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Old 08-04-2012, 14:21   #46
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Re: Buy paper charts?

The history of paper charts on the left coast of North and Central America is a checkered and interesting one. Many of the most accurate ones were done by Spanish explorers and varified in the late 1800's by Americans. Some of the nomenclature remained the same through the 20th century.
No need to have detailed charts of every nook and cranny of the coast you are traveling... just the ports you intend to call in to and a few to duck into out of weather.
Passage making across oceans only require 2 or 3 charts and detailed ones of islands. There is a whole lot of nothin' out there but it is fun to chart your progress across the wasteland.
I'm probably old fashioned but I wouldn't leave without some paper as a backup, or, in my case, the primary and use GPS/plotter as backup. A good reason for having some celestial training, a sextant and reduction tables. In a different hemispere, it is also handy to have a star chart, particularly if you aren't used to the constellations down under or over top depending on where you do your cruising. Capt Phil
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Old 08-04-2012, 14:21   #47
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
...And not to say such horrors do not happen with a paper chart.
Or an electronic display of a raster chart

To be fair, chartplotters and vector charts are getting better every year. having both, raster (~paper) and vector is probably best. Newer vector charts now include data from satellite imagery and LIDAR.
LIDAR - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I was impressed in some of the atolls in the Tuamotus, the vector chart I had (not the dockswap CM93) showed many coral heads not shown in any raster/paper chart. It did plot them at the wrong depth (5m) while some of them were close to the surface. Still, it helped, not every day is a perfect eye-ball day.

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Old 08-04-2012, 14:48   #48
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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Somewhat further down the road, we sailed down the coast from Opua to Auckland. I pre-planned the route with one kind of ecs but underway decided to look something up and fired up another application. To my shocker, there was a rock off a headland, one that was not there before (the rock! ;-)) ... Both pieces of software were displaying the same chart ... !
This is EXACTLY why I don't use those things. I have Expedition for routing and and have the charts loaded into it but I transfer all my working data to the chart after I run routine course optimizations against updated grib data when on passage, but my working dataset is always paper. The laptop is only for planning or doing complex routing calculations.

Relying on electronic charts in unfamiliar waters scares the bejesus out of me.
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Old 08-04-2012, 15:01   #49
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Re: Buy paper charts?

Just need to point something out here...........there are vector charts and there are vector charts.....

All our vessels that are ECDIS equiped run vector charts and have ALL the information that is available on Raster and paper charts, but we can manipulate (omit) what we want to see for a certain area with the use of layers and other functions, or we can just set to default which presents all info no matter what the scale is....

I run the same nav program on my PC, and after previously using a Raster based program i would not go back to one....
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Old 08-04-2012, 15:25   #50
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Re: Buy paper charts?

IslandHopper,

It would be nice to have an ECDIS system on board, but on my boat a laptop is not a suitable navigation tool. Those with a less exposed nav station that spends less than 1/2 it's time at 30 degrees of heel might get away with it

The laptop in my case is generally used in the salon where I can sit down with it and the paper chart together, and as mentioned, it's only for routing purposes.

Here's an image looking down the companionway. The Nav station is to port just aft of that bulkhead in the lower right corner of the frame. Downwind all sorts of spray and flotsam makes it down there!

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Old 08-04-2012, 16:36   #51
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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Here's an image looking down the companionway.
BTW: I adore the interior.

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Old 08-04-2012, 17:04   #52
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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Relying on electronic charts in unfamiliar waters scares the bejesus out of me.
Amen.

But I did notice that in West Coast skerries as in Pacific coral I prefer eyeball+plotter to eyeball+paper combination. Simply, things happen too quickly and I have no time to mark our progress on the paper chart as I am busy piloting. Here the electronics beat the paper hands down.

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Old 08-04-2012, 17:19   #53
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Re: Buy paper charts?

In these situations, like in the Bahamas, I use paper with more confidence.

I usually make two copies of each chart I have on board when I print them. I'll bring one on deck, and if it's blowing like hell I generally would not attempt landfall or entry in a location where I have not time for this. This should usually be the case even if you're 100% confident your electronics won't fail as well.

I think electronics provide too much of a sense of comfort and with that over confidence people take risks. When I go into an unknown harbor, anchorage, channel, etc. I always have a complete plan and notes on my chart with bearings, reverse bearings, important land marks noted and some relative bearings to each, my hand bearing compass around my neck, etc.

What happens if there's a sunspot or GPS outage when you're running some channel lined with coral heads in this situation? Getting your bearings on paper in that case would not be a trivial ask. If you're navigating on paper you're already sorted in that department and I think you've probably done your homework on the entirety of the entry as well... at least that's how I look at it.
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Old 08-04-2012, 17:34   #54
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Re: Buy paper charts?

Those coral heads In the Tuamotus are the reason I have ratlines up at least one side of my forward mast !! I much rather see then trust electronics. just my 2 cents
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Old 08-04-2012, 17:35   #55
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Re: Buy paper charts?

My Garmin (592?) stopped acquiring Satellites one day. I was entering a shallow anchorage that the cruising guide said not to enter without a chartplotter. It was fine, I went slow, but it made me aware how dependent I was on it.

The replacement failed going out Beaufort Inlet in Nov. I had another replacement, given by friends who upgraded.

Chartplotters are great for singlehanding. It can be hard to manage paper at the helm, in the rain, spray, or wind.

I keep paper down below, and plan with the small scale, as you all say. Way more satisfying.

Not as savvy with the whole CPN thing, or other Mac software, just not enough time and $$ to peel open that onion yet. The print your own idea is interesting. I buy Ocean Graphix.

Who goes through all the LNTM and updates their charts? Probably a good idea after a big storm, but I can't keep up with all that.
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Old 08-04-2012, 17:37   #56
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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(...) Getting your bearings on paper in that case would not be a trivial ask. (...)
Yes. But in the skerry country having bearings taken down AND keeping eye on the road can be done only if the boat is well crewed - one person drives, the other does the chart work. The same applies to work in dense coral country. If I were left to my own devices (read the plotter loses grip on the constellation), then I would not use the paper chart anyway - there is simply not enough time to take bearings, plot them on the chart, etc.. I would continue by the eye solely.

I think that, without gps/ecs, there are many places neither us nor many more experienced sailors would never go to in the first place.

One cane say that having access to such devices extended our cruising grounds.

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Old 08-04-2012, 17:51   #57
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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Those coral heads In the Tuamotus are the reason I have ratlines up at least one side of my forward mast !! I much rather see then trust electronics. just my 2 cents
We too sail by the eye in coral. But I must admit that when caught by a rain squall in New Cal we retreated from a coral anchorage solely by the GPS. The only option was to stay put but If we did, there would not be this post.

My other strong preference for plotter over paper is when the channel is intricate and there are numerous divides or turns - I simply cannot follow the chart so quickly (much as I believe others can). In a case like this one look at the plotter tells me where the thing 'thinks' we are. Not a basis for decisions but sure it helps me.

All means have their time and all are limited. Prudent use of each and any tool always the best practice.

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Old 08-04-2012, 17:54   #58
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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Yes. But in the skerry country having bearings taken down AND keeping eye on the road can be done only if the boat is well crewed - one person drives, the other does the chart work. The same applies to work in dense coral country.
I know this is going to come off wrong, but I absolutely disagree with you.

I've been exercising this very skill in locations around the world, often single handed, for upwards of 20 years. I manage by keeping the tiller between my legs, or in one hand, with the hand bearing compass on a lanyard around my neck. Often I've had time to put the chart in a plastic sleeve (because I plan ahead) and I have grease pen notes on the outside. This can live in the sheet bag at my feet quite nicely.

If there are people who can't manage this then I'd say they're moving too fast and slowing down is the solution, not electronics.

Chart plotters haven't opened up a single location that wasn't accessible before their invention. It's just a matter of seamanship.
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Old 08-04-2012, 18:11   #59
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Re: Buy paper charts?

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If there are people who can't manage this then I'd say they're moving too fast and slowing down is the solution, not electronics.

Chart plotters haven't opened up a single location that wasn't accessible before their invention. It's just a matter of seamanship.
No doubt, but it sure dumbs it down for me. Not that I can't do it, but I can't do it as well or efficiently as you. Slowing down is key, I guess. Plotting a DR, running fixes, bearings, etc are not difficult, but more than I can or want to keep up with on a short term cruise. If you don't use them you don't get better, so you've inspired me to yank the paper out more often. OK, I'll be a fair weather paper chart guy.

I've never actually used the grease pencil method on the plastic sleeves. One could do that alone pretty efficiently and not have to be so precise.

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Old 08-04-2012, 18:25   #60
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Re: Buy paper charts?

Yeah the grease pen is an old racing trick. I often make notations when I'm going into an island anchorage as well with it. I make notes of geographically induced wind shifts, things I notice not on the chart, etc. Makes the second visit really nice.

There are places I would never have attempted in the Bahamas 10 years ago under sail and now I sail into them without hesitation if the conditions are good.

Having notes from previous experience like this is a tradition that's largely lost. I have a routine of making regular updates to my raster charts that I print out full scale which includes transferring my notes onto the updated copy. This is done in photoshop where I can overlay my notes some place useful prior to printing the chart. My father did this on his charts and updated them on schedule for his much smaller cruising area. His notes were laboriously transferred by hand. We have it far easier.

I just wish the raster charts were available in digital for every place I sail.
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