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Old 24-12-2012, 03:58   #31
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

Sun? Moon? Stars? Hmmm, I remember those from way back in the dim past. The sun is the big yellow warm thing, isn't it? And the moon is the slightly smaller silver thing, whereas the stars are the little twinkly spots? It's been overcast here for months now...been considering making a Viking sunstone equivalent out of polarising film. Of course, I could just buy a GPS, but I like doing things myself. I was also interested in getting a solar compass, but it's about as useful as teats on a bull here in cloudland. Ah well, maybe someday I'll get to warmer climes again.
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Old 24-12-2012, 04:18   #32
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

Everyone has their own chosen method of navigating and that's fine as long as it's safe and works for you.
Personally I agree with Dockhead on paper charts, tide tables and thorough passage planning, being on a displacement boat you can then get the best results from working with the sea and all it's moods.
On a lighter note we wish you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND PEACEFUL NEW YEAR.
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Old 24-12-2012, 05:26   #33
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

For me "Navigation" is the art (and science!) of using whatever you have to get from point A to point B - without hitting Point C, D or E!

IMO a good Navigator is someone who neither has an attack of vapours when unable to know (or believe they know!) where they are to 3 decimal places.....nor are wedded to any single method or Nav Tool (whether a bleeping gizmo or a pencil!).

In ye olden days (pre GPS!) Navigation was the art of being comfortable when lost (at least it was in my world!)......the concept of not actually needing to know where you are 24/7 is perhaps not something that many in modern days are comfortable with (or can cope with?).
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Old 24-12-2012, 07:41   #34
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

First of all, no prudent navigator relies on only one method of determining his position or his progress. Period.

I used to see an old retired Royal Navy guy every year in Belize. His only navigation tools were his memory, his old log book, an almanac, a cheap digital watch, a cheaper SW receiver for checking his watch by the BBC hourly time tick, the relevant volumes of HO229, approach charts for the Solent and Belize, a hand drawn plot sheet for the main passage, a child's compass in lieu of proper dividers, a cheap plastic ruler with his own system of marks scratched in, and a Davis plastic sextant. One could say he was apparently an expert navigator. I would agree, but I would also state that he was an irresponsible navigator, since LORAN C was fairly inexpensive and GPS was just coming on the market too. His error? Relying on only one means of determining position. It is wrong to trust celestial to the point of regarding electronic aids as irrelevant and unneccessary. Likewise, to trust GPS and to not bother to even learn to take LAN or take an amplitude for a compass check. The prudent navigator uses all practical means at his disposal, and as a minimum, two separate means of determining position. Near a coast, two radar ranges or two visual bearings are good... a depth crossed with a radio bearing can work. Whatever. But you need two methods of determining position. Trust GPS? Sure. Trust the San Andreas Fault to not have another earthquake. You should be okay for now, trusting either one, but what about the what if part? Don't want contingencies and backup methods for your navigation? Isn't navigation sorta important?

Celestial navigation isn't a dark art and it should not be intimidating. Calculating the time for Local Apparent Noon and then taking the noon sun is a simple introduction to celestial, and you should be able to figure it out in a day or two. Okay... so it only gives you a latitude, and so you can't expect to be accurate within feet... it is still a useful tool, and a potentially lifesaving one, and a great start at learning. And it involves nothing but measuring the angle of the sun above the horizon, looking up numbers and doing a little adding and subtracting.

One thing about Celestial Navigation... it relies heavily on you, the navigator, keeping a good DR. Your DR is a useful tool in its own right. Having a GPS doesn't excuse you from keeping a DR track and plotting your DR position every day. If you think otherwise, you are not a prudent nor a responsible navigator. Just because you sail for pleasure and not for pay, doesn't mean professionally recognized methods and techniques are irrelevant to you. You don't have to learn everything overnight, but you should apply yourself to an ongoing self-education in Celestial and other traditional navigation techniques as you also become more proficient at electronic methods.
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Old 24-12-2012, 12:42   #35
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

The problem I am seeing in this thread is that some are saying it is "irresponsible" if you don't use every possible gizmo to determine your position. IMHO that is B.S. Following that train of thought, everyone of us would be irresponsible, because I doubt you are comparing your GPS readings to GLONASS, then confirming with sextant shots every hour or so, while simultaneously maintaining a 24/7 radar watch (of course, you must have two radars at different ranges), and of course utilizing advanced sidescan sonar. Where does it end? On a clear, sunny day in waters I am very familiar with is it irresponsible to sail by the seat of my pants and what I can see ahead of me? Or, should I be head down watching the chart plotter and radar? I say use appropriate navigational techniques for your situation, but it is a good idea to get your eyes away from the chart plotter and use other techniques just to be prepared for when something breaks down, or for when the traditional technique is more useful. And, it is entirely possible to misuse any technology and get yourself in trouble. A guy sunk his boat when I was down in the San Blas, and he had no less than five different chart plotting systems onboard, radar, the whole nine yards. Was he more responsible than those of us who didn't have all that stuff, and yet did not lose our boats? In short, it's not what equipment you have, but how you use what you do have.
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Old 24-12-2012, 13:20   #36
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
The problem I am seeing in this thread is that some are saying it is "irresponsible" if you don't use every possible gizmo to determine your position. IMHO that is B.S. Following that train of thought, everyone of us would be irresponsible, because I doubt you are comparing your GPS readings to GLONASS, then confirming with sextant shots every hour or so, while simultaneously maintaining a 24/7 radar watch (of course, you must have two radars at different ranges), and of course utilizing advanced sidescan sonar. Where does it end? On a clear, sunny day in waters I am very familiar with is it irresponsible to sail by the seat of my pants and what I can see ahead of me? Or, should I be head down watching the chart plotter and radar? I say use appropriate navigational techniques for your situation, but it is a good idea to get your eyes away from the chart plotter and use other techniques just to be prepared for when something breaks down, or for when the traditional technique is more useful. And, it is entirely possible to misuse any technology and get yourself in trouble. A guy sunk his boat when I was down in the San Blas, and he had no less than five different chart plotting systems onboard, radar, the whole nine yards. Was he more responsible than those of us who didn't have all that stuff, and yet did not lose our boats? In short, it's not what equipment you have, but how you use what you do have.
"Every Possible Gizmo" is not needed. What is needed is the ability and practice of a second method of the basic navigation tasks, particularly determining one's position. And "Gizmos" do not a navigator make. Tools are just tools. They shouldn't be relied upon to do your navigating for you. They simply facilitate. As for the five chart plotting systems, I would say that anything over one or two electronic ones, and paper charts for backup, or perhaps vice versa, is overkill. Here, the non-electrical nature of paper charting is an excellent supplement to the computer or stand-alone chart plotter. Electrical stuff is wonderful, convenient, and let's face it... fun to use, but not much help if it gets fried by lightning or you lose the ability to charge batteries. Which, by the way, is one of the reasons that Celestial is such a great backup to GPS. And another reason to keep a good DR.
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Old 24-12-2012, 14:57   #37
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
The problem I am seeing in this thread is that some are saying it is "irresponsible" if you don't use every possible gizmo to determine your position. IMHO that is B.S. Following that train of thought, everyone of us would be irresponsible, because I doubt you are comparing your GPS readings to GLONASS, then confirming with sextant shots every hour or so, while simultaneously maintaining a 24/7 radar watch (of course, you must have two radars at different ranges), and of course utilizing advanced sidescan sonar. Where does it end? On a clear, sunny day in waters I am very familiar with is it irresponsible to sail by the seat of my pants and what I can see ahead of me? Or, should I be head down watching the chart plotter and radar? I say use appropriate navigational techniques for your situation, but it is a good idea to get your eyes away from the chart plotter and use other techniques just to be prepared for when something breaks down, or for when the traditional technique is more useful. And, it is entirely possible to misuse any technology and get yourself in trouble. A guy sunk his boat when I was down in the San Blas, and he had no less than five different chart plotting systems onboard, radar, the whole nine yards. Was he more responsible than those of us who didn't have all that stuff, and yet did not lose our boats? In short, it's not what equipment you have, but how you use what you do have.
It's not irresponsible if you don't practice, but is irresponsible if you do not know and/or are capable of an alternate navigation system. If your "electronic brain" goes down you will have to use yours, you should know how to do this, even if you never do, it is like any other "just in case" safety equipment.
Once someone told me celestial navigation is a lost art....it's not an art, its a skill and a pretty simple one. In the book "Complete Cruiser" the first sentence in the first chapter in the first section (celestial navigation) it states anyone who can add, subtract and read a railroad table can learn celestial navigation.
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Old 24-12-2012, 15:16   #38
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

I think traditional or alternative methods give a navigator a bit of independence from the electronic world in which so many people are now enmeshed and dependent. I suppose most traditional methods do somewhat depend on governmental publication of tables and charts, and generally upon a source of time checks, but beyond that, the navigator is quite independent.
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Old 24-12-2012, 15:51   #39
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

Haven't we had this assumption discussion lots of times

Has anyones point of view ever changed?

As long as no one runs into you why is it always so important to some CFs how others are navigating?
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Old 24-12-2012, 16:03   #40
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

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As long as no one runs into you why is it always so important to some CFs how others are navigating?
Because I may be able to learn from them.
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Old 24-12-2012, 16:06   #41
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

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Has anyones point of view ever changed?
It will only happen with generational change. Ie when all the old buggers die off.
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Old 24-12-2012, 16:47   #42
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On a number of threads talking about chartplotters vs paper charts or the nessesity of paper charts at all. I have often held to the fact that just using a chart plotter, prevents people from learning basic navigation skills, those necessary if their electronics and/or electrical system go down. Some peoples responses were such that they basically saw their gadgets and gizmos as infallible or at least enough so they didn't have to learn "analog navigation"...most of those people were never out of reach of their tech support.
I've yet to meet anyone that actually runs down basic nav skills. I've never heard anyone say there " chart plotter is infallible"

You can make all the same types of error no matter what system you used.

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Old 24-12-2012, 16:52   #43
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I think traditional or alternative methods give a navigator a bit of independence from the electronic world in which so many people are now enmeshed and dependent. I suppose most traditional methods do somewhat depend on governmental publication of tables and charts, and generally upon a source of time checks, but beyond that, the navigator is quite independent.
Yes but navigators have always been at the state of the art. Navigation was a skilled activity when most on board couldn't read or write never mind use logarithms. Each age built on the previous and discarded some of the outdated techniques of their grandfathers. ( for example Lunars ) merely relying primarily on electronic navigation does not make you a good or bad navigator. Making mistakes does. Today our positional errors are small in the past navigational mistakes cost whole fleets.

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Old 24-12-2012, 19:18   #44
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

I do not think it is in the toys (paper, digital or otherwise). I think it is the attitude. Navigation, navigating is the attitude, not the tools. Tools are secondary and depend on the era and the epoch the navigator happens to live in.

Navigation is not the choice of tools one navigates with.

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Old 24-12-2012, 19:20   #45
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Re: Distinct Activities: Shackled by a Common Name?

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I do not think it is in the toys (paper, digital or otherwise). I think it is the attitude. Navigation, navigating is the attitude, not the tools. Tools are secondary and depend on the era and the epoch the navigator happens to live in.

Navigation is not the choice of tools one navigates with.

b.
Sure, but I love my paper charts . Quite apart from the attitude connected with them. I can touch them, feel them, draw a line across them. See the whole route on them. I also love my chart plotter . . .
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