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post #21 of 24 Old 03-20-2011
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Originally Posted by alanporter View Post
A GPS should simply confirm what you already know.
Well said
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-20-2011
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Originally Posted by L124C View Post
I do, but wouldn't have the stones to put it into practice on the approach to the SF Gate in fog (for example)! 6 knot currents, rocks and bridge...OH MY! I don't care how good you are, it's a guesstimate right? Oh yeah,,,did I mention the TANKERS? Nope, I'm throwing out the hook (obviously, not in the channel), or staying out (possibly Hove To) until it clears.
I know you have your share of current and obstacles up there (BC right?)....Would you thread the needle in the fog using those techniques?
You are correct. I would everything at my disposal. When I in a a high traffic area I would also monitor the appropriate vessel traffic services and use my radar. GPS and chartplotter do not show other vessels.

Set and drift are essential tools in planning. For example if I am leaving Vancouver and heading for the Gulf Islands I need to plan ahead to determine which of the passes I am going to transit. A 1 knot flood in Georgia Strait can knock off 20% of my boat speed if I am heading south to Porlier Pass. I am late to Porlier I really have no options as there are no anchorages or marinas in the vicinity. If that route proves untenable, then I can go over to Gabriola Pass which does have a marina and anchorage nearby. But in each case I can plan on what time I need to leave Vancouver.

Set and drift are not useful in threading needles, but they can assist in determining which needle to thread.

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post #23 of 24 Old 06-30-2014
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Re: Overuse of technology

People with less than adequate skills have been on the water since long before GPS. You can't fix that.

I somewhat disagree that you can overuse technology. Even the days before inexpensive technology, we learned to use multiple sources and senses to find our way.

Cruising guide can be worth it's weight in gold, but paper charts are a waste of space when there are electronic versions on the cell phone, laptop, ipad, Plotter, AIS, Radar, etc. I have yet to hear an argument that is not already mitigated.

They have been moved to dry land along with the Sextant and my old trusty slide-rule. Common sense, prudence, and good planning never give way to technology, just enhance it.
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post #24 of 24 Old 06-30-2014
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Re: Overuse of technology

how did folks (my dad the yacht broker, and the new owners) trust a 17 year-old kid and his friend to deliver their new 30-footer from Marblehead down to an unfamiliar harbor on Buzzards Bay? But they did. no radio, compass "to be compensated after the delivery", no depth sounder, nothing but compass, charts and DR. Boston Lightship was my first "buoy" on this long buoy-hop. And I had to figure out when to leave and arrive so the Cape Cod Canal would be fair current. No cell phones either, you were just plumb out of touch til you got there and phoned home from shore.

I had taken Power Squadrons at age 14, it was invaluable. And I had been sailing since age 8, and I believed I could do it, and it turned out I could. But the technology I had was about the same as what sailors had had for 400 years.

Fast-forward almost 50 years. I had picked up a small Coast Guard license along the way, and was drafted a fill-in second captain on the night watch on a 100' dive boat with 30 souls sleeping as I took her out from Texas to the Stetson Bank sanctuary offshore. All the electronics of a large ship--AIS, two radars, two GPS sets, ECDIS with AIS overlay, autopilot, three radios-- plus 3 engines and 1800 hp (me who thinks 45 hp is really a lot). And, oh, a compass, almost forgot ;-)

And yet--you still have to remember to *look out the windows* now and again, and not get mesmerized by these multiple "maritime TV sets". Not every other vessel (or platform) has AIS radio, radar, etc, etc, or even lights sometimes, or makes a discernible radar target.

So technology is good, as well as a possible distraction or even a source of possible error. And "old school" is not to be forgotten, if you went to one. On the delivery trips up to Rye or Portsmouth NH from Mass Bay, if the fog rolled in and I had not just a questionable compass, but the latest fad--a depth sounder! I could after sailing north from Cape Ann, make the left turn to shore early, watch the depth, turn right at 40 feet, then keep her at 40 heading north until I saw or heard the Seabuoy off Rye Harbor. Shazam! In the old days they would use a sounding lead, and effectively too.

Old is good. New is good. Sailing is good. Being entrusted with someone else's pride and joy is a big responsibility--but good. ;-)
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Last edited by nolatom; 06-30-2014 at 03:40 PM.
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