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post #228 of Old 12-03-2010
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Well said, Jon. And, right on!

The incidence of GPS-assisted groundings seems to be increasing, and will continue to do so as skippers place infinite confidence in their spiffy chartplotters. It's a sad commentary on the times, and the state-of-the-art of seamanship.

Some years ago I wrote an article in Ocean Navigator about the likely GPS-assisted grounding of a 72-foot custom sloop in the British Virgin Islands. On a beautiful moonlit nite, this vessel -- with a professional crew returning from a round-the-world trip -- attempted to run the 1/4 mile wide passage between Neckar Island and Prickly Pear Island near North Sound, Virgin Gorda. They ran aground on the SE corner of Neckar Island, apparently unaware that the charts of the time used a datum other than the WGS-84, resulting in a 1/4-mile N/S error! After the rather soft grounding in almost calm conditions, a further series of errors in handling the grounding resulted in the total loss of the yacht.

Reminds me of a comment by a friend who lives and cruises in Maine every summer, all the way to Canada and back. He commented on the increasing numbers of yachts found way "down East" these days, saying "It's the Garmins".

And so it is, together with all the little gremlins which lie within :-)


Last edited by btrayfors; 12-03-2010 at 08:26 PM.
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