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post #66 of Old 07-10-2013
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Re: Need Opinion: Chart plotter, north up or course up?

I love these posts where people are categorized as inferior sailors/navigators just beacuse their mind does not work the same way as yours...

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
'Course Up' is for 'drivers' of Sea Rays, without a paper chart in sight...

Anyone who can't figure out North Up, shouldn't be at the helm to begin with... (grin)

All bets are off, however, aboard boats without paper charts, then one may as well let domestic tranquility rule the day..

Jack's right, in anything other than flat calm water, the continuous 're-drawing' of the chart due to the boat's movement is very distracting, and can be a real impediment to safe navigation...

Seriously, a paper chart should always be the 'Go To' point of reference/confirmation, in any moment of doubt, or possible confusion... Having the plotter set to a different mode will likely only add to any confusion, and I have little doubt such a discrepancy has led to many a navigational mishap...

Hey, I'm hoplessly Old School, what else would you expect? (grin)
First I carry paper charts as a backup togheter with all kinds of old school navigation equipmemt and I know how to use it.

I think "Nintendo navigators" are a danger to both themselves and others.
A "Nintendo navigator" is one the believe that the screen is the truth not what he/she can see/observe (marks, lights, light sectors, depths, compass ++) around the boat.

Fixed marks and fixed transits usually stay put so if the GPS is showing differently, the GPS is probably wrong.
(even floating marks tend to stay put)

So when I once i a while "see" that I'm sitting on top of a mark and my visual tell's me other ways..

My "home" waters is the Skagarak / Kattegat area where we do lots of inshore navigation (under sail) in areas where we have lots of rocks and islands.
Sailors from other places feel this a bit intimidating..

I believe that old school piloting (Coastal navigation, as by reference to buoys and soundings) still is an important art.

But used correctly a chart plotter can improve Coastal navigation. When short or single handed you don't have time to go up a down to the chart table.

Showing the correct map are on the plotter is handy and it's more resilient to water (and more handy) than a paper chart.

It's easy to measure distance and bearing to your next mark on the plotter to help locating it early.

Having course up I can even estimate the bearing to next mark at a glance - often enough data to spot it using the binoculars.

With paper charts i do my chart work north up because it is easier to
  • Plot a position from GPS
  • Plot a position line from one or more bearings
  • Reading the LAT/LONG of a waypoint and other objects
  • It's easy to plan/plot a great circle route using the data I calculate using my calculator (Oh good forbid, must use a slide rule)

When under way may chart plotter is oriented heading up.
  • I have no problem switching from paper to plotter and back even with different orientation
  • I don't plot on the chart plotter the same way I do on paper, waypoints are input using input box or pointing in the chart.
  • I don't use any kind of old type ruler on the screen - I move the cursor and get LAT/LONG/bearing and dist at a glance.
  • I don't feel that "the continuous 're-drawing' of the chart" is any problem (maybe there are better plotters around?)
  • I often put the boat icon at the lower part of the screen, this way I can utilize the "scree estate" better (usually more interested in what is ahead). Must admit that i haven't tried to offset the boat in North up.

You know that paper chart also can have errors in them?

When I sail in unknown waters with unknown charts I cross reference a lot. If I'm feel that the electronic charts are accurate the paper charts is more of a backup.
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