the latest route file, that is then read by Coastal Explorer. No using flash drives or wifi syncing necessary. I always have a route on my screen. It comes in especially handy when visibility is reduced, sometimes unexpectedly with fog here in the PNW.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:06 PM   #16
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Depending on your plotter, I just learned a nice trick that the broker showed me on the sea trial. He spilt his page in half. On the left side is a zoomed in, about 1nm, on the righ side is a panel that is zoomed out to about 12nm.

I have been using this type of chart plotter for a long time but never thought to try it. It is great. Easy to switch back and forth in the active pane. It also makes setting and refining waypoint easy.
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:26 PM   #17
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psneeld says;
"If you put a waypoint where it needs to be and you set an autopilot to steer there...... there is no more efficient way."
Only if you're going in a straight line from point A to B.
You put another waypoint wherever you don't want to continue in that line. So you have point A to B to C to D to E to F to G to H to I to J to K to L to M.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:18 PM   #18
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Perhaps I was not clear. The autopilot takes me precisely to the waypoint, that is not a problem.
My problem is, for example, if I were to steer a course it would be time and fuel efficient. 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.
Place your point generally with your plotter zoomed out then zoom in to place it more precisely.

When using an electronic plotter you need to zoom in and out along your intended route to make sure your plotted route doesn't take you through some kind of hazard that may not show up on all zoom levels.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
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psneeld says;
"If you put a waypoint where it needs to be and you set an autopilot to steer there...... there is no more efficient way."
Only if you're going in a straight line from point A to B.
Duh.....for never using them, you need to commentl?

OP.....just ask around for someone familiar with your chart plotter setup....I am sure they migh t help.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:48 PM   #20
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psneeld says;
"If you put a waypoint where it needs to be and you set an autopilot to steer there...... there is no more efficient way."
Only if you're going in a straight line from point A to B.
Ah, Eric, you are always going in a straight line between one way point and the next.
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