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-   -   Don't read this unless you have time . . (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/99751-dont-read-unless-you-have-time.html)

Omatako 05-22-2013 08:05 PM

Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
When I first started ocean sailing we had some great systems. We had things like sextants that could help to locate your position in the middle of nowhere. Monochrome radar could tell you if you were close to land or another vessel. The good ones left a breadcrumb trail so you could see which way the ship was heading. You could set alarms rings to attract you attention to approaching ships. It was amazing. If you wanted to identify the vessel you used binoculars and if the vessel wasnít close enough for that, its identity didn't matter.

We had RDF (radio direction finder) that you could swing around in different directions and when the incoming radio signal was loudest, that was where the transmitter was and you could use this info in a great process called DR (dead reckoning). We had barometers that could provide an indication of approaching inclement weather that allowed us to prepare for a blow.

I had a system of instruments on my boat that sort of talked to each other and provided a cool piece of info Ė true windspeed! It calculated this by vectoring the boat speed, wind direction and speed. Great stuff. We never used that info for anything but wasnít it great to know?

We had windvane steering that would aim the boat more or less down your chosen course and you could leave the driving to it while you did the DR and took sights with the sextant, did sight reductions and filled in the logbook. Very liberating stuff.

And we sailed around the world in relative safety for many years. Every year technology got a little bit better and new things started appearing on the scene like Satnav and Navtext that only the rich folks could afford. Us lesser people looked on in awe.

Today of course things are a little different. We have color HD radar, color chart plotters that can put photos of a harbor on the screen alongside a radar image and a chart, autopilots and instruments that talk to each to the extent that the skipper feels a little superfluous. We have safety gear like AIS, EPIRBís and PLBís, satellite telephones and internet comms. We have GRIB files and on-board weather prediction even though when the weather turns up bad there is precious little one can do to change it. We can send tracking data to anywhere in the world so that everybody knows exactly where we are. Most donít care but thatís OK, weíll tell them anyway.

The total cost of having all this stuff on your boat could be higher than the cost of many of the boats that people are sailing around the world. Most of us canít afford even half of it. And hereís the point of this thread:

One reads numerous articles in sailing magazines that will have you believe that if you donít have all of these things on your vessel before leaving the dock, you are incompetent, irresponsible and totally uncaring of the well-being and safety of your crew. One gets together with other sailors at safety seminars and they look on in dismay when you tell them ďI donít have AIS and Iím not planning on getting itĒ.

WTF!! Am I the only person that thinks this?

My friends appear to walk wide circles around my boat as if its very existence is unsafe to all those around it. I now have to have this stuff to conform to CAT 1 inspection requirements that would condemn every boat that left the dock in 1995. If I donít, I canít get Custom clearance to leave on a voyage. The fact that I have things like solid handrails all round and a full enclosure for weather protection doesn't count. Itís not electronic. It canít talk to you ergo itís no good.

Iím at a point where I hide sailing magazines from my wife in case she reads about another expensive piece of wizardry recommended by another journo who also probably canít afford it and then she wants to know why weíre not getting one.

Aaaaaarghhhh!!!

northoceanbeach 05-22-2013 08:17 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
I like a little technology but I don't like that its
Made it too easy to sail for alot of people. I think there needs I e some manual labour involved and you Gould have to have basic navigation skills at least and I don't think ou could get those with these chart plotters and everything.

It is becoming a hit ok much like powerboats.

outbound 05-22-2013 08:22 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
O _ I have a good deal of the stuff you talk about on my "last" boat. but plan to tune up my skills on the old school stuff. I'm with you on this. one of the most surprising and proudest moments of my life was making it to Bermuda without taking the electronics penality and actually getting there.Fooled me completely that I could do it in the real world. Far as I know celestial bodies don't break and it's fun. Kind of like the more connected we are the less we have face time to talk and laugh and enjoy each others presence.

ronspiker 05-22-2013 08:52 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
I like all the bells and whistles. I would like to have it too. However I know that I won't and even if I did I would still use the non electronic way of doing it. Sure all the electronics can make it easier to get from point a to point b, but as everyone knows or should know is that electronics will fail and usually they fail when needed most so you better know how to do it yourself. A perfect example that I lived through was I was on a passage approaching St Petersburg in the dark on a stormy night. A wave broke over the bow and went down the companion way hatch drenching the laptop being used for navigation 1 day before. So we had to resort to paper charts, and DR to get to the marina.

luv4sailin 05-22-2013 09:07 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
I'm a bit confused about not being able to clear customs without meeting Cat 1 equipment rquirements. Is that something very new? Clearly the NOR for an ocean race would include that but is that now so for cruisers? Since when?

SloopJonB 05-22-2013 09:17 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
I agree in large part. Having a hugely complex suite of electronics seems more in tune with a powerboat mentality to me.

I am currently stripping a lot of offshore gear OFF my new boat and that includes radar - I have zero need for it.

Currently I have to make do with a lead line but I want a sounder - enough's enough - I'm not a Luddite. ;)

One thing I DO want - badly - is a nice, big GPS Plotter - those things are freakin' magical. I've never been an enthusiast about navigation, it's just a necessity to me, so being able to just look at the screen and know exactly where we are is great.

I seldom turn on the VHF except for weather reports.

Basically, I go sailing to get away from all that stuff. :)

travlineasy 05-22-2013 09:22 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
There are lots of people who sincerely believe they can sail around the entire globe with nothing more than a sextant and some old, outdated charts. Yep, you can do it, and some folks actually get away with it. Some don't! Yeah, being a traditionalist may be OK for a miniscule number of boating enthusiasts, but for the most part, being a traditionalist doesn't really make you a better sailor/boater - it just makes you a traditionalist.

From my perspective, cruising, whether around the globe, or just around the lake, or Chesapeake Bay, is something that need not be a dangerous challenge. Those electronic goodies make life a lot easier, provide you with all the bells and whistles to make cruising a lot safer, and allow you to CRUISE! Maybe I'm lazy, but I really don't want to work at cruising. I want to sit back, relax, set the sails and enjoy the ride. I want to watch those American eagles swooping down and grabbing fish from the surface of the bay, shoot photos of the action, and not have to worry if the boat is going to run aground. If the water gets too shallow, that depth alarm will let me know in short order.

I want to cruise over the reef and watch the sail's shadow on the coral below, knowing with a quick glance at the GPS/Plotter/Depth finder that the actual depth is much deeper than it appears.

I really enjoy cruising at night under a beautiful array of stars and not worrying about unseen objects floating in the surface of the water that any HD-3G Radar system can easily detect and provide an audible alarm. I want that freighter coming up the channel to know I'm out there too, even if they can't see my radar reflector. That AIS system could be a life saver.

That said, I've DR'd back to an inlet in a driving thunderstorm packing 55 MPH winds while dodging sheets of lightning. It was scary as hell. This was pre-GPS/Plotter, a time when Loran-C was the best electronic navigational tool available. They just didn't function in a thunderstorm because they operated on the AM frequency bands. I was fortunate. I came in about three miles north of Chincoteague Inlet, decided to turn left, and get real lucky. The inlet, which was barely visible in the storm, was experiencing a hard, ebb tide, and the winds were blasting from the northeast, thus the standing wave, which is normally only a few feet, was nearly 10-feet high. I was in an 18-foot powerboat and was able to blast through the wave and take shelter inside Chincoteague Bay. If GPS/Plotters were available back then, I wouldn't have wasted time looking for the inlet and would have beat the worst of the storm and have been in the bay by the time the storm hit.

So, if the officials won't allow you to leave New Zealand for that world cruise, I guess you have a couple options. You could sneak out of the harbor one night, under the cloak of darkness, and maybe, just maybe, you might successfully circumnavigate the globe and make it back alive. Then again, you just might not. Or, you could take what's behind door number 2, upgrade the boat's navigation and safety gear, leave the harbor in broad daylight, prop your feet up and circumnavigate the globe knowing exactly, within a few yards, where you are during the entire voyage - day or night, stormy skies or clear.

Sorry about the rant,

Gary :cool:

Frogwatch 05-22-2013 11:22 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
I've done a lot of cruising and have no idea what AIS is. My primary nav tool is my ancient SILVA hand bearing compass and good paper charts. I bet I know a lot more about where I am than most people.

jephotog 05-22-2013 11:51 PM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Omatako (Post 1034118)
Iím at a point where I hide sailing magazines from my wife in case she reads about another expensive piece of wizardry recommended by another journo who also probably canít afford it and then she wants to know why weíre not getting one.

It must be awful to have a wife that keeps trying to get you to spend more money on the boat.:D

chef2sail 05-23-2013 12:10 AM

Re: Don't read this unless you have time . .
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by northoceanbeach (Post 1034128)
I like a little technology but I don't like that its
Made it too easy to sail for alot of people. I think there needs I e some manual labour involved and you Gould have to have basic navigation skills at least and I don't think ou could get those with these chart plotters and everything.

It is becoming a hit ok much like powerboats.



Too wide a statement. Many people who have good navigational skills and can use paper charts have electronics. This is a gross generalization. People who have the electronics should not be spoken of derogogatorily any more than the people who do not use or buy them. If you make the choice to buy or not to buy electronics don't beleive falsely tht either choice makes you a BETTER sailor.

While I have seen a greater dependence on them, I also see where they can also improve the safety margin on you boat. I also have seen incidents where people have tried things they never would/ should have had the not felt a false sense of security of electronics.

It's funny fielding the comments from a computer savvy cell phone carrying member. I suggest you become a real purist and give up your Internet access and cell phone. Then you would be walking the talk:)


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