Originally Posted by JonEisberg
Well, we can probably safely assume the number would still be at least 2...
Now, ask yourself the following: Do you think it was commonplace pre-GPS for cruisers not only to attempt, but to actually plan ahead on transiting a reef passage like Belize's Ranguana Pass at night? Do you think Bahamian cruisers would navigate The Devil's Backbone in poor light, or during a modest rage condition, as I've seen them doing nowadays? Even in the late afternoon, sun in their face, completely blind in their ability to read the water, and simply relying upon the GPS track of the path laid down by the pilot from Spanish Wells who took them across to Harbour Island the first time? Do you think it's likely a skipper would have brought a yacht worth well in excess of $1 million through one of the most dangerous and remote reef passages in all of the Bahamas - the entrance to the Columbus Anchorage at Samana Cay - in the dark, without relying upon GPS, and the extremely accurate Explorer Charts? Or, do you simply not consider such a maneuver "risky"? Better yet, do you simply think I'm making these anecdotes up, in support of an otherwise unsubstantiated opinion?
Sorry, but if you believe such risks were routinely being taken by sailors 30 or 40 years, you're dreaming...
There is more at work than just the dependence on electronic navigation and weather services. It seems to me that there are more million dollar rigs on the water now then back before dead reckoning was the only nav method. There are just more people with money to burn who decide they are going to buy an expensive boat and be sailors. Many, not all, are really not suited to an activity like sailing. What works in a cubicle does not translate to what works on a sailboat. Judgement, respect for the sea, mechanical ability in a pinch; experience can't be bought. Sailing goes back to some basic skills with which many executive sailors have no connection. They pay their insurance premium and off they go. We get stuck with the bill eventually in increased insurance costs. So, stupid decisions to try to navigate tricky passages in crappy conditions are probably more directly related to hubris and money than to reliance on plotters.