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Old 04-10-2010, 11:58   #61
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The fewer bouys in the US has me concerned too, there is just not as much funding for it.
50% of the Coast Guard budget goes toward maintaining ATON's. 50%! It's impossible to imagine that this won't change and more buoys will go away.

AIS provides another cost saving technique for them. Why have all of those channel 16/22 broadcasts when a virtual AIS target can provide the information overlaid on your chart and visible all the time? You can bet that's coming.
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Old 04-10-2010, 13:00   #62
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And just like LORAN it will probably be outdated and stripped off ships in 20 years time. My triangles and a sharp lookout will still work.
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Old 04-10-2010, 13:23   #63
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I'll admit, I have 4 handheld gps units, and 1 fixed mount gps. The fixed mount has a 3" screen and the global base map. There's no way I could use that thing for navigation without my paper charts!! Even with a 17" color display I've never felt comfortable looking at the "big" picture on the screen. I prefer a chart that I can write on and keep a running tally of where I am (heading, track, etc...)
The only thing that drives me nuts though about electronic charts are the big screen tv sized displays directly in from of the helm........Now how is that sailing!!! you're perpetually night blind!!!
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Old 04-10-2010, 13:30   #64
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you're perpetually night blind!!!
Most larger electronic system can control brightness and/or change the colors to dark shades of red. We do overnight passages all the time and maintain full night vision while using all of the electronic navigation devices. We also have a built-in red map light for viewing the paper charts at night.

iPhones on the other hand don't often support night coloring yet - something to be added in the future.
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Old 04-10-2010, 13:41   #65
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Most larger electronic system can control brightness and/or change the colors to dark shades of red. We do overnight passages all the time and maintain full night vision while using all of the electronic navigation devices. We also have a built-in red map light for viewing the paper charts at night.
I've sailed a few boats with these things. I'm aware of the red coloring available, but it's still a really bright screen dead ahead of you. I find myself like a moth inexorably attracted to the screen. Your experience may differ, but I'd much rather have a general idea of where I am and be able to see rather than stare mindlessly at the "TV" while staying between the markers.

In a past life I worked motoryachts as crew, My bridge watches usually consisted of getting my bearings and putting a towel over all the monitors except rader, uncovering every 1/2 hour for log updates.
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Old 04-10-2010, 14:05   #66
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Does printing electronic charts and laminating them count? That's what I just did for the CatClub Campout this weekend!
Yeah, and we'll take our compasses out of the dive consoles, and tie them to the mast with string. How's that for good old-fashioned navigation!
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Old 04-10-2010, 14:35   #67
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I've sailed a few boats with these things. I'm aware of the red coloring available, but it's still a really bright screen dead ahead of you. I find myself like a moth inexorably attracted to the screen. Your experience may differ, but I'd much rather have a general idea of where I am and be able to see rather than stare mindlessly at the "TV" while staying between the markers.

In a past life I worked motoryachts as crew, My bridge watches usually consisted of getting my bearings and putting a towel over all the monitors except rader, uncovering every 1/2 hour for log updates.
People can only concentrate on so many things at once and unless you have a lot of training to ignore inputs that don't matter you'll end up focusing on them and they'll take up cycles that should go elsewhere.

I completely agree that at night watch I want a wind gauge, ship's compass, knot meter, hand bearing compass, flashlight, and handheld vhf so I don't wake anyone up. That's as much as much gadgetry as I need. Frees up your eyes to look out on the horizon and up in your rig.

It's the same thing when I'm running on a treadmill. You can't focus on running with all those stupid gauges staring at you in the face. Cover them up, focus on your job, and uncover and check instruments when you need to.

Edit: As my dad told me "the more $hit you have the more $hit will break."
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:10   #68
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I've been writing software for over a decade as a profession. That's convinced me more than anything else that relying on software developers for safety is absurd.
I wish I hadn't read that. My trusty laptop worked fine all the way round the Atlantic with some software given to me and it worked fine. Now I'll never relax again, it's obviously going to crash constantly.

But it didn't work fine, one laptop died when i left it under a leaky hatch in portugal and another got liberated from the nav table as I slept a few feet away in Cape Verde. So at that cost I could have got a chart plotter I suppose. But I can live without a chart plotter, a laptop is pretty essential for most people cruising.

But the software was pretty solid, don't remember it crashing much if ever. even so I never feel comfortable without having a small scale chart and a cruising guide with some harbour charts to hand. Though i did a crossing to Brazil with just the laptop and some digital photos of a much photocopied cruising guide, bit stressy that one but OK in the end.
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:20   #69
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If it can happen to him, it will happen to you.

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Don't get me wrong; my team and I work as hard as we can to write the best software we can. But any text on software development will show that more than 50% of projects are either drastically over budget or cancelled all together. People have been building bridges for a long time. Thousands of years of bridge building, basically using the same techniques for the last few hundred. Modern software development has been around for ~10 years (object oriented, discarding function pointers for delegates and events, etc), and the rate of change is stupid fast.

Even know, machines are more and more coming out with 64 bit processors which allows developers more power. Multi processor machines with increased threading allows for even speedier user interfaces and background processes, along with all the complexity and inherent bugs that go along with more code.

My job (in my professional life) is to convince you that my software will improve your life and that you really shouldn't be without it. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm not. But I'm paid to deliver that line. Take my paycheck away and make me a farmer and I doubt I'll be trying to convince anyone of the benefits of my software anymore.
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:25   #70
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On top of that, the only blue screen of death I've ever seen on a paper chart is from my pen spilling.
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:26   #71
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Electronic charts only? I dare any cruiser relying on Raymarine chart plotters which use Navionics chips to sail the Bahamas. You will soon find yourself sailing over islands.
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:33   #72
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Electronic charts only? I dare any cruiser relying on Raymarine chart plotters which use Navionics chips to sail the Bahamas. You will soon find yourself sailing over islands.
That you may not see after dark since the warm inviting glow of the line of sight cockpit mounted 22" widescreen chartplotter is mounted in such a place to drill holes through your brain.......Yes I just went to the houston boat show and saw several 40'-50' sailboats with a screen mounted at the helm that I couldn't see around!!!!
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:41   #73
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Electronic charts only? I dare any cruiser relying on Raymarine chart plotters which use Navionics chips to sail the Bahamas. You will soon find yourself sailing over islands.
well the gps position on an electronic chart is definitely totally absolutely guily til proven innocent, and even if it proves to be accurate then that confidence is short lived. I've berthed in churches, sailed up high streets etc. Google earth can sometimes come in very handy when the charts are suspect. But the same inaccuracy goes for paper as well if anyone can be bothered to plot from the gps that accurately. Paper is much nicer to touch than a mouse though.
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:44   #74
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My job (in my professional life) is to convince you that my software will improve your life and that you really shouldn't be without it. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm not. But I'm paid to deliver that line. Take my paycheck away and make me a farmer and I doubt I'll be trying to convince anyone of the benefits of my software anymore.
That's a sad comment about something you spend a third of your life doing (or more). I'm sure it's not a unique view...but it's not the only one.

I've been writing software professionally for 38 years. I've founded multiple companies that produced both software and hardware products including 8 FDA approvals for software and 1 FDA approval for hardware. The medical products I've been involved with were tested to incredible levels and were at least as bug-free as the hardware.

I've never written software or created a product for the purpose of convincing someone to buy it. I've created products that I thought were needed and useful and solved a specific purpose. Pointing out the value generally made sales. Sometimes not. No matter what, take away my paycheck and make me a farmer, and I'll get off the tractor and go back to creating products with value and writing software for others to use.
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Old 04-10-2010, 15:59   #75
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I also have a deep background in software development -- beginning with machine-language programming of mainframes -- and also some in-depth experience with chartmaking and the attendant errors therein. That background, in addition to my 50+ years of experience on the water in various parts of the world leads me to the inevitable conclusion that one must be wary of ALL navigation aids, be they: buoys, charts or electronic representations thereof, radar, fathometers, compasses, sextant-derived LOPs, GPS locations, or any other source of navigational information.

The axiom that one must use EVERY available navaid -- including the Mark I eyeball -- in order to have a decent shot at vessel positioning and avoiding mishaps is golden. Believe it! Ignore this at your peril. I don't wanna hear that "I've been navigating by GPS for years and it's been absolutely dead on accurate". If you believe that, you simply don't know enough. Someday, that ignorance and arrogance is gonna cause you pain.

A recent example of the folly of overreliance on electronic systems is documented in the latest issue of Soundings, in which the loss of a Maxi ocean racer in Australia is detailed. An extensive review of the incident, which involved two deaths, concluded that the accident was the result of overreliance on electronic systems. And, wouldn't you know it....at the time of the incident there was in fact a GPS anomaly which contributed.

Bottom line: by all means use GPS, but use it intelligently and not slavishly. Learn enough about marine navigation to be able to integrate other sources of navigation info. Use everything available.

Ignore this advice at your peril.....and that of your crew and, possibly, your loved ones.

Bill
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