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post #59 of Old 02-26-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
You think it's easy to hit something, or get lost in the Bahamas with GPS, chartplotters, and Explorer charts, you should see what it was like back before all that stuff.

Nothing like piloting yourself into one Cay's harbor, and then finding out you are actually in the harbor of the Cay south of that (did that twice on a cruise we did of the Bahamas in 1987).
Well, I did my first sailing in the Bahamas back in the late 70's, when LORAN coverage barely extended to Nassau... Not that it mattered, as the boats I first took over there didn't have LORAN, anyway :-)

The Tropic Isle Sketch Charts were the Explorer Charts of that era, and the YACHTSMAN'S GUIDE was the cruiser's Bible... Both were actually pretty damn good, at the time... Well, as long as the guy with the yellow cottage that formed a critical range with a conspicuous casuarina didn't decide to paint his house a different color...

Certainly, you had to be paying damn close attention to your piloting in places like the Exumas back then, it was very easy to become confused, or not certain of your position... But I swear, I don't think cruisers really got in any more trouble back then, than they are today... Because of that 'uncertainty', most were far more prudent back then, rarely attempting tricky passages in poor light, or knowing they'd have the sun in their face at late in the day...

Now, I see folks are racing around everywhere with little regard for the importance of reading the water, and simply trusting their plotters implicitly, focused on some screen in their cockpit, instead of the water in front of them... Plotters and e/charts sometimes lie, however - whereas the color of the water, with the sun over your shoulder, NEVER does... :-)

For example, the color of this water approaching Binnacle Hill in the Bight of Acklins says: "You've got no more than 6 inches between your keel, and a billiard table-flat sandy bottom..."

One really hasn't properly done the Bahamas, until you've sailed at a speed greater than the water depth, measured in feet...

And, no, doing it in a multihull doesn't count... :-)

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