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Old 05-05-2016, 08:21   #61
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pirate Re: Death by GPS

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Hey I still drop the wooden board on the line and count the knots
I just light a roll-up in the cockpit and stroll to the bow.. finish my smoke and drop the butt ahead of the bow then count it back down to the stern.. can't be assed with all that line crap...
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:02   #62
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Re: Death by GPS

I guess I just don't get it. Is knowing where you are such a bad thing?
I started navigating before the days of GPS. When coastal, I never knew "exactly" where I was until I could read a marker or get some sort of visual reference. Too many times I would worry, was I still on the right heading or did the current push me some? Did I do a good job of guessing my speed and distance traveled?

I remember the first time I went sailing with a real chart plotter. I thought it was the greatest invention ever. I can't understand how anyone would see it as a bad thing, or that it was un-seaman like to know where you are. Sure the "chart" in your chart plotter may be off some, but so are your paper charts.

I guess I had too many dark stormy nights trying to guess where I was on the chart, hoping I was on the right course, and not headed into danger.

I still carry paper charts, a compass, dividers, parallel ruler and a watch. But I never look at them any more. I have a Garmin mounted at the wheel, 2 ipads and 2 iphones as backup. I personally would never go back to the old ways. Too scary.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:06   #63
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Re: Death by GPS

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I guess I just don't get it. Is knowing where you are such a bad thing?
I started navigating before the days of GPS. When coastal, I never knew "exactly" where I was until I could read a marker or get some sort of visual reference. Too many times I would worry, was I still on the right heading or did the current push me some? Did I do a good job of guessing my speed and distance traveled?

I remember the first time I went sailing with a real chart plotter. I thought it was the greatest invention ever. I can't understand how anyone would see it as a bad thing, or that it was un-seaman like to know where you are. Sure the "chart" in your chart plotter may be off some, but so are your paper charts.

I guess I had too many dark stormy nights trying to guess where I was on the chart, hoping I was on the right course, and not headed into danger.

I still carry paper charts, a compass, dividers, parallel ruler and a watch. But I never look at them any more. I have a Garmin mounted at the wheel, 2 ipads and 2 iphones as backup. I personally would never go back to the old ways. Too scary.
Been there and done that. I am thrilled to have a way to determine my exact (within the limits of the technology) position when it's dark, reefs are near, there are unknown currents from uncertain directions and I'm standing at the bow hoping I don't see breakers ahead.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:17   #64
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pirate Re: Death by GPS

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Been there and done that. I am thrilled to have a way to determine my exact (within the limits of the technology) position when it's dark, reefs are near, there are unknown currents from uncertain directions and I'm standing at the bow hoping I don't see breakers ahead.
This is where seamanship comes into play.. heave to or stand off till dawn.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:21   #65
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Re: Death by GPS

GPS I find is an excellent and accurate tool we're fortunate to have both on land and sea.
When on land in an unknown place nothing better to find someplace base on minimal information. One example was hurricane Katrina when all signage had been wiped out and never been in the place before. Many many times in different places needing to find addresses with a map would have been very difficult.
On water it is a great tool combined with radar and AIS, keeping in mind margin for error and hard copy position duplication/verification.
Waxing nostalgic for times past is fine but living in it not so much I find. Having skills from it definite plus!
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:33   #66
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Re: Death by GPS

With technology either the inovation dies out or those opposed to it die out.

In this case the opposition to GPS et al modern navigation are dying out.

Viva le young people!

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Old 05-05-2016, 09:35   #67
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Re: Death by GPS

folks entering some lagoons believe they can use gps to find way between shoals. NOT. must use eyes, as all who used gps to enter many lagoons end up hard aground.
out at sea, use the damnthing, but in sight of land and variables such as shoaling, use eyeballs.
as much fun as it is to watch the what i call mud wrestlers who insist on use of gps instead of eyes, it can be a drag to become stuck in mud, unless you really NEED a good bottom cleaning or know how to extricate self without help. in darkness. no moon. so no one sees and rags on yer mud wrestling abilities.
and what boaty said.

i left barra de navidad under cover of darkness-- 0015 sat am according to the utc clock. as i went , using eyeballs, with gps on, i noticed the marker for my location was well outside the lagoon entrance. ok. and folks use these to determine their location inside a closed area?? okaaayyyyy......
oh yeah, and when ye leave a place you know well. make sure you can see the marker ypou need to see before you set out, or you will also be a mud wrestler.
but we did get out before any time lapse occurred so any webcams will not have us hogging the recording.......
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:43   #68
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Re: Death by GPS

It would be nice to see some statistics of accidents of the pre gps and post gps eras. Not as absolute figures but more like per 1000 boats making a passage.

My gut feeling is that poor navigators with gps are safer than good navigators without.

BTW reading books of early cruisers (think 50'ies to 70'ies) I somehow got the idea that many of them were navigational nulls. Or maybe they were just bragging to sell more copies.

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Old 05-05-2016, 10:34   #69
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Re: Death by GPS

Can't give you statistics, can give you personal anecdote. Way back in the dark ages (or were they the light ages since we used the sun for navigation?) I piled the boat up on a reef in the middle of the night. We hadn't had a usable sun, moon, or star shot for 3 days. In that time (unbeknownst to us) we had crossed a current eddy, and what had been a reliable eastward set of about 3/4 knot became a northward set of about 1/2 knot. So our DR was crap and we were about 50 nm north of where we thought we were.

GPS, and/or GRIBs might have prevented that event.

I've seen the complacency go the other direction too. Because the computer says we are "here" we believe that we are. But too many users don't understand that the island that is shown on that chart might actually be "there" rather than "here" because the chart is not accurate. Because the chart is shown on a computer we have this inherent belief that it is "accurate". On paper, and with celestial, we never knew quite how accurate or inaccurate those lat/long lines were, and so relied more on the Mark I eyeball on approach.

I use (and love) GPS, but it is all in how you use all the tools at your disposal.
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Old 07-05-2016, 15:43   #70
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Re: Death by GPS

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Originally Posted by Paul54 View Post
I guess I just don't get it. Is knowing where you are such a bad thing?
I started navigating before the days of GPS. When coastal, I never knew "exactly" where I was until I could read a marker or get some sort of visual reference. Too many times I would worry, was I still on the right heading or did the current push me some? Did I do a good job of guessing my speed and distance traveled?

I remember the first time I went sailing with a real chart plotter. I thought it was the greatest invention ever. I can't understand how anyone would see it as a bad thing, or that it was un-seaman like to know where you are. Sure the "chart" in your chart plotter may be off some, but so are your paper charts.

I guess I had too many dark stormy nights trying to guess where I was on the chart, hoping I was on the right course, and not headed into danger.

I still carry paper charts, a compass, dividers, parallel ruler and a watch. But I never look at them any more. I have a Garmin mounted at the wheel, 2 ipads and 2 iphones as backup. I personally would never go back to the old ways. Too scary.
Exactly. Knowing exactly where you are, how bad can that be. DR knowing sort of where you are.

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Old 07-05-2016, 15:57   #71
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Re: Death by GPS

Well, I think that what I was trying to understand was best summarized by BigNickMontana (post #37).

Automotive GPS makes it easy to let the machine to all the "thinking" for you - plug in a destination and follow it ... that seems to be the risk factor.

Nick's approach is to understand the context, figure out the best route, put in the appropriate waypoints, and only then to follow it, making adjustments as circumstances require. As I said, I'm just learning to do this in the sailing context, but that sound to me like what you do with a chartplotter.

So what I now see is the difference between navigating - making best use of available technology - and just blindly following the machine without understanding what it's doing.

Here's to good navigation, by whatever means and using whatever tools make sense.
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Old 07-05-2016, 18:34   #72
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Re: Death by GPS

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Once I was visiting Oregon. Using a map I was trying to drive through some forested areas to check out the scenery. It was only later I realized the "road" (poor rut was more accurate I had been following was really a county line on the map. Seems I was not the first to make that mistake.

As to GPS I have noticed in myself that I know less of a car driven route when using GPS.

On the boat I use a variety of paper, electronic maps/charts, and plotters. I really, really need the heads up, North orientation of a traditional map even if I only see it on the screen. But I also use the GPS to help keep me straight and oriented, especially at night when the lights can be so confusing.
Yes, at night lights can be confusing. I once was running a range into a narrow harbor at 1am...imagine my horror when the top light of the range suddenly turned green. I had mistakenly lined up on a traffic light that was bright and missed the more dim light of the range in the glare....got lucky that time, the tide was really high and saved me from grounding.. gps would have really been a good cross check.
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Old 07-05-2016, 21:31   #73
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Re: Death by GPS

Honestly, is there anyone here who does not use GPS for navigation? I have not touched the sextant in years and my almanac is out of date I think for around a decade now. One thing I still use while under way are paper charts. I mark my position once or twice day when under way, but not for navigational purposes rather to do something else and it gives me the feeling of being a real captain

However the GPS does not replace the depth finder and a pair of good old eyes enhanced with binoculars, nor does it replace the compass, the wind vane, etc. And it does definitely not replace common sense (in the good meaning of the term). It is just another tool in the navigational toolbox. A very versatile and nice one, I have to say.

But I'm out there to enjoy life not to stare on a screen all the time (noone in his right mind would stare at a compass 24/7!) and definitely will not follow it blindly.

Wasn't there recently a Lagoon 450 skipper who followed the red line on the plotter until he hit the rocks?
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Old 07-05-2016, 23:15   #74
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Re: Death by GPS

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....Wasn't there recently a Lagoon 450 skipper who followed the red line on the plotter until he hit the rocks?
There was that ship captain a couple years back who set a course and forgot that Ireland was in the middle of it
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Old 07-05-2016, 23:32   #75
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Re: Death by GPS

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There was that ship captain a couple years back who set a course and forgot that Ireland was in the middle of it
And lack of GPS would have made that better how? Even if scaled out to view the entire world, Ireland would have clearly showed up on the map with a line thru it (assuming by GPS most of us are presuming an electronic chart plotter is involved).

While people can make mistakes with GPS, I'd be willing to bet for every mistake due to misuse of GPS, there were dozens of mistakes from not having accurate positioning.

I have the strong suspicion that 1 or 2 stories of drivers running off a cliff or captains running into the breakwall because the GPS told them to do it get retold so often that people start believing it's a statistically significant issue.

It's probably a lot more like the old kids game of "telephone" where you would line up the kids and whisper something in the first kids ear and it would pass down the line and at the end there would be 20 different versions many with no relation to the original story.
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