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  #1  
Old 01-09-2007
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Post Essential Navigation Equipment?

If you were going to set sail for Europe from the east coast of America, or say to Australia via South Africa what nav equipment would you consider a must?

I'd like to keep it simple, couple of hand held GPS's, paper nav and pilot charts, and sextant. I guess a SSB would be a nice luxury for weather and coms but wouldn't consider it a must. Oh yeah.... I guess a compass would come in handy to!

A friend of mine was telling me about something he read in slocums book where slocum was saying how it was ashamed how people didn't think you could sail around the world without a chronometer. Got me thinking about this. It always amazes me at what people think they "need" to navigate.

His book has got to be the only sailing related book I haven't read....guess I'm saving the best for last!

What do you guys think?
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Old 01-09-2007
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Charts - paper and electronic
Compass - calibrated
Fathometer
VHF - fixed and handheld
GPS - fixed and handheld
Radar
SSB - marine/ham
Sextant, tables, almanac
RDF

....in that order

Bill

ps...don't forget the 406 EPIRB :-)

B.
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Old 01-09-2007
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What size boat are talking about?

I ask because the the smaller the boat, it seems to me, more unreliable the electronic become and, of course, the less room there is to store spares and backups.
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Old 01-09-2007
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If the boat is really tiny (think MiniTransat), can the radar. Otherwise, the list stands.

IMHO.

Bill
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Old 01-09-2007
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I would put the SSB ahead of the radar and eliminate the Sextant & RDF in favor of TWO more $100 GPS units in a pelican box with LOTS of AA batteries but otherwise agree with Bill for any size boat. I would also add a Weems & Plath course protactor instead of traditional parallel rules.

And add a liferaft to that EPIRB!
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Old 01-09-2007
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I guess its a sign of the times we live in when a sextant is down at the bottom of the list an three or four back-up GPS units come first. A decent sextant and a good watch will take you anywhere. Of course you will need charts when you get there and the SSB is critical for offshore communications and the time-check to set your Timex

For safety sake, no one should go far offshore without an EBIRB.
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slocum,

Yeah, Cam apparently has infinite faith in the GPS system. Sorry, but I don't.

Interesting that many offshore race requirements include the need for TWO completely separate means of fixing your position at sea. Two GPS's don't qualify. A GPS and an RDF or a sextant or a Loran do.

I carry two RDFs and two sextants and two Lorans and four GPS's aboard. Guess I'm just paranoid.

BTW, there's a very interesting article in the new Boat U.S. magazine, SeaWorthy, on p8 on "Electronically Aided Collisions". Lots of grist for old geezers like me who believe the new electronic toys -- in the hands of many current boaters -- can be DANGEROUS to your health :-)

Bill
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Thanks for the thread, I'll check it out.

The danger of "neat" tools like GPS assisted electroinc charts is that video becomes reality for many people. Use your GPS and your ECDIS, but trust your eyes and don't forget to look where you're going

slocum2
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Old 01-10-2007
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You reminded me of something!

Yeah you think LOOKING would be your first instinct, I was in an offshore race a few months ago where we had to pass offshore of a sea buoy, when we thought we should be seeing it of course we got out the binocs and started looking, turns out the coasties had moved the buoy a mile and a half farther out to see than the GPS said. We were just able to point up enough to clear the buoy. Out of the three other boats that were in sight, the next boat back sailed almost directly to were the buoy was supposed to be before realizing the mistake and tacking, and the other two boats admittedly split the difference because they didn't know who was right! By the way it was an exceptionaly clear day. We one the race!





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Originally Posted by slocum2
Thanks for the thread, I'll check it out.

The danger of "neat" tools like GPS assisted electroinc charts is that video becomes reality for many people. Use your GPS and your ECDIS, but trust your eyes and don't forget to look where you're going

slocum2
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Old 01-10-2007
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Charts - paper and electronic
Compass - calibrated and handbearing
Fathometer
VHF - fixed and handheld
GPS - fixed and handheld
Sextant, tables, almanac
Binoculars, preferably with integral compass
Shortwave radio receiver (for time ticks, weather, etc)
SSB - marine/ham
Radar
RDF

I'd put the sextant above the SSB, but move the SSB above the RADAR... RDF isn't as necessary nowadays, especially with GPS but does provide a good alternative. I'd also add a good set of binoculars as part of the navigation kit. A GPS-equipped 406 EPIRB is probably not a bad idea either, but would be about level with the SSB on my list.

Of course, your best piece of navigation gear is the Mark I eyeball. Don't forget to use it. The little icon of the sailboat on the GPS chartplotter doesn't really mean squat if the electronic charts are wrong....the Mark I eyeball will tell you if that is the case or not.
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