It's so very sad.... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-30-2013 Thread Starter
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It's so very sad....

Today I was cleaning out my chart table and found that all my navigation tools have rusted, corroded or are just filthy. For nearly half a century I have collected old and antique navigation instruments, but nearly daily use kept them clean and moving freely.
So when did I stop using them?
It has been many years since I've plotted a course on a chart, even when I was still using them. At most, a small circle would be placed on a chart, during an ocean crossing, to indicate our position at noon each day with the date and logged miles beside it.
We sail quite a bit now, changing anchorages on an island or venturing off to another island, several times a week. The 10" chartplotter at the helm provides accurate and convenient navigation information, and after 5 transits of the Windward and Leeward Islands over the last 20 months, little thought or preparation goes into each day's sail; we just put up the gear to suit the conditions and head out of the anchorage.
Of course we secure all ports and hatches (even on a lee side sail of only a few miles) and stow whatever needs stowing. But no plotting courses, no paper charts out anywhere and little plan beyond sticking our nose out into the channel and seeing if the current will help or hinder the day's voyage.
I love my beautiful bronze navigation tools and really liked the satisfaction of being spot on with celestial or DR navigation. But equally, I love the ease and simplicity of today's worry free navigation. I don't have to worry if we don't make our anchorage before dark; the radar superimposes on the chart of the chartplotter! How decadent!
It was almost like finding a beloved stuffed animal languishing away in the closet.
But I'm too old for all that, now....
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

I love your Pearson...beautiful boat for cruising.

Do you feel you are any less a safe sailor with the change in charting from paper to electronics? Are there any caveats to some of the newer sailors about overconfidence using the electronics?


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post #3 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

I don't know if this is sad. Many years ago they put away the astrolabe. I no longer own an RDF or Loran. Gutenburg's press is no more outdated than a laser impact printer. The evolution of technology may be celebrated. I like to keep the old techniques as a nostagia and honor to the past, but I'm not willing to think of their passing as sad. Celebrate the new stuff, but keep your head in the mix. True sadness comes when people respect the virtual world on the screens over the real world that is presented when they raise their heads!


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post #4 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

GREETINGS EARTHLINGS; It is quite sad the passing of all that has been learned to just pressing of some buttons and then a chart position is given, people have been navigation their instroments instead of sailing their vessel this has caused many a near miss or colission, IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOOD SEAMANSHIP comes to mind Navigation is by all possible means AS ALWAYS GO SAFE
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
Today I was cleaning out my chart table and found that all my navigation tools have rusted, corroded or are just filthy. For nearly half a century I have collected old and antique navigation instruments, but nearly daily use kept them clean and moving freely.
So when did I stop using them?
It has been many years since I've plotted a course on a chart, even when I was still using them. At most, a small circle would be placed on a chart, during an ocean crossing, to indicate our position at noon each day with the date and logged miles beside it.
We sail quite a bit now, changing anchorages on an island or venturing off to another island, several times a week. The 10" chartplotter at the helm provides accurate and convenient navigation information, and after 5 transits of the Windward and Leeward Islands over the last 20 months, little thought or preparation goes into each day's sail; we just put up the gear to suit the conditions and head out of the anchorage.
Of course we secure all ports and hatches (even on a lee side sail of only a few miles) and stow whatever needs stowing. But no plotting courses, no paper charts out anywhere and little plan beyond sticking our nose out into the channel and seeing if the current will help or hinder the day's voyage.
I love my beautiful bronze navigation tools and really liked the satisfaction of being spot on with celestial or DR navigation. But equally, I love the ease and simplicity of today's worry free navigation. I don't have to worry if we don't make our anchorage before dark; the radar superimposes on the chart of the chartplotter! How decadent!
It was almost like finding a beloved stuffed animal languishing away in the closet.
But I'm too old for all that, now....
Yup, I hear you...

I think the key is to keep sailing to new, unfamiliar places... Re-tracing the same routes, as I so often do on deliveries, can really foster such complacency... I was hoping to make it up to Labrador this summer, that definitely would have required the use of the sort of navigation you're speaking of, but unfortunately that was not to be...

Ahhh, well - there's always (hopefully) next year... :-) If I'm lucky, I will not have completely forgotten how to navigate in the meantime...

I find it's a lot like excercise - you simply have to FORCE yourself to do it to stay in shape, sometimes...
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-30-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: It's so very sad....

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I love your Pearson...beautiful boat for cruising.

Do you feel you are any less a safe sailor with the change in charting from paper to electronics? Are there any caveats to some of the newer sailors about overconfidence using the electronics?
I have always used my eyes as my primary navigation tool, and I still primarily rely on them. I also keep in mind that my chartplotter has been perfectly accurate everywhere I ever been (except the ICW), but that doesn't mean it will be, for the next place. But I used cancelled charts for the majority of my circumnavigation (I certainly could not afford a world portfolio of charts, even back then) so my reliance on paper charts has never been unwavering.
I have been doing this as an avocation and profession for a very long time and I could visualize plotted courses in my mind long before electronic navigation became the norm. For the first few trips with the old satellite navigation systems, I checked them against my celestial, but as time went on and equipment improved I began to accept the electronic equipment as being pretty reliable.
As to "the newer sailors about overconfidence using the electronics", I am one who would prefer to see all those new on the water learn the basics of navigation and seamanship before they ever turn on their electronics. There is not the tiniest nagging doubt in my mind that we would be just fine should all 5 of our gps units fail, even on an ocean crossing. Absolutely worst case scenario, I could sail latitude to a destination as I do have a few basic charts aboard, for just such an emergency.
I am certainly not going to go back to celestial, nor are my beautiful tools going to get much of a work out, but perhaps I should get out the Brasso and polish them, at least!

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.

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post #7 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

Just imagine one huge solar storm that fries all satellite navigational systems. Storms like that happened before and they will happen again. Keep your old instruments in good shape.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-31-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
Keep your old instruments in good shape....
....in case you get spoofed....

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post #9 of 10 Old 07-31-2013
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While not fearing where we are today and where we are going, it is important to never forget where we came from and where we have been.

Go sailing now my brother,
It's later than you think.

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post #10 of 10 Old 07-31-2013
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Re: It's so very sad....

Back when I started sailing (all of 10 years ago) I read everything I could get my hands on, got my navigation tools and started practicing.

I also got a hand held GPS with a tiny grey scale chart, it was pointless to use because of lack of detail.
By 2007/2008 I'd done a few charters in the BVI, where the catamaran's I was bareboating had no chartplotters, or charts (the company provided a very poor chart, I brought my own). I did all with paper and my nav tools, but then it was mostly visual anyway.
In 2007 I got my first chartplotter, a 5in color Lowrance. Other than planning all navigation went to electronic, the charts came home each weekend and became conversation starters/references for the next trip.

Now we are so familiar with the area that we don't need charts. I guess that means it's time to move on to somewhere else.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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