Navigating with GPS and other means? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 27 Old 01-14-2011 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
The satellites will not be falling out of the sky, they are 11000 miles above the earth. But a major solar flare, a large dither put back in by the military, or jamming by those are enemies or those who think of it is a practical joke. Certain electronic equipement have jammed ship board GPS's.
Plus you may have not plugged in the correct chart datum. Or position the GPS antenna in the optimum position on your vessel. Bad antenna connection have caused one cruise ship to run aground. And I've had three GPS's go belly up on me, which is a good reason to have all of your way points listed in your Navigation work book AND use secondary means of Navigation to confirm your position.
The above is excellent reasons to practice Coastal piloting and maybe Celestial.

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post #12 of 27 Old 01-14-2011
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I use anything and everything I can. I have two chartplotters aboard, one at the helm and one at the chart table (and they are totally independent of each other). I always carry paper charts and I have radar and a decent hand bearing compass and , of course, a depthfinder. I haven't taken a sextant reading in over thirty years and would take along time to relearn the stuff I was taught as a midshipman half a century ago, though I guess they have little handheld calculators now that do most of the work for you and I have heard that you can get programs for a laptop to do the same. I haven't gotten that far yet. I don't carry a laptop because I haven't figured out the software, though that's lurking in the back of my mind (and anyway I'm a Mac person and most of the programs are for the laptops running evil empire software)

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post #13 of 27 Old 01-14-2011
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Genieskip—

If you're looking for a nav program for the Mac, look at MacENC, which can use the free NOAA ENC charts.

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post #14 of 27 Old 01-14-2011
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Like many folks here I like the ETA and VMG functions of my GPS and that's mainly what I use it for. In terms of actually deciding which way to steer, I do it all by eye. My GPS doesn't have maps on it and I only carry paper charts. I sometimes transfer my position from the GPS, but generally I'm either far enough from the nearest hazard that I don't care precisely where I am, or I'm close enough to it that my main navigational tool is the depthsounder.

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post #15 of 27 Old 01-15-2011
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Been using GPS driven chart software on my laptop for 7 years now.
Its reliable enough but only the foolish would take anything for granted when on the water, all circumspect sailors should use at least two independent position fixes systems, as well as their eyes and ears, because instruments alone are the path to certain disaster
There,s a sad story about Jean Socrates who was within a few hours of completing a circumnavigation and ran aground because of, as i understand it, instrument failure. She out again and is some were near the Beagle Channel so it didn,t put her off. Not suggesting she was in any way responsible but the story indicated her boat was on autopilot at the time and she was resting below.
Happy sailing
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post #16 of 27 Old 01-15-2011
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For the most part--I've seen appalling laziness by captains, both pro and recreational when it comes to backing up the black-box navigation devices. Having crewed on three offshore deliveries this past year, only myself and one other crewmember maintained a plot along with a running navigation log.

As a professional maritime instructor, former director of navigation and seamanship, and veteran Coastie navigator, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of basic navigation as a backup.

I'm not talking popping off sunlines every hour. I'm talking entering or leaving a harbor, making landfall, navigating through islands, making positive identification on aids to navigation or islands to the right, left and ahead.

One captain was using a 1:500,000 scale chart to thread his way through islands. I am always quite pointed about asking a captain if he or she carries and uses nautical charts aboard for piloting waters. The usual answer is "of course!". But once you're out there, it rarely if ever happens.

It's easy to get complacent in your own area of operation. But I tend to believe otherwise. For example...Let's say you're motoring down a busy, narrow channel 50 yards wide. Shoals to the left and right. Some pockets of good water between the shoals. Your engine dies. You need to get out of the channel fast and drop the hook. Which way do you turn? Left? Right?

On your nautical chart, deep-water pockets between the shoals are shown as blobs of white with clearly marked soundings. Good luck trying to find those same areas, with depths clearly shown on any chart plotter!

Enter the strip chart (or a folded nautical chart, or a printed copy of a nautical chart), properly annotated with these areas marked. Pop it on a clipboard with a rubber band and throw it down in a corner of the cockpit. See what I mean? That's easy. Dead simple.

And that's what I have taught and written about for years in small boat navigation or sailing navigation. I believe that in order to convince people to navigate, you have to give them something simple, practical, and something that will work short handed or single handed.

But most important--you have to set the example and practice it yourself, in front of others. That's where captains and skippers really have the responsibility to set an example. Anyone crewing with you will be influenced by how you do things aboard your boat.

Captain John
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post #17 of 27 Old 01-15-2011
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skippertips et al

+1

I also have my students go through a lengthy planning process in which they identify all of the aids to navigation that they expect to encounter with: an bearing on first sight, side to leave-to, location, light characteristics, etc.. We also have a couple of options for passes we need to transit with the safe times to go through, danger / clearing bearings noted, hazards identified,etc.

We do maintain a decklog with position, course speed, meteorological conditions etc..

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post #18 of 27 Old 01-15-2011
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Slight aside

This web site has a great outline for passage planning. While it is meant for the big guys, recreational boaters can benefit from the process as well.

Ship Passage Planning

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post #19 of 27 Old 01-15-2011
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Thanks again jackdale
For now on I gonna follow you around scarfing up links lol ....

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post #20 of 27 Old 01-15-2011
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I use the chartplotters for determining headings and then usually use the compass while checking the plotters for cross track error. The depth sounder is the most important instrument on board though. In poor visibility or heavy traffic radar is what I'm looking at. Paper charts and Coast Pilot and usually a variety of cruising guides are always out and referenced.

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