Does anyhbody still navigate? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 63 Old 05-23-2012 Thread Starter
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Does anyhbody still navigate?

OK, so I'm a hi tek Luddite but my recent sailing trip exposed me to the fact that NOBODY seems to use paper charts anymore. People who saw me studying my charts at a cruisers pub in the bahamas (Petes Pub at Little harbor)all stopped by to look at my paper charts and comment on my plotting tools with one of em looking at my dividers saying "I didn't know you could still buy these".
Everybody seems to use chart plotters but I just cannot seem to get "the big picture" by looking at such plotters. Using paper charts, I have also developed a sort of mental method of keeping out of harms way by saying to myself while looking at the chart 'If I stay N of 27.34.231 on this course then I will not come anywhere near those rocks" whereas I cannot do that by looking at a chart plotter. I guess you could develop that ability but I tend to think you'd rely too much on it telling you exactly where it is. I've gotten over the feeling of being naked without my hand bearing compass in my hands but I still have a compass in the binocs (and the boat compass and the hand compass that is in my emergency bag).
I was extremely impressed by a guy who had a Ipad with various nav software that showed him not only depths but wave height and wind speed in as close to real time as it could be measured by buoys and extrapolation. He said it was mostly correct but I am not sure. It said 5-6' seas whereas I think I saw 6-8' before I turned back toward Little Harbor, Abaco after my fuel line ruptured. Still, something like that might be nicer than going into the cabin and trying to avoid getting seasick while plotting ones position.
So, how do most people here navigate?
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post #2 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

Electronic devices are still navigation helpers. I still use paper charts, compass and dead reckoning. Please note that the first page in navigation devices is a notice indicating that they are tools for helping navigation. Paper charts are the correct method. Although electronic charts are able to hold a a lot of information, they do not. If electronic navigation was superior to paper charts, the percentage of hitting the rocks and landings should have decreased which is not the case. Use paper charts, check where you are going with your eyes. Do not keep electronic navigation tools near the helm, otherwise you will be steering with the electronic devices as if you are playing a computer game.
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post #3 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

My boat doesn't have a chartplotter - and I don't feel like I really need one on the Chesapeake Bay. The longest sail I've done was about 50 miles and I navigated with a paper chart, finding landmarks, channel markers, etc... I was a Boy Scout though so orienting a map isn't a foreign concept.

Since there is always cell reception in the Bay, I saved over a thousand bucks and downloaded a $20 app for my iPad that can plot my location on a “paper” chart. It works well and provides a quick reference for finding my location on a real paper chart.

But I’m with you, I like holding the paper chart to get the big picture. I also like reading a real newspaper, so…
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post #4 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Yes, I still navigate with papaer chart.

I use my $600 chartplotter as a GPS speedo mostly. Very rarely do I navigate by/with it. I have a paper chart in the cockpit all the time when we sail unless I am going out and back along a route that I have done umpteen times before. I navigate only with a paper chart as it is more visual for me than a 6 inch screen. The only time I don't navigate with a chart are the times with no visibility (fog).

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post #5 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

I like to study the paper to spot the mistakes that would have me try and sail over land

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post #6 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

Oh boy, this one will generate some strong opinions! :-)

I have been sailing 35 years. There was no GPS and Loran was way to expensive. So I navigated just fine with a paper chart, handbearing compass, steering compass, and dead reckoning in currents and sometimes fog. As you can imagine I still don't go anywhere without a paper chart at the helm. Finally "went over to the darkside" and got a chart plotter app on the iPhone. It Is NOT to be trusted, used as a backup and additional info.

We have been cruising full-time now for six years. Many cruisers we meet who are new to sailing only use electronic charts, some don't even have a magnetic compass or paper chart aboard! Without GPS and a plotter they are lost and could not navigate or even pilot the boat visually. They call the Coast Guard to report they are lost and need assistance when in clear view of Miami!!! I, of course, have a strong opinion and think they are nuts! They follow the course the chart plotter gives them and run aground when if they had only looked up for a moment they would have seen that the markers were moved due to a shifting shoal.

I, of course, believe that all sailors should know how to navigate and pilot without electronic aids but certainly embrace the new technologies as useful and convenient aids. I guess using my leadline (most new cruisers we meet don't know what that is) since my depth sounder quit 10 years ago qualifies me as a Luddite! :-)
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post #7 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

I can't even figure out how to change the time on the older GPS unit that came with my boat so I always have the paper charts at hand. I even use a star chart when sailing at night. I think the charts on the Iphones are cool but don't have a cell phone, so I don't see that happening anytime soon.
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post #8 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Our boat has a plotter, navigation computer, 5 GPSs, AIS and all the toys, but we keep a waterproof chart and plotting tools right by the wheel. Anything else is guessing.
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post #9 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

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Originally Posted by Svenchantress View Post
I guess using my leadline (most new cruisers we meet don't know what that is) since my depth sounder quit 10 years ago qualifies me as a Luddite! :-)
I might have to give that a try. Having a bear of a time trying to find a spot for my shoot through transducer... My wife's new hobby is sitting in the cockpit reading (occassionally looking up to let me know the guage still reads "---")while I crawl around under births with a Ziploc full of water and a piece of sandpaper.
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post #10 of 63 Old 05-23-2012
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Re: Does anyhbody still navigate?

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Originally Posted by Svenchantress View Post
Oh boy, this one will generate some strong opinions! :-)
It shouldn't. The question was "which method do you use" not "which is better."

I use both paper and electronic and have both on board.
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