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post #26 of Old 02-25-2014
Shanachie, Bristol 30
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

I must be a Luddite.

I do use a handheld GPS, but mostly for speed.

As for position, well, I've been sailing off and on for 35 years and, like many sailors, most of my cruising is done within 150 miles of home. That means I know where I'm going, and there's little need to watch a little dot on a screen to tell me where I am.

If I get confused, there are plenty of channel markers and landmarks to help me out. It's all part of the traditional sport called sailing. You need to be able to navigate with your eyes, if for no other reason than for the time when your chartplotter quits.

I have used the map part of the GPS to bail me out for safety reasons in a white-out squall while I was in a narrow channel in the Keys, but that's an exception rather than everyday use.

Many years ago, my daughter did a school science project on GPS and nautical charts. We picked a bunch of spots in Biscayne Bay and the Upper Keys. A significant number of locations and channel markers were off, some by many hundreds of feet.

I wouldn't feel safe watching the dot instead of watching the water.
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