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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 07-12-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie
Semi...may I tell you to throw away the parallel rules and plodding over to the compass rose AND most course line drawing. There is a $15 miracle called the Weems and Plath Course protractor that will allow you to plot a course (magnetic or true) between any two points in less than 10 seconds. Buy it and you will shower me with praise!! (G) I did all my navigation chart work in the cockpit in seconds and never used a parallel rule in 6 years of cruising. Next to the miracle cloth this is the holy grail of under $20 must have boat items!! This and some dividers are all you need.


http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.c..._1958_22055106

For those of you who I've made curious...here's the one page "operators manual".
http://www.weems-plath.com/uploaded_...uction.255.pdf
Cam,

That is so cool! I'm going to order one tonight.

Regards,

Leff
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  #12  
Old 07-12-2007
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Jim, you might also want to look at a "rolling ruler"

Staedtler Rolling Ruler

No traditional but a talented tool. I carried over a lot of drafting tools to my nav kit, and can only say that everyone may have slightly different tastes in what works best for them. Three-arm gizmos from the Weems & Plath collection...old circular slide rules...some tools do racing nav problems (wind/current/course) particularly, so I'd look at the catalogs and also look at some art supply (drafting) sources for alternatives as well.

As for the mechanical pencil how precise do you plan to be? Some folks prefer a softer lead because it is blacker and easier to see, ditto a thicker lead. Probably the 0.5mm (1/2mm) is the most common mechanical pencil lead for drafting and general use, easy to get refills AND the leads are available in red and cyan (light blue) as well as a wide range of hardnesses. The harder lead makes a finer line--but if you don't need that tight a plot, sometimes a thicker line is just as good. Odds are you can try a couple out at a local drafting or art supply store. Or just buy a bag of disposable mechanical pencils (the ones with the white erasers erase best, the orange "bic" ones make a nice crisp thin line) at a back-to-school sale, a buck for a dozen. A good thing to have when you can't find "THE" mechanical pencil too.
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Old 07-12-2007
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
I use two navigation triangles. I find them more convenient than a parallel rule or the rolling rule. The parallel rules with the protractor attached are from the aviation industry originally.

A number two pencil seems to work the best. Erasability is more of a factor than fineness of point. get a box of 'em. Save the short nub of the oldest one. It is a navigational fact, you can probably look it up in Bowditch, that a brand new, freshly sharpened pencil will not last for eight hours on any size vessel. The entire crew of said vessel can be interrogated at length and your new pencil will not show up. That is, until you reach port, at which time you'll be rolling in them. On the other hand, a two inch pencil stub will survive collisions, typhoons, and myriad other catastrophes untouched. Tie it or tape it near your navigation station or chart table and rest easy, secure in the knowledge you will always have a pencil. This information is not warranteed for pencils of greater length than two inches.

You may find that you use the same chart, and courses, repeatedly. Once you have established the course you wish to use for a particular voyage, you can ink it in. Wait until you are sure that is the one you want to lay down permanently. Don't ink it if you do not have the Scotch tape that you can write on with the pencil. Place the scotch tape over the inked course. This will allow you to plot positions with pencil, easily erase them, and protect the chart and the inked in course. do not use red ink.

As the Dog mentioned on dividers. Try them out before purchase. Everybody is a bit different. I do not care for the bow dividers but do like ones with long arms. They should be comfortable for one handed operation and be easily controllable that way. Keep their points sharp, using only the lightest pressure on the chart, so as to not punch a hole in the chart. A divider hole in a chart can turn the most taciturn navigator into a thoroughly po'd shipmate.
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2007
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"A number two pencil seems to work the best. Erasability is more of a factor than fineness of point."

Oh, you like to make dirt? (Sharpening pencils.) Or, you were trained in covert weapons and found out the TSA will allow you to carry sharpened #2 pencils even when you can't bring your ice pick on board?

I've found the Bic "orange" disposable mechanical pencils are really close to a really good #2 pencil--and they don't make dirt. The erasers on them are similar, but a white vinyl eraser really beats anything that comes on a pencil. They're also available at art supply stores, as "sticks" in holders that are similar to pens. At least one brand of the disposable mechanical pencils also come with the white vinyl eraser top, too.
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I've got three, four... a half-dozen (I don't recall) mechanical pencils, and a bunch of leads, from back in the day when we did software design flow-charting by hand. Haven't seen use in years, and years. I've also got two-and-a-half Staedtler white vinyl drafting erasers (from back in the same time-period). So I suspect I'm pretty well set for pencils and erasers .

I've even still got my old HP 15C calculator. (Good ol' RPN. Can't beat it ) Batteries are dead, but that should be no problem.

Thanks for the other hints and tricks, guys .

Jim
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Old 07-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEMIJim
I've even still got my old HP 15C calculator. (Good ol' RPN. Can't beat it ) Batteries are dead, but that should be no problem.
Old calculator, eh? I've got one of these:


I was able to get the almanac to work until just three weeks ago. It's still a great astro calculator, and it must have been a huge time saver 25 years ago.

DATAMATH
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Old 07-13-2007
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Quote:
I've found the Bic "orange" disposable mechanical pencils are really close to a really good #2 pencil--and they don't make dirt.
Being an architect from the dark ages - before CAD became mainstream, I have a number of old, brass barrel tech drafting pencils of various grades and lead thicknesses. I like the weight of these crafted instruments and prefer 0.3 mm and 0.7mm for chart plotting purposes. I must agree that sharpening pencils onboard is not the way to go.

I also have several German made K&E divider and compass sets, from my college days and some older collectable sets in leather cases. Very impressive weight and balance with some all brass and combination blued steel-brass, machine tooled components.

When working at the nav station with my archaic pencils, antique dividers and parallel rule, verse from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner echoes through my mind.
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  #18  
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Anybody got a favourite (on-line?) store from which one might purchase any and all Weems & Plath products?

TIA,
Jim
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Old 07-13-2007
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Defender has lots of Weems and Plath paraphrenalia, but not the course protractor posted by Cam.
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Yeah, that's what I'm finding, SH . The vendor SD pointed to for some of his suggestions has all three items, but shipping to get 'em here would cost nearly 50% of the cost of the items!

Hey! Anybody headed to the Detroit River powerboat races this weekend, from Wakefield, MA, or close by?

Jim
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