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  #21  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

When I returned to Perryville from 6-months of cruising to the Florida Keys and back, the approach channel from the Chesapeake's upper reaches to Havre de Grace, Maryland were being dredged. A brand new island was created around Fishing Battery Lighthouse, and many of the channel markers had been moved.

After the dredging was complete, some of the channel markers were put in new locations, which really didn't make a lot of sense to me. Why would they dredge an entirely new channel adjacent to the old channel instead of just deepening and widening the old channel.

Well, it only took one trip down the new channel to discover that the Coast Guard didn't place the buoys in the proper positions. One of the red buoys was nearly 100 yards off station, and leads you into some pretty shallow water. Fortunately, the old channel is still well marked on my GPS/Plotter, thus I was able to follow the dotted path and depths remained a constant 18-feet. Without the aid of the GPS/Plotter/Depth Finder combination, if I had followed the buoys, as some suggested, I would have likely ran aground near the old dredging spoil sand island. I called the Coast Guard and they said they would look into the matter. To date, the buoy remains off-station.

I've always said safe boating is 90-percent common sense, which can easily be backed up with some relatively inexpensive electronics. One of the neatest tools I acquired in my electronics arsenal is the Spot GPS Satellite Messenger. It's a fantastic device the size of a package of cigarettes that allows me to tell friends and family where I'm at at any given time of day or night. I purchased it via the Sailnet store, and with the discounts it ended up costing about $45. The annual service fee is about $105, which is dirt cheap. It works throughout most of the world, and during my trip down the ICW, at locations where there was no cellular telephone signal, it only took the press of a button to let my family know I was safe. SPOT SATELLITE MESSENGER :: HOME PAGE

Cheers,

Gary
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  #22  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
...
Many of the modern innovations are indeed advances in safety, convenience and ease but without a solid foundation in the basics, people are getting into perilous situations where their only hope of survival is being rescued. ....

The toys are great, but if you can't sail without them, perhaps you shouldn't sail until you can. ...

Every time there are boating fatalities, it encourages governments to regulate our sport, thereby restricting one of the last experiences of true freedom; sailing on the wind.
I cannot agree more.

Regarding the last paragraph many times regulations are issued over needed equipment and not competence needed and in what regards the last when they are requested as a need by the authorities, they are obtained many times in courses that bear little resemblance with real conditions, kind of theory courses with some little practice.

For allowing somebody to cross the Ocean on a solo Mini racer, on a race that has more safety safeguards than any isolated Atlantic Transat the organization demands to, what are obviously experienced sailors, many thousand of solo ocean miles (controlled) before they are allowed to race.

If you want to go and cross the Ocean on an old unfit boat without knowing nothing about sailing, in most cases, nobody as nothing to do it....except paying for the rescue if the boat fells apart or if the guy or the crew finds that it was not what they thought it was and are frightened with some bad weather that is not necessarily dangerous.

There is no amount of required equipment that will provide a solution for that. I only don't like the word "toys" to describe equipment that used by competent people can be very useful.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 05-23-2013 at 12:49 PM.
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  #23  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
I've always said safe boating is 90-percent common sense, which can easily be backed up with some relatively inexpensive electronics. One of the neatest tools I acquired in my electronics arsenal is the Spot GPS Satellite Messenger. It's a fantastic device the size of a package of cigarettes that allows me to tell friends and family where I'm at at any given time of day or night. I purchased it via the Sailnet store, and with the discounts it ended up costing about $45. The annual service fee is about $105, which is dirt cheap. It works throughout most of the world, and during my trip down the ICW, at locations where there was no cellular telephone signal, it only took the press of a button to let my family know I was safe. SPOT SATELLITE MESSENGER :: HOME PAGE

Cheers,

Gary
Yeah, SPOTs sure are becoming popular, alright...

I'd love to have a nickel for every taxpayer dollar that will be wasted in the years to come on needless SAR missions triggered after a SPOT battery dies, or someone at sea hasn't posted to their blog or Facebook page in more than 24 hours... (grin)

One recent example...

Quote:

Missing Honolulu boat headed to Long Beach is found with broken satellite phone

Updated: 05/05/2013 04:02:00 PM PDT

LONG BEACH -- A sailboat that went missing while en route from Hawaii to California has been found with a broken satellite phone, and relatively close to the islands, Coast Guard officials said today.

The sailing vessel "Siesta" had missed its scheduled radio contacts, and Friday authorities asked California mariners for help spotting the boat, which was described as a 44-foot white and blue vessel, captained by a Hawaiian named Curtis Collins.

Coast Guard officials in Honolulu said the crew of the missing vessel was found in no distress this morning nearly 500 miles northeast of Oahu.

The crew aboard the motor vessel "Kristen Picer" notified Coast Guard officials of the discovery around 8:55 a.m. and helped rescuers locate the "Siesta."

The "Siesta" crew cited a malfunction in their satellite phone as the reason for the missed contact over the 12-hour communications schedule the crew had with friends in Honolulu.

The captain intends to continue on to San Pedro or Long Beach, without satellite communications, Coast Guard officials said.

Missing Honolulu boat headed to Long Beach is found with broken satellite phone - Press-Telegram
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  #24  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Paulo, you're right - they're not toys. They are highly sophisticated electronic devices that not only have made life a lot easier for most of the world, but additionally, made the world a lot safer.

Having worked with electronics since age 12, when I got my HAM radio license, which was 60 years ago, one of the things I notice most is the vast majority of individuals that purchase GPS/Plotter/Depth-Finder/HD-Radar combinations rarely pick up the instruction manual to learn how to operate the myriad of incredible features.

In many instances the operating manuals never come out of the Zip-Loc bag. The same individuals have never cracked the owners manuals for their cars, microwave ovens, Flat-screen TV, Smart Phone, etc... This is a shame, mainly because there is a wealth of great information at their fingertips, both with the devices and the manuals, and they're not taking full advantage of what the device has to offer. In fact, many owners of GPS/Plotters have no idea what the device can do other than display the charts and current position.

Someone posted above that sailors with these systems must spend a lot of time pushing buttons. In reality, that's not the case. Once the systems have been properly programmed, it's a "set it and forget it" scenario. After the initial programing, everything else is pretty much automatic. Like I said above, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. In contrast, you're not constantly looking for things on a 2 X 3-foot paper chart, and staring at markers or buoys through your binoculars to try to determine your position. We've all been there, done that and got the tee shirts.

On another forum, one that deals specifically with Arranger Keyboards for playing music, I'm one of the moderators. I'm constantly bombarded with technical questions about someone's keyboard and asked how to perform a simple task that is clearly spelled out in the owner's manual. This is not something unusual - it's today's norm.

Granted, some of the owner/user manuals are horribly written, and some are nearly impossible for finding answers to simple questions. Fortunately, there are forums like this one where you can ask a question and usually find a viable solution. While it's not always the case, most of the time, at least at the Sailnet, it's the norm. Now, it may not be the answer you want to read, but then again, maybe it is.

Cheers,

Gary
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  #25  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

John,

The batteries seem to last forever, but like any battery operated device, they eventually die. Like a posted above, you have to read the user manual, which clearly spells out the lifespan of the batteries and the type of batteries that must be used. I keep spare batteries on the boat at all times - just to be on the safe side.

Keep in touch,

Gary
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  #26  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Yeah, SPOTs sure are becoming popular, alright...

I'd love to have a nickel for every taxpayer dollar that will be wasted in the years to come on needless SAR missions triggered after a SPOT battery dies, or someone at sea hasn't posted to their blog or Facebook page in more than 24 hours... (grin)

One recent example...
Hey! How funny. That's the boat I used to race on part of my time in Honolulu that lost its mast in 3 knots of wind when one of the rods broke near the spreaders.

When I left it still didn't have a mast. I guess he got it fixed.
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  #27  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
..
Granted, some of the owner/user manuals are horribly written, and some are nearly impossible for finding answers to simple questions. Fortunately, there are forums like this one where you can ask a question and usually find a viable solution. While it's not always the case, most of the time, at least at the Sailnet, it's the norm. Now, it may not be the answer you want to read, but then again, maybe it is.

Cheers,

Gary
No Gary, what I as saying is that some devices have so much functions that it is difficult not to forget how to operate all of them if you don't use them often. I am quite sure that I am not the only one that have to go back to the manuals from time to time...or maybe not, maybe I am the only one and I am just me getting old

Regards

Paulo
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  #28  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Paulo, you're right - they're not toys. They are highly sophisticated electronic devices that not only have made life a lot easier for most of the world, but additionally, made the world a lot safer.

Having worked with electronics since age 12, when I got my HAM radio license, which was 60 years ago, one of the things I notice most is the vast majority of individuals that purchase GPS/Plotter/Depth-Finder/HD-Radar combinations rarely pick up the instruction manual to learn how to operate the myriad of incredible features.

In many instances the operating manuals never come out of the Zip-Loc bag. The same individuals have never cracked the owners manuals for their cars, microwave ovens, Flat-screen TV, Smart Phone, etc... This is a shame, mainly because there is a wealth of great information at their fingertips, both with the devices and the manuals, and they're not taking full advantage of what the device has to offer. In fact, many owners of GPS/Plotters have no idea what the device can do other than display the charts and current position.

Someone posted above that sailors with these systems must spend a lot of time pushing buttons. In reality, that's not the case. Once the systems have been properly programmed, it's a "set it and forget it" scenario. After the initial programing, everything else is pretty much automatic. Like I said above, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. In contrast, you're not constantly looking for things on a 2 X 3-foot paper chart, and staring at markers or buoys through your binoculars to try to determine your position. We've all been there, done that and got the tee

Granted, some of the owner/user manuals are horribly written, and some are nearly impossible for finding answers to simple questions. Fortunately, there are forums like this one where you can ask a question and usually find a viable solution. While it's not always the case, most of the time, at least at the Sailnet, it's the norm. Now, it may not be the answer you want to read, but then again, maybe it is.

Cheers,

Gary
Gary,

I respectfully have a somewhat different opinion and experience than you concerning people who have electronics. I too have used them to differing degrees in my 40+ years of sailing. Starting with charts, dead reckoning , celestial navigation, in two trans Atlantic Crossings, to loran and analog radar, to electronic charts, to simple gps coordinates, to the now sophisticated chart plotters and digital radar. Most of my friends and sailing colleagues have good knowledge of the basics as well as their instrumentation.

I know very few who haven't read their manuals. It is true most don't use all the capabilities of these electronic AIDS to navigation, but its usually because they don't want that degree of information, not because they are cavalierly not learning it. I know very few who have never looked at these manuals. In fact in my small circle of he universe I find the opposite. I see my friends TEACHING each other the capabilities of the electronics they have. I see people asking many intelligent questions on specific equipment BEFORE thy purchase a particular brand or device both here on SN and also in real life.

Very few if anyone just turns it on and has a "set it and forget it " attitude. In fact many have their faces to buried in it. This electronics is a great AID to navigation and safety in most cases.

It Gets back to discussion, why o you really need to go sailing. Do you need a dodger, no but it has uses for some. Do you need a full enclosure, no, but it makes things more comfortable. Do you need a Chartplotter, no but it an save time and also make it easier and add to safety layers. Do need radar, no, but again the safety issue or some who travel at night or frequently have fog.

Gary, This is not directed at you,

It gets tiresome hearing the same song bashing those who utilize electronics on their boats. It doesn't make you a purist either way you choose. It doesn't mean you not know how to operate the electronics. It doesn't mean you dont know how or don't use paper charts. These are assumptions and statements which continue to proliferate from people with no concrete proof. Use of electronics or not knowing every knob on them doesn't make you less than. Nor does not using them. Calling sailors who use electronics power boaters or power boater mentality is not necessary and so untrue.

Electronics discussion reminds me in my industry when the computer and POS system was introduced. Dupes and handwritten tickets to the kitchen replaced by a computer printer. Many rebelled and fought it but time marches forward.

Live and let live. Make the choices best for you. Refrain from criticizing others for their choices. Don't ridicule them that they don't know how to use their own bought electronics to "your" standards.
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  #29  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

Dave, to me, sailing is just another fun form of outdoor recreation. When it's not fun, I'll have the boat detailed and sell it to the highest bidder. To be honest, playing music and singing to the ladies is more fun, but don't tell my wife - she still thinks it's work.

Gary
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  #30  
Old 05-23-2013
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Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .

I very much agree and disagree with many people here.

I have only been doing this since 95 on my own fixed keel boat so there are many here with more experience. However, many of the additions to cruisers are wonderful additions and i include them into our safety gear category.

First, if asked between a chartplotter and a radar and handheld gps, i would take the radar a thousand times over. I actually read that someone on here is ripping it out? Why? That may be one of the best pieces of equipment ever granted to yachties!! How much offshore time do you have? Passages? Why the hell rip it out? Radar doesn't show you what should be there. It shows you what IS there. Huge difference. God, please reconsider your decision.

I admit the newest and latest and greatest gadgets have gotten a little silly. Instead of improving functionality and longevity, they come out with a new product every year that in my opinion often isn't better (or worse) than its predecessor. Touch technology sucks in my opinion... And i type this from a i5! Unfortunately, you don't make the quick money anymore by making things last longer. Design in failure and woo them back with flashy ads and pretty buttons. But i degrees...

The electronics of today have made sailing and cruising much safer and more accessible to many more people. The failure is not the electronics. It is the people who use them and come to depend on them over good seamanship. It is people who have used the advances as a source of dependency instead of as another tool or aid in otherwise good seamanship. Therein lies the problem.
My favorite example is an old partner of mine from my company. He went out and bought a new sea ray 380. He had all the electronics put on it. He sat off for a restaurant many miles away on the ice at a half plow. For those that don't know, on the 380, at a half plow you cannot see anything but clouds in front of you. He did many nm like that, no kidding. He steered through the icw staring at his chartplotter and radar. Guess what- the chartplotter was off and he parked the 380 on the beach. He called sea tow and they walked to his boat and told him it was a hard grounding at $3000 to pull him off... But not till high tide tomorrow. Left him and his wife on a shoal with nothing but a 5th of vodka and a single bear claw for 24 hours. They did get him off the next day, but the morale is that electronics don't replace basic seamanship. However, they can augment it. It is up to the captain do decide which it is.

Even slokum took the latest electronics (chronograph). Didn't make his journey any less remarkable. It augmented already good seamanship.

So use the tools to make you better and keep you safer. Not safe, but safer. Not a replacement, but another tool.

My opinion.

Brian
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