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Old 15-06-2009, 14:33   #16
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PILOTING is Navigation by using visible references, such as by the bearings of (charted) landmarks, aids to navigation, water depths (soundings), & etc.
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Old 15-06-2009, 16:40   #17
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As I understand it "piloting" or pilotage is navigation within restricted waters - it comes from a Dutch term peillood (sp?) which loosely translates to "thrower of the lead" (as in lead-line). It also encompasses blind pilotage, using radar.
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Old 15-06-2009, 16:58   #18
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For a nice change of pace from all this reading, this is a really good DVD: Amazon.com: Annapolis Book of Seamanship: Sailboat Navigation, Volume 4: John Rousmaniere: Movies & TV You just cant go wrong with John Rousmaniere.
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Old 15-06-2009, 17:11   #19
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boating is fun. If you know what you are doing Locate your closest United States Power Squadron and sign up for their boating courses. Its easy and you can learn all that you need and require for what ever type of boating you desire. You will also fiend great boating friends. Its a great nation wide organizion.
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Old 15-06-2009, 18:11   #20
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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
I have a chartkit that covers the whole of Chesapeake Bay. I would suggest some basic Power Squadron courses. If you're in the bay a simple hand bearing compass will suffice as you're never far from land. Take a few bearings and plot your position. In real life there's so many buoys and lights in the bay it's fairly easy to find out where you are. I think a depth sounder would be the best navigation aid.
And a good set of 10x50 binocs to read the bouy numbers.

I sailed the bay for 30+ years without a chartplotter. Only a depthsounder (needed on my my 3rd boat which drew over 3 ft, prior to that I'd get out and push), a chart book called "Cruising Maryland Waters", a compass on a gimbal mounted on the washboard, a pair of binocs, telltales on the sail, a piece of yarn tied to the shrouds, and a Radio Shack weather radio. I now have a GPS/chartplotter and never use it. (I bought it as I had planned to go offshore out of sight of land).

Sometimes in the lower bay I though I was part of the Fugawi tribe looking for my tribesmen, but after 3 or 4 minutes of blind panic I would find a buoy number, squint at the chart and figure out where the channel was. What fun!

You see so much more when you don't have the fancy electronics to stare at. My $.02
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Old 15-06-2009, 18:31   #21
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I agree Annapolis is an easier read for a beginner than Chapman, and will meet your most immediate needs. I also agree with others that there is no one bit of electronic kit that you need.

A sounder is essential. Having used them, particularly when visibility is poor and at night, a GPS (handheld will do) is not something I ever want to be without again. Radars are good, but I can go well without one (worry about having a decent VHF with backup first). Doesn't sound like you need a sextant quite yet.

But chart, pencils, rubber, handbearing compass, dividers and plotting rules are all quite cheap and IMHO essential. Good on you for wanting to know how to use them properly. Enjoy the course.
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Old 15-06-2009, 18:57   #22
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PLEASE - take a Coastal Navigation Course. Be it Power Squadron, CYA, ASA or whatever. NEVER LEAVE YOUR MOORING WITHOUT PAPER CHARTS and knowing how to use them. NEVER UNTIE WITHOUT TIDE TABLES and knowing how to use them. Whatever the cost of the course, it is well worth it, you will have fun rather than get into expensive or lethal trouble.
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Old 15-06-2009, 19:53   #23
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And remember that charts and GPS are only as good as the last revision.

If something has moved - a sand bar - then you simply have to pay attention.

1. Eyes.
2. Chart.
3. Compass.
4. Sounder if you draw over 4 feet.
5. GPS, but hand-held is plenty.

My new boat has $5000 worth of electronics... that I do not need or use much. I have sailed for 25 years on the Bay and Delmarva coast with a chart and compass and want little more. Generally, I forget to turn them on. But I do keep my eyes wide open.

Plotting tools are useful after dark, if you can't see. Moastly, simply visualize yourself on the chart.
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Old 16-06-2009, 05:27   #24
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A couple of excellent free on-line resources:

Nautical Chart Reading 101

Nautical Chart Basics

Advanced online course on Marine Navigation
Advanced navigation courses - sailing schools Greece and the Greek islands
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Old 16-06-2009, 06:01   #25
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I took the USCG Auxilliary's Basic and Advanced Coastal Navigation courses after I'd been boating and navigating around the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries for 40 years or so.
For those that want a real course these are the best there are other than a tour with the USCG or Navy. You pay a course materials fee and you get a nice set of guides. Usually taught by retired navigators who just like to teach people. The advanced class is harder to find so you might need to travel. You actually get a workbook and have classroom sessions conducted over a period of weeks. Almost all the other courses are home study.

Navigation in and around the Chesapeake is not so much knowing where you are as much as piloting the shallow waters to get any place. Navigation aids and charts are the only way you can get around without Being aground. You can run a ground 2 miles off shore most any place.

Navigation is as much about planning as it is about the technical skills of computation. Knowing when the tides will be moving faster and when they are rising and falling are part of Navigation. What weather conditions might do to your plans and when is the better time to leave and show up. Piloting is the bringing together all the factors that change how you move about in close waters. You share space with very large commercial and military boats and there are an almost unlimited number of crab pots and nets to get in and around. It is very much about observation of the things not contained on the chart.

All the above suggested sources are all great. I'm a Chapman fan but I also have the Annapolis Book of Seamanship too. They make a great pair of resources that sometimes over lap on the more important topics.

A free online book "The American Practical Navigator" By Nathanial Bowditch is a compendium of all there is on navigation and can be had at the Bowditch Online web site. It is a 862 page PDF file with a WHOLE lot of things in it. If you can master that you can start teaching courses. It also has the tables required to do the complex math aboard ship without a computer.
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Old 16-06-2009, 19:53   #26
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here's anther vote for Nigel Calder's "how to read nautical charts". It is a sort of annotated Chart 1 that explains what every symbol means as well as giving a good overview of how to use charts. I use the plotter a lot but would never be without paper charts and a good pair of binocs. machines can always break.
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Old 16-06-2009, 22:36   #27
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
A couple of excellent free on-line resources:

Advanced online course on Marine Navigation
Advanced navigation courses - sailing schools Greece and the Greek islands
I was wondering if someone would post this great site. Just remember that it covers both IALA systems A and B.

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Old 17-06-2009, 21:13   #28
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Small suggestion: get big waterproof charts that you can take right up into the cockpit with you.

At the risk of blasphemy, there is nothing better than a good GPS with updated charts and radar. Also a forward looking sonar like an Interphase. It beats taking bearings any day.
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Old 18-06-2009, 06:17   #29
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Small suggestion: get big waterproof charts that you can take right up into the cockpit with you.

At the risk of blasphemy, there is nothing better than a good GPS with updated charts and radar. Also a forward looking sonar like an Interphase. It beats taking bearings any day.
This is true, but the basics are essential to know, and so many don't!.......i2f
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Old 18-06-2009, 06:40   #30
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It's important to learn the "language" symbols and protocols used on charts to truly be able to extract all the information they contain.

Take a course a get a book to explain how to read a chart - the life of someone you love may depend on it.
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