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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-16-2011 08:45 AM
harbin2 I sail all over the Chesapeake Bay. Most is line of site but I'm usually solo so I do like to know, with a fair amount of certainty, where I am. A year ago, I could see little value in using a GPS. Now I use it almost 100% of the time. With the exception of one incident, it has been very reliable accurate. Most of my use is going up small creeks and anchoring. I use it for reducing distance going around points of land and their shoals. I learned that there is a limit to how close you can cut by running aground fairly hard (onto sand) entering the Chester river in a 20 knot w wind. Fortunatly I was able to sail off but that 40 minutes of pounding was a little hard on the nerves. Still, I'm amazed at the accuracy.
Islander 30 Bahama
01-15-2011 10:13 PM
TakeFive I see no mention of AIS in any of this. How is AIS affecting navigation practices? It would seem to me that having commerical traffic broadcasting their location every 2 seconds could be useful for line-of-sight navigation in coastal waters. You may not be able to see that buoy 2 miles away, but that freighter that pops up on your chart plotter has now become a useful aid to navigation since you can see him from further away than the buoy. While it's true that the position he broadcasts is only as good as his own GPS, it is an additional one to the one you may have.

So how have navigation trainers incorporated AIS into their training?

I ask this partly because I have an AIS receiver on order. I think it will be useful for staying out of the way of the "big boys" on the Delaware River.

FWIW, in my one year of sailing with a Garmin Oregon 400c handheld (with pre-installed charts), I've never had a time when its position disagreed with what my own senses and compass were telling me. The Garmin charts where I sail seem to exactly duplicate the NOAA charts - depth soundings and contour lines are exactly the same - and my depth readings seem to agree well when adjusted for the large tidal swings. Buoy locations are occasionally off by up to a hundred yards, but I attribute that to the scope needed to chain them down in the 40' deep channel. I have seen significant disagreement with "base maps" that were included in MapSource, where tracks that I had transferred out of my GPS showed that I had been sailing down I-95. But I attribute that to lousy base maps, which I never use for real-time chart plotting or even planning.
01-15-2011 07:27 PM
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post

If you're looking for a nav program for the Mac, look at MacENC, which can use the free NOAA ENC charts.
Thanks SD, I'll do that
01-15-2011 04:03 PM
Minnewaska I've never noticed a meaningful error on the GPS chartplotter, but the paper chart is always in the cockpit, or open on the chart table below, depending on circumstances. Looking for anticipated nav markers is as much something to do underway as it is safe.
01-15-2011 03:19 PM
GPS Trust

I trust my GPS Chartplotter. I have sailed with it for about 5 years and have never seen even a slight error on its part. BUT, nothing is fool proof! I always keep a chart (paper book) and necessary tools handy for when i need them. I served as a navigator on a race team for many years before the advent of GPS and I learned to trust my skills when I was sailing in skinny water with a deep draft boat. Just like there is no perfect boat or no perfect sail, a GPS is just a tool in your box of tricks to help YOU get form point A to Point B. Trust it but constantly question its output and be on guard for errors. I sail on The Chesapeake Bay which is a skinny water inland sea. While it is not open blue water, it does require navigation for anything more than a short daysail.

When I am ailing and have a question a to where I am, I turn to a chart and check with the GPS.
01-15-2011 03:16 PM
HDChopper Exellent ! Thanks again....
01-15-2011 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by HDChopper View Post
Thanks again jackdale
For now on I gonna follow you around scarfing up links lol ....
My pleasure.

I have a page of web links I am working on. It needs some updating. I will post when I get it done.
01-15-2011 02:14 PM
jrd22 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.
01-15-2011 01:55 PM
HDChopper Thanks again jackdale
For now on I gonna follow you around scarfing up links lol ....
01-15-2011 11:18 AM
jackdale 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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