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  #61  
Old 08-11-2013
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
My personal belief is that with modern 'electronic' navigation there are many 'errors of resolution' ... or improper 'scale up'/magnification of the base charting from which the e-charts are made, especially charting that is derived from old lead-line soundings, etc.

In the paper chart days, skippers would pass by most 'danger zones' at considerable margin of safety distances because they knew that the old charts simply were not that accurate. With todays e-Nav much of the base data is still derived from lead-line data, especially in areas not frequented by the 'large commercial boats'; and still may include the relative inaccuracy of lead line soundings, etc., which when originally surveyed the 'expected' inaccuracies ('tolerance ranges' of measurement) defined the 'scale' of the charting. With e-Nav its really easy to 'magnify' at a scale that is much much different (and entirely inappropriate) than the original scale and the 'resolution enhancements' that the modern e-navigator uses can be 'waaaaay off'.
The message here is if youre navigating in areas that were charted/defined/derived by the pre-WWII (and later) survey methods, dont depend on extreme MAGNIFICATION of an e-chart to insure your safety. Another way to put this if the base data was properly accurate for 1:50,000 or 1:75,000 scale charts (NAD1927, etc.), the 'stack up' of intrinsic error due to the eNavigation magnification scale up of the 'intrinsic margin of error' in the 'old data' will leave you very vulnerable when reading the exact same chart MAGNIFIED to 1:5,000 scale (WGS1984). The resolution error comes from scaling up inappropriately to a a higher value of the intrinsic 'margin of error'.

This is the same as 'believing everything that you read in print to be true' ... and with no consideration a 'grains of salt' taken with such readings.
Several times before, here and elsewhere, I have cited Nigel Calder's HOW TO READ A NAUTICAL CHART, which offers his usual lucid, analytical take on precisely these issues... May as well do it again, towards the end of this piece he did for OCEAN NAVIGATOR, he gets to the heart of what you are talking about... With so many folks today relying on e-charting exclusively, it's very important for 'navigators' to understand this stuff...

How accurate are our charts? - Ocean Navigator - January/February 2003

In my observation, what amazes me the most today, is the lack of appreciation for the distinction between your position on a chart, and your position on the earth's surface... The faith that many sailors today have that those are always identical is simply astonishing...

The last time I was in Allan's Cay, I met another cruiser who was headed back across the Yellow Bank towards Nassau. Only problem was, he was gonna be doing so in extremely poor light conditions... No problem, however - in speaking with him, it became apparent that he truly believed that Monty & Sarah Lewis had charted every single coral head that existed along the track between Allan's and Porgee Rock, and as long as he steered around the little asterisks on his EXPLORER CHARTS, he'd be fine...

Now, to be fair, he probably would be, the odds of hitting a head with 6' draft along that route probably ARE somewhat slim... But still, it's the attitude and faith placed in the accuracy and completeness of cartography even as brilliant as Monty & Sarah's that often leaves me simply shaking my head at some of the 'seamanship' I see being applied today...

UFB...


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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I remember when LORAN came out, the old salts railed against it.
Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I don't remember much of that at all :-) They don't come much 'saltier' than Down East lobstermen, and they sure embraced Loran pretty quickly, and even bitched like hell when the decision was made to discontinue the system...

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
The statistics doe not show an increase ( even if you look at the last couple of years) in incidents or rescues. They in fact show relatively the same numbers. The Internet has helped publicize them more. We all can point to our own personal stories of ineptitude and experiences with others as you have, but that really doesn't mean overall there has been an increase percentage wise. Again the stats show pretty much static.
Well, I'm still waiting to see these statistics and facts pertaining specifically to sailing yachts, which of course is the subject under discussion... I keep hearing they're out there, somewhere, I just wish someone could offer a cite :-)

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Now to the issue of the first time purchasers buying larger boats. It almost seems like a bit of jealousy or criticism that others do this by some posters here. There's an attitude that since I came up the hard way so therefore you should. I started small and built up from that so that's the right way to go.

To me it doesn't make any difference whether your first car is a Yugo or. Mercedes. The expense nor the size of the car is relevant as to the persons ability to use the car safely. Just because someone starts with. 40+ boat doesn't mean they would be any safer with a 30 footer. It all goes back to the experience and seamanship skill of he individual captain and should not be generalized to a whole class of pople. We all know many idiots or stupids with smaller boats too.

Stupidity does not know size. It also does not necessarily know experience. There is no training stupidity out of a person. We just have to be aware they are out t here.And protect ourselves accordingly.
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose, but when I was delivering that Wauquiez 47 I referred to earlier, all I kept thinking is that this was NOT a boat that I'd want to try to learn how to sail on :-)

flyingwelshman's thread on walking before running supports the notion that many others feel the same way, that in starting out in a large boat with electric winches and bowthrusters, one misses many opportunities to learn the subtleties of sailing or boathandling that one can only detect on a boat small enough to lend feedback to minor corrections of the helm, the tweaking of a traveler or cunningham, whatever...

In the end, I rate this trend of starting out in larger boats as just one more thing that winds up reinforcing the powerboat mentality that's creeping into cruising and sailing today, and ultimately contributes to motoring more, and sailing less...
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
No problem, however - in speaking with him, it became apparent that he truly believed that Monty & Sarah Lewis had charted every single coral head that existed along the track between Allan's and Porgee Rock, and as long as he steered around the little asterisks on his EXPLORER CHARTS, he'd be fine...
I'm laughing because my wife said basically the same thing one day when I had anchored in the Exumas. She pointed to one of the little asterisks and said, don't you think we are a little close to that?

I asked her. The water is clear as it can be. Do you see a coral head anywhere near us?
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

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Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
I'm laughing because my wife said basically the same thing one day when I had anchored in the Exumas. She pointed to one of the little asterisks and said, don't you think we are a little close to that?

I asked her. The water is clear as it can be. Do you see a coral head anywhere near us?
Hey, as long as you're anchored on top of the little "Anchor" symbol on the chart, you're fine :-)

One sees this constantly, of course... I once arrived in Rock Sound, Eleuthera to ride out a strong frontal passage... It's a big, wide open harbor, and the obvious place to be with a strong breeze clocking from SW to N, would seem to me to be tucked up into the NW corner of the bight as far as your draft would allow...



When I came around the point and into the harbor, there were already about 8-10 boats huddled together somewhat on the W side of the harbor, but still seeming fairly exposed... As I inched my way past them to the north, I found I was able to get up into a much more protected spot, considerably further to the N... Next morning after the front had come through overnight, that little fleet was pitching and sailing about wildly in a considerable chop generated by 25-30 knots of breeze, while I was riding fairly quietly in wavelets topping out at about 8 inches...

Wasn't until my second cup of coffee, that it dawned upon me that all those other boats - several of which likely were shallower draft than I, and could have worked their way in much closer to shore - were clustered PRECISELY where Monty & Sarah's little anchor said they should be... :-)
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

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]Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I don't remember much of that at all :-)- Jon Eisenberg
Same argument back then. The electronics will fail....then what will you do

Quote:
Well, I'm still waiting to see these statistics and facts pertaining specifically to sailing yachts, which of course is the subject under discussion... I keep hearing they're out there, somewhere, I just wish someone could offer a cite :-)Jon Eisenberg
We've been through this before Jon. As a whole if you compare boating in general incidents/ recues and mishaps over the past few years the trend is downward. They probably don't break it down into sailboats, powerboats, rowboats, rubber duckys. But logic says that the percentage of sailboat, powerboat, rowboat and rubber ducky incidents would remain somewhat similar ( even maybe increasing for PB the way people talk about them here)

Quote:
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose, but when I was delivering that Wauquiez 47 I referred to earlier, all I kept thinking is that this was NOT a boat that I'd want to try to learn how to sail on :-)Jon Eisenberg
Different strokes for different folks. They could afford it, more power to them. My wife has learned on a 35 footer. She did not go in a progression from smaller boats to larger boats like I did ( lasers, hobies, 28 Islander). She is no less adept, no less of a navigator, no less cautions and no less safety conscious.

Quote:
flyingwelshman's thread on walking before running supports the notion that many others feel the same way, that in starting out in a large boat with electric winches and bowthrusters, one misses many opportunities to learn the subtleties of sailing or boathandling that one can only detect on a boat small enough to lend feedback to minor corrections of the helm, the tweaking of a traveler or cunningham, whatever..Jon Eisenberg.

I understand what you are saying and even part of me somewhat agrees, but transferring that mentality to learning how to drive a car, does that mean people should start out learning and driving a Yugo with no power steering, no creature comforts, more feedback through the wheel and eschew vehicles with those features. There is no data to support that "assertion", just a feeling and a few personal anecdotal references. So who determines what walking is and what running is?

Are these people of today learning on bigger boats causing or having more accidents? Statistics say no. Causing more problems? No statistics to support that either. Some of us see more incidents....or do we?

If they have the bucks to pay for it....so be it. No jealousy from me.
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  #66  
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

I think it all comes down to people. Some can learn from the mistakes of others or are capable of listening to sound advice without taking offense while others think it can't happen to them or don't want to be lectured to. My first boat was a 32' Endeavour. My only sailing experience was 20 years prior while daysailing with a friend on a Catalina 27 in San Diego, once in San Francisco, and once in Manilla Bay. Many on here may say that 32' was too much boat for a beginner. I would disagree. I disagree because from the start I respected the boat. She weighed 11,600 lbs and I had a good idea of how much damage that could do. I took her out in light winds. On my first trip I threw out an empty 2 liter bottle and made approaches to it both under power and under sail on a day there were very few other boats about. I spent over 4 hours approaching that bottle as if it was a concrete dock and I would sink if I hit it. I sunk my boat several times that day but all the sinkings were early on. I had much more confidence when I put her back in the slip.

I moved her shortly after that trip to a much larger lake. During the time of my move I realized I had made a very stupid mistake. I had learned 20 years ago that port tack/overtaking/windward boats must give way and powerboats give way to sail. When I got my copy of the navigation rules I realized their was so much more to know so I studied that book before I ever took her out again. I studied basic navigation. I got a current copy of the chart book for my area. My next trip was a weekend excursion on the lake. My only electronics was the depth meter and a handheld GPS unit. I followed my progress on the charts. Sure, I used the GPS but I knew exactly where I was on the chart at all times. With a 4'5" draft I mentally set a safe depth of 10'. Sand bars move so I kept a safe distance from the charted bars. When I actually anchored I had already selected a charted area with enough depth to allow me a 7:1 rode length with a clear 360 degree swing. I had my approach visualized and I had an escape plan if I needed it. It was a rather smallish cove. I had a great weekend of sailing even though the winds were only light to moderate. On the way back they were so light that I had to motor to get back before dark. The engine overheated. I cleaned the water strainer and restarted. Still overheating. Rather than tinker with it in the middle of a channel with barge traffic, I raised the sails and learned another lesson. Become better aquainted with a diesel engine. The long trip back at exactly 1 mph on my GPS and my 1st docking under sail taught me the folly of not knowing everything I could about my boat. Respect is not enough. I learned from my mistakes and have since made an effort to make sure those mistakes are not repeated.

If you've managed to stay with me this far then let me tell you how I could have done it. I could have jumped on that boat, backed her out of the slip without telling the people in the next slip it was my first boat and asking if they could lend a hand if needed, gunned the throttle and shoot out into the lake. I could have cruised around without knowing what was under my keel. Screw the practice, I can handle it. There are bumpers (yes, I know they are called fenders but I'm in character) on the boat so what the hell, let's have fun. On my weekend trip I would do the same thing. I don't need to read a book and I damn sure don't want to spend $15 on a chartbook. I have my GPS! Just keep it between the buoys! WOOHOOO!!!! What fun! Ok, drop the anchor. How much line to pay out? I'll tug on it. If I cant pull it up, then it should be fine. Damn engine overheated! Well, I'm in the middle of the channel. If anybody comes along they can see I'm not moving so they will avoid me while I spend the next hour or so reading the manual and figuring out what's wrong. Lucky thing I came back on deck. Why is that barge honking his horn? What the hell, he almost hit me! Who does he think he is? He don't own this lake. Guess I'll have to call the marina on the VHF for a tow. (On radio) "Hello, marina... Can you hear me?... This is Dean, can you come tow me in?"

My point in all this is that I think no matter what type of gadgets you have, or even if you have nothing, it boils down to people. It's whether or not you are willing to learn and have some respect for what you are doing and what you are doing it on. Society seems to have become so fast paced and trained us to rush to the goal and forget the milestones. Technology has enabled that mindset. It allows us to do without learning to do. You will NEVER hear me say "that can never happen to me" because that is when Karma will bite me in the butt. I owned my boat for a year before I had to sell her. In that year plus the day sails in San Diego I've experienced a lost rudder at the mouth of San Diego Bay, engine failure on the lake, and a broken prop shaft. I've had to dock single handed twice under sail. Once at night in calm conditions and once in daylight in very stressful conditions. I posted about that in the thread "Big Freakin Sails". So yes, it can happen to me, or anyone else no matter what your experience level. If you think it can't then I feel for you.
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Old 08-11-2013
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

Dean, that was a good post. once in a while I do a docking class here in SD and I'll do senarios like you did with the water bottle. You probably remember the customs dock at the south end of SI. if you do you'll know that half that dock is taken by off duty harbor patrol boats, add in a 80' boat clearing in and there's not much space left.

What I would do is take students over to the dock ( on a not so busy day )and I would use whatever was avalable to mark limits ( boarding steps, Trash can or whatever) I would tell them that this step is a 3 million dollar boat, that trash can was a 7 million dollar boat and we have no insurance, now dock.

It was a fun drill, everyone has a good time and by the end of the 4hrs they were docking a C-32 in a 36+/- foot space, granted in the beginning we did around 60 million in imaginary damage.
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Old 08-11-2013
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

Been at this boating stuff on and off since the late 50's and still learning new things. I have owned three sail boats during the last 25 years. Done numerous 12 to 20 day passages and countless overnighters, racing and cruising. I also teach navigation. Some observations:

About 20 years ago I was returning from Catalina Island in dense fog in my 27 foot race boat in cruiser mode, stripped out, paper charts doing DRs, with confirmation using small LORAN unit. Big 50-some foot sport fisher comes out of the fog doing about 15 knots, then slows down and comes along side. The skipper asked what the heading was to Avalon. Excuse me, the vessel had about tens of thousands of dollars of electronic equipment aboard, go figure.

I had a slip that was in between two broker slips who sold 40-43 foot trawlers, a million plus dollars new. I met several new owners over the period of a couple of years. All were new to boating; these trawlers were their first boat!

Captain's licenses. I have met many individuals who has this license and do not know the first thing about navigation, etc. Some spent numerous hours as deck hands or less on commercial boats or what ever, but never in the position to handle the vessel, anchor, use radio communication, or navigate. But because they had the necessary sea hours or days, they qualified to take the license classes and exam. Just because you can pass an examination test does not reflect on your actual on the water skills.
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Quote:
Well, I'm still waiting to see these statistics and facts pertaining specifically to sailing yachts, which of course is the subject under discussion... I keep hearing they're out there, somewhere, I just wish someone could offer a cite :-)Jon Eisenberg
We've been through this before Jon. As a whole if you compare boating in general incidents/ recues and mishaps over the past few years the trend is downward. They probably don't break it down into sailboats, powerboats, rowboats, rubber duckys. But logic says that the percentage of sailboat, powerboat, rowboat and rubber ducky incidents would remain somewhat similar ( even maybe increasing for PB the way people talk about them here)
yes, I know we've been over this before... Again, may I remind you it is simply my impression that incidents of the sort the OP is referring to seem to be occurring with greater frequency... This is SAILNET, we are discussing] the examples involving sailing yachts... It is not Sea Ray owners who are setting out for Bermuda, and abandoning their boats halfway there, after all - so whatever statistics they might be racking up really aren't relevant, here...

We'll just have to agree to disagree, but until someone can produce statistics specific to sailing yachts, I - not to mention others such as Donald Street, Herb McCormick, or Charles Doane - will remain skeptical of any claims that such examples of poor seamanship, or people 'out-sailing' their level of experience or ability, are on a downward trend...

And as for the argument that the internet has become one massive piece of cyber flypaper that catches each and every mishap, I'm not so sure about that, either... There is still PLENTY that happens out there that escapes our attention... Here's another Swan found adrift in the Atlantic recently - I hadn't heard about this one, had you? The Russkies found themselves a nice one, here, and towed it into Havana ... Impressive testimony to Swan quality, that it survived the freakin' tow :-)



Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Different strokes for different folks. They could afford it, more power to them. My wife has learned on a 35 footer. She did not go in a progression from smaller boats to larger boats like I did ( lasers, hobies, 28 Islander). She is no less adept, no less of a navigator, no less cautions and no less safety conscious.

I understand what you are saying and even part of me somewhat agrees, but transferring that mentality to learning how to drive a car, does that mean people should start out learning and driving a Yugo with no power steering, no creature comforts, more feedback through the wheel and eschew vehicles with those features. There is no data to support that "assertion", just a feeling and a few personal anecdotal references. So who determines what walking is and what running is?

Are these people of today learning on bigger boats causing or having more accidents? Statistics say no. Causing more problems? No statistics to support that either. Some of us see more incidents....or do we?

If they have the bucks to pay for it....so be it. No jealousy from me.
Actually, I would suggest that someone who learns to drive with a simple vehicle affording qualities such as "more feedback through the wheel", or a manual transmission, and without automated control systems such as ABS, actually ARE likely to be better drivers, in the end... Every time I drive up to a ski area in a snowstorm, I can't help but think I might be seeing fewer Lexus SUVs in ditches along the way, if more of those folks had first learned to drive in the snow in a big old 60's vintage rear-wheel drive hunk of Detroit steel and chrome :-)

Look, I'm not suggesting that people starting out in large boats are having more mishaps, or whatever... I'm just always curious about, and wondering as to the possible causes, as to why I so often see such abysmal sail trim, for example, among cruisers out there... (On those rare occasions when I actually see a cruising boat under sail, that is :-)) And, I simply think that much of it comes down to many have never developed the 'feel' that is more likely to be learned from sailing smaller, more responsive boats... There are undoubtedly many exceptions, such as your wife, but I think that for many people out there, they're just never gonna pick up some of the more nuanced aspects of sailing required to keep an overburdened cruising boat moving in light to moderate conditions, that they would have from doing some racing, or sailing aboard more responsive craft...

One thing sailing small boats definitely teaches one quickly, is the importance of weight aboard, how important its distribution can be to performance, and the dramatic degradation of the boat's sailing qualities when overloaded...

There's an awful lot of Kroozers out there, who could have benefited from learning that lesson in a smaller boat, early on... :-)

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Last edited by JonEisberg; 08-11-2013 at 11:01 PM.
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Re: Vanishing Seamanship

Interestingly, I just did have all my electronics fail. The PO had wired ships power, the inverter charger and a 1200 watt/12v windlass to the same 200 amp breaker. When it popped re-setting the anchor, everything went dead, except the engine, which luckily was already running.

I'm very glad that I had completely independent luddite naviguessing tools - and a clear moonlight night - and low tide on arrival. Without that, the outcome might have been very different.

Last edited by Elegua; 08-12-2013 at 01:38 AM.
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