The answer to your question goes to its core. How many people do you know or better yet hw many people do you think
let their electronics think for them ?[/QUOTE]. Very few . What makes you assume they can't read a chart or understand navigational theories. Most I know have purchased electronics as a supplemental navigational aid to their charts and are quite adept at reading them
I think this may hold true for those that have been sailing a while and knew how to read a chart from before, and still maintain some of those skills. I bet many new boaters that start off with a chart plotter have never seen US Chart #1, and have only unrolled their paper chart a few times.
I have seen the over-reliance on technology a lot: not so much in sailing as in aviation, mostly because my sailing experience is limited compared to that of aviation, having been a flight instructor and professional pilot for 12 years. I assume that what I see in aviation is not limited to that field.
People buy a sophisticated airplane and rely on the complex systems to do the work and thinking for them. The person following the magenta line on a computer screen while sailing in the Bahamas in my previous story was a flight student of mine, he was overly reliant on the 5 screens and moving maps in the plane as well, literally tracing the magenta line on the screen with the on screen airplane. Another student who was trained in a traditional old school airplane that then bought an airplane with an autopilot and GPS and a year later was unable to shoot an approach without one or the other. He had a panic attack when I pulled the circuit breaker on his GPS.
I use myself as an example of technology making you stupid. For the first time in 12 years and 5000 hours of flying I am flying a GPS, moving map (the equivalent of a chart plotter for an airplane) and autopilot coupled aircraft and am required by rules to use all these in flight or at least during testing. The skills I had of navigating using raw data is now atrophying. All the electronic tools make situational awareness great when working but If something is not working or a wrong button is pushed the pilot can become lost easily.
Here is a sailing example: On a 4 day crossing of the Gulf of Mexico where all power was lost, including all our primary sources of navigation. I had also been trying to navigate it on a paper chart but it was too rough below to do anything this first day. Previous to the this the skipper was touting his celestial navigation skills, unfortunately he had left is sextant at home. Our only saving grace was a Garmin 12XL in someones sail bag
I am trying to figure out why this stuff irks or concerns you how much electronics someone else has and what they decide to put on their boats.
It am not against putting all the greatest electronics on board you can find, but would hope these are backed with a solid understanding of the underlying seamanship. My experience is this is less often the case.
I am pretty sure some of the people who sail are like those who fly. They fall into a range of types from those who always wanted to sail and can finally scrape up enough to own their first boat, to those who have a bunch of money and want to take on another hobby. The one difference is that in aviation you have to pass an FAA standardized and relatively demanding test to become a pilot then every other year you have to prove your skills to a flight instructor to maintain that right and even with that there is a percentage of people with unsafe practices.
There is no standardization for someone who wants to go sailing, all you have to do is buy a boat. You donít need to have any experience, pass a test, insure the boat, and the boat does not even have to be seaworthy. The only limitation is what the skipper sets for himself and crew.
People are more willing to set off with limited knowledge or seamanship skills with the addition of EPIRB and Chartplotter than they would without these tools. Because of the technology on board they are more comfortable with the challenges of navigation and the risks with the chance of being saved if they got into trouble. How many parents were sending their teenagers on circumnavigations before GPS, and satellite communication?