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Old 04-06-2014, 17:06   #136
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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I still think a projected heading line is fairly worthless. A glance over the forestay gives you that, and why do you even care?
Having both heading and COG projected on the display gives an instant estimate of the effect of set, drift and leeway. The greater the angle between the two the less I can rely on the "over the bow" visual look and the more closely I need to consider how to lay the desired mark.

This has been an interesting thread. I think not many minds will be changed. We like what we are used to or first understood. I have planned 200+ mile passages through congested waters using ENC charts (the new fangled digital ones) and found the resulting plan to be much better than one done on paper. For one thing having lots of way points is trivial when using digital charts. When planning on paper I tend to get "lazy" and lay longer distances between way points. Revising way points is much easier on digital charts. Revising on paper involves erasing and nobody wants to do that too much so we become complacent. In a digital system moving or adding a way point takes mere seconds. Transferring digital way points to digital nav systems is much more efficient and less error prone. And a route on the electronic chart automatically transfers to every chart scale available. There are not many advantages of paper charts for passage planning or real time navigation.

The risk benefit ratio of electronic chart and navigation equipment is very much in favor of reliance on them. When someone says they don't have to worry about electrical failure of paper charts they often ignore that paper charts leave room for greater chance of human error. If you were to study the reliability of electronic navigation over manual plotting on paper you would find that GPS is orders of magnitude more reliable on a statistical basis. Similarly the relative reliability of fixes by GPS and sextant are probably 1,000 times in favor of GPS even accounting for those times when GPS is "down".

In open water if GPS fails it is usually temporary and not a reason to panic. Your destination isn't going to be lost as a result. In close situations loss of GPS just means you have to be visually aware of your surroundings. And you shouldn't allow yourself to be caught in a situation where loss of electronic nav puts your boat and crew in danger whether or not you have paper backup. So to those that say paper backup to GPS is a must I would challenge them to prove it by examples. I would guess that most examples given would expose some other error(s) in planning that having paper will not cure.

And if you believe in reliance on GPS as I do then you will have multiple receivers with multiple ways of powering them. That to include solar charger just to power a couple of your GPS handhelds. And lots of batteries on board too. It is not that hard to make a bullet proof electronic navigation system on a limited budget. It is really hard to make a bullet proof paper and sextant system no matter your budget.

No need to bother telling me that none of this changed your mind. I already know that. Go ahead and get out your
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Old 04-06-2014, 17:16   #137
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

+1 transmitterdan +1

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Old 04-06-2014, 17:41   #138
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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well… yes and no

"(2) The master and owner of a ship of less than 100 tons are not required to have on board the charts, documents and publications referred to in subsection (1) if the person in charge of navigation has sufficient knowledge of the following information, such that safe and efficient navigation in the area where the ship is to be navigated is not compromised:"


dave
True.

I do not know anyone who has memorized the tide and current tables. I can make a pretty good guess based on the phases of the moon and the height water on pilings. But I would attempt some of our passes using that "knowledge."
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Old 04-06-2014, 18:35   #139
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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This has been an interesting thread. I think not many minds will be changed. We like what we are used to or first understood.
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...even accounting for those times when GPS is "down"….In open water if GPS fails it is usually temporary and not a reason to panic. Your destination isn't going to be lost as a result. In close situations loss of GPS just means you have to be visually aware of your surroundings.
While I full-throatedly agree with the content of your post, the two passages above are interesting.

I don't know about the validity of the first. I started longer-distance navigating (1-2 days, out of sight of land) in the mid 80's by DR with paper charts and compass only. I learned this way, and it was this way for several years until we got a Loran that gave us a numerical TD fix. I then navigated for many years with this - plotting TD positions on a paper chart. Later, I got a Loran that gave me lat/lon and allowed me to enter a limited number of waypoints. In 2001, we acquired a GPS that gave us lat/lon and a limited number of waypoints. In 2003, we got a computer charting program that integrated with the output of the GPS. We got our first ever chartplotter in 2012.

So 2003 was the first time I was exposed to anything close to resembling electronic charting. There was almost 20 years of navigating before that using much more limited tools and paper charts.

Yet I am now much more comfortable with electronic charting than with paper charts. I see all of the advantages, have mitigated any disadvantages, and now find the use of paper charts immensely constricting. Similar to how I find physical books once I started using a Kindle.

So I think it is more complicated than "what you first understood". Perhaps it is an specific aptitude difference (I do not mean that in a negative way), or a "macho" difference (I do mean that in a negative way), or how one wants to perceive themselves (neutral meaning there).

As for the second quote above - has anyone experienced the GPS system going down? I mean in the past 10 years? You made it sound like this is common, yet I have never experienced it. I didn't even consider it a possibility short of a global catastrophe. Wouldn't pretty much the whole world go nuts if this was a reasonable occurrence? I suppose they might have to maybe put some satellites to sleep because of severe solar flares or something?

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Old 05-06-2014, 04:05   #140
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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While I full-throatedly agree with the content of your post, the two passages above are interesting.

As for the second quote above - has anyone experienced the GPS system going down? I mean in the past 10 years? You made it sound like this is common, yet I have never experienced it. I didn't even consider it a possibility short of a global catastrophe. Wouldn't pretty much the whole world go nuts if this was a reasonable occurrence? I suppose they might have to maybe put some satellites to sleep because of severe solar flares or something?

Mark
Mark,

Yes, GPS has "gone down" more than once. But it has been very temporary and in most cases it was localized. The Caribe is not a hot spot of GPS troubles and not likely to be any time soon. Although I will say that there are some old Garmin handhelds that have a software bug. When WAAS is turned on in the BVI the units will crash and give a blank screen. Turning off WAAS is the workaround. I could never duplicate the problem in any other location.

In Korea there is supposedly an active campaign by the North Koreans to jam GPS signals making it unreliable at Inchon airport. That is one reason some countries with unfriendly neighbors are planning to relaunch Loran in a new and improved flavor called eLoran. The Loran signal is much harder to jam as the signals are much larger and thus more expensive to interrupt. Even the short sighted US is considering relaunching eLoran as are some in Europe.

GPS can be jammed or spoofed. The Iranians claim they stole a drone by feeding it incorrect GPS signals and triggering the craft's auto land safety protocol. They claimed that GPS spoofed coordinates were transmitted to convince the drone to land where they could pick it up. This idea was proved feasible by a university experiment. GPS simulators are available and intended to test GPS receivers. But if the RF signals from the simulator are broadcast then in that area all GPS receivers can be made to think they are someplace else.

If I were for some unfathomable reason sailing near the 38th parallel in Korean waters I would probably want to have something besides GPS. I would also be wary of GPS data that suddenly moved my position when near some military ships. If you're a military skipper and think a GPS guided missile is a threat then broadcasting fake GPS data might be a viable countermeasure. But I don't sail in waters teaming with opposing military ships so I don't worry about all of this stuff.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:42   #141
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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Using electronics to determine the effect of current and leeway while underway is one thing, passage planning is another.

How many folks use current data (set and drift) when planning a passage?

As an example if you are leaving Vancouver and wish to transit Porlier Pass on the turn, you will need to calculate, in advance, the SMG so that you can determine your time of departure. If you miss the turn at Porlier there are no anchorages or marinas in the vicinity. You are now stuck in Georgia Strait waiting for the next turn. The Strait only has about 1 knot of current, but that is 15-20% of your boat speed.
Yes, I agree. We've had very long and involved and fascinating discussions about calculating a Course to Steer over moving water. You can't do it on a plotter.

What is really kind of funny is that at the beginning of that discussion I was a hard-core do-it-by-hand guy, using the method they teach you in the UK. I thought I was pretty good at it. In the course of drilling right into the trigonometry and other nuts in bolts of the method, I realized that the traditional method of calculating a CTS, and other hand methods (Seaworthy Lass came up with an ingenious alternative hand method), are really fairly poor approximations, especially when you have complex current set.

So this hard-core do-it-by-hand guy promptly bought a special computer program ("Neptune Planner Plus") which is all he has ever used ever since for CTS calculations. It is brilliant -- far easier, faster, and more accurate than any hand CTS calculation. Being easier and faster, you can re-run the numbers frequently to deal with changing passage speed, and to check your progress.


I guess that goes back to the original point of this thread -- paper charts are still, in my opinion, indispensable for passage planning in complex water, something which I feel much more strongly about after having suffered the absolute nightmare of having to get through Danish, Swedish, and Finnish waters across the Baltic with only a chart plotter and no paper. It was a nightmare, although I did learn some new techniques which made it marginally easier.


That is not because I have any principle stand for or against electronics. I love marine electronics and use whatever tools, electronic or non-electronic, which seem best to me. I'm sure someday, someone will invent some electronic tool which will allow decent passage planning in complex waters. Maybe a really big high-res monitor and raster charts already would do that. But regular marine plotters using vector charts are nearly useless for this, according to my experience.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:58   #142
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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So this hard-core do-it-by-hand guy promptly bought a special computer program ("Neptune Planner Plus") which is all he has ever used ever since for CTS calculations. It is brilliant -- far easier, faster, and more accurate than any hand CTS calculation. Being easier and faster, you can re-run the numbers frequently to deal with changing passage speed, and to check your progress.

Compared to UK paper chart calculations, (As we have been taught) how long does it take you to input a course and get results shown?

I'm sure someday, someone will invent some electronic tool which will allow decent passage planning in complex waters.

as any computer analysis program is based on mathematical computation, and IF the requirement is known by the programmer, it should be relatively easy to facilitate...... I would say it is being worked on right now.
Glad you made it through ok.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:37   #143
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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I do not allow paper charts in the cockpit.
I'm getting "older" and with my less than stellar memory I wouldn't have had a chance to have made it through the small boat channel of Georgian Bay without a chart in the cockpit. Several approaches in the Caribbean are also beyond my memory capability.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:57   #144
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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Compared to UK paper chart calculations, (As we have been taught) how long does it take you to input a course and get results shown?

With Neptune, you set up waypoints at origin and destination and input planned time of departure. It takes a few seconds. Then you get a table showing you the total passage time when leaving at various times. That tells you in case you can shorten the passage time by leaving earlier or later. And it gives you a CTS for each of the possible departure times.

Now when I use it, I get alternatives for different passage speeds, since you can never be really sure. I usually do 7, 8, and 9 knots (no need to do 7.5 and 8.5 because you can easily interpolate).

This is slightly awkward because passage speed is in the setup menu. But it's still a matter of seconds; trivial compared to the 10 or 15 minutes I need to run normal CTS calculations by hand with three different passage speeds.

It's a really wonderful program. Where it has really paid for itself is not a straight cross channel, like Needles to Cherbourg, for which hand calculations work ok, but for a passage in the Gulf of St. Malo, where the tides are rotary. Like St. Malo - St. Peter Port -- you just can't calculate it by hand, or if you could, it would take hours.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:58   #145
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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Originally Posted by darylat8750 View Post
I'm getting "older" and with my less than stellar memory I wouldn't have had a chance to have made it through the small boat channel of Georgian Bay without a chart in the cockpit. Several approaches in the Caribbean are also beyond my memory capability.
Amen! I'd rather sacrifice a chart to rain than run aground
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:05   #146
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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Having both heading and COG projected on the display gives an instant estimate of the effect of set, drift and leeway. The greater the angle between the two the less I can rely on the "over the bow" visual look and the more closely I need to consider how to lay the desired mark.

This has been an interesting thread. I think not many minds will be changed. We like what we are used to or first understood. I have planned 200+ mile passages through congested waters using ENC charts (the new fangled digital ones) and found the resulting plan to be much better than one done on paper. For one thing having lots of way points is trivial when using digital charts. When planning on paper I tend to get "lazy" and lay longer distances between way points. Revising way points is much easier on digital charts. Revising on paper involves erasing and nobody wants to do that too much so we become complacent. In a digital system moving or adding a way point takes mere seconds. Transferring digital way points to digital nav systems is much more efficient and less error prone. And a route on the electronic chart automatically transfers to every chart scale available. There are not many advantages of paper charts for passage planning or real time navigation.

The risk benefit ratio of electronic chart and navigation equipment is very much in favor of reliance on them. When someone says they don't have to worry about electrical failure of paper charts they often ignore that paper charts leave room for greater chance of human error. If you were to study the reliability of electronic navigation over manual plotting on paper you would find that GPS is orders of magnitude more reliable on a statistical basis. Similarly the relative reliability of fixes by GPS and sextant are probably 1,000 times in favor of GPS even accounting for those times when GPS is "down".

In open water if GPS fails it is usually temporary and not a reason to panic. Your destination isn't going to be lost as a result. In close situations loss of GPS just means you have to be visually aware of your surroundings. And you shouldn't allow yourself to be caught in a situation where loss of electronic nav puts your boat and crew in danger whether or not you have paper backup. So to those that say paper backup to GPS is a must I would challenge them to prove it by examples. I would guess that most examples given would expose some other error(s) in planning that having paper will not cure.

And if you believe in reliance on GPS as I do then you will have multiple receivers with multiple ways of powering them. That to include solar charger just to power a couple of your GPS handhelds. And lots of batteries on board too. It is not that hard to make a bullet proof electronic navigation system on a limited budget. It is really hard to make a bullet proof paper and sextant system no matter your budget.

No need to bother telling me that none of this changed your mind. I already know that. Go ahead and get out your
I actually agree with all of this, just with the footnote that in complicated waters, the planning process on a plotter breaks down. If I have some time over the weekend, I'll make some screenshots from my Zeus for Finnish water and post them here. Not even the most hard-core electronic chartist could plan a passage with this plotter and vector charts in these waters, which will be obvious from the screenshots.

So I think on this question it's not just what method you are used to, but also where you sail. It's easy to assume that every place is just like where you sail, but it's often not true.


Concerning projected heading lines displayed TOGETHER with projected COG lines, rather than as an alternative -- I've never seen this system but, yes! I can imagine that this would be a very useful instant indicator of leeway and current set. I think I'll dig around in my plotter menus and see if I can get that to display like that, too.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:37   #147
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

Dockhead, I just looked quickly at the manual for the Zeus and you have check boxes for both heading and COG extension lines, with the option to have them for both your vessel as well as other vessels, as well as make them infinite or user-defined in length.

It is under Menu>Charts>Extension Lines.

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Old 05-06-2014, 09:23   #148
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

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Dockhead, I just looked quickly at the manual for the Zeus and you have check boxes for both heading and COG extension lines, with the option to have them for both your vessel as well as other vessels, as well as make them infinite or user-defined in length.

It is under Menu>Charts>Extension Lines.

Mark
Thank you!

I'll activate that and try it out. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

A bit of thread drift, but I play with COG extension lines quite a bit. One of my gripes about the AIS display in the Zeus is that there is no way to keep up with various AIS targets and whether they are passing ahead or behind. I find myself (if I have crew at the helm) sitting at the nav table keeping notes on paper as in days of yore. I thought of a good way to display this which I will write about soon. But meanwhile my stopgap is to increase the COG extension lines to 30 minutes (I usually keep them on 10 minutes), and be sure that AIS targets have exactly the same. Then you can see by comparing where are the ends of the extension lines at 30 minutes, whether they are passing ahead or behind, and in fact it's generally a good reference for where a whole bunch of vessels in crowded waters will all be 30 minutes from now -- very useful.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:46   #149
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

That is also how we do it. In Coastal Explorer, the closest CPA/TPA vessels are also listed in a sidebar with their data and turn color when user-defined thresholds are met. In the Furuno, they just turn color. Not red, not a problem.

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Old 06-06-2014, 03:26   #150
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Re: More Thoughts About Paper

Plotters are never going to be good planning devices IMHO. I never plan a passage on a plotter. I plan on a PC and have more than one program for that. OpenCPN is pretty good and getting better. Whatever I use I transfer the route to the plotter and my handhelds. The plotter at the helm is used for real time feedback. I also let the PC run at the nav station with position info supplied by the plotter.

For long coastal passages I can plan bailout routes and save them too. If conditions change or the schedule gets too badly busted I can switch to one of these. On paper that would likely not get done. In fact, for me personally doing all the planning is a great way to get familiar with a new area. By the time we actually make the passage I feel like I have been there before.

Another thing good about plotters is their ability to save your track. That can be turned into a route and saved. Then transfer it to the PC and use it as a starting point for making a better route.
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