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Old 18-10-2018, 12:43   #1
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Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

I am setting off on a big cruise with the family in the next few years and space will be tight. I've been holding on to a box full of paper charts - many of the Caribbean, Columbia and Venezuela which I will be using in the first years, but many others of the South Pacific, Australia and the Med- which I wont be getting to unless things go really well.
Any salty, sage advice out there on idea of going completely electronic with several layers of back-ups?
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Old 18-10-2018, 13:10   #2
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

You probably have more sailing experience than I do, but one thing I've heard is lightning. I don't know what the risk is there, I feel it is so small that it might not matter much.

If you want the backup, maybe you can figure out a way to only keep harder to find charts, or books that have large areas mapped out, then you can at least navigate somewhat in an emergency so maybe you can't get where you want to go... but you can get somewhere, at least. Then pick up local charts as you cruise? Might also make nice souvenirs.
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Old 18-10-2018, 13:39   #3
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

You should keep enough paper charts to safely make harbor with a loss of your chart plotters in mo.
For us that means keeping an offshore chart that shows the large area. We then typically have some chartlets in guide books that would get us inside. So it only takes a few charts for the South Pacific run.

Having large area offshore charts also makes it easier to do some long term passage planning. You can see a lot more than a cramped chartplotter screen.
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Old 18-10-2018, 14:14   #4
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Having large area offshore charts also makes it easier to do some long term passage planning. You can see a lot more than a cramped chartplotter screen.

God yes! I find planning on a chart plotter to be an exercise in frustration. Zooming, panning etc gets in the way of thinking.

Also there is something really satisfying about rolling out a chart on a big table with a cup of coffee, a pencil and parallel rule...
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Old 18-10-2018, 14:47   #5
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

We still have an almost complete set of paper charts in order to see the overall picture. That being said... no, I don’t believe you absolutely need them any longer with enough redundancy built into your system. When we were setting off across the Atlantic, the jerk who bailed out on us was so overly concerned about charts, that I actually went out and purchased a paper shipping chart of the Atlantic Ocean just to shut him up. Basically, it’s just a big chart of open water with an overlayed grid pattern.

It was first pointed out to him by myself and another crew Tom that we already had twelve times redundancy in case of a failure.

1. Four iphones
2. Raymarine hybrid touch with Navionics platinum charts
3. Four ipads with two charting apps
4. Garmin handheld
5. Two pcs

It’s ridiculous! It was pointed out to him, that short of a major attack by North Korea... everything would be fine, and even then... we could simply head east. We’d even discussed how to isolate batteries into separate banks.

Yes, you’re now fine without paper.
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Old 18-10-2018, 15:14   #6
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

Panning and zooming is IMO OK on large tablets, but nothing beats a paper chart, a mate and a beer for planning.
So I'd toss all detailed charts and keep the others for planning and fun.


And just in case some aliens shot down GPS, GLONAS, Galileo and whatelse satellites else but fail to shot my boat
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Old 19-10-2018, 09:58   #7
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

Being much older than current electronics I guess I just love charts. Regardless of the trip, daysail or cruising, I always have a chart out. Guests on board seem to really like them as well. Just old school I guess. Do you need them, I say yes as backup.
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:02   #8
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

I have just sailed from Thailand, via Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan across to Vancouver and Seattle. I didn't use any paper charts, in fact I couldn't afford to buy the several hundred I would have needed. Instead everything was covered by my navionics charts on my ipads. I have two ipads, I also have OpenCPN running on two laptops with CMAP charts. While it is possible a lightning strike could take them all out I thought the risks where quite small.
I love paper charts, there are a load on the boat from the PO, but maintaining them and just the cost makes it too difficult.
I did mark our position on a large chart of the North Pacific as we crossed, but that was more for fun / morale than navigation. Doing great circle routes on mercator charts is a pain as well, it's much simpler on OpenCPN.
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:16   #9
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

I also only use paper charts these days to show guests where we're going. They're really old.

My up-to-date charts are all electronic on two chartplotters, one laptop, four Ipads (most bought on Ebay for little money - don't get a wifi one or you won't have GPS), and two phones.

The ipads get unplugged and some put in the oven in a thunderstorm - although I've never heard of an Ipad being knocked out by lightening on a boat in the real world. Has anyone had this happen to them? I feel sorta silly putting the Ipad's in the oven. I know it's a theoretical risk but so is being hit by a meteor.

I also have a spare solar controller in a box so I could get the solar panels going if that was knocked out by lightening to be able to charge the Ipads.

An advantage of electronic charts is that you can have multiple charts from different providers some of which incorporate crowd sourced or non-government data. Much safer than depending just on the government charts.
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:18   #10
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

If all of your electronic charts die how will you know your position? Seems likely that all of the GPS's will also be dead. So paper charts don't cover all your needs, you also need some way to find your position.

FWIW we carry any number of redundant electronic charting and position finding systems. I'm hard pressed to envision a scenario where all get killed (at least one where I care afterwards - a massive EMP from global thermonuclear war may stop all my devices but will also probably stop me from caring).

We also tend to carry ocean-scale paper charts because I just like having them. And a sextant with the necessary paper documents. All because I'm old school. Even for passage planning I haven't broken out the paper in years. Do break out the sextant from time to time just for grins.
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:24   #11
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

If you're worried about lightning or EMP killing electronic charts, why not keep a tablet or smartphone in a Faraday bag?

They're fairly cheap these days, and more reliable than putting it in the oven. Of course, if your electronics are that thoroughly dead, you might have trouble charging the tablet. (Portable solar panel charger in a Faraday bag?)
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:32   #12
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pirate Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

I have a pack of 7 Ships Boat Charts covering all the Oceans.. ex RN from the late 70's.. good enuf for DR to my destination.. then if its unfamiliar territory I like a local area chart covering say 50nm either side and at least 12nm out to sea for coastal eyeball nav using lights and landmarks to home in to the port.
Having once had my then only h/h GPS (spent all my money buying the boat) die on me on a transat and doing my chartwork on a page in a N Atlantic Pilot Chart Book from 1000nm out made me value the Big Picture..
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:35   #13
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

I should check out the Faraday bags, but of all the people I have met who have lost equipment through lightning strikes, and that's about ten, it always happened when they were in a marina or at anchor, and generally when the strike happens, it has taken out most of the electronics, depth/speed/log instruments, fridge, autopilot etc.
I wonder how many people have lost their nav gear when actually on passage. The risks are probably quite small.
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Old 19-10-2018, 10:45   #14
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

Can you store all those extra charts with someone who'll mail them out to you when and if you want them?
Paper charts are a prudent choice.
I carry some coastal charts with downloaded 8 1/2 by 11 prints in a binder, of all likely harbor entrance areas.
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Old 19-10-2018, 11:27   #15
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Re: Are paper charts as a backup still necessary?

IMHO there is no need to keep paper charts anymore (although I do love a paper chart and it is very hard for me to resist the impulse of purchase).
People who worry that all electronics would die on them should also carry the means for celestial navigation (sextant and paper tables).
I have several friends who went round the world without paper (one of them is in the second round).
We have Navionics on Raymarine and on Android phone, world charts set on OpenCPN/PC, hand held Garmin with charts of the current area of cruising.
But - I have a large scale charts of our cruising areas - used only to show guests where are we sailing.
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