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Old 03-10-2010, 19:35   #31
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Originally Posted by Astrid View Post
I still use nautical paper charts, sextant, nautical almanac, and logarithm tables for navigation. I will casually admit that I also use GPS plotting for those days when the sun doesn't shine (which is often where I am), and when entering an unfamiliar anchorage at night or in fog.
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Old 03-10-2010, 19:57   #32
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Only paper and a hand held GPS. I have a sextant and all almanacs but only use as a backup to GPS and or dead reckoning. Now Cruiseing from New England thru Caribbean currently in Antigua.
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Old 03-10-2010, 20:14   #33
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I just got my first GPS/Chartplotter three years ago. I installed it at the helm and as a primarily single handed sailor I love having it at my fingertips. But, I also have a chart in the cockpit with me too. I sometimes find it easier to get the big picture from the paper chart instead of zooming and moving around the LCD screen. It's faster and less distracting to use IMO. Besides paper always works! I made a good living repairing electronics and while I do like the electronic chart plotter. I would not go anywhere with out a paper chart/book of the area too.
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Old 03-10-2010, 21:37   #34
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Here's another thing to make you sleep great at night. Notice that half the recalls and "bugs" that Defender.com has open are for navigation electronics. GPS receivers showing erroneous speed, radar cutting out, etc:

Defender Discount Marine Outfitters - Manufacturers' Recalls

Quote:
AFFECTED PRODUCTS:
All Garmin GPSMAP 400, 500, 600, 4000, and 5000 series chartplotters

ISSUE:
When calculating Auto Guidance with a Garmin Bluechart g2 Vision data card, the affected Garmin chartplotters may indicate a path that crosses charted obstacles.
Quote:
2009 versions of BlueChart g2 in Garmin card format, BlueChart g2 in microSD/SD card format and BlueChart g2 Vision in microSD™/SD™ card format.
If you purchased any BlueChart g2 or BlueChart g2 Vision cards since April 8, 2009, please read this Recall
Notice to see if your product is affected.

DESCRIPTION OF SAFETY ISSUE
In certain waters, there are inaccuracies and/or omissions in the way that this specific version of charting presents depth contours and depth areas, resulting in the depiction of water depth as deeper than the actual depth under certain display conditions. This
may lead to boats going aground which, in certain circumstances, could lead to risk of personal injury.
Quote:
Garmin GHP 10 autopilot may fail to detect pump stalls on improperly-bled hydraulic systems

ISSUE
The GHP 10 autopilot, software version 2.90 and earlier, can fail to detect pump stalls, potentially leading to failure of the GHP 10 Electronics Control Unit (ECU).
Zero ability to see those problems before they arise, zero ability to fix them yourself, and these are just the known issues that responsible companies have put out recalls on.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:30   #35
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I have paper charts out all the time but they are a backup. I pilot by electronics in various forms from Raymarine to multiple phones and even an iPad. I develop and have developed electronic navigation products for different companies and yet keep paper charts out - there's a message in that.

But here's another view to consider...

1. Do you think that recreational boating is up or down over the last 20 "GPS" years? I'd think that it is way, way up - something that's easy to prove. There are many more thousands of miles being put under keels in this new era. The majority is obviously coastal but it's pretty clear that everything from open water passages to circumnavigations are significantly up due to many factors. Does anyone dispute that there are more boats and more distance being experienced yearly in this GPS age than in any previous time?

2. Have the number of boating accidents correspondingly increased? I have no data on this but it probably exists somewhere. My gut feel is that minor accidents have increased but not nearly to the extent that boating has increased. Certainly major accidents and "lost at sea" events are very rare today. I'd guess that major accidents have actually decreased even as boating has significantly increased. I don't see too many new monuments being erected for people lost at sea these days.

3. Are more people using ONLY electronic charting systems - people who don't even own paper charts? There's no question in my mind that this is happening in a very large way - the general population of boaters isn't using paper no matter how many highly experienced cruisers on CF give personal experiences to the contrary.

Living in Maine, there are many wreck sites where schooners of old ran into the rocky coast to spend the rest of eternity at the sea bottom. In the last 20 years of living on the coast, I can't think of another boat in our busy harbor hitting the rocks and sinking. Surely radar technology helps with that but GPS and electronic charting helps a great deal too.

My wife just finished Slocum's book and commented to me how incredible it was for him to do his circumnavigation without any electronics (backup or otherwise). She was really impressed. Then I pointed out that he was lost at sea in a subsequent passage.

So wrapping up this set of not-well-conntected-points, I think it's pretty clear that electronic navigation has been an overall benefit in safety. I further think that it is BECAUSE of electronic navigation that more boats are heading off into the sunset because it's actually safer. And that, ultimately, is a good thing for our passion of being cruisers.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:53   #36
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...

3. Are more people using ONLY electronic charting systems - people who don't even own paper charts? There's no question in my mind that this is happening in a very large way - the general population of boaters isn't using paper no matter how many highly experienced cruisers on CF give personal experiences to the contrary.

...
I agree with your entire post.

But it would be interesting to have a survey of people who use paper charts, by type of boater.

I bet a fairly direct relationship could be made to what type of boating (ocean cruiser, coastal cruisers, home waters), and how many miles per year.

Since this forum leans heavily towards cruising, it would be natural for more people to recommend paper charts. And for that type of boating, there is more argument for that being a wise decision.

-dan
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:12   #37
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Good point dan. A lot of the numbers being thrown around out there by the electronics people are clearly not the type of boaters most of us consider cruisers. The majority of the boating market is small boats in the 18 to 25 foot range typically used by local folks fishing, water skiing, weekend fun with the family and the occasional family vacation. A large percentage of these boaters keep their boat on a trailer in the back yard. These folks have a different approach to boating then the more serious long term long distance cruiser and will indeed probably not be carrying paper charts. This very large segment of the boating market is a very lucrative audience for many of these new navigational toys, but not something any of us would care to use to head down island or for most cruises away from local waters. If you remove this segment of the boating public a very different picture begins to take place. As to accidents and electronics preventing them, probably for another discussion, it is highly unlikely that electronics improves safety to the extent that education and enforcement has. In 2009 there were 4730 reported accidents and 736 deaths, up 3.6 from the previous year. Operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, improper lookout and alcohol rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. No electronics of any kind will prevent these kinds of accidents no matter what the electronics industry claims may be. So I suppose my point is we are possibly comparing apples and oranges although the feedback and discussion raises some good points on both sides. Chuck
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:43   #38
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Since this forum leans heavily towards cruising, it would be natural for more people to recommend paper charts. And for that type of boating, there is more argument for that being a wise decision.
There's just a big difference between buying them and using them. I really don't think paper charts are being used nearly as much even for large ocean passages. Again, like my own helm, I have the charts, but I really don't use them except once or twice a year to practice DR skills. They're always out and I'm always on the right chart (even now at a marina) but I just don't even think about relying on them.

I also think that my electronic backups are able to take the place of paper in a much more effective way. I'd rather have a totally isolated electronics system (like an iPad) with all of my "paper" charts on it. They're more apt to be current than my paper charts and I'm more apt to actually use them on an ongoing basis.
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:52   #39
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I agree with your entire post.



Since this forum leans heavily towards cruising, it would be natural for more people to recommend paper charts. And for that type of boating, there is more argument for that being a wise decision.

-dan
I agree with your entire post too.
Except for the content

Sorry, Dan, just having a bit of fun

I was looking for a Jimmy Cornel article - its in my pile of Cruising World Mags - but can't find it online.
heres a snippet of another bit:
Quote:
How has cruising changed since your first voyage, over forty years ago?
It's much easier and safer. The boats are better. So is the equipment. Look at GPS chart plotters. Life aboard is much easier.
A Conversation with Mr. Cornell - Cruising World

The article that I was looking for was his reflection on the number of boats lost earlier in his cruising compared with the number of boats lost now.
He too indicated there doesnt seem to be record kept of long range cruisers accidents, or even the number out in the wide blue. But he thinks its far safer now.


Unlike many folks I believe cruisers these days are generally (by percentage) far better equipened and educated to make safer long range cruises.

Obviously reading the resonses to this thread, few agree with me. But this wouldnt be the first thread! LOL


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Old 04-10-2010, 08:53   #40
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One lightning strike and you will always want paper charts aboard. When none of your electronics work, it's time to go back to the old fashion way. You should never depend on only one means of navigating.
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:56   #41
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I (thankfully still) have a good friend who ran into a reef somewhere between Tahiti and the Australs. It wasn't on the electronic chart, and he'd given up checking the paper ones (it was on that).

Paper charts are much better for pilotage and navigation in sight of landmarks. GPS linked computer chart plotters are only as good as the GPS grid they're attached to. Which is why another friend of mine ran aground coming into Tahiti. Better to use your eyes and a paper chart in those situations.

I taught myself to use a sextant on the passages across the Pacific. Gotta keep your mind occupied somehow!
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:06   #42
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I have been sailing since 1960's and learnt to use the sextant on an Atlantic crossing in 1969 from a small book by Mary Blewitt. A little later I bought a Plath sextant and used this extensively from the UK and round the Med in the early 70's. In those days I used the sight reduction tables to work the sights and had a wind up chronometer (since stolen) to keep time. Incidentally distance traveled was taken from a Walker Log...not the best as the fish seemed to like the rotors and we lost quite a few!
Years later I went for a commercial license and they insisted that we use a calculator to work out sights using an equation. The worst of this was that my fingers would often hit the wrong keys. But one does get used to it and after a while it's a bit like typing....you know when you have made a mistake.
I do use an electronic charting system now but I guess I could go back to the sextant if I had to. And I still keep the relevant paper charts handy.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:11   #43
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One lightning strike and you will always want paper charts aboard. When none of your electronics work, it's time to go back to the old fashion way. You should never depend on only one means of navigating.


Yes look there is Slocumbs goat too. It actually happened when Slocumb had the chart for the Caribbean out on the table and the goat came and ate it. The next chapter is him trying to make all these different landfalls to get another chart... very funny.

Same as today if those that keep their paper chart in the cockpit and a gust of wind whooooofs it away But what the chances?

Yes, like all things back ups are needed.

mine is that I have 3 GPS units and 3 plotters:
*The main chartplotter that is connected to the boats wiring so can easily be hit by lightning.
* handheld GPS/Plotter thats used on the laptop and goes into the oven during electrical storm (tastes great with garlic),
*satellite phone thats normally off (no one rings me! ) and lives in an area furtherest away from metal / wires etc.

If then the boat is in deeeeeeeeeeeep trouble I still have one other GPS. In the EPIRB

Oh, and I have an atlas in the middle of the Encyclopaedia
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:11   #44
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Living in Maine, there are many wreck sites where schooners of old ran into the rocky coast to spend the rest of eternity at the sea bottom. In the last 20 years of living on the coast, I can't think of another boat in our busy harbor hitting the rocks and sinking. Surely radar technology helps with that but GPS and electronic charting helps a great deal too.
that's an interesting argument.

I find that the one area where paper charts are more valuable than chartplotters is in planning a voyage prior to departure. I want to have a compass course to steer before I turn on the navigation system. That way, if the electronics bail during a passage, I still know how to use the compass. In essence the GPS is better at letting me know where I am, but the paper charts are better at letting me decide where I want to go.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:12   #45
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...
I have paper charts out all the time but they are a backup. I pilot by electronics in various forms from Raymarine to multiple phones and even an iPad. I develop and have developed electronic navigation products for different companies and yet keep paper charts out - there's a message in that.

...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post

...

Again, like my own helm, I have the charts, but I really don't use them except once or twice a year to practice DR skills. There always out and I'm always on the right chart (even now at a marina) but I just don't even think about relying on them.

I also think that my electronic backups are able to take the place of paper in a much more effective way. I'd rather have a totally isolated electronics system (like an iPad) with all of my "paper" charts on it. They're more apt to be current than my paper charts and I'm more apt to actually use them on an ongoing basis.
In one post you say you develop software, but always keep paper charts out, and there's a message in that.

Next post you seem to be arguing the other side, that electronics make better backups?

And you say there's a big difference between buying them and using them. Sorry, I didn't know that was the subject.

I think that serious offshore cruisers just mainly think that having paper charts as a backup is necessary. I am an electronics freak. But I would never plan to go into unknown waters without paper charts. I would also never go without a GPS.

Regardless, I have 2 points.

Compared to coastal cruiser (or lake boaters even more so):

1. I bet passage-maker cruisers are more likely to actually use paper charts.

2. I bet passage-maker cruisers are more likely to have paper charts as backup, even though they may only use electronic navigation normally.

-dan
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