True the paper chart is printed with orientation to the north. That makes sense though because that is the only thing that is a standardization to. It would not be possible to print charts in a head up orientation. That alone is not reason to create everything north on the boat. In addition charts can be rotated and moved.
Our nav station faces forward, the chart table is large enough to rotate the chart 360 degrees. If my bow is facing E and I intend on traveling that way I orient my paper chart that way at the nav station as well as in the cockpit.
If my bow is facing E and there are rocks in front of me visually, I don't want my paper chart facing north so they are 90 degrees to the right of me when I look at it, I want to rotate the chart so they are ahead of me. When I glance down at the chart and there is a river to the left, and I look up the river is to the left. No room for error or need for computation. That's why I have the CP in a head up orientation.
However all this said, there is no ultimate CORRECT way to do this. You should do whatever makes you comfortable as well as so the rest of your crew can understand also if necessary.
Makes no difference what orientation you keep, as long as you can read your position safely
Here is Danish chart 1213, oriented as you would have it if sailing south along one of the most intricate coastlines in the world, the Vestkyst of Greenland...
The index name of this chart is as follows:
Qeqertarsuatsiaat – Kangerluarsoruseq (Fiskenæsset – Kangerluarsoruseq)
All I can say, is - if you can read that chart upside down, you are a FAR better man than I... (grin)
While I can make that shift if I can keep things in a north orientation many newer people or inexperienced cannot easily I have found. They need to confirm visually what they have looked down at on a chart and then look up again to get their bearings..
Funny, but that last bit seems like a GOOD practice, to me... Many of the replies in this thread appear to place more importance on the ability to simply use a chartplotter
, than to actually read a chart
and interpret your position on it... I recently cited an example from John Harries, a collision that resulted from the initial reaction of a helmsman to look at his chartplotter, instead of actually looking outside the boat in order to "get his bearings"...
You're right, there is no absolutely 'correct' way to do this, whatever works best for you... However, when anyone sails with me, they will do so according to MY preferences, and the logic of selecting the orientation of a chartplotter to best suit the LEAST experienced or capable person aboard is somewhat lost on me... (grin)