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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > A few thoughts on electronics & keeping watch
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


Thread: A few thoughts on electronics & keeping watch Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-30-2011 04:34 AM
HVVega
Thanks for the idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by centaursailor View Post
Maybe we should start a thread about near misses and other cute stories that happened to people

Feel sorry about the loss any life or limb, boats are less important. Some sailors are just not cutout for distance sailing despite their bravery. Caution often serves better than blind courage. Electronics are great but rely on them at your peril. Accidents happen to us all but theres no need to invite them aboard. A hit and miss thread could be a lifesaver. Go for it.
Safe sailing
I think I will let me think about it a bit. As to your great opening line here maybe these days we should also add ....despite their bravery or the size of there wallets...
01-30-2011 03:49 AM
centaursailor Maybe we should start a thread about near misses and other cute stories that happened to people

Feel sorry about the loss any life or limb, boats are less important. Some sailors are just not cutout for distance sailing despite their bravery. Caution often serves better than blind courage. Electronics are great but rely on them at your peril. Accidents happen to us all but theres no need to invite them aboard. A hit and miss thread could be a lifesaver. Go for it.
Safe sailing
01-29-2011 07:13 PM
HVVega
Best of luck to you mate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FritzN View Post
Anyone who's ever been on watch offshore knows that no human can see what a radar does. Most radars have alarms, so you know when something threatening is near. On watch you spend most of your time checking the radar and tweaking the sales.

By the way, on the Pacific Mexican coast, if you're over 100 miles offshore, there isn't likely to be anything out there. I just returned from Sicorro Island -- an active volcano that's 330 nautical miles off the Mexican Pacific mainland -- and never saw (visually or on the radar) another vessel for the first 2.5 days.
As old Capt. Irving often said "Every skipper has his own compass" so who am I to say what is best for you and your boat? Then again I have been on watch offshore for a few miles and have used radar a fair bit. With my own eyes I have watched wooden and plastic boats - oh and a mostly submerged container once - go bye that the radar either never saw or didn't see till the very last moment. Nothing wrong with radar as a back up, but it will not and cannot replace the old Mark-1 eyeball. All these electronic tools are great assistants, but they should never be used to replace good seamanship. Always assume they are going to crash in the next few hours - or minutes if close to the coast in a tricky place. Maybe we should start a thread about near misses and other cute stories that happened to people with only the radar on watch or that were using the "every now and then" watch system. I know I could add a few goodies to it. Did I mention the entire grass roof to a house that went bye once complete with chickens?
01-29-2011 04:40 PM
captflood
boxes of sparks

stop sailing the boxes and start sailing the boat how oftern do people sail the desk and not the vessel. The books say by all available means but a good lookout at all times. bits of electronic gear is only as good as the water tight seal and when where they last replaced or looked at HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
GO SAFE
01-29-2011 04:01 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
So we always keep a pair of eyes on deck.
Very wise idea....and if the Silverwoods had been doing so, they probably wouldn't have lost their boat or a leg.
01-29-2011 03:30 PM
St Anna
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Yes, but LED nav lights don't twinkle... stars do. And if you're looking at a star and it doesn't twinkle...guess what—it ain't a star. IMHO, you'd have to be fairly dumb and unobservant to mistake an LED nav light for a star.

Also, LED nav lights will generally move far more quickly relative to the boat than stars will unless you're headed straight for it.
Actually SD, I have seen a red nav light on the horizon, which turned into a star and the opposite, an apparent star get bigger ( and turn into a steel island!)

Another time, hazy lights on their bridge and then in silhouette, a warship ( an american one as well!)

I have seen ships change course for no reason and have various levels of lights on show.

Lights which were really ships or other yachts and vice versa. Some nav lights do twinkle in the distance. Distances are very difficult to judge at night and often in my experience are far closer than first thought. Yachties plot opposing courses so may come close to each other. This has happened to us once in the middle of nowhere.

So we always keep a pair of eyes on deck.
01-29-2011 01:19 PM
sailingdog Yes, but LED nav lights don't twinkle... stars do. And if you're looking at a star and it doesn't twinkle...guess what—it ain't a star. IMHO, you'd have to be fairly dumb and unobservant to mistake an LED nav light for a star.

Also, LED nav lights will generally move far more quickly relative to the boat than stars will unless you're headed straight for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HVVega View Post
Well said Boasun spoken like a true paranoid seaman. You know the kind that spend years at sea and still manage to live till a ripe old age? I could not agree more and that is what I was trying to get across with a bit of tact et al. Then again I doubt my cat sailing friend has ever even seen the rule book much less read it. Come to think about it I wonder how many skippers out there have read it?

The thing about the LED,s is not brightness it is about the color of the light. Look close and you will see most are a bluish white that is exactly the color of most stars. As to bright Canopus (Never could remember how to spell that one)gets so bright some times you can see it in the day time. No my point is about looking exactly like a star when only a mile or less away.
01-29-2011 11:53 AM
FritzN
Keeping Watch

Anyone who's ever been on watch offshore knows that no human can see what a radar does. Most radars have alarms, so you know when something threatening is near. On watch you spend most of your time checking the radar and tweaking the sales.

By the way, on the Pacific Mexican coast, if you're over 100 miles offshore, there isn't likely to be anything out there. I just returned from Sicorro Island -- an active volcano that's 330 nautical miles off the Mexican Pacific mainland -- and never saw (visually or on the radar) another vessel for the first 2.5 days.
01-25-2011 07:45 PM
HVVega
Thanks for the stimulation and thoughts

Well said Boasun spoken like a true paranoid seaman. You know the kind that spend years at sea and still manage to live till a ripe old age? I could not agree more and that is what I was trying to get across with a bit of tact et al. Then again I doubt my cat sailing friend has ever even seen the rule book much less read it. Come to think about it I wonder how many skippers out there have read it?

The thing about the LED,s is not brightness it is about the color of the light. Look close and you will see most are a bluish white that is exactly the color of most stars. As to bright Canopus (Never could remember how to spell that one)gets so bright some times you can see it in the day time. No my point is about looking exactly like a star when only a mile or less away.
01-25-2011 01:47 PM
sailingdog From what I've seen the LED-based anchor lights are brighter, not dimmer than their incandescent counterparts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HVVega View Post
I was having a beer with my friend who skippers about 50,000 tons of bulk carrier and he made a very interesting observation. Twice they have had to sheer off hard - not easy for a boat that size - because the color of "white" LED mast head & steaming lights is almost exactly the same as a star. He explained, those lights tend to be weak and look exactly like stars from a few miles away. They are so small you do not notice them getting closer on a moonless night until you are right on top of them. This from a very experienced and careful professional seaman who also owns a lovely sail boat. He uses loads of LED's on the boat but not for his navigation lights. Next time in a dark anchorage look at the other boats mast head lights and you will see what he's talking about right away. Meggi once mistook one for Venus and was waiting for it to get a bit higher so she could practice with the sextant.
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