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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 12-16-2009
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The local US Power Squadrons can be great resources.
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  #12  
Old 12-18-2009
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Starpath is excellent.
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  #13  
Old 12-18-2009
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I would never call StarPath excellent at anything. But they are okay for most lay boaters.

Star Path sells on CD many documents that online for free, American Practical Navigator, Coast Pilots, Chart No 1, these are all filler, imo. The courses themselves are ok at best, but terribly overpriced.

You didn't really say what you're trying to accomplish with your education, but there is nothing in StarPath's material that you couldn't accomplish with APN and Chapman's. For most small craft operators those are the only two books you need. If you want exercises grab some US coast guard exam questions and practice on them. APN is a great survey of navigation from start to finish and Chapman's will get you the basics of seamanship.

I'm biased because I hold a license, but the technical approach is best, especially if you ever want to get a license. Many problems are explained in ephemerals (nautical almanac, tide, tide and current tables, etc). Couple that with some posts on gCaptain or possibly here, and I think you'll do just as well without the StarPath bill.

All the PSA-style courses from the Power Squadron or CG Aux are the same way, but not as overpriced. They are tragically elementary and you'll be lucky if your instructor has ever done any serious boating at all. (My friend is in the Aux and he'll fus at me if he reads this, but it's mho.)

Since you have airman navigation training you may do just fine with these presentations. It's nothing radically different than your airman training. I recommend getting APN for navigation (free online) and Chapman's for seamanship, boat handling, etc. You need Tide Tables (in print) and Tide Current Tables (in print) and those books also have great explanations of how to use them.

Later, I recommend you get an OLD version of APN, since the new versions are slightly softer versions, but you won't worry over than until you're into advanced topics.

Good luck with it. If you need some specific help drop me a line.

-dennis
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourdegreesc View Post
I would never call StarPath excellent at anything. But they are okay for most lay boaters.

Star Path sells on CD many documents that online for free, American Practical Navigator, Coast Pilots, Chart No 1, these are all filler, imo. The courses themselves are ok at best, but terribly overpriced.

You didn't really say what you're trying to accomplish with your education, but there is nothing in StarPath's material that you couldn't accomplish with APN and Chapman's. For most small craft operators those are the only two books you need. If you want exercises grab some US coast guard exam questions and practice on them. APN is a great survey of navigation from start to finish and Chapman's will get you the basics of seamanship.

I'm biased because I hold a license, but the technical approach is best, especially if you ever want to get a license. Many problems are explained in ephemerals (nautical almanac, tide, tide and current tables, etc). Couple that with some posts on gCaptain or possibly here, and I think you'll do just as well without the StarPath bill.

All the PSA-style courses from the Power Squadron or CG Aux are the same way, but not as overpriced. They are tragically elementary and you'll be lucky if your instructor has ever done any serious boating at all. (My friend is in the Aux and he'll fus at me if he reads this, but it's mho.)

Since you have airman navigation training you may do just fine with these presentations. It's nothing radically different than your airman training. I recommend getting APN for navigation (free online) and Chapman's for seamanship, boat handling, etc. You need Tide Tables (in print) and Tide Current Tables (in print) and those books also have great explanations of how to use them.

Later, I recommend you get an OLD version of APN, since the new versions are slightly softer versions, but you won't worry over than until you're into advanced topics.

Good luck with it. If you need some specific help drop me a line.

-dennis
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Dennis thanks for the informed opinion. I was aware that a lot of the Starpath material were government publications and I've definitely decided not to go that route.

All I'm after at this point, is getting a bit more procedure/structure around my navigation. I feel its kind of loosey-goosey at this point, relying on a review of paper charts to pick out waypoints that will keep me clear of trouble then plotting them on the GPS and just going.

I sail the Chesapeake Bay, so its mainly day sailing between anchorages but I want to do some longer, overnight trips (like a Delmarva Circ.) and want to learn to plan safe and efficient routes. If my plans ever become more ambitious, I'll plan to attend some nav classes at one of the many good Sailing Schools that are nearby.

Thanks again for the good advice and I may look you up when I have a nav question.
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2009
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While I certainly agree with Dennis that all the information you need can be found in Chapmans, APN, Duttons or any of the long established sources,

I think many of us thought you wanted a "structured" workbook with which you could refresh yourself with the nav basics and then pass it on to the admiral.

Pyzels, is such a book. It closely matches the navigation skills that are required to pass the Basic Coast Guard nav. exams and the ASA and US sailing tests. It has review questions after every chapter and navigation problems that need to be solved. While the others are texts, this is a workbook. I have no financial interests in selling his book though....I know it helped me study and give structure to my loose nav habits..

As you know..on the chesapeake, your underway challenges will more likely be centered around the "Rules" : Lights, shapes, sound signals, meeting and passing...Docking, etc...and the art of piloting than it will be to solving set and drift problems....
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  #16  
Old 12-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
While I certainly agree with Dennis that all the information you need can be found in Chapmans, APN, Duttons or any of the long established sources,

I think many of us thought you wanted a "structured" workbook with which you could refresh yourself with the nav basics and then pass it on to the admiral.

Pyzels, is such a book. It closely matches the navigation skills that are required to pass the Basic Coast Guard nav. exams and the ASA and US sailing tests. It has review questions after every chapter and navigation problems that need to be solved. While the others are texts, this is a workbook. I have no financial interests in selling his book though....I know it helped me study and give structure to my loose nav habits..

As you know..on the chesapeake, your underway challenges will more likely be centered around the "Rules" : Lights, shapes, sound signals, meeting and passing...Docking, etc...and the art of piloting than it will be to solving set and drift problems....
No your advice was spot on and I plan on doing the Pyzel course (home study) as my first step. I have a Copy of Chapmans here at home and another on the boat so I can re-read that as well.

I also implied previously that I wanted a text that my wife who doesn't have the same background as I do could use, so I appreciate that several folks with knowledge of multiple resources expressed a clear preference for a particular text. It was just what I needed to know.

Thanks.
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Last edited by PalmettoSailor; 12-19-2009 at 11:18 AM.
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
No your advice was spot on and I plan on doing the Pyzel course (home study) as my first step. I have a Copy of Chapmans here at home and another on the boat so I can re-read that as well.

I also implied previously that I wanted a text that my wife who doesn't have the same background as I do could use, so I appreciate that several folks with knowledge of multiple resources expressed a clear preference for a particular text. It was just what I needed to know.

Thanks.
I would also recommend Duttons. Duttons is a great navigation resource. It is more technical and like some of the other people in here I am biased as I too have a license. The The good thing about Pyzel is it has practice problems. Although I think you can find practice problem/solution sets on the USCG web site.
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  #18  
Old 12-24-2009
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Dutton's was my first text when I was 14. It is a good book too. Back then it was called Dutton's Navigation and Piloting, but now it's Dutton's Nautical Navigation.

For your wife, I'm not sure what to recommend, but I'm going to go back on something I said earlier. The Coast Guard Aux has a "get back to the dock" class for wives. It's designed as a "okay my husband just dropped dead so next I'll...."

The sailing schools (ASA, etc) have pretty complete navigation stuff. Since you spend a lot of time on it (they actually require you to go sailing) you can see it in action.

I still say give your wife Chapman's. If you can only afford one book, make it Chapman's.

If you want to go deep into navigation you're lucky because the Coast Guard exam questions are based on three training charts, one of which is Chesapeake. Grab yourself some "chart problems" and the training chart and you'll find a lot of familiar scenery.

The details, compass correction, set and drift, etc, are all important to understand, but you'll likely never go out and do such analog navigation. I teach a lot of our able seamen at work the navigation parts of their exams and they're amazed that what they consider to be out dated methods are required reading. The concepts are important because they will shorten the time it takes for you to develop an eye for it on the water. You'll use natural ranges and crossed bearings without even noticing once you've gotten some miles behind you.

Navigation is a craft so it's no wonder that you've gotten a lot of good advice on this. Keep on it and enjoy yourself.

-dennis
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