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Old 05-11-2013, 09:10   #1
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Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

Just curious but to those who have been sailing a lot longer than I have, when did GPS technology supplant dead reckoning as the primary means of determining location on the water?

I know the technology was invented in the 1950's but when did it become mainstream to the point where the majority of sailors could not only afford but actually owned a gps of some sort?

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Old 05-11-2013, 09:14   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Just curious but to those who have been sailing a lot longer than I have, when did GPS technology supplant dead reckoning as the primary means of determining location on the water? I know the technology was invented in the 1950's but when did it become mainstream to the point where the majority of sailors could not only afford but actually owned a gps of some sort?
Develpped in 73 not 50's.
Fully operational in 1994
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:28   #3
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

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Develpped in 73 not 50's.
Fully operational in 1994
I was referring to Easton's developmental work in the 50's at the NRL - the precursor to today's GPS system whereby he is credited in some circles as the inventor of GPS but that technicality aside, when did the majority of cruisers start using it instead of dead reckoning?
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:31   #4
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

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Originally Posted by OldFrog75 View Post
Just curious but to those who have been sailing a lot longer than I have, when did GPS technology supplant dead reckoning as the primary means of determining location on the water?

I know the technology was invented in the 1950's but when did it become mainstream to the point where the majority of sailors could not only afford but actually owned a gps of some sort?

It was a bit of a slow infusion. The early units took a long time to acquire and were expensive. It competed with Loran for coastwise as well. I think it was ~10 years ago that you could say "just buy a handheld GPS".
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:51   #5
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

GPS readily available by about '90 or late 80's. Early 80's there was a system called Sat Nav. You were lucky to get a fix or two a day.... so basically you were dead reckoning with an occasional verification.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:56   #6
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

I got my first GPS receiver around 1997 or so for $150, A Magellen 310.

Until then, all I did was dead reckon and coastal navigate. I had been offshore with Loran, and with a Satnav on a government boat, but I barely knew how to use them. Loran used these things called TDs that were marked on charts back then. The less those TDs were right angles, the less accurate the fixes were. We were using it once in the Bahamas coming back from Andros to Bimini, in the 80's, and it was ten miles off at one point that we could know where we were for sure.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:05   #7
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

I chartered a boat with a buddy in 1992 and he had just picked up a GPS before we left. I think they were just becoming commercially available for everyday sailors at the time. I didn't know anyone else using them then. I think it was very expensive, maybe around $1000.

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Old 05-11-2013, 10:10   #8
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Before GPS ( and before NAVSTAR and loran) sailors still used fixes not dead reckoning. Costal used fixes from land and rdf. Ocean sailors used celestial fixes.

GPS didnt supplant dead reckoning, DRs as a primarily position fixing went out with the introduction of reasonable methods of calculating longitude.

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Old 05-11-2013, 10:23   #9
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

GPS became readily available to recreational boaters after the first Gulf war. It had been available shortly before that but it seems all production went to the armed forces. I ordered one (Micrologic, remember them?) in 1991 but it was not delivered due to the war, about $2500 at the time. Then came Magellan and the Magellan 1000. And then Garmin came out with theirs. I still have a Garmin from the early nineties, works good for positioning but the internal battery died two years ago and it will not remember anything, getting to be like me.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:35   #10
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

I had a hand held Magellan backup unit bought in about '97. It went unuseable in Jan 2000 due to the change in century! Basically it had never been used except for testing.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:56   #11
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

It's still amazing how accurate a dr plot is. I'm usually within a pencil lead width's margin of error at twenty four hours. With the windvane it's a little harder because the course meanders around a bit.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:00   #12
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

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I had a hand held Magellan backup unit bought in about '97. It went unuseable in Jan 2000 due to the change in century! Basically it had never been used except for testing.
My little Magellen 310 kept working great, right up until around 2007 or so, when I stepped on it in the boat and cracked the screen. It went out a few days later.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:10   #13
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

Comming down from Alaska a few years ago, all my electronics went out so it was break out the charts and do the "DR" ..
Called the coasties and informed them I was running in the fog with No electronics and was setting a rum line to Eureka .. should be at the outer mark in just over 6 hours..
6 hours later I dropped the sails , and shut everything off to listen for the mile marker.. sure as ****, off in the distance, still in the fog, I could hear the "Gong, Gong" of the mile mark off the enterance channel..
found out later it was the dampness of the fog getting into the conections that screwed me up.. But I did find that in a pinch, knowing how to "DR" is worth its weight in gold........
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:10   #14
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

Anybody remember this badboy? Thing was TERRIBLE by current standards. Batteries lasted maybe a day and took a few minutes, angled just right, to get a signal.

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Old 05-11-2013, 11:12   #15
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Re: Dead Reckoning vs. GPS?

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Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
Comming down from Alaska a few years ago, all my electronics went out so it was break out the charts and do the "DR" ..
Called the coasties and informed them I was running in the fog with No electronics and was setting a rum line to Eureka .. should be at the outer mark in just over 6 hours..
6 hours later I dropped the sails , and shut everything off to listen for the mile marker.. sure as ****, off in the distance, still in the fog, I could hear the "Gong, Gong" of the mile mark off the enterance channel..
found out later it was the dampness of the fog getting into the conections that screwed me up.. But I did find that in a pinch, knowing how to "DR" is worth its weight in gold........
You got your seamanship card stamped that day

I made it through 24 hours of fog with no visual or electronic fixes; just has the depth sounder, compass, and I could read the depth contour lines from my paper charts.
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