Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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Before spending money on the chartplotter, I'd recommend spending money on a good coastal navigation course. The knowledge you gain there will help you better decide what navigation equipment is right for you and how you use your boat. Coastal pilotage, dead reckoning and other skills should be in your navigation tool kit before adding GPS IMHO.
Also, the Mark I Eyeball is usually your best and most important navigation tool.
I'd point out that using a chartplotter in the fog can be a serious mistake. While it is better than nothing, unless you've used those charts in clear weather, you will not know if there are any inaccuracies that can get you into trouble. Just like when using the waypoints off of a chart kit, you need to check that the charts are accurate for your sailing area before relying on them in limited visibility conditions.
Also remember, the icon on the chartplotter screen is NOT YOUR BOAT's LOCATION. It is a graphical representation of where you boat may be located on a cartographer's interpretation of the real world that may or may not be complete or accurate, and subject to the possible inaccuracies of the GPS satellite system. There may be times where that accuracy is reasonable, say ±30 '... and time when it is not, say ±300'.
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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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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.