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  #11  
Old 02-17-2008
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The fact is that most of us would work out our sights with calculators anyway. That saves us having to carry the volumes of books needed but brings the battery problem back. If you are going to carry a calculator (or even a flashlight) then several $100 GPS units are much cheaper than one reasonable sextant.
Turn on the GPS at dawn, take a fix, do the same at noon, do the same at evening twilight, one set of batteries will last weeks.
The sextant needs:
either books or a calculator (batteries)
accurate time (batteries) or a SW radio (batteries)
Knowledge
Practise
Clear skies and a steady deck
and even then you'd be lucky to get within two miles.
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There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2008
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The Flicka is under 7 meters. The West Wight Potter is probably also a fairly solid little boat that could work as a pocket cruiser, and is definitely under 7 meters.

Many of the small GPS units have such a low draw that they could easily be powered by a small solar panel. In fact, the GPS 76's DC power via the NMEA port will take power from sources ranging from 3 VDC to a maximum of 48 VDC from what I remember reading. The specifications for the older NMEA power inputs had that range, and the second generation ones were good up to 36 VDC IIRC. So, you could actually power it off the panel directly, without the need for voltage regulation, since most panels are about 18 VDC. Having a small battery charging would take care of the need to power the GPS at night.

BTW, another way to do it would be use something like a Voltaic backpack. I got one for Christmas, and think it rocks.



The Voltaic backpack has a small Lithium Ion battery, which charges off the solar panels. The battery outputs 5 VDC and would power most small GPS units.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
A house bank requires batteries. Can you think of a way around the batteries? Under 7m, maybe? Is there a suitable bluewater boat under 7m?
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 02-17-2008 at 10:54 PM.
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2008
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Cost of sextant: Astra III, $575 (a decent, reasonably accurate instrument), or a Davis ~ $130 (a good "learn to do it" instrument, but for nav'n???)
How to book: $15-30
Nautical Almanac: $36
Sight Reduction Tables / Pub 229: $20 / each 15 deg of Latitude
Calculator to work out the sight: $300 ???? (but this is optional)

Satisfaction of knowing how to do it and getting it right: PRICELESS

VERSUS

3 Handheld GPS's from West Marine (Garmin 72): 3 X 130 = $390
36 AA batteries in value pack from Home Depot = $13

---------------

From the economic standpoint, I think the GPS wins (for safety sake -- take one of the GPSs, wrap it in Al foil, put it in a gallon size ziplock bag with 8 AA batteries, vacumn pack/shrink wrap the entire package and put it somewhere where you won't lose it). Put one of the two remaining GPSs in the drawer in your nav station. Use the third GPS. By the time they all go south on you, you'll be dead of old age or ready to sell the boat.

But, if you're a true old salt....there's nothing like a sextant -- everytime the sun shines or the stars are out (and the deck stops moving) you'll know where you are, at least within a couple of miles, that is.
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumper View Post
The fact is that most of us would work out our sights with calculators anyway. That saves us having to carry the volumes of books needed but brings the battery problem back. If you are going to carry a calculator (or even a flashlight) then several $100 GPS units are much cheaper than one reasonable sextant.
Turn on the GPS at dawn, take a fix, do the same at noon, do the same at evening twilight, one set of batteries will last weeks.
The sextant needs:
either books or a calculator (batteries)
accurate time (batteries) or a SW radio (batteries)
Knowledge
Practise
Clear skies and a steady deck
and even then you'd be lucky to get within two miles.
I agree with what you are saying for me. Look back in some older threads and you will see what I feel!!! But I am trying to think of a really, minimalist way. Using your example, the knowledge is "free". A calculator can be solar powered or run off the batts it has for a very long time. I actually use a wind clock on my boat, but even a cheap digital watch at walmart seems to never want to die (tongue in cheek). So you could avoid the batteries and the GPS. Maybe take both... and the Sextant for the backup. The key is practice with the sextant... most definitely agree there.

But lets say he got the flika, could he do without the batts? The engine? WIthout that, you have removed a LOT of other items that must go with it. You could use oil lamp lighting.

THoughts?

- CD
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  #15  
Old 02-17-2008
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Minimum for safety:
1. Lifefraft...certified and accessible.
2. All SOLAS requirements for safety gear.
3. Tethers/jacklines
4. A great anchor with rode you can handle.
5. VHF w/ dsc + handheld for ditch bag.
6. At least 3 handheld GPS's + batteries.
7. Paper charts for intended route and all "bailout" ports
8. Method for long distance communication & weather gathering: satphone or SSB/HAM.
9. Ability to repair: sails/rigging with spares or fix/patch. Plan for steering without rudder. Ability/plan to patch minor hull damage.
10. Large Manual Bilge pump and spares kit.
11. Full tool kit + rigging cutter

??Others?? Disagree with anything except GPS??
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2008
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Billy-

If you're going to be storing a GPS for long-term backup, I'd highly recommend going with the Energizer Lithium AA batteries, since they have a much longer shelf life. As a bonus, they will run the GPS about four times as long as regular alkaline AA batteries and are bit lighter to boot.

There are long-term nautical almanacs that are just a bit more expensive than the annual ones, but are good for 20 years or more.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #17  
Old 02-17-2008
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I dissagree with the SSB/Ham and the liferaft. I would not leave home without them... but he could. He will have to have a tender anyways. I did not mention that... or much of the other gear neccessary.

I understand WHY you included the SSB/Ham and Liferaft, but they are not imperative to making the trip, and in some level of safety (assuming he really watches his ports, weather, and his boat does not sink!!).

Could you exclude them, if budget minded was the key?

- CD
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  #18  
Old 02-17-2008
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Regarding no engine, it is certainly doable but what a chore. The margin of safety drops by a huge chunk. Think of all the races you've been in where there wasn't any wind (or little wind). You are completely at the whim of tide and current. Here is a nightmare I lived. The Vic-Maui race to Hawaii started but because of foul tides and no wind it took us days just to get out of sight of land. It was nerve wracking being set on the rocks having to anchor when we got pushed near shore, waiting for the right wind to sail off the anchor.

I think one would end up out ahead of the boat in the dinghy rowing fairly often if you didn't have an engine.

There are some busy ports that won't let you sail in. Victoria and vancouver for example have restricted sailing areas. If you don't have an engine you gotta get a tow.

How many of the berths that you have been assigned could you have gotten into under sail?

Engines are pretty much necessary in this day and age.
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Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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  #19  
Old 02-17-2008
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The Liferaft is optional IMHO. Too often people step down into a liferaft and die from doing so and their boat is later found floating along quite happily after being abandoned.

I'd definitely agree that SOLAS-grade safety gear is the way to go. SOLAS flares alone are not that much more expensive than USCG-approved gear, but are an order of magnitude better.

I don't agree that you'd need a satphone or ssb, but do need a HF receiver at a minimum. Many small boats, especially ones on a budget, can afford the electrical load and cost of a small HF receiver but not that of a satellite phone or SSB/HAM radio. A good alternative might be the SPOT Messenger, since that would at least allow you to send a "I'm Okay" message to friends and family in the case of a delay in passage or inclement weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Minimum for safety:
1. Lifefraft...certified and accessible.
2. All SOLAS requirements for safety gear.
3. Tethers/jacklines
4. A great anchor with rode you can handle.
5. VHF w/ dsc + handheld for ditch bag.
6. At least 3 handheld GPS's + batteries.
7. Paper charts for intended route and all "bailout" ports
8. Method for long distance communication & weather gathering: satphone or SSB/HAM.
9. Ability to repair: sails/rigging with spares or fix/patch. Plan for steering without rudder. Ability/plan to patch minor hull damage.
10. Large Manual Bilge pump and spares kit.
11. Full tool kit + rigging cutter

??Others?? Disagree with anything except GPS??
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New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
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  #20  
Old 02-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Minimum for safety:
1. Lifefraft...certified and accessible.
2. All SOLAS requirements for safety gear.
3. Tethers/jacklines
4. A great anchor with rode you can handle.
5. VHF w/ dsc + handheld for ditch bag.
6. At least 3 handheld GPS's + batteries.
7. Paper charts for intended route and all "bailout" ports
8. Method for long distance communication & weather gathering: satphone or SSB/HAM.
9. Ability to repair: sails/rigging with spares or fix/patch. Plan for steering without rudder. Ability/plan to patch minor hull damage.
10. Large Manual Bilge pump and spares kit.
11. Full tool kit + rigging cutter

??Others?? Disagree with anything except GPS??
I don't think the SSB/Ham or Satphone is critical. You really just need an SW reciever for the weather. Most of the time there is no-one to talk to on SSB or Ham anyway and it places a huge demand on power.
__________________
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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