Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 35 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 10
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. ;-)
Last edited by nolatom; 06-30-2014 at 03:40 PM.