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groggy 09-20-2012 12:49 AM

real men use parallel rulers! or are roller plotters for folks who walk upright?
Sorry for the stupid title, but no-one was responding to the original one.

I'm taking a bareboat class in the near future, and while it's not required, students are encouraged to bring whatever manual navigation tools they have. I think they teach using parallel rulers and dividers.

I eventually hope to take the USGC OUPV/Captain's License test when I get sufficient sea time and the local school recommends the WEEMS & PLATH Parallel Rolling Plotter Model # 106799 Manuf. # 120

Would it be jumping the gun to get the rolling plotter now and learn it in the bareboat class, or should I just show up and see what they have on hand?

It's only $25 anyway, but if thats the tool that is used in the next step of my education it would be a nice thing to have some instruction on.

Any opinions?


celenoglu 09-20-2012 02:46 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
Both are OK for learnining purposes, but in real conditions on your chart table which is generally too small to move them the best is a chartplotter:

Maritime Book Shop. Parallel rulers, brass divider. Portland plotter, Douglas protractors, Bretton plotters, Captain Fields Helly Hansen Crew clothing.

justified 09-20-2012 06:30 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
For training and education purposes you should be able to use either tool, as long as you are comfortable. My preferred is the parallel rules because you can move in both directions across the chart as needed. Yes you can do it with the roller but you need a second parallel to change direction...and as stated above most chart tables are to small to use parallel rules. Good luck with your courses and always have your paper back up's

jameswilson29 09-20-2012 06:30 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
Either is fine. I prefer parallel rulers and a compass (in addition to the magnetic type).

SVTatia 09-20-2012 08:26 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
I also think you need both rolling and parallel for different occasions - course planning and actual plotting. When you are plotting, keep in mind that you are not using a large stationary desk, you may be trying to hang-on as the boat is rolling and you are trying to plot a course with one and a half hands.
Its a personal preference, but for plotting I find the rolling ones more convenient (one hand). For planning either a protractor, a parallel or a combination would do. Get familiar with all of them and you will eventually settle on a preferred one.

HPLou 09-20-2012 11:01 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
They are both very good tools for plotting a course on your chart. The parallel roller is better in close quarters use that you find at your boat's nav station. The sliding parallel ruler is better where you have more room to lay out a course with a fully opened chart as you would probably do for taking the USCG chart plotting test section as well as when you do any chart plotting at home for any trip planning.

Barquito 09-20-2012 11:09 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
I liked the parallel rules better. In class, longer rules helped. On a boat you will probably need a shorter set.

chef2sail 09-21-2012 04:17 PM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
I prefer parallel. Works in the cockpit also


Capt.aaron 09-22-2012 08:46 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
In my 200 ton class the instructor turned me on to using 2 triangles, once you become proficiant in the use of triangles there is no going back, you can plot faster, and lay out lines, walk across a chart in a big sea quicker every time with the triangles.

DaveMancini 09-22-2012 11:20 AM

Re: roller plotter or parallel rulers?
Two triangles, absolutely. Won't break or become misaligned either. I still have the same pair I started with 35 years ago.


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