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  #1  
Old 08-15-2013
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To High tech Nav or not

Hi All,

All of my sailing since 1985 has been with the use of charts, compass and depth meter. I remember back in the day (my day) when the boats we rented from the Navy gave a new meaning to "bare boat". Bring your own compass, charts and tide book. I took about 15 years off from sailing, and did the motor boat fishing thing, and had a Garmin fish finder/ GPS map gizmo. Really cool. Installed some of those big monster, high dollar NAV stations in the bigger fishing boats also. (Used to be a marine mechanic/rigger). About to (hopefully) get a 31 footer and it's got your standard compliment of non-electronic NAV instruments aboard. Is this something that has become essential? The wife is giving me that look of "this keeps getting worse and worse". Know what I mean?

Dave
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

Dave,

It depends. On you. On where you sail.

Some people swear by a chartplotter at the helm. Others do just fine with a laptop/netbook with free/inexpensive nav software installed. Still others use a hand held GPS or GPS app on a smartphone. They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

When we bought our boat we decided to use it and first see what we really needed before spending a lot of money on expensive electronics. Turned out our needs are minimal.

I have paper charts on board. Electronically I used a netbook for years. This year I experimented with the Garmin app on my iPhone and that worked out well. I also used my iPad and that works well, too. I'm going to mount it at the helm eventually, with a waterproof case.
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

I understand where you are coming from. I learned to take sightings and how to do my chart plotting with a pencil. I am unsure if I am ready to take the plunge into trusting GPS
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
I understand where you are coming from. I learned to take sightings and how to do my chart plotting with a pencil.I am unsure if I am ready to take the plunge into trusting GPS
Damn, and I thought I was a dinosaur...

Are we to presume you never fly commercially, then, or wouldn't trust a cruise ship or passenger liner to reach its destination, and return?

:-)
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

When I started sailing in the PNW all I had was a compass, chart and dividers. Didn't seem to be a problem 20 years ago. Not sure why you'd really need much more now. Plenty of landmarks to get a position, except when it's foggy.......have fun out there!
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

I'm the complete opposite of you...I am a very High Tech guy and bought a boat with ZERO working instruments or electronics. The only thing that works electrically are the lights and battery charger. I never sailed at all before 2 years ago I have been learning to sail with the tools I have had, so no instruments. Just got a Raymarine/Tacktick wireless system and plan on going high tech throughout, from lighting to auto pilot to wifi networks. Still cannot replace good old sailing intuition. I am mostly a daysailor so I was never really too far from land, maybe 15-20 miles...Easy to get back.
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

I have a mid-tech system with a modern chart plotter, autopilot, sonar, wind, speed, and VHF/AIS.

A friend has a low-tech system with a VHF radio and a light or two.

We both love sailing.

I'm fine without the electronics much of the time, and often don't turn them on. However I found them useful on my 1 month cruise in July where I was sailing in terrain that I didn't know as well, anchoring daily (or more often), and had to take currents and tides into heavy consideration. I can do all of that on paper and would do tide tables on paper every day to check the BC Tide Prints book, but still mostly used the electronics.

Use what you want to use, no one is going to force you to do something more or less complicated than what you want.
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_E View Post
Hi All,

All of my sailing since 1985 has been with the use of charts, compass and depth meter. I remember back in the day (my day) when the boats we rented from the Navy gave a new meaning to "bare boat". Bring your own compass, charts and tide book. I took about 15 years off from sailing, and did the motor boat fishing thing, and had a Garmin fish finder/ GPS map gizmo. Really cool. Installed some of those big monster, high dollar NAV stations in the bigger fishing boats also. (Used to be a marine mechanic/rigger). About to (hopefully) get a 31 footer and it's got your standard compliment of non-electronic NAV instruments aboard. Is this something that has become essential? The wife is giving me that look of "this keeps getting worse and worse". Know what I mean?

Dave
I can't decide for you
GPS and plotter are not essential for me but I feel it is a practical tool when I do piloting in unknown waters.

Your "old" navigation skills are not obsolete, but it has never been wrong to combine new tools & techniques with existing/old knowledge and tools.

The vikings did not have chronometers, sextants and binoculars, but was still able to navigate.
There must have been some opposition against new technologies in the evolution of navigation.
Lead line is better than a depth finder? (You get better data on bottom conditions)
We don't need a chronometer/sextant to give us a longitude - it's expensive and inaccurate, looking for birds is a better solution

The GPS system have replaced RDF's, Decca and Loran C. (By GPS I'm talking about the positioning system alone, which can give is a position that often is accurate).

I treat the GPS position as a form of EP (Estimated position), EP is far better than a GP (guessed position).
When this position is plotted on my plotter (or paper chart) it's easier to locate (bearing and distance) "real world" stuff that can help with my piloting (NAVAIDS/ATON's/ATN).

Having a plotter by the helm is better than having a paper chart at the helm (Water and wind) and a chart/plotter at the nav station is just useless for me (short/single handed crew).

To me a chart plotter is a device I can use to:
-View charts (with automatic change of map)
-Plot a continuous EP from the GPS
-Measure bearing and distance
-Plan routes
+++

Just a small note on GPS pos=EP ws Piloting
Had a nice sail this evening - plotter zoomed at level where I had an good overview of the area around the boat with all the NAVAIDS showing.
Just at the moment we passed a green buoy on our port side I happened to glance at the plotter and noticed that the GPS position was on the opposite side of the buoy - this is my home waters so I know that the GPS was wrong.
I have seen this at some occasions but I'm certain that that is nothing wrong with the GPS or the placement of the aerial (nobody can cover the aerial to disturb signals).
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Old 08-15-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

there is nothing wrong with having hightech on the boat, but it does not replace taking a sighting and plotting it out by hand.

And I agree with using the GPS as an estimated positioning system. It might be 99% accurate where I am on the chart, but take all charts as suspect and would never "cut corners" unless I knew the waters very well.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: To High tech Nav or not

i started back when,charts and compass was all there was,fog up here can be thick[black fog] i still carry all charts bur also 2 chartplotters and radar.that being said,when on icw one gps may have me on the purple line the other in the mud or bushes,i always paid attention to the one showing me in deep water...you gotta use these devices as aids,eyes and logic works wonders,electronic charts dont blow around in the wind
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